The government guidance on social distancing during the Covid-19 outbreak is clear, but achieving it in a milking parlour while caring for hundreds of dairy cows can bring its own challenges.
At Clinton Dairy in East Devon, the team have successfully adapted their entire milking operation to ensure they can follow all of the essential guidelines, while keeping up with growing demand.
The dairy is run by the Clinton Devon Farms Partnership (CDFP), a Clinton Devon Estates farming business, which manages two organic dairy farms, Otter farm and Dalditch farm. Across the two sites, a herd of 750 cows graze locally.
Farms Manager Sam Briant-Evans explains: “We have essentially had to split the milking parlour in half, with one member of the team at the very front and one at the back. Each will look after a section of the parlour, wiping the cows clean and putting the milking units on them as they come in. We do this twice a day and although this is different to how we normally do things, the team have adapted very well to it.”
The dairy supplies milk to the firm Muller, producing 5.4million litres of milk each year. It also runs a 24/7 fresh milk vending machine at the nearby Otterton Mill visitor centre.
Sam continued: “At the end of the day we are very lucky in that we are still selling our milk and as long as we are adhering to the guidelines, can carry on pretty much business as usual. We don’t have the option to work from home, the cows still need to be fed and milked, so we have to change the way we do things in order to continue to operate and get through this really difficult time.”
Read more about how Clinton Dairy is keeping up with demand during the coronavirus crisis here.