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Ayrshire: Low Ballees - Strategic Dairy Farm Launch

Low Ballees Farm, West Kilbride, Ayrshire. KA23 9PG

Join us for an on-farm meeting to launch our new Scottish Strategic Dairy Farm, Low Ballees, owned and run by David Campbell and his family.

This will the first Strategic Dairy Farm with the focus on environment to be launched in the UK. 

Our hosts David and Tom Campbell will take us on a tour of their farm and provide an overview of its background, operations and their ambitions moving forward.

There will be four stations to visit on the day:

Station 1 - Milking cows – herd performance and nutrition
Station 2 - Wetland and crop walk
Station 3 - Lagoon
Station 4 - Woodland and waterways

We will also look at the farm’s technical performance against the AHDB all year round Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), as well as hearing about the steps they have already taken to reduce their carbon footprint, and their long-term vision for the business.

The family have been continually working on their business to optimise their performance, while setting targets and driving progress to ensure they are sustainable for the future. 

David and Tom will take a critical look at three identified focus areas which will help understand how they can improve the environmental footprint of the business:

  • Maximising the cow and heifer performance
  • Making the most of expansion opportunities
  • Increasing profitability in the dairy unit

 To book: Ayrshire: Low Ballees - Strategic Dairy Farm Launch | AHDB

About Low Ballees Farm 

David Campbell is the most recent recruit to join the AHDB Strategic Dairy Farm programme, however this farm will be the first in the programme to have more of a focus on the work in progress to improve their environmental carbon footprint.

Low Ballees is located near West Kilbride, Ayrshire in South West of Scotland, where the Campbell family have been farming for 95 years. 

The farm is managed by David and Tom Campbell who operate a progressive indoor dairy unit with complementary zero grazing and cropping components. 

The farm houses a total of 230 dairy cows including the milking herd and youngstock replacements. Around 130 Holstein/Friesian type cattle are housed in the milking shed and milked on a robotic system that is supported by zero grazing cutting of forage, production of silage, wholecrop cereals and barley.  The cows calve all year round and are fully housed.  The average yield is around 11,000 litres.  Sexed semen is used to provide replacement heifers totalling around 90 which are reared on farm with a view to future expansion, while beef calves are sold aged between 5 and 14 months of age depending on the market drivers throughout the year.  Replacements, once in-calf, and far off dry cows currently graze during the summer months.  Age at first calving is averaging 24 months.

The farm extends to 125 ha with over 13 ha of woodland and 1.3 ha of deep peat that also allows them to sequester carbon.

Slurry is stored in a new 4500 m3 lined lagoon, constructed in 2018, away from the steading, a 900m3 above the ground steel tower and 300 m3 underground tank, allowing a more efficient use of the organic materials. Dirty water is managed through a recently installed constructed farm wetland with clean water being channelled directly to the nearby water course, providing habitat for birds and waterfowl and enables water to be returned to the environment. 

Milking cows are housed in a newly built portal framed building adjoining an existing cubicle shed.  135 cubicles are fitted with mats and sawdust is used for bedding.  The newer part of the building is well ventilated with a light ridge and open sidewalls protected by automatic curtains, providing a very comfortable environment for the cows.