Chris explains: “This type of cow complements our rotational grazing system and the youngstock are hardy enough to outwinter. The real bonus – which has evolved from years of breeding for the same type – is consistently top-quality milk. Milk solids are significant which means our milk is very popular with coffee shops and restaurants.”
When grass growth is at its peak the cows receive about 0.5kg of concentrates a day, which increases to 2kg a day when grass growth drops off in the autumn.
Pre-lockdown 60 per cent of the bottled milk was sold to local schools, coffee shops and restaurants. That trade obviously dried up overnight. Sales at the vending machine and local farm shops, however, increased.
Today nearly 8 per cent of Trink’s total milk production is bottled, the rest is sold through Arla.
Chris says: “My father was always very loyal and supportive of farmer co-operatives and we consider ourselves lucky Arla has given us permission to sell a percentage of our milk direct. Everything seemed to come together at the right time to help make the right decision for us all.”
Chris and Rachel are not frightened to consider new ideas both for the business and on-farm. Chris admits he has learned so much from other farmers on farm visits up and down the country organised by his grassland discussion group The Rough Grazers.
The farm is designed so the grazing ground circumnavigates a 45-hectare (110-acre) block of higher moorland called Trink Hill. Chris has installed a network of cow tracks and large water troughs to facilitate and maximise the grazing system.