Morrisons proudly sponsored the Farmers Guardian ‘Beef Innovator of the Year’ at the British Farming Awards. Joe Mannion, Head of Livestock Procurement, presented the award to Neil Rowe, who impressed the judges with his awareness of animal welfare by
using multiple innovations.
Farm Manager for W. Cumber and Sons of Manor Farm, Oxfordshire, Neil introduced stabilisers to the farm with the aim of developing an efficient beef suckler herd, as well as designing and building
a new beef unit on a greenfield site.
Animal welfare was at the forefront of the project with the end result to be to reduce the use of antibiotics. The building was designed to control air flow with a large open roof ridge and fans
which sucks the air in and blows it back out. Extended day light technology is also in place and minerals and trace elements are added to the water, 70% of which is harvested from the roof. The building also
includes a bespoke handling system, loading bay and an outward facing feed fence.
There is now no prophylactic use of antibiotics
and antibiotic treatments for the 150-cow herd, plus the followers are now close to zero. The focus on animal welfare in the design has led to the end result of reduced animal stress and improved the health
of the herd. Creating a design which also has low labour requirements has allowed Neil to spend time away from the farm doing independent consultancy work. In the future Neil hopes to include thermal imaging
cameras within the beef unit to pick out ill animals and poor performers.
Finished males from the herd are sold to Morrisons, through the Beef Improvement Group, while the heifers not retained within the herd are sold as bulling heifers for breeding.