Paul Griffin

Briddlesford Farm Dairy, Briddleford Farm, Isle of Wight

Briddlesford Lodge Farm, near Wootton Common, is no run-of-the-mill dairy unit. Not only is the 90-hectare (220-acre) farm home to the 140-cow Briddlesford pedigree Guernsey herd, it also has a farm shop, a cafe/restaurant, state-of-the-art milk processing facilities and a visitors’ centre.

The family resigned from the wholesale market to reconnect with consumers and take back control of their milk price in 2017 to process all their own milk.

Co-partner and fourth generation farmer Paul Griffin oversees management of the dairy herd, plus 100 followers, at the unit.

All cows are direct descendants of the original 12 cows which Paul’s great-grandfather Charles brought to the farm in 1923, and the award-winning herd is now  one of the highest ranking breed herds in the world based on a yield of fat and protein.

The breed society has selected young bulls from the herd for stud, and their genetics are now available globally.

The herd is managed on a conventional total mixed ration-based system, with cows housed during winter and at grass from early spring.

Cows calve all-year-round to produce a relatively level supply of milk. Average yield for the NMR-recorded herd is 6,295 litres at 5.19% fat and 3.44% protein, with a somatic cell count of less than 200,000 cells/ml.

Paul says: “We like to produce as much milk from grass as possible, but run them on a fairly high input system.”

New cow housing was built during the 1990s to facilitate an expanding herd, along with major investment in milking equipment.

The business now supplies many outlets directly both on and off the Isle of Wight. All milk is processed on-farm into either fresh milk and cream or a range of dairy products, including five different hard and soft cheeses, as well as butter.

Paul says all the different aspects of the business are crucial to its survival.

“The shop and cafe would not exist without the farm and I think the dairy herd would struggle without the shop and cafe. They add value to our milk, raise our profile and bring in an essential stream of additional income.”

The judges said about Paul: Mr Griffin is mitigating the on-going volatility faced by UK dairy farmers by utilising every last drop of his core product. Passionate and optimistic, the fourth generation to work on the family farm, he has been fundamental in the recent launch of a new milk brand on the Isle of Wight to protect its heritage and ensure a fair price for dairy farmers

On winning, paul said: “I’m shocked but so so pleased and proud. Thank you to the people who work with me back home as I can’t take this award without giving them the recognition they deserve. Dairying is hard but we came to realise we had to value to our core product. We changed our markets and reinvested heavily and it was a massive gamble to sell directly to consumers. But it has paid off and given us renewed optimism to move forward into the future.”