Bristol dairy farm output set to double thanks to sustainable tech

Bickfield Farm

A dairy farm based near Bristol is set to double productivity after investing a £785,000 bank loan in sustainable technology.

Bickfield Farm in the Chew Valley produces milk exclusively for The Estate Dairy, which distributes milk to restaurants and cafés across London and Oxford. Bickfield Farm specialises in producing high quality milk from their own dairy herd, running an intensive “free range” system exposing its herd to as much fresh pasture as possible throughout the summer months which yields a rich golden milk from their herd of 250 pedigree Guernseys.

The third-generation farm will use the Lloyds Bank loan to build a new milking parlour to improve production and modernise the milking process

The technology will increase the farm’s milking capacity while reducing the overall running time, allowing 50 per cent more cows to be milked during any given period

The milking process currently accounts for 60 per cent of the farm’s total electricity usage, and by reducing the running time, the business will achieve a 30 per cent energy saving. Heat generated from the new technology will pass through a heat exchange system and be used to pre-heat water to support the farm’s cleaning process.

The finance package comes via Lloyds Bank’s Clean Growth Finance Initiative, which provides discounted funding to help businesses transition to a lower carbon, more sustainable future.

There had been a growing demand for high-quality local dairy produce from across the region, according to Philip Durbin, who runs the farm with his father Maurice.

He was reported as saying: “Investing in our new milking parlour will allow us to continue to deliver the very best produce more efficiently. Becoming more sustainable remains a key priority for the farm and we’re constantly thinking of ways to reduce waste and become energy-efficient.

“From installing LED lighting to powering the parlour through an on-site solar array during sunny days, we’re committed to lowering our environmental impact.”

Philip’s grandparents moved to Bickfield Farm in 1930 and his father took over the farm’s operations in 1975.

Since then, the farm has increased its herd to more than 330 cows across 185 hectares.

The new milking parlour is expected to be operational by the end of the year.