More Grass grown and better used

 ECONOMICS AND a rekindled interest in farming have driven Cheshire producer John Archer to double cow numbers.

 He operates a milking platform on one 130ha (320-acre) farm of 100ha (250 acres). This has been fenced and supplied with water and tracks so 300 spring calvers can access grazing. Heifer replacements graze 30ha (74 acres) furthest from the parlour or are reared on another unit.

 “It allows us to grow more grass and use it better,” says Mr Archer, who farms 10 miles south of Chester. He has replaced two farms that were some distance apart with three units within three miles of each other, but says expansion is difficult, as land is snapped up quickly.

 His focus now is learning to manage three farm sites. “I am learning to delegate. It”s all about planning – if we don”t plan, we can”t get on top of things – and identifying which bits of the business to measure,” he adds.