SWFC is working with Sophie Alexander to integrate a new organic dairy herd at Hemsworth Farm
Sophie Alexander is a well-known and respected organic farmer, managing around 400 ha of chalkland at Hemsworth Farm near Hemsworth in Dorset.
The main part of the farm was converted to organic in 2009 and, after comparing the organic and conventional systems side by side and getting consistently higher margins on her organic crops, she converted the remaining 150ha in 2014.
Improving soil health
Historically, the farm has primarily been an arable unit, growing winter and spring wheat, winter and spring oats and spring barley, and the soils were in generally poor condition. Sophie has been integrating livestock into the rotation as a way to increase soil fertility and soil biology, primarily through contract grazing organic dairy heifers on the grass-clover leys and sheep on overwintering cover crops in the rotation.
Over the last few months, however, Sophie has been exploring the possibility of investing in her own organic dairy herd at the farm.
We’ll be looking at carbon auditing for the farm, developing specific grazing mixes to suit the land and designing strategies to address soil-based deficiencies.
Working with Rowe Associates, her own land agent and the team at SWFC, Sophie has been looking into various opportunities in dairy production and options on the farm, and has now decided to purchase 300 VikingRed dairy heifers – a breeding programme consisting of Finnish Ayrshire, SRB (Swedish red) and RDM from Denmark – and that introducing a spring calving, parlour-milked system worked best for her particular farm.
SWFC has contributed to the key decision-making process and, among other things, we’ll be looking at carbon auditing for the farm, developing specific grazing mixes to suit the land and designing strategies to address soil-based deficiencies. Using extensive soil health and chemical analysis data, we hope to demonstrate the journey of improvement in soil health and organic matter at Hemsworth Farm.
Can we help?
SWFC’s aim is to have an ongoing relationship with farmers like Sophie so we know the farm, the livestock and the field management. If you’re considering organic conversion or you’d like to know your farm’s carbon footprint, why not give us a call? With many years of practical organic farming experience and a commitment to sustainable and regenerative farming systems, we’re the right choice. Get in touch for a no-obligation chat on 01503 220002 or send us a message on our Contact Page.