Ambitious plan provides new dairy on Goodwood Estate. Extracts from the South East Farmer April 2009.
A major new-build project on the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex has revolutionised business for dairy farmer John Holt.
The scheme at Ides Barn has given John state-of-the-art facilities, better surroundings for his animals, and has allowed him to expand his herd and make the business more effcient. “At a time when dairy farming is under pressure, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date facilities, the right equipment and a herd that's big enough to cover the fixed costs,” he explained.
The new-build was co-ordinated by Jon Carver, of Rural Associates, with support from Simon Kenny of Rural Partners Ltd. They devised a scheme that made the most of the space available to create a large, modern dairy boasting excellent conditions for the animals and top notch, computerised DeLaval equipment. Although first proposed in 2004, the planning process meant it was not until February 2008 that building work proper started at Ides Barn.
It finished in November, “on time and on budget”, as Jon Carver pointed out. The scheme includes covered accommodation for 200 cows, a new general purpose building, two covered silage barns, a new 24-unit parlour and a covered collecting yard and handling facilities... “The new facilities are a massive improvement on what we had before. Everything is purpose built and works properly, first time every time. The move from loose yards to cubicles has made keeping the animals in peak condition much easier and the computerised kit makes the whole milking process simple and controllable,” he said.
John is optimistic about the long-term future for the dairy industry and sees an increasing demand for milk. He has a contract to supply Tesco via Arla and believes that if the price remains stable the future looks bright for farmers who are operating effciently.
Steelwork experts Scorpion Engineering also came in for praise not least for tackling the unusually high structure that makes up half of the general purpose building. The unique four-bayed building is designed to allow an articulated lorry to upend its trailer load of supplements under cover. “It was a late change to the plans and Scorpion coped admirably with what was a pretty unusual design for a steel-framed building,” said Jon. “The other, more conventional half of the general purpose building is currently used for cattle. Jon's experience and attention to detail and the good working relationship he has with the team at Scorpion helped ensure that the end product was of an extremely high standard, fit for 21st century dairying and a pleasant environment for livestock and stockman alike.”