A daily pint of milk might be easy to take for granted, it's something British farmers put a lot of care and attention into producing. Nicola Hares, in Shropshire, is one such dedicated farmer - she has a herd of 250 pedigree Holsteins, producing up to two million litres of milk per year for Tesco. Nicola is also a Tesco blogger and you can visit her farm focused blog here
'A cow’s breed and diet are key to producing good quality, creamy milk,' says Nicola. 'Here at Millenheath Farm, our cows are homebred so we know their characters and family traits. Their diets are precisely formulated, too. In the summer, when the pasture is rich, they graze in the fields. In the winter, we make sure they get all the nutrition they need by feeding them silage (preserved grass), together with chopped straw and maize, plus extra vitamins, minerals and protein.
'The cows are milked in our parlour at 5am and 3pm daily. The milk is filtered and chilled on the farm, then stored in a big vat until the daily collection. It’s then pasturised, bottled and sent out for delivery.
'Giving our cows a high level of care is very important to us. I’m a member of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group [TSDG], which means our farm meets some of the highest standards in the dairy industry. We have hands-on herd management and fortnightly veterinary visits. The cows have comfortable mattresses to lie on and are given a daily massage with mechanical brushes, which helps them to relax. Cows don’t like bad weather - they'd rather stay indoors. So in the winter, we keep them warm and dry in barns.
'Being part of the TSDG also means we get a fair price for the milk, so we have confidence to invest in the business, knowing we won't just break even. It’s based on a 'cost tracker' of the dairy businesses, which ensures we are paid a price that doesn't comprimise the welfare of our cows. In other words, maintaining a high level of cow comfort is rewarded and encouraged.'
Did you know?
More than 650 British farmers benefit from being members of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG)
TSDG farmers are guaranteed a fair price for their milk. THis gives them stability and confidence to invest in their business.
The Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence works hard to mprove and ensure the welfare of TSDG herds.
Watch how milk is produced in North Shropshire
See more Milk recipes
As featured in Tesco Magazine May 2014.