Carpenters Farm, Wiltshire

Published 12 December 18

Joe Carter Low ResCarpenters Farm is managed by Joe Carter in partnership with his parents. The farm’s herd is made up of 290 Holsteins which are fully housed and milked twice a day, producing just over 11,000 litres on average. The land extends to 134 hectares split between grass and maize.

Speaking about why he wanted to get involved with the programme, Joe said: “I’m keen to get involved with the strategic farm project to learn from farms who run similar systems as well as showcasing what we do here.”

The health, welfare and comfort of his cows is paramount for Joe and he believes this contributes to their good performance and longevity as he explains:

“We avoid hard transitions between cow groups to avoid dominant behaviour causing stress and subsequent milk drop. There is a heifer and subordinate cow group which is housed separately from the rest of the herd.

“Cow Signals have helped us maximise the effectiveness of our older buildings and transition cows are kept in groups limited to a maximum of 12 with the whole group being integrated into the main herd at the appropriate time.”

Over the next three to five years, Joe aims to increase cow and heifer numbers along with genetics to improve cow welfare and efficiency further still.

Key Performance Indicators

Dairy enterprise KPIs Good performance  Average performance  Poor performance  Carpenters Farm 

Pregnancy rate (%)

>20  13  21 
 Age at first calving (months)  24 27  >30  25 
 Total feed costs (ppl)  <8 >10  9.2 
 Average daily lifetime yield (litres/day) >13.6  11.8  <9.8  17.2 
Overheads as a proportion of income (%)  <30  40 >50  39 
Genetic merit  <25  25 - 75 >75  25 


Business financial measures Good performance Average performance Poor performance Carpenters Farm
Income (output) retained (%) >20  11 
Return on tenants capital (%)  >20 <0  10 
Full economic costs of production (ppl) <25  28.5  >32  30.9 

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