Andrew Addison (left) and herdsman John Trevakis
The Addison family from Spittalls Farm, Low Moor, Penrith, Cumbria
has made it through to the final of the prestigious National
Grassland Management Competition. Run annually by the British
Grassland Society, it is sponsored this year by farm supply companies
DLF Trifolium and Kemira GrowHow.
The contest sets out to find the livestock farmer who best demonstrates
excellence in the management of grass and forage crops, leading to profitable
and high quality production, whilst taking care of the land.
During the summer, competitions took place across the UK and seven regional
finalists were selected. From these a short list of three, including the
Addisons, was drawn up by a panel of expert judges to compete for the
Spittals Farm lies in the Eden Valley east of Penrith. The 163 hectares
(400 acres) is split by the busy A66. The system is evolving from a mixed
farm to an expanding dairy unit with currently 182 cows. The animals graze
the fields close to the buildings, while arable crops such as wheat, barley
and peas are grown across the road for feeding to the cows or selling
off the farm.
The aim is to have 200 high yielding cows, producing high quality milk
from as much home-grown feed as possible.
The Addison’s have invested in a new milking parlour and comfortable
winter housing for the cows. One redundant stable block is now being converted
into a conference centre.
Care for the environment is a high priority – old hedges are being
maintained and new ones planted, and a pond is being restored. The farm
will join the new ELS environmental stewardship scheme, which encourages
nature conservation. The family is also considering joining LEAF, an organisation
which champions farming techniques that enhance the countryside.
“There is great team effort on this farm,” said dairy farming
scientist Dr Dave Roberts, who chaired the BGS judging panel.
“The family and their employees have a clear idea of what they
are doing now, and where they want to be in the future. All are clearly
motivated by the work they do, and are also aware of the challenges and
opportunities they face. Congratulations to everyone at Spittalls Farm
for reaching the final.”
The climax of the competition comes at the BGS Winter Road Show ‘Making
Grass Pay’, to be held at Greenmount College, Antrim, on November
The three finalists will make a short presentation about their farms,
to an audience of farmers, advisors and researchers. The winner will then
be awarded the coveted Kemira Trophy and a cheque for £500.
the right dietary balance to avoid SARA
MDC Officer for Eastern England