Strategic Dairy farmers travel for new cohort meeting

Tuesday, 19 December 2023

Some of the new, existing and former members of the Strategic Dairy Farm programme met at Dyson Farming, Lincolnshire, to help plan the journeys and key focus points for the 10 farms in the new cohort.

Organised by Doreen Anderson, Senior Dairy Knowledge Exchange Manager at AHDB, the two-day meeting offered a great opportunity for members of AHDB’s Strategic Dairy Farms to network and get to know each other.

On the first day, Strategic Dairy Farmers met at The Hive, which is on the Dyson Farming estate. The group heard from Karen Halton of Chance Hall Farm, located in Cheshire, and Tom Campbell of Low Ballees Farm, located in Ayrshire, about their journey during the Strategic Dairy Farm programme.

Willie Fleming from Hillhead Farm in Lockerbie also presented on the value of a steering group, discussing this from the view of a steering group member for Potstown Farm in Lockerbie and from the point of being a former Strategic Dairy Farmer.

Meeting together and thinking about the key common themes for next year, the farmers established healthy soils and nutrient management, youngstock management, getting the right genetics for the herd and retaining labour as the key areas to look at.

Through agreeing on key topics, the farmers in the programme can support each other and help each other achieve their individual goals linking to these areas.

On the second day, Richard Meredith, Head of Research at Dyson Farming, gave the group a tour around their Nocton and Carrington sites.

During this visit, the Strategic Dairy Farmers and AHDB staff got to see the technology that Dyson Farming are developing to enhance productivity within agriculture.

Although they are achieving this on a large scale, they are hoping that one day these developments can benefit the wider industry and be accessible to more farmers.

One of the areas the group got to see was the season-sustainable strawberries that Dyson Farming is growing (pictured below).

Strategic Dairy Farmers in a giant strawberry glasshouse

The giant glasshouse is 424 metres long with 832 rows of strawberries and 700,000 strawberry plants, offering British-grown strawberries to consumers out of season.

Using robotic technology, they are able to extend the growing season for British strawberries, through providing the exact nutrients each row of plans needs and by using robots to decide which strawberries need picking.

The Strategic Dairy Farm programme is designed to help tell the stories of farms all over the UK, using different systems. Through launching a new cohort of 10 farms, we are aiming to bring farms together to help them share their knowledge and support each other during their journeys.

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The view from Dyson Farming’s anaerobic digesters, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 10,000 homes

Meeting at The Hive to discuss the technological advancements at Dyson Farming

The varying soil types at Dyson Farming