‘Unviable’ royal dairy herd sold

A dairy herd owned by a cousin of the Queen has been sold off, a victim of the crisis in the industry.

The 200-head Friesian herd on the Broadlands Estate in Romsey, Hampshire, was no longer viable, according to managers.

The land will turned to arable and grazing horses.

Euan Russell, general manager of the Broadlands Estate, owned by Lord Brabourne, grandson of Earl Mountbatten, said: “We have been a major milk producer since the days of the Domesday Book, so it is a sad day.

“It is economics pure and simple. The milk producers like ourselves are not being paid a sufficient amount for the milk we produce, so there’s no operating margin and therefore no profit and no point in doing it.

“It just doesn’t pay,” he said.

Former Broadlands farm manager Derek Fowler said: “The Government will realise what is happening when it is too late and the farmers are few and far between.

“The countryside will begin to look derelict soon.”

The sale is the latest to strike the industry in Hampshire. Recent figures show that Hampshire now has just 127 dairy farmers compared to 288 in 1996.

The National Farmers Union conference in Birmingham last week heard 900 UK dairy farmers went out of business in 2006.