Robots are being used to milk cows on a Pulborough farm - and they’ve led to a top award for farmer Charlie Hughes.
Charlie, who runs Southview Farm and Charlie’s Farm Shop in Pulborough - in partnership with his wife and mother - beat off competition from around the UK to win the Dairy Efficiency category of the inaugural ForFarmers Excellence in Farming Awards.
Charlie’s use of technology on the farm was one of the reasons for his win. Milking and feeding are two of the most time-consuming jobs on a dairy farm, but Charlie has invested in gadgets to lighten the load and increase efficiency.
His 120 cows are milked by two robots and in the yard automatic grazing gates and a robotic feed pusher work together to ensure the dairy cows can access the fields to graze and have access to additional feed in the barn.
Automating some parts of the business has allowed Charlie to concentrate on other areas where he can make a difference or add value. He also processes the milk from his cows to produce pasteurised milk to sell locally, as well as natural yogurt and ice cream to sell in his on-site farm shop.
The shop, which has its own butchery, is filled with meat and dairy produce produced on the farm, and Charlie also sources additional meat, seasonal fruit and veg as well as wines and spirits from local producers wherever possible.