Brian & Chris Dodd, Lower Lightwood Green Farm, Audlem, Cheshire
Chris Dodd is the third generation of his family to farm at Lower Lightwood Green, near Audlem in south Cheshire, and says dairy is in the blood. “My Grandad bought this farm,” he says, “my Dad’s had it and I’m hoping to pass it down. It’s always been dairy – it’s what we’re happy doing, we know what we’re doing and it’s what we always have done. Our motto is that we look after our cows and they’ll look after us.”
“Things haven’t always been easy,” he says, “but working with Booths has made the future more certain. There’s been a lot of ups and downs and last year we really struggled, but I hope to build the farm up and keep going. If we weren’t a member of the Booths Milk group we wouldn’t be able to move forward. It’s looking a lot better.”
With a new milking parlour and shed, the Dodds are investing in looking after their 260 milking cows and the same number of young stock, the approach Chris has learned from his dad is simple. “We’re not producing massive amounts of milk, but we make it the best quality we can.”
Cheshire doesn’t have the geographic drama of the other three counties (Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire) where our other family farmers produce milk, but Chris is happy there all the same. “Cheshire’s a good grass growing area and it’s lovely and flat. In the summer it’s nice to see the cows out in the sunshine, and it’s nice to work in it – it’s colder further north!”
Q: How is the milk is processed?
A: The milk in our cartons is purchased from Muller Wiseman who collects, pasteurises and bottles the milk from their site in Trafford. Our nominated farmers for our milk supply to this site. The milk is consolidated into bulk tanks at Muller Wisemans with other farmers’ milk, this is then bottled into our Booths British Milk containers.
Q: Why is the milk from the farms not separated?
A: If we were to segregate the milk, this would result in increased Co2 emissions and increased production costs, thus eliminating the ability to pay a great price to farmers without increasing retail prices for the customer. Distribution from just this specific group of farmers would not only be cost prohibitive but not environmentally sound. The fluctuations in demand and supply throughout the seasons are complex and this system enables Booths to guarantee that our farmers can receive the highest price and maintain availability.
For every litre sold in a Booths store over another supermarket, the farmer receives a higher price.