Visit to Meldrum Farm - Blairdrummond 30 May

Thu 30th May 2019 at 16.00 - 20.00

Visit to Meldrum Farm - Blairdrummond 30 May

Meldrum Farm May 31 2019

VISIT TO MELDRUM FARM, BLAIRDRUMMOND  Thursday May 30 2019

It was out and about for Club members on Thursday when they paid a visit to Meldrum Farm, Blairdrummond, at the invitation of David Hamilton.  David took over Meldrum Farm in 2010, since when he has developed all aspects of its operation to the extent that it was Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year in 2014 and 2017, being runner-up in 2015 and 2016.

This success was not difficult to understand when the scale and effectiveness of the operation became clear.  The herd now extends to 1600 Holstein cows and calves, the latter including beef animals.  The heifer calves will in time be used to replace the existing herd. The cows are milked three times a day, starting at 3.30 in the morning. They are housed in byres where they are fed a carefully balanced diet and have adequate space to lie down in a “soft bed”.  Questioned about this policy, David said that the cows are happier in a controlled environment, protected from the vagaries of weather.  Feeding is a major task, with 60 tons of feed being used each day. 

In addition, to looking after the cows and calves, the farm cultivates 1,400 acres, 1,000 of which are arable crops, the remainder is in grass, with five cuts a year producing silage.     

Inevitably, given the downward pressure on milk prices from supermarkets, efficiency is an ever-present concern.  Surprisingly, perhaps, given its scale, the entire operation is run by 15 staff.  A highly automated milking parlour ensures that milking proceeds efficiently and with high regard for hygiene and the control of milk temperature.   On the major equipment side, four large tractors have computer-controlled operations guided by satellites to an accuracy of three centimetres.

David is conscious of environmental issues; he works to ensure that this concern is reflected in the farm’s operations.  He also gives local school children an opportunity to visit the farm, planning to involve 1,000 young people in the coming year.

Thanking David, Peter Holmes, Speaker’s Host, reflected on the scale and sophistication of the farm, and on the obvious care taken to ensure the well-being of the herd.