Property agent Howkins & Harrison is selling a 235-acre Leicestershire state-of-the-art dairy unit that will seriously whet the appetite of all milk producers.
The firm’s Jeff Paybody says Ridgefield Farm at Woodhouse Eaves, just two miles from Junction 22 of the M1 is one of the best in the country.
Most of the 78,000sq ft of buildings, which includes an Alfa DeLaval Blue diamond 90-degree rapid-exit 24-cluster parlour, were designed and built from scratch by successful businessman and pedigree Holstein breeder John Barker.
Mr Barker who built up a successful plastic extrusion business, said he wanted the entire set up to meet food processing standards and travelled the world researching his design.
The result is a parlour that Mr Paybody said would put many UK hospitals to shame in terms of cleanliness. “It really is the best dairy unit I have ever seen. It’s amazing how well it has been maintained, you wouldn’t believe it has been working for seven years.”
This, he says, is mainly down to the quality of the materials used in its construction. No detail, from ventilation to slurry storage, from the steam-cleanable non-slip paint on the floor to the design of the cubicle slats, has escaped Mr Barker’s eye for detail – pipe work in the parlour pit has been virtually eliminated.
Unsurprisingly, the farm’s grass and maize has also received the same care and attention and Mr Barker says silage quality has improved markedly following careful soil nutrient management.
Although the farm has no main house, there is ample staff and management accommodation. This includes a two-bed flat within the parlour building and four attractive agriculturally tied cottages that have been renovated to a very high standard.
And the price for such a stunning dairy set up? Mr Paybody has guided Ridgefield Farm at £4m and says this looks good value, especially as its location close to the M1 could offer alternative-use possibilities. “The existing facilities would cost several million pounds to build.”
Mr Barker, who is selling to concentrate on other business interests, said it was a difficult decision after putting so much time and energy into the unit. But he still plans to carry on with his breeding programme and the Ridgefield name will remain a key part of the Holstein world.