By Mark Scott
CAFRE Senior Dairying Adviser, Newtownards
GREYABBEY farmer and Business Development Group member Lawrence Bowden has converted his farm to dairy production and began milking his first cows in the autumn of 2015.
Initially he began by purchasing dairy-bred heifer calves to rear in the knowledge that these animals would make up his foundation herd. Lawrence had some contact with his CAFRE dairying adviser before the Business Development Group Scheme but since joining the scheme in 2016 he has taken advantage of the products and support offered by CAFRE.
Lawrence said: “Mark, my locally based CAFRE adviser, provided myself with business and technical advice during the conversion of the farm into dairying. However since joining my local Business Development Group I have taken advantage of CAFRE’s financial benchmarking, monthly online recording through the Dairy Margin Over Concentrate programme (DMOC) and the training events that are delivered as part of the scheme. One particularly useful part of the scheme is having access to a CAFRE adviser for farm development work and one to one support outside of group meetings.
“I also have a CAFRE development plan that I review on an annual basis with my adviser to ensure I am focussing on the correct areas to further develop my business.
“The overall plan for this business is to milk 100 cows using minimal external labour input, keep yields in the 7,000-7,500 litre bracket and feed approximately 1.8 tonnes of concentrate.
“It is also an objective for the business to produce a beef calf with a high market value after replacement numbers have been achieved.”
The Business Development Groups scheme is open for applications until Friday, January 24, at 4pm.
n To apply online visit the CAFRE website www.cafre.ac.uk/business-development-groups/ or visit your DAERA Direct office where you can apply online with assistance. For additional information or any queries you have in relation to the scheme please email email@example.com or call 028 9442 6790.