Brother and sister duo named OMSCo’s Farm of the Year

Brother and sister farming partners Daniel and Claire Howlett of Wicton Farm, Herefordshire, have been awarded the Organic Milk Suppliers’ Cooperative’s (OMSCo’s) Farm of the Year at their annual event.

Having supplied OMSCo for 18 years, the judges commended the family’s innovative approach and determination to establish a sustainable business that could accurately accommodate all the business partner requirements.

The judges were Miles Saunders and Nigel Davies from Promar and Mike Green, editor of British Dairying.

Saunders explained that the panel was thoroughly impressed with the Howlett’s attention to detail, organisation and communication.

“Claire and Daniel have an exceptional eye for detail and have built a profitable and successful business around this, scrutinising every component to allow for continual improvement.”

Farming 280ac near Bromyard in Herefordshire, the farm currently milks 110 cows on an autumn block calving system, producing 8,500L/cow annually.

Milk from forage is currently 3,846L/cow and margin over purchased feed sits at £2,516/cow – up there with some of the top performing farms.

The judges noted that they were particularly impressed by the constant determination to improve and be the absolute best they can be.

The pair implements their day-to-day management decisions based on a detailed blood and urine sampling procedure.

A cow’s urine pH is tested seven days after moving onto the dry cow ration with bloods taken five days after calving and 35 days thereafter to check that the fresh cow diet is up to scratch to avoid metabolic issues.

“It’s great to see such a proactive approach to diet management and cow health, which allows the business to identify potential problems and address them quickly,” added Saunders.

He concluded that careful planning, targeted investment and meticulous routines have allowed the Howletts to improve performance and efficiency.