A third generation dairy farmer has increased profitability and sustainability while also significantly reducing the carbon footprint of his farm in Pembrokeshire.

“Many farmers think these goals are incompatible, but they all complement each other,” says Jeff Wheeler.

Thanks to specialist mentoring advice and subsidised training from Farming Connect, Jeff and his wife Sarah, a retired vet, have made significant progress at their 230-acre holding.

They are now offsetting carbon emissions from the farm through a combination of active woodland management, animal health planning and a significantly improved grazing management strategy.

“It’s a multi-targeted approach which is getting fantastic results while also protecting the environment.”

The farm includes a 40 acre broadleaf woodland site of mainly oak, ash and beech.

Untouched for decades, Farming Connect woodland mentor Neil Stoddard has helped Jeff transform this previously deteriorating asset into a flourishing woodland which now earns far more than its keep, with profits tax-free.

The remedial works undertaken will have long-lasting benefits, particularly for the cows who walk along improved, well-kept tracks, reducing the risk of lameness and other ailments associated with stock traversing through poor habitat.

It’s over six years since Jeff and Sarah replaced the family’s pedigree Holstein herd with 150 crossbred cows which now produce approximately one million litres of high quality milk a year, sold for cheese-making to First Milk.

“Crossbreds produce a hardier cow which tend to be smaller and healthier which means they are out for a longer grazing season; they produce less mess and methane and generally need less antibiotics than many other breeds.”

Jeff and Sarah have also undertaken numerous subsidised Farming Connect training courses including foot trimming, cattle lameness, animal husbandry and grazing management.

For the full story on how Jeff and Sarah have transformed their dairy farm business, visit gov.wales/farmingconnect