A college in Shropshire wants to increase its dairy herd by more than 60 per cent under plans for a new milking parlour and cattle shed.
Walford and North Shropshire College said it was demonstrating its commitment to the future of dairy farming by submitting plans for the development at its Walford campus, near Baschurch. The improvements are aimed at meeting the demands of a growing number of learners.
They would see the college dairy herd at Walford Farm increase from 180 to 300 cows – a rise of 66 per cent.
And as part of the investment plan, bosses also plan to increase the sheep stock, taking it from 300 ewes to more than 600.
If approved, the investment will transform Walford Farm as many of the old dairy buildings are demolished and replaced with one large modern building.
The building will feature a mix of traditional red brick and modern plate glass, giving a clear view of the robotic and traditional milking parlours.
The business plan includ- es installing a robotic milking machine in its fifth year for the 60 top-yielding cows, the other 240 will be milked through a more traditional ‘herringbone’ parlour.
It comes at time when farm gate milk prices are under increasing pressure.
But Walford director Jon Parry said: “This investment is not about today’s milk price it is about the long-term future of Walford farm.
“Walford is committed to farming commercially and demonstrating best practice in all our farming activities, and we believe that to be a successful dairy farmer you need to work with the very best staff, cows and equipment, and this investment is the final piece of the plan.
“We have superb staff and some very good cows, so I am determined to ensure our facilities match this ambition.”
The college has appointed a new shepherd, Oliver Coombs, to lead the drive in increasing sheep stock.
By David Seadon