Altogether the Tweddles have 200 cows at Garthorne Farm, 150 at Hallwith Farm, and 200 young stock, ranging from newly born calves to in-calf heifers, and farm a total of 680 acres.
“We have now revived the tradition of doorstep and wholesale delivery with our own organic milk and cream and other complementary dairy produce,” says Gordon.
He admits that switching from intensive commercial milk production to organic dairy farming took a leap of faith. As he puts it: “We had become so enslaved into using drugs and chemicals purely because they have the commercial effect of increased production.” Since switching to organic production, the Tweddles have developed a crop rotation, mixing spring and autumn sown crops to help prevent weeds, plant diseases and pests.
“The animals have more space in their housing areas and all the young stock are now kept on the farm and receive more human attention and care than previously. The net effect of this increased farm diversity was a reduced farm output, which, combined with increased cost of dairy production, had to be addressed,” he says.
To square this economic circle The Tweddles now sell directly to the end consumer, cutting out the various middle men, or through schemes such aslike Riverford’s home delivery network.
The Tweddles’ farms have a range of soil types including limestone rock and sandy clay loam over boulder clay. They are gradually changing the breed of cow they rear from a mix of British Friesian and Holstein towards the Dairy Shorthorn, which is better suited to producing milk from an organic rotation with large amounts of forage, and the flavour of Acorn Dairy milk comes from the clover rich diet the herds graze. As part of the organic learning curve, the Tweddles are also using homeopathy as a first line of defence when if animals require any medical treatment.