The Crickmore Cows
Jonathan Crickmore now provides marybelle Dairy with milk from his herd at Fen Farm on Stow Fen. The farm has been in his family since the 60s and is going from strength to strength. Jonathan recently won Runner Up in the 2009 Dairy Farmer of the Future Competition. See the Farmers Gaurdian site for more details.
The Dairy herd began in the 1960s by my uncle Richard Cook at Fen Farm with his wife Joy Crickmore of which they had about 25 cows and about 30 acres and a couple of barns which they stored hay and straw, The cows lived outside all year round and were milked in stalls by some of those bucket type milking machines. Johnathan's father lost his father at a young age and spent most of his time at Johnathan's uncle and aunts farm. In 1981 Jonathan's uncle died and his father and aunt ran the business. Jonathan left school in 1996 and started or continued(?) work from then on. They have gradually built the business up and now farm over 850 acres and have a 220 milking herd and around 450 beef cattle.
The cows graze on historic Stow Fen in between Flixton and Earsham, of which there is a foot path which crosses the Fen so people can always pass and look at the herd so they can see what fantastic cows there milk is coming from!!
In winter the cows live in straw yards and have all modern buildings with good ventilation we now have tiled feed mangers which give cows a cleaner surface to eat off. They eat a mixed ration of maize silage, grass silage, fodder beet, chopped straw, rolled wheat all of which have been grown on the land plus brewers grains, molasses, rape meal, Soya, sugar beet nuts and minerals which we buy in.
The calves are now reared in calf hutches, which leaves a happy healthy calf.
We have a 4 year old 20/20 herringbone parlour with cow mats for comfort on the feet and the cows take roughly 2- 2.5 hours to milk twice a day with 12 hour intervals.
All the beef is slaughtered at Earsham and the meat is sold to Bramfield Meats so the beef hasn't travelled far before it reaches the consumer either.
They have 4 staff, Graham, Oliver, Kevin and Johnanthan himself. With help on nutrition from Rodney Allen and health from Mike Bardsley at Three Rivers Vets.