A group of Asda dairy cows are enjoying the services of their very own butler – which might make them the most pampered farm animals in Britain.

The royal treatment comes courtesy of a robot servant – aptly named the ‘Butler’ – employed by Asda DairyLink farmer John Jamieson to feed the 250 cows on his farm in Annan, Scotland.

We believe John is the first farmer in the UK to feed his cows with the help of a robot, which has been nicknamed ‘Hudson’ after the character portrayed by Gordon Jackson in the 1970s drama Upstairs, Downstairs.

According to John: “The cows love it.” There is always a fresh supply of feed which means that they don’t have to compete to get to it first. “The cows have become more relaxed and even produce more milk – a sure sign that they are in top condition.”

John believes that making the feed look attractive is important. “Just like us, cows like their food to look appetising. The ‘Butler’ does a great job of presenting the feed really well and the cows eat better and stay healthier as a result,” he says.

A typical meal for John’s cows consists of a main course of silage – preserved grass – mixed with the all-important garnish, a sprinkle of nutrient rich ‘cow cake’.

Photograph courtesy of George Carrick

Posted by Pearce on 05 October 2010

As many of you will be well aware the weather this year hasn’t been great, first we had the cold winter which lingered on into spring, then it was very hot and dry and now it’s been very wet for several weeks.

This combination of weather has made things hard for many of our farmers, and particularly our dairy farmers many of whom haven’t been able to make as much winter feed as they usually would for their cattle. Added to this a drought in Russia and eastern Europe has meant that the price of grain has rocketed too.

All of this means it is likely to be an expensive winter for our dairy farmers as they will have to buy more expensive feed for their cows. Because of that, this week we’ve increased the price we’re paying to dairy farmers who supply Asda through milk processor Arla.

In fact we’ve added another 0.5p a litre to the premium we pay these farmers, taking the Asda milk premium to 1.75p a litre above the Arla standard litre price. Although 1.75p a litre might not sound a lot, it actually equates to an additional £21,000 per year for the average 1.2 million litre milk producing Asda DairyLink farmer. This means that dairy farmers supplying Asda will be better able to afford winter feed for their cows and they’ll still be around to supply fresh milk for you in years to come.

Posted by Pearce on 06 October 2010

The latest winner is Graham Worsey, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, who was named the winner of the 2010 Dairy Farmer of the Future competition, at this year’s Dairy Event and Livestock Show at the NEC, Birmingham.

Winning the award is a real mark of Graham’s commitment to dairying and farming in a sustainable way which works with the local environment and maximises cow health and welfare. All things we at Asda encourage all our DairyLink farmers to do.

Graham impressed all the judges with his determination, professionalism and commitment to the dairy industry after starting his own enterprise from scratch in 1998 at Rough Grounds Farm.

Having been selected as one of the four finalists I’m really delighted Graham won the top award and it’s great to have another Asda DairyLink farmer being recognised for the excellent way he farms.

Click here to see Graham being interviewed by Joanne Pugh from the Farmers Guardian.

Posted by Pearce on 01 October 2010