A GROUP set to showcase innovative dairy businesses has been set up by a farming firm. 

Mole Valley Farmers has created a Focus Farm group. This group will highlight best practice and inspire farmers with real examples, says Dr Matt Witt, sustainability manager. 

"The Mole Valley Farmers team work with some amazing farm businesses and we want to show what producers are doing day-to-day to maximise cow performance, whilst adapting to new requirements to reduce dairying’s impact on the environment,” he said. 

One example is Stowell Farms in Wiltshire. From cow welfare to feed sourcing and cropping, sustainability is important to the business. The farm is one of the country's top performers on the Arla Sustainability Incentive, which supports and rewards farmers for reducing their carbon footprint.

Neil Ridgway, farm manager, says that fulfilling the cows nutritional requirements, and maximising comfort is key. He instigated a system overhaul which means the 780 cow herd is now milked through 12 Lely A5 robots. The herd yields 11,050 litres per cow per year. 

As well as Stowell Farms, the team at Duchy College's Future Farm, in Stoke Climsland, Cornwall, are working to lower the autumn block calving herd's environmental impact. They have been thinking about ration balance to achieve their carbon footprint goals and working hand-in-hand with Mole Valley Feed Solutions.

They have a state-of-the art building embraces Dutch design to deliver a cow and environmentally friendly building of the future for the 220 cow herd, which is fed using a robotic system and yields 9,070 litres a cow a year. Temperature and humidity controlled side vents and light sensors allow the internal environment to be constantly maintained at optimum.