Farm Worker of the Year
Sponsored by ABN
Recognising the individuals who go the extra mile to ensure the farm business runs efficiently and effectively.
Murray Craig, Blair Farming, Swindale Foot Farm, Cumbria
With a lot of responsibility on his young shoulders, Murray Craig has been with Swindale Foot Farm for four years. Allowing the owners to expand onto another unit, he manages and shepherds 800 Swale and North Country Hill Cheviot ewes across 9,000 acres within the hills of the Eden Valley. He also leads the shearing on the sites and travels to New Zealand each year when the sheep are wintered away and helps co-manage the expanding beef herd. Murray’s focus on shearing and fencing has enabled his employer to reinvest back into the business and his hill farm upbringing, coupled with learnings from his travels, has brought changes into the feeding and grazing routines. Murray also rents some land within the business to develop his own foothold as part of a share-farming agreement with the owners.
Paul Evans, J.A. Griffiths, Aberbrwynen Farm, Ceredigion
With the owners building up a second farm, Paul is responsible for the daily management of the 120-strong Holstein herd, grassland management and recruitment of staff as and when needed. Positive improvements to herd health, fertility and yields have driven performance since he joined three years ago. Improving yields, he has increased cow averages from 6,400 litres to 8,200 and introduced the Jersey breed to increase butterfat and protein which has helped to achieve a better milk price. A change in breeding and feeding regimes has seen fertility rates increase from 18.5 per cent to 29 per cent and improved silage has helped reduce feed costs. Paul regular attends training meetings with the farm’s vets, processors and Farming Connect.
Shaun McKay, J.R. & M.C. Downes and Son, Shropshire
Herd manager Shaun Mckay is responsible for a 260-cow organic dairy unit, which operates twice-a-day milking from a spring calving and paddock grazing system. After the introduction of sexed semen into the herd, he worked closely with the AI technician to double the number of pregnancies, which was further complemented by his complete renovation of the cow tracks, which has drastically reduced lameness. Working hard to improve staff morale through designating individual responsibility, Shaun also welcomes and supports students from Harper Adams University each year for an inclusive team approach. A keen advocate of upskilling where possible he organises internal staff training courses and is proactive in completing his own portfolio of practical qualifications.
Andrew Moss, Park Corner Farms, Gloucestershire
Following the sudden death of his manager who he worked for, Andrew immediately took on extra responsibility and decision-making of the tenant farm and coped admirably under significant pressure. As the sole employee on-farm, key responsibilities on the 950-acre organic mixed farm include managing the grass-based suckler herd which he has changed to spring and autumn calving and undertaking all arable field operations, both of which have improved system efficiencies. Andrew, who has worked with the family for 12 years, also managed the harvest and cropping regimes last year, selecting fat cattle for Dovecote Park and maintaining and updating all farm administration work.