DAIRY, POWYS: Fraser is a third generation dairy farmer and has worked on the family farm pretty much since he was old enough to walk. He left only briefly to attend agricultural college. Today he farms an area of 2,600 acres (1,052 hectares), spread across several sites.
He milks 1,500 Holstein Friesian cows at two sites between Montgomery and Welshpool in Mid Wales. The cows are milked twice a day, with the average cow producing a daily 36 litres. Overall, they produce 50,000 litres of milk a day.
It’s an intensive indoor dairy system, sometimes referred to as a 'mega dairy', and sparked fierce opposition when first proposed back in 2008. Despite objections from residents, appeals from animal welfare groups and a High Court judicial review, Fraser's application got the green light in 2014 and the dairy became operational in 2019.
Fraser believes an indoor system makes the animals easier to manage and provides the best welfare. “Trials have shown that if the facilities and management are correct, the animals choose to stay in the sheds as they have all their requirements for a full and happy life,” he says. “Another advantage of the system is that it provides the buyer with a consistent amount of milk a day.”
On other parts of the farm, Fraser rears cows to replace the dairy cows when they become unproductive, and male dairy calves which are sold for meat once they’re 12 to 14 months old. He also grows crops to feed his cattle - mainly barley, wheat, maize, triticale and grass.
He employs 38 people, including his dad. Around 30 percent of his staff are foreign nationals.
“Milk is one of the most natural and healthy products you can buy, and milk consumption is key to the health of a large part of the population. I also believe milk has a lower carbon footprint than the 'milk' alternatives you can buy even though this is not what the media would have us believe. It's important that we dairy farmers demonstrate the high standards we produce food to and try to encourage the public to support British dairy and buy local whenever possible. This in turn will help protect the environment and global warming, and also secure a vibrant rural community."
Member of the National Farmers Union (NFU).
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