One of Delamere’s goat’ milk farmers was named ‘Dairy Farmer of the Year 2019’ in a move that acknowledges the role of goat farmers in the UK’s dairy industry.

Will, whose dairy goat farm is on the Dorset/ Somerset border, has been a regular, trusted supplier to Delamere Dairy for over seven years. Our MD, Ed Salt, said of Will, “Will is an exemplary farmer producing milk of the highest standard. We value all our long-term relationships with our farmers and foster collaborative working practices that benefit all parties. It is fantastic that his approach has been recognised by the dairy industry and it’s a milestone for the goats’ milk industry to be acknowledged in this way.”

A day in the life of Will, a Delamere Farmer

Life starts early here. Andrew, Adam and Claire our herds people start at 5am in the  morning. They have a quick check to make sure that any kids born overnight are given some bottle fed colostrum which gives them a vital start in life. 

Then the rotary milking parlour is started with the first of seven groups of goats being bought into the parlour. The goats are really keen to get into milking as they are given some food to eat while they are milked for their wholesome delicious goats’ milk. Each goat’s milk is recorded so we can trace the volume they give.

By 6am I am up sneaking out of the house, trying desperately not to wake my wife Katie and our 3 sons and daughter Daisie. Then I check that everything has been eaten up overnight. We feed our goats on home grown maize and grass silage balanced with a protein concentrate to ensure they are given the best nutrition. All the feed is Non GM. My job is to make sure that everything fed to the goats is consistent and they always have the right amount of food in front of them.

John, the head tractor driver, is soon on the scene cleaning out mangers. He then beds everything up to make sure the goats have lovely rustling soft barley straw beds. I am back indoors helping Kate give the kids their breakfast and packing them off to school (absolute chaos!).

Kidding is just about to get very busy with our goats due to kid in the next 6-8 weeks and we have to run the kidding like an NHS maternity ward. Myself and Kate are penning up and nurturing any newly born kids and making sure Mums and kids are all happy.. Andrew and the team are back trimming feet giving the goats a manicure so they can bounce around with their friends, keeping healthy and happy so they give lots of tasty milk. Then they go home for a well-earned rest..

At 5 pm Barry and Alan who are a father and son team milk in the afternoon, making sure they stick to a 12 hour interval between milking.The Nanny goats love a daily routine giving them a stress free life!

We on the other hand need a rest and bed, checking the goats for the final time at 10 pm and looking forward to bed and counting goats in our sleep!!.

The goats are really keen to get into milking as they are given some food to eat while they are milked for their wholesome delicious goats’ milk.

A day in the life of Phil, a Delamere Farmer

Its 4.50 am and I am woken by the sound of the alarm clock drilling into my consciousness. As I lay there I dwell on the fact that this has to be the worst part about being a goat farmer. After a quick brew and a bowl of porridge made with goats’ milk it only takes a minute to walk down the yard to the farm buildings, a commute many people would be envious of!

In the goat shed there are 5 separate pens of goats, which we milk in the same order every day. I open the gate making sure they don’t knock me over as they run past to get to the parlour. Meg the farm dog runs to the far end of the pen to bring up the rear and some of them stop as they pass me as if to say “Good morning” – well I hope that’s what they are saying!

The next four hours are probably the busiest of the day, the goats have to be milked, fresh feed put out and clean bedding put down. In addition, all the young goats that are being reared have to be checked fed and bedded, and the baby kids have to be fed. These tasks are shared by my wife Trish and sons Joseph and James. By 9am we are all heading in for a well earned breakfast and Alex a 16 year old farm apprentice arrives for work. Alex spends 4 days a week working on the farm and 1 day at the local agricultural college. Alex has no experience but is pleasant and hardworking, and so keen he usually arrives for work early. With that attitude he can’t fail to make a success of his chosen career path.

After breakfast Joseph, James and Alex vaccinate a group of young goats to protect them against clostridial diseases and I have a meeting with an electrician that maintains the farm’s electrical equipment. We have 58 x 400 watt lights throughout the farm buildings. If we replace these lights with the latest lighting technology we will be able to cut electricity usage on lighting by more than 50%. Making this type of investment is essential if we are to control our costs in the future. After lunch the vet arrives to review our health plan which is done annually and is the guiding blueprint for the goats’ health management. Whilst on the farm she looks at all the goats, and is pleased with what she sees. In the meantime my sons and Alex have started the afternoon milking.

Its 8.30pm and I am doing the evening rounds of checking the goat sheds to make sure all the animals are well and there are no problems. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to look after the animals in such a way that they are healthy, contented and productive. Looking at healthy animals has to be one of the best things about goat farming, and the icing on the cake has to be that they are also providing a future for my two sons and a lad from the nearby town.

It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to look after the animals in such a way that they are healthy, contented and productive. Looking at healthy animals has to be one of the best things about goat farming.