Paul and his wife Rachael along with their two children Isabel and Austin and their mischievous Beagle Tess live at South Acre Dairy Farm in the Vale of York. The farm is situated in the Lower Derwent Valley at the base of the Yorkshire Wolds which is very flat but the distant horizon gives great sunrises and sunsets.
I had never set foot on a farm before meeting Rachael (3rd generation) almost 10 years ago, yet alone realised that there are two 5 O’ Clocks in a day! However, when my alarm clock sounded on that first morning I was full of enthusiasm, which I can honestly say has not waivered to this day, although has been tested on many occasions!
Coming from the financial sector everything was new to me but I was bitten by the farming bug. I spent all of my days off helping out on the farm and when the opportunity arose to join Rachael full time, I didn’t hesitate.
Together with Rachael’s brother we have built on the success of the previous generations to build the Pedigree Holstein herd to over 200 milking cows plus 200 young stock. Our cows spend the majority of their time housed in modern, spacious and well lit ventilated sheds. They spend up to three months outside during their ‘dry period’ (the time a cow is not milked leading up to the birth of her calf).
Our cow’s health and welfare is the number one priority for us, if a cow is not healthy and happy she will not produce milk. Each cow has plenty of space to move around, a bed to lie in and sufficient space to feed. As cows do not enjoy high temperatures the sheds are cooled in the summer with fans. We like to think of our cows as formula 1 of the bovine world and we treat them with the maintenance needed from a formula 1 team. A specialist nutritionist, foot trimmer and vet routinely visit and are always on call for any advice.
We also believe that educating people of all ages about dairy farming and all the passion and dedication that goes into producing every drop of milk, therefore we have hosted Open Farm Sunday so as many people as possible can come and see how we produce food and care for our animals. Visitors also enjoy looking out for Red Kites that are frequent visitors to our farm.
The business has always been about investing for the future, in our cows, the environment and our business. Dairy farming is a fantastic way of life and I feel privileged to spend my time in the countryside with these wonderful animals.