We are a family run dairy farm which has been in the Fletcher family for 5 generations. Marks great, great grandfather rented the farm and it was Marks grandfather, Harold who actually purchased the farm. With only 20 milking cows, a few pigs and fields of potatoes and corn plus free range chickens it was a typical mixed farming enterprise.
Marks farther Stuart took the decision to specialise and concentrate on dairy farming as the farm was more suitable to this system and could grow good crops of grass to feed the cows.
Mark went away to Harper Adams Agricultural College for 4 years to study for a BSc (Hons) Degree in agriculture and returned home in 1993. In partnership with dad Stuart, the pair had expanded the dairy herd from 60 cows to 220, however, with the recent difficulties in the dairy industries and the falling milk prices, the number of cows has now been reduced to around 120.
The dairy herd is predominantly Holstein Fresian but some Red Holsteins can be seen amongst the black and whites. Cows calve all year round so a constant level supply of milk can be produced each day which is sold to Arla Foods through the Arla Foods Milk Partnership.
About 5000 litres of milk is picked up every night by the milk tanker and delivered fresh into Arla’s dairy at Leeds where it is bottled for Morrisons and Cravendale.
Cows are housed during winter from late October to early April when they are turned out to grass paddocks in the summer. Milking time is at 6am and again at 4pm when this is the best time to see the cows wandering back to the farm to be milked. However we do have a “maternity” ward on the farm where you can see the cows up to 3 weeks before they are due to calve and often there is a newborn calf with its mother to see.
We encourage people to see the animals on the farm and to please feel free to have a look around but to remind everyone that this is a real live working dairy farm and children must be supervised at all times. Also to make sure you use the antibacterial soap after petting any animals that we have on show in the pens round the car park.
We are very proud of what we have achieved here and the product that we produce to the highest standards in hygiene and animal welfare.
All of our milk produced on the farm is sold to Arla foods, which as farmers, we bought into the company over a year ago. This means we now don’t just milk the cows, we as farmers also own the company. As a farmer owned coop, 100% of the profits from Arla products go back to farmers, therefore whenever you buy an Arla product you are not only supporting Fletchers farm, but dairy farmers across the rest of the UK too. Arla products include; Cravendale milk, Big milk, Best of Both milk, Anchor butter, Anchor cheese, Protein yoghurts and drinks, a new range of Yoghurts known as Skyr – ‘the icelandic super yoghurt’, as well as a range of lacto-free milk and cheese products and a further range of cheese under the house of ‘Castello’ brand
To find out more about our company visit Arla’s website – http://www.arlafoods.co.uk