High Peak couple reaches national final of ForFarmers Excellence in Farming Awards

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Husband and wife team Michael and Caroline Wainwright, of Dowlow Farm, Flagg, near Buxton, reached the national final of the ForFarmers Excellence in Farming Awards.

They received a regional finalist award at a ceremony in London which recognised their excellent management and rearing of calves.

Michael and Caroline rear 160 of their own heifers, which are sold off the farm once they have calved, with the calves kept on the farm to provide the next generation of youngstock. A further 160 heifers are also reared for a neighbouring dairy farm.

All calves at Dowlow Farm are housed in a purpose built calf shed, to ensure the highest standards of calf comfort and welfare. Calves receive plenty of colostrum from their mothers straight after birth, and the quality of this colostrum has been improved by changes that the Wainwrights have made to cows’ diet in the run up to calving. Calves also have access to plenty of straw, water and special calf feed to help maintain good growth rates and animal health.

Their skillful management of calves and successful feeding regime has meant that the Wainwrights have reduced the age that their heifers first have their own calves, to 24 months, which is an excellent achievement.

Alison Edwing from ForFarmers said: “Michael and Caroline’s skill and success can be seen in the quality of the calves that they rear. Even before their birth, they are making sure calves have the best possible start in life by managing the transition period diet. That attention to detail continues throughout the calves’ lives, until they leave the farm as newly calved heifers.”

The national ForFarmers Awards are now in their third year of running and aim to recognise and reward farmers that are excelling in one of the three awards categories: Dairy Feed Efficiency, Forage Manager of the Year and Youngstock Producer of the Year.