All at Cogent Breeding Ltd extend their congratulations to Grosvenor Farms for their remarkable achievements at the Cream Awards.
Grosvenor Farms, based in Chester, has been honored as the overall winner of the prestigious Cream Awards. Their dedication to reducing their carbon footprint, enhancing carbon sequestration, and fostering biodiversity has earned them this prestigious accolade. At the 2023 Cream Awards event, held on September 7th, Grosvenor Farms, situated on Grosvenor's Eaton Estate near Chester, not only secured the title of overall winner but also received the esteemed Climate Positive Agriculture Award.
Grosvenor Farms vividly illustrates the close connection between enhancing the farm's environment and elevating business profitability and sustainability. David Craven, the Dairy and Infrastructure Manager at Grosvenor Farms, shared his insights, stating, "We have focused on a whole farm approach which has driven our strategy for the last 10 years. We are now typically producing 32,000,000 litres of milk - enough for 430,000 people every day - as well as grains, in a proven financial and sustainable way. It is no coincidence that having a profitable farming system also corresponds with us reducing our carbon footprint."
"Our primary objective is to profitably produce safe and nutritious food while taking full account of the needs of our environmental, social and regulatory responsibilities. We are committed to farming in a way that cares about people, animals and nature in the long term, and combines best practice ethical and scientific know how with industry leadership.."
Grosvenor Farms, established in 1974, currently encompasses an impressive 2,340 hectares of land. Their state-of-the-art dairy facility, Lea Manor Farm, is home to 2,600 dairy cows housed in specially designed barns exceeding industry standards to enhance their comfort and welfare. These barns offer shelter, ample natural light, and ventilation, allowing the cows to roam freely with access to high-quality food and water.
The farm's arable operations are carefully balanced with efforts to increase biodiversity. Field margins, headlands, crop rotations, and cultivation are managed to minimize environmental impact. The farming includes 800 hectares of arable land, 450 hectares of three-year grass leys on a multi-cut system, and 350 hectares of maize.
Approximately 12% of Grosvenor Farms' land is dedicated to supporting greater biodiversity and natural habitat improvement. In recent years, they have planted 24,000 hedge plants, over 100,000 trees, and restored more than 50 ponds. Special emphasis is placed on "green corridors" to promote wildlife habitats. The farm participates in one higher-tier stewardship scheme focused on wetlands and one mid-tier scheme targeting arable and rotational grassland areas.
A distinctive feature of the farm is the water meadows alongside the River Dee SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and its tributaries, forming some of the finest low-lying wetlands in the north-west of England. These areas are managed with late-cut haylage to encourage nesting sites and feeding areas for threatened species.
To further support biodiversity, Grosvenor Farms has undertaken wetland habitat creation and restoration to preserve the species-rich meadows along the River Dee floodplain. Over 30 water control features, including dams, swales, and scrapes, have been installed to improve water retention and mitigate flooding. These features are especially beneficial for breeding and wintering birds such as lapwings, snipes, reed buntings, redshanks, and various species of ducks.