DAIRY, DERBYSHIRE: Rob has 280 Jersey/Friesian crossbred cows on a pasture-based system in the Peak District National Park. He is the third generation on this land - his grandfather was a poultry farmer and his father set up the dairy unit in 1954. He has travelled all over the world learning how to get the best out of grass, in order to get the best out of his dairy cows.
As a pasture-based farmer, Rob's farm was hit hard by the 2018 drought. His system relies on grass and, when it doesn't grow, there's nothing for the cows to graze on and no hay or silage for the cold winter months ahead. For the first time ever Rob was forced to buy in a cereal-based feed called alkalage, a kind of silage made from barley. It has more than doubled Rob's cost of production. To make sure his farm is resilient against future hot summers, he is now wondering whether to spread the risk, and feed his cows a mixture of a grass and cereal-based diet. It's a huge decision for a passionate grass-based dairy farmer and demonstrates how extraordinary the summer of 2018 really was.
Member of NFU and Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF). Former NFU local branch chairman, current county delegate and regional milk board member. Decided not to become a senior office holder and turned down an opportunity to be county chairman.
Previous media experience
BBC Farming Today, local radio, Farmers Guardian and Newsnight (brief interview on his voting preference ahead of a general election).