Dairy Farmer 2008 William Sutton

William Sutton: Age 27; Lives at Postern Lodge Farm, Belper, Derbyshire

ESTABLISHING an international reputation for pedigree cows and securing the success of two different ice-cream brands are the driving forces for William Sutton.

William farms with his father and brother and runs a herd of 130 pedigree Holsteins at their 550-acre farm, which is part-owned and part-rented from the Chatsworth Estate.

William has focused on developing the family's Shottle Holstein Herd, which currently contains 27 Excellent, 45 Very Good and 36 Good Plus cows. He typically sells 30 - 40 surplus heifers a year.

Recently embryos have been imported from Canada to add value to the herd through elite genetic bloodlines with several of the resulting heifers being contracted for bulls by Genus ABS.

The cows are housed as two groups in loose housing during the winter with grouping determined by yield.

Both groups are fed a semi-TMR based on maize and grass silage, which is topped up with concentrate in the parlour. The TMR is fed all year round although cows also graze day and night during the summer. Omega3 supplements have been added to the diet to help improve fertility and cow health.

The cows are milked through a 12:12 parlour - although William would like this upgraded.

Considerable emphasis is placed on yield from forage and currently over 4,000 litres are produced from forage per cow per year. Milk is sold to First Milk but an increasing proportion is processed on farm into two different brands of ice-cream, which started in 2005.

The ‘Chatsworth' brand is sold locally through farm shops and other outlets while the ‘Udder Stuff' brand is available at Derbyshire National Trust Properties and has recently been stocked by Tesco in stores across the Midlands.

Presently 2,000 litres per week are processed on farm and developing the ice- cream market is a key priority for William.The Omega3 supplements recently added to the cows' diet may result in Omega3 enriched ice-cream being sold.

“Our overall aim is to add value to all we produce. The ice-cream sales add value to our milk and we are keen to build on the brands we have established. “I would like to think in five years time we will also be an established breeder of high quality Holsteins with our stock being sought after across Europe as well as the UK. At the same time I hope we can expand the herd size by bringing more high quality animals into the herd.”

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