Wicton Farm is an organic dairy farm set in the heart of the Herefordshire countryside. Following my parents gradual retirement I returned to our family farm two years ago and now manage the day to day running of it alongside my brother. We milk 112 Holstein Friesian cows through a herringbone parlour. We’ve been supplying organic milk for processing since 2000.
We milk our herd of cows twice a day, starting at 5.30 am in the morning and starting again at 4.00pm in the afternoon. It usually takes us about an hour and a half to milk 112 cows and we always take the time to check each one as they come into the parlour to make sure that they are all happy and healthy.
Our cows graze outside in the fields from the beginning of March until mid-October. They then come in for the winter. The building has plenty of natural light and space for the cows to move around and socialise and 137 sand bed cubicles for them to lie down and rest in.
We have what’s known in the industry as an autumn block calving herd which means all our cows calve during the months of October, November and December. It is a very busy time for us and we can have 8 or more claves being born every day. With the organic farming system we choose to use, our baby calves have milk up until they are 12 weeks old before they are weaned. We monitor the calves very carefully and I weigh them all at least once a month until they are two years old to make sure that they have a healthy daily weight gain.
I am passionate about organic dairy farming and about the transfer of knowledge to younger generations who are keen to take up a career in agriculture. We receive a variety of students at our farm throughout the year and always make sure that we provide them with a diverse yet challenging and interesting experience.
When asked recently what is my most memorable farming story it was a difficult decision to make, and although I have only been back farming for two years, so I am sure there will be many more farming stories to come; my most memorable moment so far is moving into our new parlour on the 1st October 2015 and seeing the cows get milked through it after months of planning and building it.
I did not know I would become a farmer by the age of 30 but sometimes things happen for a reason. I now realise how much satisfaction can be gained from managing your own business in what is a challenging but fantastic and dynamic industry.