Nathan Utting

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KW Feeds NEW

Nathan is a third-generation dairy farmer running the business alongside his father, uncle and cousin. He is responsible for the management of the 300 cross-bred milking cow herd, along with two other members of staff, and has been instrumental in making a number of changes to the business in recent years.

December 2020 saw a move into their new dairy unit and, prior to this, they switched the herd from an all-yearround calving system to an all autumn block calving system.

The installation of a new milking parlour halved milking times, and the new facilities and system has led to improvements in health, fertility and performance.

Nathan says: “Since we have been block calving we have been able to generate more profit in a shorter time period, cows make much better use of the grass in spring and summer and more use of winter feed post-calving.”

Cows are yielding 6,500 litres at 4.5 per cent butterfat and 3.4 per cent protein, with milk from forage standing at about 2,500 litres.

Nathan says he aims to improve this figure, and is focused on maximising forage quality in order to do this. Cover crops will be used to help improve soil health and fertility going forward. Milk is sold to Arla, and while Nathan says milk price is an area of concern, he adds he is focused on keeping costs as low as possible.

He says: “We are on a solids contract with our milk buyer and we can achieve this with our three-way cross cows without breaking the bank.”

Taking guidance from farm vet, Tom Hume, Nathan has made steps to reduce mastitis incidence drastically, with cases now standing at 16 cases per 100 cows. He is also focused on reducing the number of Johne’s cows
in the herd through testing to inform breeding decisions. Any cows not destined to produce replacements are bred to beef, with calves taken through to fattening.

Looking ahead, Nathan says he would like to increase cow numbers to 400 cows, and says he would look at all business opportunities including the development of a second dairy unit.

However, for now he adds the business is diverse with the family also running a contracting enterprise for local customers and an agricultural spec shop, which sells anything from 13-amp fuses to fencing requirements.