The Dairy Farm
At Leckford, we are proud to be one of 48 dairy farms dedicated to producing essential Waitrose milk. Together with the other Waitrose Dairy Farmers, we deliver the highest standards of milk quality, producing local dairy products that are sustainable. We ensure the best practices in animal welfare and health, as well as safeguarding the environment.
There is a long history of dairy farming on the Estate and in 2006 the two existing Holstein Friesian herds were combined with a further 200 cows bought in from other herds supplying milk into Waitrose to give a single herd of 600 cows in a newly built dairy complex. With a respectful nod to history, the new Leckford dairy farm, Abbotts Manor Dairy, adopted its name from the old redundant farmstead in Leckford village.
The herd of around 1,000 cattle (550 milking cows and over 400 other cattle including calves, replacement heifers and beef store cattle) makes use of a forage area covering more than 400 hectares of the 1,600 hectare Estate and is looked after by eight Partners.
Cow nutrition is based on grazed grass and a forage-based ‘total mixed ration’ incorporating a large number of ingredients including home-produced forages (grass and maize silages, lucerne haylage and chopped straw) as well as cereals and other ‘straight’ feeds, minerals and vitamin supplements. As of October 2012, we have also been able to include the pressed rapeseed cake, i.e., the residue from oil extraction from our Oilseed Pressing Unit.
As a member of the Waitrose Dairy Farmers group, we are committed to animal welfare and ensuring our cows spend an average of at least 100 days outdoors during spring, summer and autumn grazing our grass paddocks. During winter, the milking cows are winter-housed in cubicles and are bedded on recycled paper which is refreshed daily. The dry cows and other cattle are yarded and bedded with straw produced on the Estate.
Our aim is to deliver the highest standards of milk quality and ensure best practice in animal health and animal welfare. We are also committed to sustainable farming methods that help safeguard the environment and encourage biodiversity. For instance, Waitrose’s standards for milk production ensure that a minimum of 10% of the farm is left as wildlife habitats, encouraging flora and fauna to flourish. In addition, on the Leckford Estate, we have a 186 kW array of photovoltaic cells on the roof of our grain store that helps to power the dairy and reduce the carbon footprint of the milk produced on our farm. This ensures the tastiest local dairy products!