Richard Beck

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Richard Beck farms with his wife, Emma, and parents, Steven and Susan, at Whitening House Farm, Sandbach, Cheshire.

The tenanted unit is home to 425 Holstein Friesian cows, which produce average annual yields of 8,900 litres, with milk sold to Muller on a Sainsbury’s contract.

Richard, the third generation to farm at Whitening House Farm, joined the business in 2006 and, in 2010, started the conversion to autumn and spring block calving following a study tour to Australia and New Zealand,  where he was impressed by the discipline and efficiency a block system offered.

As well as simplifying the heifer rearing process, Richard says this move has improved feed efficiency, with milk from forage now standing at 3,800 litres.

Some Norwegian Red genetics are now being introduced to the herd to further improve on feed efficiency figures. And in order to increase milk from forage further, there is also a focus on soil health and forage quality.

Cows are mobility scored every six weeks and farm staff are all qualified foot trimmers, so feet can be lifted as soon as possible.

With an eye on net zero targets, Richard and his team are measuring and monitoring carbon emissions and taking steps to make reductions.

They are currently looking at the impact of making ration adjustments to reduce methane emissions.

Solar panels were installed seven years ago and the possible use of battery storage is being investigated as a way of increasing the farm’s green energy consumption.

Richard is keen to credit the team at Whitening House Farm, with many members of staff having been with the business on a long-term basis.

A new parlour was installed in 2021 and Richard says as well as improving milking times and efficiency, this has also helped to create a better working environment for staff.

He says: “We have staff who have been with us for a number of years and we aim to look after our team by involving them in the decision making and ensure they have the proper facilities to work in.”

What the Judges said

1st class dairy farmer, with a great business plan. Has great vision for the business and his family.