Shaun McKay

J. R. and M. C. Downes and son

The Farm, Longnor, Shropshire

Herd manager Shaun is responsible for a 260-cow organic dairy unit, which operates twice-a-day milking from a spring calving and paddock grazing system.

After the introduction of sexed semen into the herd, he worked closely with the artificial insemination technician to monitor heat detection, manage the bulls more closely and go on to double the number of pregnancies.

The herd’s health was further helped by his complete renovation of 2.5 miles of cow tracks to artificial grass, which has improved cow flow and drastically reduced lameness.

With a keen interest in homeopathy, Shaun attended a course to help understand its benefits while managing an organic herd and has, for example, introduced remedies to help control mastitis.

He believes continued learning is key to developing and meeting goals both professionally and personally and keeps up-to-date with courses, attends dairying discussion groups, webinars and networking with others.


Working hard to improve staff morale through designating individual responsibility, Shaun is a strong advocate of creating a happy and motivated team deeming it essential to boost animal welfare, profitability and a positive working environment. To that end, he also welcomes and supports students from Harper Adams University each year for an inclusive team approach.

Hoping to progress into a contract farming/ joint venture agreement in the future, the need to better understand farm finances, budgeting, cost control and profitability is now a key focus.

On-farm, the long-term aim is to grow the herd from 260 to 300 cows and to continue building on fertility, grassland and developing strong relationships with his team.