Andrew farms on the Devon side of the Somerset border with his wife, Nicky. The family milk around 100 Holstein cows, all of which are bred on farm as they rear their own replacements. The family tries to make the most of the grazing that’s available on the farm with the cows out to grass for as many months as possible, and also able to wander outside during the winter.
As they supply milk to Davidstow for cheddar, Andrew has built up a herd to produce milk that has the best possible ratio of protein and butterfat. The milk produced on the farm goes into Cathedral City cheddar, the number one selling cheddar brand in the UK.
As a Dairy Crest supplier, Andrew is part of Dairy Crest Direct, the first Dairy Producer Organisation in the UK. He says: “We have a good strong relationship with our processor and we really see the advantages now, where others have struggled. Better producer representation is something Andrew feels strongly about, and would like to see across the dairy sector.”
The Group supplying milk to Davidstow for Cheddar spans across Devon and Cornwall. Andrew adds: “Although there are around 360 Davidstow suppliers, there is a fair mix of farms in my area supplying a variety of processors.”
Dairy farmers have been faced with a long period of unsustainable low prices. Andrew says that it has been incredibly challenging. “Going into the winter months there is the concern that rising feed costs could hit before the market properly starts to recover. There is also uncertainty about the future with the Brexit vote, we need to remain competitive so that the kids can follow us into the business.”
Looking at the positives, Andrew believes dairy has a promising future. “I’m still convinced that dairy and cheese remain an important part of a healthy diet,” he said.
“I would like to thank British shoppers for their ongoing support. I really appreciate it as my livelihood depends on it. I like to think that we as dairy farmers show our appreciation for this support through high welfare standards on farm, our commitment to the countryside and environment, and passing back our support to the rural community.”