The Davis Family

2022 Silver Family Farming Business of the Year

Westcott Farm,
Rivermead Dairy Ltd,

WHEN the milk market was at one of its lowest points in 2015, the Davis family lost their milk contract following the decision from their buyer to retire. The only option was to find a new market for their Channel Island milk.

Gordon Davis, who has farmed the pedigree Rivermead Jersey herd for 10 years with his wife Hazel on a Farm Business Tenancy with Devon County Council, researched the trends around the dairy product and found Channel Island Milk was used in ethnic foods and for making Indian desserts and puddings.

They then formed a company with a cheese expert and began marketing their own milk in a factory in London and worked with other local farms in the area which were in the same predicament.

Gordon, whose cows produce about two million litres of high quality milk and constituent each year, purchases a further 4-5m litres from Jersey milk producers across the south of England. In total, with a collection pool from 17 farms, 14m litres of milk is purchased to produce a range of products, including Paneer cheese, Mozzarella, yoghurt, Indian desserts and ice cream to areas of London, Leicester and the South West.

His daily role sees him lead on dairy logistics and transport with their tanker fleet. Hazel helps rear calves, with eldest son Mark leading the management of the 280-head herd of Rivermead Jerseys, concentrating on the breeding and high health status of the herd and marketing any sale of cattle. Second eldest son Kevin is a keen stockman and manages the staff and day-to-day running of the farm, along with crops and harvesting.

Daughter Emily is undertaking her final year at university, but heads up the calf rearing, with a particular interest in showing livestock and genetics. Gordon says: “As a family we are all stockmen and every one of us has a passion for dairy cows and livestock. It is that passion which has progressed through to our grandchildren, along with the desire to have good cows and stock. We need a profitable business which will allow us to do that. What drives us is enjoying what we do and working with the people we do, be it staff, suppliers or customers. This has allowed us to drive forward. It is a tremendous pleasure to work with people who have a passion and want to improve.”

Sustainable practices

  •  The dairy has upgraded the fleet
    of lorries to meet Euro 6 requirements
  •  Continually reassesses logistics
    to try and reduce food miles
  •  Sets aside wilding areas in fields
  •  Plants wildflowers in areas adjoining natural habitats, such as along the side of the motorway and railway line
  •  Works to reduce flood water with
    the Environment Agency