The Farm

Name:
Tim Downes
Location:
Shropshire
Farm sectors:
Dairy
Twitter:

About The Farm

Follow The Farm if you are interested in:

  • Learning more about how organic management principles can benefit your soil structure and grassland management
  • Managing a tight spring calving block herd
  • Developing healthy soils to increase your feed tonnages per hectare
  • Reducing instances of mastitis in your herd
  • Developing long-term farm infrastructure and processes 
  • Exploring how homeopathy can reduce antibiotic usage
  • Creating and implementing new youngstock and grazing management strategies
  • Using environmental benchmarking and carbon footprinting to drive positive change

Overview

The Farm in Shropshire is part-owned and operated by Tim and Louise Downes and their family.

They have been farming here since Tim’s grandfather initially tenanted the land around 1950 with it moving onto Tim's father John. Since 2000, The Farm has specialised in organic dairy farming with a tight spring block calving herd of 260 Irish and New Zealand Friesian’s crossed with Norwegian Red’s.

The extended farm team includes Tim’s father and mother who look after the beef operations. Herdsman Sean McKay, Assistant Herdsman Taylor Corke and regular placements from Harper University (currently Peter Loxdale who will soon be replaced by Lewis Williams) run the dairy side of the farm. They are also assisted by their teenage children Isabel and Oliver on relevant supervised tasks.

In 2016, they purchased a second farm six miles to the north and have another 250 strong spring-block-calving herd located there.

Our farm 

The Farm has 365 acres as well as other separate blocks that are scattered across the surrounding area. Park Farm has 220 acres and Red House Farm 95 acres, and both are utilised for beef and silage production. Chatwell Farm adds 150 acres for contract beef rearing and grass silage whilst heifers are reared on nearby Chatford Farm by a long-term family friend. Finally, Webscot farm provides a 250-acre grazing platform for their recently acquired second herd.

Their grazing platforms mainly consist of Red and White Clover with Aber grasses that also include Chicory and Plantain where possible. Wholecrop oats are used across 25 acres. The farm’s plots have many different soil types ranging from heavy soils through to sandy stone. The farm also utilises ‘silvo pasture’, planting trees on grazing land. Tim has opted to utilise Willow for its anti-inflammatory properties. They also improve soil quality by spraying minerals and trace elements in liquid form.

They currently achieve 3500L from forage and are now looking to use AHDB Herd Genetic Reports for selective breeding and take other actions to improve their milk solids content.

Our herd 

The herd at The Farm is currently made up of 260 Irish and New Zealand based Friesian cows crossed with Norwegian Reds. They operate a similar herd of 250 at their other nearby farm. They utilise a spring block calving system with planned calving starting in on February 15th, with 60% calving within the first 6 weeks. Breeding decisions are made with cell counts and animal welfare in mind due to their inability to use antibiotics.  They use sexed semen and beef straws and sell excess heifers once weened. Bull calves are all raised for beef and sold to Waitrose.

Our journey

Over the next three years Tim and Louise will be aiming to develop new grazing and youngstock strategies, reduce instances of mastitis in their herd, improve milk solids within their outputs and lay down a long term plan for improving infrastructure and processes across the farm whilst ensuring a positive and friendly place for their valued staff.  

Our key performance figures

The Farm openly share their KPIs so you can see how they perform against a number or technical and financial measures.

 Review our key performance indicators

Past meetings

Explore our other strategic dairy farms

Tim Downes

"We have benefitted greatly from the recommendations and input of discussion groups and university and college visits. By joining this network we aim to continue benefiting from other farmers vital feedback as well as offering something back from our years of experience."

Tim Downes

"We have benefitted greatly from the recommendations and input of discussion groups and university and college visits. By joining this network we aim to continue benefiting from other farmers vital feedback as well as offering something back from our years of experience."

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