Family duo awarded OMSCo Farm of the Year 2018
Brother and sister farming partners Daniel and Claire Howlett of Wicton Farm, Herefordshire, have been awarded OMSCo’s Farm of the Year at their annual OMSCo Together 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.
OMSCo board member and competition judge Miles Saunders, explains that the panel were 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,” says Miles.
Farming 280 acres near Bromyard in Herefordshire, the farm currently milks 110 cows on an autumn block calving system, producing 8,500 litres/cow annually. “Milk from forage is currently 3,846 litres/cow and margin over purchased feed sits at £2,516/cow, which is up there with some of the top performing farms,” adds Miles.
However, what really impressed the judges, Miles, Nigel Davies from Promar and Mike Green, editor of British Dairying, was the constant determination to improve and be the absolute best they can be.
The pair implement 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,” says Miles.
He adds that careful planning, targeted investment and meticulous routines have allowed the Howlett’s to improve performance and efficiency.
“Simple innovations such as viewing platforms for heat detection to improve conception rates, and a well-designed calving pen, that’s washed down between each use to reduce disease risk, were evident throughout the business.”
Features such as these are helping to fine-tune the business and create a high level of performance within a very simple, easy to manage system. “The farm has been designed with an impressive level of standard operating procedures so that it can be run single-handedly at the weekend, allowing Claire and Daniel to strike an important work-life balance,” explains Miles.
“The Howlett’s have worked hard to develop a system that’s sustainable and profitable for the family. They have a true passion for organic dairying and are leading the way through innovative practices. As a result, they’re very worthy winners of this national title.”
Hannah Rose, Pinstone Communications T: 01568 617664 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
The Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo) was formed in 1994 by a group of dairy farmers with a shared belief that there was a ‘better way to farm’. Now, nearly twenty-five years old, the passion and belief of those original members has inspired others; OMSCo has transformed its member base, customer base and market reach.
It is now the largest UK organic dairy cooperative and the second largest dedicated organic milk pool in the world. It is the longest established organic dairy cooperative in the UK, with an annual turnover of £100m and remains the only national 100% organic farmer-owned and farmer-run British dairy cooperative in the UK with 270 members.
OMSCo supplies the majority of the UK’s organic dairy processing needs and is the leading dairy exporter of organic raw milk, bulk ingredients, specialist ingredients and consumer products. OMSCo has also established itself as the only UK supplier of organic whey.
To spread risk OMSCo has created diverse and geographical spread markets, and as part of this strategy they were the first European dairy company under the EU-US Equivalency Agreement, to sell USDA certified organic dairy products in the US.
Effective trading partnerships are a cornerstone of OMSCo’s growth strategy and in 2013 OMSCo partnered with US organic giant Organic Valley, the world’s largest dedicated organic milk pool and $1bn brand at retail, to drive its US export business. In 2015 OMSCo and Organic Valley agreed a mutual financial stake in each other’s cooperatives, cementing a long-term alliance.
In 2017 OMSCo announced a second global strategic supply alliance with Europe’s third largest dedicated milk pool, Eko Holland.
A new joint venture with Somerset based cheddar maker Wyke Farms was also announced in 2017, operating under a joint business identity, The British Organic Dairy Company, the collaboration combines organic dairy excellence from OMSCo, with award winning standards from the most sustainable cheese maker in the world.
OMSCo’s photographs can be accessed here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ncm4tpzoc37kv28/AAAOvZWvySMVqck9BwTRgG6ga?dl=0