There was a good turnout for the latest Free Range Dairy meeting kindly hosted by Tom Malleson at his farm near Gillingham inDorset. Visitors had the chance to see how Tom was managing his grazing under the difficult conditions that this summer has presented and Andrew Cook from British Seed Houses was on hand to explain how new grass varieties can deliver greater potential to increase milk form forage.
As we walked, we talked and farmers shared their experiences of managing grass and reseeding. One of the key objectives of Free Range Dairy is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between farmers, with the support of technical expertise and it was great to be able to provide this opportunity. We were privileged to welcome journalist and writer, Graham Harvey (author of The Carbon Fields), to the meeting. Graham gave a valuable insight into the role of grass and grazing in delivering milk and meat of a high nutritional quality.
Considerable time was devoted to discussing how Free Range Dairy should move forward and there was healthy debate on how we can ensure any free range brand is not hijacked by retailers and others in the future. Most were anxious that a brand should be clearly defined and formally registered – this is an important next step for Free Range Dairy. A newsletter will be distributed in August outlining how this will be achieved. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on how we take Free Range Dairy forward please get in touch.