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LESWIDDEN,
NOT LAND’S END
The china clay mine at
Leswidden (meaning
‘white mud’) opened
towards the end of
the 19
th
Century. It
was closed in the
1930’s but many pan
kiln chimneys remain
and the complicated
network of narrow
lanes built for the
pits, and to confuse
satnav systems, now
surround more hidden
treasure; Leswidden
Holsteins. Alison
Maddrell reports
A
lovely area of grassland rising to 400 feet above sea level just seven
friendly surface. The cows are
miles from Land’s End, Leswidden Farm sustains 100 cows and 90 fol-
buffer fed with a basic TMR of
lowers on 125 acres and is run by the Dauncey family; Tom, Caroline and grass silage, Trafford Gold, a
their five children, Liz (22), Tom Jnr (20), Rebecca (18), Joss (13) and Alfie blend and molasses. However
(10). Although Liz and Tom Jnr now live and work away from home, Liz still this is more scientific than it
milks occasionally and Rebecca helps their parents cover the majority of seems as Tom has developed his
the shifts with Joss and Alfie happy to feed calves. The only outside help is own rationing and management
young Simon Hollow who started in January and is responsible for feeding programme using Microsoft Excel
and the yard work, although contractors are used for silaging and slurry and, after increasing ration levels
spreading. to compensate for cutting out
20 years of quietly developing a number of homebred families has resulted parlour fed concentrates, yield
in an absolute gem of a herd full of powerful but dairy multiple EX older went up. The effective use of
cows and well put together, good uddered youngsters. Originally Tom grass is a benefit this year as a
farmed with his father and brother in North Cornwall, but as time went on total overhaul of the facilities is
it became clear that the farm wasn’t big enough. When Leswidden Farm planned. The 35 year old 12/12
became available in West Cornwall, it was bought jointly by the brothers, Somerset parlour and cubicles as
with subsequent transferral to Tom leaving ownership of the home farm to well as an old lean-to currently
his brother. Tom also brought the original Crossgate prefix to West Cornwall, housing weaned calves are
which was changed to Leswidden in 2004. being replaced with one single
A herd average of over 9,700 litres at 3.8% butterfat and 3.2% protein is roofed building covering the
achieved through a simple, economical feeding model with grazing as the entire yard. It is not obvious
focus for eight or nine months of the year. A 21 day rotational paddock that everything was installed
system is employed with dry cows and in-calf heifers cleaning up after the in 1974 as the cubicles, bedded
milkers who are given access to fresh grass every day and new tracks were with sand for the last 15 years
laid two years ago utilising the local ‘rab’ (decomposed granite), a very foot and parlour, whilst rather small,
40 THE JOURNAL JUNE 2009
e3-09 Leswidden.indd 2 27/05/2009 08:12:26
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