Our state-of-the art dairy unit – Lea Manor Farm – is home to 2,600 dairy cows which live in specially designed barns which are larger than typical industry standards to improve their comfort and welfare.
The barns provide shelter for the cows, allowing for plenty of natural light and air flow, space for them to roam and access to high quality food and water as they choose.
Our cows are fed home grown forage as well as grains and vegetable proteins such as maize, wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale and legumes to provide them with the nutrients they need.
Integrated farming systems, such as recycling manure into organic fertilisers to replenish soils, mean more than 80% of our animal feed is grown without the use of artificial fertilisers.
The herd is milked three times a day on a rotating parlour, in a light, calm and quiet environment, which enables more efficient milking, and is stress free for the cows.
Through a combination of specialist systems and expert management, we have reduced the incidence of illnesses – including mastitis and lameness – to industry leading levels and in doing so our use of antibiotics by 60% in the last five years.
It is our ambition to be a net zero carbon operation by 2030 and since 2014 we have reduced our carbon emissions by an average of 30% across our dairy activities through the use of renewable energy from solar panels on our sheds, recycling the sand which is used for bedding and using manures as organic fertilisers to grow our own feed.
We have the lowest carbon footprint for milk production of the farms profiled using Agrecalc – an independent, integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) accredited, specialist agricultural resource efficiency calculator which provides the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions produced from routine farm activities.
We are a member of Tesco’s Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG) which, through its Livestock Codes of Practice, aims to ensure producers farm sustainably, ethically and with the cows’ welfare in mind. All Tesco dairy farmers must adhere to the nationally recognised Red Tractor assurance scheme, as well as additional Tesco standards on cow health and welfare.
Lea Manor operates at the top of the industry and although we are proud to hold recognised industry standard assurances, it is our aim to go above and beyond these requirements to ensure we continue to be industry leading and that we are constantly improving our welfare, sustainability and milk safety and quality.
Our experienced management team produce an annual herd wide health plan which means we have a management programme that is bespoke to our animals and their specific needs.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday our specialist vets visit as an additional check, above and beyond our own experienced herdsmen and women, on the welfare of our animals and also provide 24hr emergency cover. Like all UK dairy farms, we are tested by DEFRA every six months for so called notifiable diseases such as bovine TB.
For an additional layer of bio-security, we commission leading public health and safety organisation NSF to test for our Red Tractor Food Assurance and to independently audit our processes and systems.
As a milk producer, we are registered with the Food Standards Agency – which is responsible for food safety and food hygiene across the UK – and which carries out routine inspections of our milking process and facilities.
Although we have never been investigated by the RSPCA, we welcomed the organisation to Lea Manor after which senior staff commented it was one of the quietest and most content herds they had ever seen.
We are so proud of our farm and our practices that we regularly welcome agricultural press, farming groups, members of the local communities, universities, agricultural colleges and school children, to see Lea Manor Farm and better understand our innovative approach which helps make Grosvenor Farms a leader in the sector.