Northern Powerhouse Farmer Stories: Richard Fair

18 October 2022

Richard Fair

A third-generation dairy farmer in Poulton, Cheshire, Richard Fair milks 950 cows on a rotary parlour system.

A third-generation dairy farmer in Poulton, Cheshire, Richard Fair milks 950 cows on a rotary parlour system.

Aiming to maximise cow comfort and welfare Richard spent £4 million in 2015 on a project to amalgamate his three separate dairy herds into one.

Richard supplies Muller, Britain’s seventh biggest food and drink brand, with 10.3 million litres of milk annually. His milk is processed either for liquid milk or for Muller branded desserts and yoghurts.

Richard spends £230,000 each year on permanent and part time labour, employs five full-time EU nationals and three full time UK nationals and three more part time staff.

As cow health and welfare is at the heart of the business, he works with Lambert, Lennard and May, a specialist dairy veterinary practice.

Calving all year round, Richard uses the global company World Wide Sires to select artificial insemination (AI) straws suitable for the farm’s breeding plan.

Every year £41,000 is spent on sexed semen to breed herd replacements and beef calves to meet market demands.

Richard spends £289,000 per annum to rear his female calves off site. Richard’s farm is home to one of England’s largest rural collection of archaeological finds, ranging from Stone Age, Iron Age through Roman to Medieval times.

He has established a charitable trust to preserve and investigate the large amount of skeletal material, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University and Wrexham Glyndwr University, local historians, trainee forensic scientists and international experts.

Domestic animal remains suggest the land has always been a thriving agricultural hub, and as very little is known about Bronze and Iron Age settlement sites in Cheshire, these discoveries play a crucial part in rewriting and furthering historians’ understanding of prehistoric Cheshire.

Who does Richard do business with?
He hires three local contractors, Dutton’s Agricultural Contractors Ltd, Pete Ravenscroft and R C Goodwin, for seasonal machinery field tasks to the value of £220,000.

Approximately £871,000 per annum is spent on bespoke feeds and minerals from Duynie Feed UK, Europe’s largest procurement company, and North West Farmers, a business supplying more than 4,750 UK farmers with ruminant animal feed.

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