Adding Value to Organic Dairy

Farm walk with an innovative family

Steph, Tom and Ian Sharman are a very innovative family. They farm nearly 400h near Halam in Nottinghamshire, and have been constantly developing ways to add value to their dairy business.

They re-branded New Holbeck Farm as the Real Milk Company. In 2015, they started conversion to organic and have just been awarded their fully certified status. They’ve invested in a herd of grass-fed Montbéliardes, who are hardy enough to spend nine months of the year outdoors. They’re producing power on-farm with wind turbines and solar panels. And now, they’ve turned their attention to routes to market. The family have just installed a milk vending machine at the farm gate, so that customers can buy fresh milk, 365 days a year.

Farm walk at New Holbeck Farm

Last week, the family hosted a farm walk and discussion on how to add value to organic dairy. The event was organised by Innovative Farmers, Devenish and Hi Peak, and included sessions from Liam Healy (Genus ABS) on advances in cross breeding for dairy cow performance, and Tom Tolputt (Farm Consultancy Group) on maximising lifetime production from the dairy. This was put into context by a session from Liz Bowles (Soil Association), who presented on market trends in the UK organic dairy sector and beyond, and the day was rounded up by Vanessa Woods from Devenish HQ in Ireland.

As well as a chance to share ideas, the group also got to have a good look around the farm. They got the chance to try out the milk dispenser, ask questions about the herd and the arable field management and find out more about the wind turbines.

We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to an inspiring and thought-provoking day, and give a special thanks to our innovative hosts.

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