“Animal welfare plays an important part in our farming business. Our ethos is based on the five freedoms... Freedom from: hunger and thirst, from discomfort, from pain, injury or disease, from fear and distress and freedom to express normal behaviour.”
Alvis Family Farming
The Alvis Family Farms are home to 1,000 dairy cows, 250 of which are organic. Each cow produces about 7,000 litres of rich milk annually, supplying the cheese dairy with just over 7 million litres of fresh milk to be made into traditional farmhouse cheese. Our cows graze the lush fields through summer and are housed in winter.
As well as dairy cows there is a herd of beef cattle supplying top quality meat to our farm shop. Our pigs are fed on nutritious whey, a by-product of the cheese dairy.
We grow cereal and arable including wheat, barley, oats, oilseed rape and maize, some of which is fed to our own stock and some sold. All this helps us decrease our carbon footprint.
In addition, the farms have areas of land that aren’t quite good enough for producing food so we have planted them with thousands of native trees including oak, field maple and alder, to further help balance our carbon footprint.
The stockmanship for all animals is based on the RSPCA’s Five Freedoms which underpins all we do with our livestock:-
• Freedom from hunger and thirst
The Alvis Family practice two different methods of farming – organic and non organic. If managed properly both are sustainable, don’t damage the environment and we are able to feed the population according to the consumers preference. Both aim to maintain the long-term fertility of the soil and reduce the use of the Earth's finite resources. Each system under Alvis management aim to protect and value wildlife and the environment by encouraging diverse habitat and the utilisation of animal manure and by crop rotation. Done properly, both provide wholesome nutritious food without damaging the environment.
It has long been realised by the Alvis Family that to maintain a vibrant flora and fauna we only need to apply resources that will be taken up by the growing crop. To that end, whether organic or conventional, all potential inputs are carefully assessed as to whether they really are needed and if so how much. This approach allied to maximum use of natural resources, ensures all Alvis farm activities are in harmony with the natural surroundings and production is sustainable.
Conservation activity has included the planting of over 12,000 trees and numerous hedgerows over the last fifteen years; the creation and renovation of ponds and waterways; the creation of wildlife corridors around arable fields and over 30ha’s of wild flower meadows. This is partly as a consequence of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme on one farm, and on the others our own particular interests in maintaining some of the most beautiful areas in the country.