John Fare

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Over the last 15 years, John Fare, of Fare Farms, has transformed his dairy system to maximise the use of grass, with thought given to how infrastructure can help achieve this.

Block calving the 290-cow herd in spring and autumn has helped with the management of grass and silage supply as it minimises buyer’s penalty and utilises the kilos of dry matter grazed into the shoulders of the year.

A multicut grass silage system has been adopted to reduce reliance on bought-in concentrates.

Introducing cow tracks throughout the farm has enabled the traditional grazing period to be extended from May-October to February-November.

John says that by investing in the infrastructure of the grassland management system, he has been able to reduce the requirement for expensive machinery.

Soil samples are taken every two years to ensure nutrient levels are on target and clover is being used to reduce reliance on bought-in nitrogen. Soil health has improved since a paddock based grazing system was  adopted.

Grass is measured on a weekly basis and reported through Agrinet which has shown the growth has increased in total tonnes of dry matter grown.

John aims to mitigate the more extreme weather conditions now being experienced by improving soil health and is investigating diverse swards and how they might complement work which has already been done by
introducing more clover and reducing bought-in fertiliser.

Biodiversity is an important part of the farm’s ethos and wildlife has flourished over the years. The 10 miles of hedgerows across the farm act as wildlife corridors across the unit and a proposed willow bed will also enhance wildlife diversity.

The farm has its own sustainability plan and is actively reducing energy, water and bought-in feed consumption.

John says: “I am not afraid to try new ideas or to be different and I always look at the bigger picture. I believe attention to detail is crucial in both herd and grassland management and we have developed a simple, lean  efficient business, which provides an enjoyable working environment for the team.”

The positive approach has ensured he not only makes a profit in good years, but makes a consistent return.

What the Judges said

The judges were very impressed at how John ensured his business balances resilience and profitability, with a very clear vision. He is an excellent example of a forward thinking grassland farmer.