In-house harvesting at D N Laker Farms: Quality control

Gradual expansion of D N Laker’s farming operation from Bregsells Farm, near Dorking, Surrey, has seen the family business recently push its mixed farming operation beyond 850ha with the help of several contract farming agreements. It is an enterprise that is structured around two dairy herds totalling 500 cows, but located on separate units just four miles apart. The family’s dairy operation is supported by a 140ha maize crop and 300ha of combinable crops to complement 404ha of grass that is grown to net a considerable quantity of silage and hay. “For us, it’s all about the cows, and what we can do to encourage greater milk yields, fertility and animal health,” says Richard Laker, who runs the operation with his father, Daniel. “And that means an extensive arable rotation to help maximise grass and maize yields, but also to produce straw for our livestock.”

In pursuit of high quality forage, a Surrey-based mixed farming outfit has geared itself up to be self-sufficient when it comes to machinery and equipment, giving it full control of silage and cereal harvesting operations to fit in around the business's 500-cow dairy herd