Two of the island’s dairy farmers have emerged as the cream of the crop, producing the best quality milk supplied to Pine Hill Diary (PHD) during the fourth quarter of 2015.
Barry Bishop of Bishop’s Farm and Paul Davis of Walker’s Dairy rose to the top today as they were rewarded for their efforts with plaques and prizes at a short ceremony at PHD’s headquarters in The Pine, St Michael.
Bishop, who was also the overall winner for 2015, produces nine per cent of PHD’s total milk intake.
“I try to put my best into it along with my workers. We make sure that we keep the cows well fed, and we make sure our sanitation practices are number one,” the soft-spoken farmer said.
Like most farmers here, last year’s drought posed a few challenges, but Bishop said he found a way to endure.
“The drought has been severe in a sense but I try to weather it by purchasing grass from farmers who have excess, so I survive,” he stated.
Like Bishop, Davis also experienced challenges due to the drought. However, he said the dedication of his staff paid off.
“We are delighted. It’s a lot of hard work and the workers on the farm obviously have a lot to do with it. So without the workers it would not be possible. The drought has been making it difficult. Last year was probably the third lowest rainfall we had since 1992, so of course that impacts on us.
“We don’t have enough forest to feed the animals. I’ve had to reduce my herd size and I have had to go outside and cut grass and source from other places, which is not the same quality which I would like. Last year was also extremely hot so that added to it. The entire industry would have suffered low milk production because of the additional heat and the drought and so on,” he explained.
Davis said the competition for the best quality milk was intense but it forced them to keep high standards.
“Pine Hill Dairy plays a crucial role because they are the ones who are coming up with the awards and making the whole scheme function and it gives us something to aim for and so on. So we are delighted to be in that position.”