Berkeley Farm Dairy is owned and run by the Gosling family who have been producing and supplying Guernsey milk since 1908.The latest generation in Ed and his wife, Kathryne are now taking on the business from Ed’s parents Chris & Nick.
All their organic Guernsey milk is produced at Wood Farm, a 350 acre mixed arable and livestock farm. They have 120 Guernsey cows producing milk and 60 young stock waiting to enter the herd when they reach 2 years of age.
They operate a system that aims to maximize animal welfare and freedom. The cows are kept outside grazing grass during the spring, summer and autumn and are generally only kept inside when it is too cold or too wet which is when they choose to be inside. During the winter, all the cows are bedded on a deep litter straw system which allows them the freedom to carry out natural behaviour which is not always possible with more conventional cubicle systems. Their cows are not pushed too hard to produce milk and have lived up to 16 years of age.
As an organic farm, they only use antibiotics and hormones when absolutely necessary rather than routinely as with some conventional systems. In the even that they do use antibiotics, the milk from the cow must be kept from human consumption for double the time allowed in conventional farming. Homeopathy has often been a worthy replacement for more conventional medicine. They take organic farming principles very seriously.
A large proportion of the concentrate feeds (e.g wheat) fed to the cows are grown on the farm. They do not use chemical sprays or inorganic fertilisers. Instead they manage weeds and diseases using traditional crop rotations and fertilise the soil with animal manures and nitrogen from clovers and other legumes.
The farm has now been organic for over 15 years and the difference in wildlife, in particularly in the soil, is significant.