Dairy Farmer of the Future shortlist - Andrew Farrant
A desire to work closely with his customer and utilise the available space are the main drivers behind Andrew Farrant’s strategy.
Manor Farm is rented from St Johns College, Oxford, while another unit is owned.
Andrew farms in partnership with his father and uncle and he has direct control of the 400-plus herd at Manor Farm, which produces milk for Waitrose.
“Our customer wants a level milk profile and so we have moved away from block calving to an all-year-round system, which has also allowed us to increase total production,” he says.
Until 2003 the business ran two herds but a decision was made to amalgamate the herds and invest in a specialist dairy unit with the other unit being used for youngstock and beef.
In 2003 a 50-point rotary parlour was installed and a 250 sand-bedded cubicle shed was later erected to improve winter housing and provide shelter in the summer.
Andrew sees the dairy herd as a grazing based system and plans to continue investing in the infrastructure of the farm to allow further expansion of up to 500 cows.
The herd will continue to be based on Friesian genetics as Andrew believes this helps herd fertility while leaving a good calf for the beef enterprise.
Andrew knows he will need to take on more land to allow him to meet current and future environmental legislation but is also determined to make the best use of grazing and grazes the farm based on a three-leaf rotation to maximise grass quality.
He is also staunch advocate of discussion groups as a way of sharing ideas.
“Discussion groups help me keep positive and I have returned to the farm inspired.
“I am convinced a positive attitude is the most important driver for business success.”