James Matthews

Elmtree Farm,
Dynamic Dairy Farming Ltd,

Sponsored by: ABN

Elmtree Farm:
• Elmtree Farm, Gloucestershire, owned by the Tortworth Estate
• Contract farms 630 acres
• Been in the business five years
• Milks 350 organic British Friesians who calve in two 10 week blocks (2/3rd in spring, 1/3rd in autumn)
• Averaging 5500 litres per cow at 4.15 per cent fat and 3.35 per cent protein from 1.25 tonnes of cake.
• Two full time staff and one relief milker

JAMES Matthews has been successfully running his organic dairy contract farming business, milking 350 cows for the Tortworth Estate, for the past five years.
His interest in dairy began aged 12 years old, after spending his weekends milking at a farm near his grandparents.
Despite being encouraged to pursue other career paths by school and his parents, James attended Bicton College, to gain a National Diploma.
His passion for producing milk from grass stemmed from two work opportunities in New Zealand as well as his inspiration for their systems which enabled people to progress through the industry from farm work to contract milker to share farmer to owner.

His current arrangement sees him meet monthly with the estate’s consultant to update them on how the farm is doing.
He also rears the replacement heifer calves to weaning at three months, which are then contract reared down the road by the estate and returned prior to calving at 24 months old.
Key investments have been ‘simple things’ which make the job easier, more efficient and enjoyable, from a calf feeding trailer and a teat cleaning brush to under-sowing spring cereals with grass so the next ley is ready after the wholecrop has been taken off.

James has concentrated hard on getting the basics rights for grazing, fertility and herd health.
His biggest challenge to date was finding the right opportunity to step up from herd manager and he looked at various opportunities before coming across his current contract farming agreement.
He credited the ability to work hard to have the knowledge, skills and experience to back him up as well as patience in waiting to find the right opportunity.

Going forward, James is looking to grow his business and take the next step.
With an aim to own a herd of profitable healthy cows, he has built up enough capital to move to an agreement where he can own cows or take on a farm tenancy.

Proudest moment:
“I’m proud of all the hard work I have put into building a profitable business and the good reputation I have earnt myself whilst doing so, every day presents a challenge big or small and I’m proud of how I always find a way to overcome them.”