Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Milk this English opportunity

Irish buyers keen on high spec dairy unit in Leicester

EXTENSIVE: State-of-the-art facilities include the rapid exit milking parlour
EXTENSIVE: State-of-the-art facilities include the rapid exit milking parlour
Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Several Irish farmers have expressed interest in a top-of-the-range dairy unit in Leicester, England. The 234.85ac dairy farm is a ready-to-go unit, having been purpose built over the past seven years.

Ridgefield Farm is located on the edge of Woodhouse Eaves, a village eight miles from Leicester, in the English Midlands.

The farm comprises 216ac of pasture land, together with more than 78,000sq ft of modern, steel portal-framed farm buildings, with some constructed to industrial specification.

The main dairy building extends to about 42,000sq ft on the ground floor, with a first floor mezzanine area providing a further 2,750sq ft of space. This area includes offices, kitchen and self-contained flat, together with extensive conference facilities.

The ground floor includes the cubicle building with AI area, isolation pens, collecting yard, parlour, tank room, plant room, offices, toilet and shower facilities.

There is currently cubicle housing for 186 dairy cows, plus loose housing and individual boxes for 40 more cows, although this area has the potential to provide a further 92 cubicles.

There are also two modern farmhouses, with more than 5,500sq ft of accommodation in total. These are currently sub-divided into four three- bedroom dwellings.

Ridgefield Farm was bought by John and Val Barker, who sold the existing herd of dairy Shorthorns and replaced them with pedigree Holsteins in 1995.

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Since then, the pair have bought two additional farms to increase the total acreage to 800ac and constructed a state-of-the-art dairy unit.

The parlour was constructed in 2000 by Alpha DeLaval and features a Blue Diamond 90-degree rapid exit parlour, with 24 harmony cluster milking points, activity monitors, teat sprays and udder wash system.

It has Alpro walkthrough ID gates, compressor-fed gates and a Blue Diamond backing gate. The floor is non-slip poly resin and the parlour has fully tiled walls, insulated roof and encased roof lighting, with a 12,000-litre Mueller 'Mecotronic' cooling control system milk tank.

There is also a collecting yard, isolation pens, individual AI pens, a show paddock, loose housing and car park.

Beneath the main dairy building are large underground slurry storage tanks, with a storage capacity of 3m gallons.

The young stock building has a central feed passage, concrete floor and nine isolation pens.

An additional general- purpose building has been sub-divided into three parts: a feed store, straw shed and young stock housing.

Three feed hoppers hold 42t of feed and there are four silage clamps with a capacity for 3,400t of silage.

The surrounding land is laid out in paddocks, which have stock-proof fencing and piped water. The land is described as well drained and mostly gently sloping.

Selling agent Tim Howard, from Howkins and Harrison in Rugby, Warwickshire, has quoted a guide price of £3.5m (€4.096m) for the property.

"It's a specialist dairy unit with a very high specification, which was originally designed to be a showcase unit for milk producers and dairy breeders," he said.

"There have been several Irish punters interested in the farm, including some who have sold farms in Ireland and want to get back into farming here," he added.

Irish Independent