Having studied business management at Leeds University, Guy Ford returned to the family farm, to work alongside his father David. They are Dairy Farming in Manley Old Hall Farm in Cheshire. Their farm extends to 250 hectares, with a 300-cow herd and followers.
In recent times, Guy and his father have undertaken some drastic changes on their farm, which they believe have put the business in a stronger position for a more sustainable and successful future. Herdwatch is a key factor to this change by making record keeping much more simpler and by saving key management time .
“Our most significant change has been converting from organic production back to conventional Dairy Farming during 2012/13… Changing our calving pattern and grassland management to adopt a New Zealand system.”
Guy Ford converted from Organic to Conventional Dairy Farming.
Removing The Paperwork Burden Of Dairy Farming.
A significant consideration when Guy and David reviewed their farm management, was the lifestyle element. They wanted to do a good job and be profitable, without becoming slaves to their business.
They also looked at the paperwork burden and wanted to make daily record keeping much simpler and quicker. Previously, their record keeping was all paper based which was too easy to misplace, and took far too much time to search through. Both Guy and David agreed they needed a better way to record their farm compliance.A way in which all the team could keep the records up to date and on point for everyone else – thereby not relying on one person.
The App Gives You Flexibility And Security.
For Guy and David mobile technology was the way forward, so they looked online for options and found the Herdwatch app. Herdwatch allows farmers record herd events as they happen, eliminating the need to be updating records at the end of a busy day.
“This simple App has saved us many hours of evening paperwork. It’s so reliable in busy periods, or when people are away from the farm. To run the business, it’s vital we have trusted data, which is easy to access and update. Herdwatch is so simple, and is used by the whole team."
Cheshire farmers Guy and David and their team use the app to recognise cows, get details of cow history, record calving’s, update fertility records, register calves and to keep medical records for Farm Assurance.
“Herdwatch is so simple, and can be used by the whole team. We use it to recognise cows, get details of cow history, record calving’s, update fertility records, register calves or medical records for Farm Assurance.”
Farm Assurance records on the Herdwatch app.
All Your Dairy Farm Records in Your Pocket.
Particularly with a tight calving interval, the fertility records are key. With Herdwatch Guy and David can review each individual cow at the press of a button. It’s new efficiencies such as this, that’ll drive their system to ensure they manage their business in the most effective and efficient way possible.
“Everyone has the App on their phone, which means we can all share responsibility. It’s easier to plan time away from the farm for all members of the team.”
Guy and his father David using the Herdwatch app on their phones.
Moving To A New Zealand System.
Earlier this year, Guy and his team moved away from year round calving to maximise milk from grass and designed their breeding towards spring calving. They introduced Jersey genetics to their Friesian herd with the intention of breeding a dairy cow more suited to a grazing system. Their target is a 10-12 week block calving period. Currently into the third year of this transition and they now operate a 14-week calving pattern.
"I’m delighted with progress so far. I feel the business is leaner, more efficient and able to withstand future market fluctuations that we will undoubtedly see in a global marketplace. The herd is producing 5,500 litres/cow, with 4.6% fat and 3.8%protein. We’re paid on constituents, so we are pleased with the results."
In the short term, their focus is to complete a 5-year plan. Converting to a spring calving herd successfully and developing the next stage in order to maximize the business potential at Manley Old Hall.
In the long term, the Cheshire farmers hope to add an additional unit to establish an autumn calving herd and Herdwatch will most definitely be key to assisting them in managing this.
You too can join Guy and over 8,000 happy farmers saving time on farm paperwork and managing their farms more efficiently for just £2.50 a week.
Try Herdwatch for FREE for and see the benefits for yourself.
The new Free-Plan which allows farmers to:
- Download their Herd from APHIS (NI), BCMS (UK) or Agfood (IRL)
- Record 5 calf registrations
- Record their medicine purchases
- Record Heat detection and general tasks