FINALIST FOR DAIRY INNOVATOR
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: Dairymaster
Johnjo Roberts and Mat Venables
Mynachdy Farm, Anglesey
Mat met Johnjo when he was working as a chartered surveyor in Cheshire and Mat was farming three dairy units nearby with his family.
Fortunately, Johnjo had the backing of the family’s 593-acre half owned-half rented Mynachdy Farm, near Cemaes Bay, while Mat had considerable experience of dairy farming.
Their business plan works as a 50:50 joint investment venture agreement having secured financial backing and negotiated a milk contract with Arla.
With no dairying facilities whatsoever at Mynachdy, the entire grazing area was reseeded, a network of cow tracks laid down and in went a 46:92 herringbone parlour and a collecting yard.
Soon after 640 near to calving New Zealand Friesian cross Jersey heifers arrived, 50 per cent being sourced from Ireland and the rest coming from Mat’s existing dairy herds in Cheshire.
Operating a New Zealand-style spring, calving system the first milk left the farm in February 2015 and consolidation is the main aim through culling and careful genetic selection.
Last year the pair took on a second joint venture when a tenanted farm became available. The 617-acre unit mirrored the same journey of Mynachdy Farm only this time calves and home-bred heifers are used to increase numbers.
Thanks to Anglesey’s milder climate, a 70-point Waikato unit without a roof was installed and meant a capital saving of more than £40,000, which reduced their total investment to around £450,000.
Average yield currently stands at just under 5,000 litres per head, with butterfat at 4.6 per cent and protein at 3.9 per cent.
Both Johnjo and Mat believe their joint-venture is working extremely well.
“Should the opportunity to set up another unit come along I think we would go for it – possibly taking some of the staff with us on some sort of a share-farming arrangement. We certainly have no regrets whatsoever at what we have achieved so far.”