Bristol Dairy Farm invests in sustainable technology

Bristol-based, Bickfield Farm is set to double productivity after investing in sustainable technology, using £785,000 of funding.

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Read time: 3 mins      Added: 20/07/2021

Located in the heart of Chew Valley, the third-generation farm produces milk exclusively for The Estate Dairy – a luxury dairy manufacturer that distributes milk to high-end restaurants and cafés across London and Oxford.

Funding will be used to implement a new milking parlour to improve production and modernise the milking process. The state-of-the-art technology will increase the farm’s milking capacity while reducing the overall running time, allowing 50 per cent more cows to be milked during any given period. 

Investing in the new milking parlour supports the farm’s long-term sustainability commitment. The milking process currently accounts for 60 per cent of the farm’s total electricity usage, and by reducing the running time, the business will achieve a 30 per cent energy saving. What’s more, heat generated from the new technology will pass through a heat exchange system and be used to pre-heat water to support the farm’s cleaning process.

Bickfield farm image

The finance package comes via Lloyds Bank’s Clean Growth Finance Initiative, which provides discounted funding to help businesses transition to a lower carbon, more sustainable future.

Philip Durbin, who runs the farm with his father Maurice, said: “In recent years, there has been a growing demand for high-quality local dairy produce from across the region. Investing in our new milking parlour will allow us to continue to deliver the very best produce more efficiently.

“Becoming more sustainable remains a key priority for the farm and we’re constantly thinking of ways to reduce waste and become energy-efficient. From installing LED lighting to powering the parlour through an on-site solar array during sunny days, we’re committed to lowering our environmental impact.”

Philip’s grandparents moved to Bickfield in August 1930 and his father took over the farm’s operations in 1975. Since then, the farm has increased its herd to more than 330 cows across 185 hectares. The new milking parlour is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

Victoria Crisp, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, added: “Every industry is under pressure to improve sustainable practices, and with agricultural land making up 70 per cent of UK’s land area, farming has a particularly crucial role to play.

“Our Clean Growth Finance Initiative is designed to support businesses with their environmental and sustainability goals. The new milking parlour at Bickfield Farm will not only improve efficiency and production levels but allow Philip and the team to operate more sustainably.”

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