Barclays has provided a £2.5m funding package to support the ongoing growth strategy of an 1,000 acre dairy farm in Somerset.
The investment will enable Radstock Co-operative Society-owned Manor Farm at Hardington, near Frome, to upgrade its machinery and buildings to increase its capacity in herd size and subsequent milk yields.
The current herd of 550 produces in the region of 6m litres of milk per year averaging 11.73 litres per cow. The herd is set to increase in the coming months to 764 with milk production to 11,870 litres per cow per year. As part of the wider Co-operative buying group, the farm will continue to supply Co-operative stores throughout the UK with all milk purchased by Muller Wiseman.
Don Morris, CEO of Radstock Coop, said: “The investment in new technology, equipment and infrastructure, which includes new cow sheds, silage clamps, green bedding separator and a 72-point rotary milking parlour will lead to higher standards and improved efficiency. We have already started to see a return on the investment due to increased yields in terms of the number of litres of milk produced as well as the quality of the milk.
“This means that we are able to generate more income per head of cattle. The state of the art rotary milking parlour can accommodate more cows per milking session and is less labour intensive. This investment will provide scalability to significantly increase the size of the herd in the future whilst ensuring that we become more self-sufficient and sustainable. We are immensely proud of the scale and size of the project which will help future-proof the farm for the next generation.”
Manor Farm is already sufficient in producing crops of wheat and maize, which is harvested to provide animal feed helping to reduce costs. The farm also boasts a small man-made lake containing 10,000 cubic litres of water, which is fed from an underground spring, used on the farm reducing consumption of metered mains supplied water.
Martin Crook, Relationship Director, Corporate Banking, Barclays, Bath, said: “This is an impressive example of where a farm is investing in their infrastructure and are committed to milk production in the long term. I’m pleased that Barclays has been able to support our client by helping them to future-proof their business in what remains a challenging sector.”
Radstock Co-operative Society celebrated its 150-year milestone in 2018 and operates with 20 convenience stores, a large supermarket with a non-food offering, food hall and travel agency as well as Manor Farm. The Society currently employs approximately 500 staff.