We took a trip to the Riverford Dairy, a couple of miles from our farm in Devon. The dairy, owned by Oliver Watson, Guy’s brother, has just 8 staff members and 250 cows, but supplies us with a lot of organic milk, yoghurt, cream and butter.
Riverford cows are a mixed breed of European hill farm herds. Each cow produces around 18 litres of milk per day and lives for 6-8 years (higher yield cows live 2-3 years). They live outside for 9 months and stay in a barn over winter.
In the barn, the cows have their own stalls so they can sleep without being in the way of the rest of the herd, but they are free to walk around. They are fed silage (fermented grass), vegetables, fruit and cow cakes (made from maize, barley, wheat and pulses).
Milking happens daily between 4:00-5:30pm and takes 2-3 minutes per cow. Milk from the Riverford dairy is pasteurised to kill off bacteria but isn’t homogenised, so before opening one of our cartons, give it a good shake.