A Scottish dairy farming family have been crowned Farm of the Year at the annual Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo) conference.
Source: Farming UK
Dairy farmers Anne Willis and her two sons, William and Angus, have been crowned OMSCo’s Farm of the Year at the OMSCo Together event.
As the first organic dairy farm in Scotland, Glasgoforest has been supplying OMSCo for nearly twenty years.
The dairy farm now plans to open Scotland’s first milk vending machine this autumn.
Competition judge Lyndon Edwards explains that the Willis’ demonstrated “exceptional attention” to detail throughout the business, including in their breeding strategy, calf rearing and grass management.
“With a clear objective to produce organic milk in an efficient and sustainable way, the Willis’ have scrutinised every element of their business,” said Mr Edwards.
Farming just under 400 acres in Aberdeen, the family partnership milks 140 Holstein Friesian cows.
“Routinely measuring and monitoring data, they’ve fine-tuned their management to ensure optimum health and performance,” said Mr Edwards.
“The family’s success is reflected in highly impressive costings which are in-line with the very best herds in the UK.”
He adds that milk from forage currently sits at 4,192 litres/cow with a total yield of 7,945 litres/cow and a margin over purchased feed (MOPF) of £2581/cow.
Their involvement with an organic dairy discussion group set up by the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association (SOMPA) was also praised.
“Within this group, they’ve compared performance with other Scottish organic dairy farms, and William now mentors other members of the group on grass management,” explained Mr Edwards.
“The Willis’ also have very low levels of antibiotic usage and prioritise prevention strategies which include a combination of breeding, nutrition and careful management.”
Milk vending machine
Processing some of their own milk is the next venture for the Willis’, with a vending machine due to become operational soon.
The judges said it was a “carefully thought-out” and “well-planned” new enterprise. They commended farming family’s market research and determination to overcome challenges that presented along the way.
“The vending machine is located in a purpose-built building adjoining a newly installed dairy and cubicle shed,” said Mr Edwards.
“Located on a main road and with good passing trade, William has projected that they’ll sell 100 litres a day from the vending machine at a price of £1.20 per litre.”
“We were highly impressed with the Willis’ long term vision and their plans for several different income streams,”
“The Willis’ have further plans to expand and set up an ice cream parlour, with Angus driving forward this aspect of the enterprise.”
OMSCo’s Farm of the Year is a national search for an outstanding UK organic dairy farm, that must be technically progressive and committed to the future of the industry, according to OMSCo.