A SOUTH-WEST FARMING family is bucking the trend by returning a former dairy unit to milk production.

The cows on 222-acre Manor Farm at Grittenham, near Chippenham, Wilts, were sold off by previous owner Henry Gaisford in 1999.

But following Mr Gaisford‘s retirement the farm has been bought by the Hunt family which is planning a major investment in new equipment.

Richard Nocton, head of farm sales at land agent Woolley & Wallis – which handled the sale – said many of the dairy farms in the region that the company dealt with went to lifestyle buyers.

“I am pleased and surprised to have sold the property to another farmer as competition from the equestrian market was strong.”

John Hunt, who will be running the unit with his father, said they bought the farm because it was more commercial than their previous holding near Calne, Wilts.

Despite an uncertain future for the sector following CAP reform and poor milk prices, Mr Hunt said he had never considered giving up milk production.

He said he didn‘t believe that milk prices would come down as low as some people were predicting.

“I can‘t think that it will drop to 15p/litre. The dairies would struggle with their supply at that price.

“It comes down to whether you believe there is a future for dairying in this country or not. And we happen to believe there is one – as long as you‘ve got an efficient unit.”