Alan Ramsay keeps his herd of 240 cows on 300 hectares leading down to the shores of the picturesque Luce Bay. The cows calve predominantly in the spring, some in the autumn. Alan’s father bought the farm in the 1950s and they officially started organic production in 2001, having always adopted a mostly organic approach prior to then. Alan now farms in partnership with his son - also Alan - and between them they run the dairy side of the business as well as a suckler herd and a small grass-based contracting operation.
Their mixed farm reflects the farm’s terrain, some of which is rougher but yields eventually to around 70 acres of drier, free-draining land near Luce Beach, where the cattle can overwinter and enjoy summer grazing.
The Ramsays milk twice a day on a 22/22 herringbone parlour and their milk has been supplied to OMSCO for 20 years. They have recently adopted a paddock-grazing system which helps them manage their grass better. Alan says there is no quick fix in an organic system; you have to anticipate the farm’s needs six months in advance. Their new approach has enabled them to withstand the past two years’ dry summers, allowing them to graze more cattle on a smaller area and make more silage.