A farmer from north Shropshire has unveiled plans for a £3 million farm with more than 1,000 cattle in a bid to boost profits as the dairy crisis continues.
While some dairy farmers admit to being forced out of the industry because of the row over milk prices, James Thompson is looking to create a dairy farm with 1,200 cows.
The 37-year-old, of the Sansaw Estate, in Hadnall, near Wem, is looking to replicate the New Zealand system of dairy farming in order to compete in global dairy markets.
He said the format was a low-cost system based on grazed pasture with very limited use of supplementary feeds.
He said the farm would feature three herds of 400 cows and would aim to produce about 4,500 litres of milk from each cow every year.
The scheme, which is due to be ready by February, also includes creating a new milking parlour and feeding area on the estate.
Mr Thompson, who has been in charge of the farm since 2008, said: “We originally focused on organic and arable farming and came up with this idea to best utilise the land.
“It is the New Zealand system of dairy farming where you utilise grass for milk production. We have got 550 hectares available for grass and it is cheaper to grow in north Shropshire.
“I wouldn’t be going for the project if I didn’t think it would work. We have to be able to weather the ups and the downs.”
Mr Thompson didn’t believe the system would suit everybody.
The news comes as MP for North Shropshire, Owen Paterson said Britain should get behind British farmers in the same way people got behind Team GB at the Olympics. The new Environment Secretary called for more support for rural industries in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference on Tuesday.
By James Pugh