After a brief hiatus in their dairy farming history, the Walters family of Bruton, Somerset decided once again to start milking cows in 2015. The family’s daughter Naomi, who is also one of Agricentre’s own area managers working in that area, explained more: “We had let the land for several years but missed having our own herd. Our land can be quite steep in places so is not necessarily ‘traditional’ dairying land but we are in a prime location with good soil and surrounded by the local cheese producers. A perfect opportunity.” So with the objective of building a great-quality, level herd that focused on milk quality through improvement in breeding, the decision was made to go with Ayrshires. “We were looking for a solid, robust animal that suited our mainly-grazed, steep land so the ‘Creech Hill’ pedigree herd was formed. We run 140 cows, supplying our local cheese producers Barbers, so the quality of our milk is important for our market.” The majority of the herd calve in the autumn and are served using Ayrshire sexed semen, which has been a huge success. “We rear our own followers so can control the process right the way through. This means that we can ensure we hit the right targets throughout their development.” Despite trying times generally in the industry, the family are upbeat and things are going better than expected, and during the coming months we’ll be bringing updates on how things are going at the farm. This issue, we look at a brand new dairy that has started production in Somerset, despite it being the most challenging period in decades for the industry.