Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.
What is better one mega dairy with 2,000 cows under one roof or 150 small dairies?
There is a mega dairy up north with 2,000 Holstein cows under one roof. It is managed by one person and produces milk at 16p per litre. The Holstein cow has been specially bred to produce large quantities of low fat milk and are slaughtered after 3 lactations (4years). The milk is sold in supermarkets for around 70p per litre.
A small dairy down south has 20 cows employs 2 people and produces milk at around 40p per litre. The cows are a traditional Jersey, producing, a ‘high solid’ milk and live for over 13 lactations, 14+ years. The milk is sold direct to local people, either raw or pasteurised at around £1 per litre.
Both farms are making a good profit.
Where do you want your milk to come from? And how much are you prepared to pay for quality, animal welfare, and supporting your local community?
The mega dairy is making the large corporates, food chain and supermarkets lots of money, but returning very little to the local community or tax to the treasury.
150 small dairy farms, to produce the same amount of milk as the mega dairy, would employ 300 people, put their money back in to the local economy and contribute far more tax to the treasury? Or have I missed something?
Unfortunately we are are already moving rapidly away from small dairy farms, to mega dairies, with 11,000, over half the total, closing in the last 20 years.
Other interesting facts;
The milk from a Holstein cow is similar to Jersey milk with add water. This is legal because the water is added by the cow and not a human.
Mega dairies milk their cows using robots and can detect milk yield to adjust the feed quantity automatically. Any illness can be detected through teat temperature and antibiotics administer accordingly.
Mega dairies feed their cows a special high protein feed small dairies feed their cows predominantly on grass or silage.
Raw milk is better for us but restricted because it may give is TB if the cow has TB.
There is a vaccine for TB in cows that would eradicate bovine TB and mean no Badger cull. It will not happen because the vaccine may get in to beef meat and give the french an excuse ban imports. The French say they do not have TB in cattle, most experts say they do.
We welcome your thoughts below.