Tuesday, 3 October 2023
We are launching three new Strategic Dairy Farms and encourage farmers to get involved with the programme and follow their journeys.
The Strategic Dairy Farm network provides a platform for farmer-to-farmer learning, accelerating the uptake of knowledge and showcasing best practice.
The programme represents a wide range of farm businesses across the UK, and the new cohort contains a mix of different systems and focus areas, each farm acting as a focal point for regional and national discussions.
Lydney Park Farms, Dillington Farms and Moorhouse Hall Farm are the first three of ten farms in the new cohort, all solid performers who will openly share their experiences, performance figures and goals as part of the scheme.
The three new Strategic Dairy Farms
Lydney Park Farms
Lydney Park Farms is part of the Lydney Park Estate in Gloucestershire, and a team managed by Gavin Green milks 850 Jersey-cross cows twice a day, producing around 4,750 L of milk and calving in a 10-week block that starts in the spring.
They consistently grow around 12.5–15 t DM/ha most years, and as part of the Strategic Dairy Farm programme, they plan to implement changes to their system to adapt to the principles of their consumer-conscious milk buyer.
Dillington Farms is a successful mixed farming business in Somerset with dairying at its heart. With tourism and an array of enterprises running on the estate, farming that both enhances the environment and drives profit is a priority.
This 870-ha farm focuses on renewable energy and home-grown feeds and is involved in an extensive mid-tier scheme. The herd comprises a dairy herd of around 350 cross-bred cows, yielding approximately 10,800 L per cow per year and calving all year round.
Ollie Blackburn, Farm Manager at Dillington Farms, said:
“The programme is a great opportunity to work with different people from around the industry. The estate and our farming policies have changed massively over the last few years, and we are now very environmentally focused and trying to do things in a more sustainable way.
“While we feel that we may be doing things slightly differently to others, it is always good to be challenged in a positive way, and we can’t wait to share our experiences and learn from others.”
Moorhouse Hall in Wigton is a family-run farm with 100 Holstein cows following an autumn calving cycle. The herd is genomically tested for superior genetics, and the farm champions multi-cut silage practices.
The farm produces an impressive 3,500−4,500 L of milk from forage and are proud partners with First Milk.
Meeting dates for the launches
As Strategic Dairy Farms, they are committed to continuous improvement, and their goals include a focus on sustainable genetics and experimenting with new crops.
These farms will be involved in various on-farm and virtual meetings over the next few years, opening up discussions and allowing farmers to share their stories.
The launch events for these farms will include farm tours, with an opportunity to find out more about operations, performance figures and goals for the farm.
This will give attendees a unique chance to measure their own performance against others and discuss areas for improvement with our experts.
The meeting dates for the three new Strategic Dairy Farm launches are:
- 12 October – Lydney Park, Gloucestershire
- 25 October – Dillington Farms, Somerset
- 7 November – Moorhouse Hall Farm, Cumbria
The Strategic Dairy Farm programme aims to improve business resilience and performance across the dairy industry through knowledge exchange and the adoption of best practices.
The programme is funded by AHDB and the Betty Lawes Foundation, and there is a Steering Group attached to all of the new farms, helping to drive the programme and further support farmer-to-farmer learning, which sits at the core of AHDB activities.
Doreen Anderson, Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager (Dairy), said:
“We are delighted to welcome three new farms into our network, and I would strongly encourage any dairy farmers to get involved in this programme and consider attending the launch events.
“Listening to farmers challenge and support each other while discussing ideas for improving their businesses is amazing. Ideas are constantly being shared both between the farmers individually and between AHDB and the farmers, driving positive change for everyone involved.”
Pawel, Gavin and Keith – Lydney Park Farms
Ollie – Dillington Farms
Chris – Moorhouse Hall