Grasslands are specialists in contract managing dairy farms on behalf of landowners. The Grasslands team operate across several counties and together they help to deliver reliable profitability through a professional yet personal approach.
There is considerable breadth and depth across the team. This ensures that the landowner receives a management service that covers everything from the day to day farming operations, right through to an office-based administration and qualified support team. Details regarding ‘who does what’ in the team can be found below.
If you are interested in joining our enthusiastic and dynamic team, head over to our careers page for more information and details of any job opportunities.
Andrew is one of the founders of Grasslands, having decided in the late 1990's that a considerable change to his dairy system was needed to establish a long-term future in the industry. This led him to exploring the benefits of extensive grassland systems, which had already been established in New Zealand and Ireland.
Subsequently, Andrew has travelled to New Zealand and Ireland. Aided by research from Teagasc and several Irish farmers, he has refined the system across the Grasslands business. Their successful results have allowed the business to develop and grow over the past decade.
As the business has grown, changes in management style were essential. Andrew has taken an interest in the lean management concept along with the management of people, ensuring the business remains profitable and sustainable. The first phase of this commenced in 2010 at Clive Hall as part of the North-West monitor farm programme, aiming to improve efficiency. Andrew will shortly be leading the next phase of lean management implementation in 2017, trying to further improve the performance and profitability and involving the whole team on each unit.
The Grasslands business, as well as looking at improved margin and sustainability, now has the capacity to increase the number of farms under this type of management.
Phil holds the tenancy to Clive Hall Farm, having taken over from his father in 1999. In 2007 he reviewed the returns from the farming system in place before considering his longer-term prospects in the dairy industry. This led him to entering into a 15-year Contract Farming Agreement with Grasslands.
Phil worked with Grasslands to adapt his farming system to the extensive grazing model, putting in place sleeper tracks, fencing and water troughs across the farm to allow access to the grass at the shoulders of the year.
Phil is perhaps one of our most experienced members of staff. He assists with the operations on several of the farms and coaches trainee managers entering the business. Phil has also worked closely with Andrew, and together they have been instrumental in implementing lean management practises into the day to day farming operations.
James graduated as top student from Harper Adams University with a 1st class honours degree in Agriculture. After finishing university, he completed a calving season in New Zealand and joined Grasslands upon his return in 2013. Here, James was enrolled on the trainee management scheme. He demonstrated his ability quickly and moved to the newest farm within Grasslands, Parkfields Farm.
When James moved to Parkfields Farm in January 2014, he was tasked with managing it through from the farm development phase into the operational phase, with a new herd comprising mostly heifers. James swiftly established himself, so when an opening for the position of manager on Grasslands’ biggest farm emerged 18 months later, he was more than ready for the challenge ahead. James is now responsible for 400 spring calving cows over 750 acres in Shropshire.
James has a keen interest in rugby and plays for Bridgnorth. James is also a member of the Tesco Future Farmer Foundation which helped develop a wider range of management skills.
Scott came to work for Grasslands when they took over the management of a farm in Cheshire. As the herdsman there, Grasslands supported Scott in learning and adapting to the extensive grazing system that was implemented. He subsequently took over the management of Marlheath Farm, Cheshire.
Scott now manages 330 cows on an autumn block calving herd. Scott travelled to New Zealand with his family in 2014 to develop both his interests in the system and have a well deserved holiday.
Scott enjoys spending time in his caravan with his wife and daughter on his weekends off.
Will joined Grasslands in January 2012 as a Trainee Farm Manager, progressing quickly through the Grasslands training programme. Within 6 months of joining Grasslands, Will was promoted to Farm manager and moved to Cholmondeston Hall in Nantwich, Cheshire. Conversion of this farm started in 2011 and it now has a herd of 420 cows operating on a split autumn and spring block calving system. It also has a modern parlour and an excellent network of tracks and infrastructure. Will has gained experience of Grasslands’ system, combined with his degree from Harper Adams, standing him in good stead for his management role within the business.
With an ever-increasing number of young stock being reared to aid the expansion of the business, the need to appoint a dedicated manager for this enterprise was identified.
Jess had been working with several managers on a relief basis for some time, after finishing her BSc Hons Degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare. The business firmly felt that Jess held many of the qualities needed for the role of young stock manager, which she took up in the spring of 2012.
Part of Jess’ role involves monitoring the live weight gains of all the heifers incorporating research from Teagasc, planning feed, synchronisation of bulling animals and recording of all their physical movements between units. She also manages the three young stock platforms with the help of two assistants. More recently, Jess has been responsible for the implementation of vaccination protocols and general control of disease within the herds, with specific focus on TB management and planning.
Alongside a busy working schedule, Jess also has a passion for sheep farming and is developing her own flock with partner Andy.
Alec started with Grasslands in 2013 where he worked with Phil Asbury at Clive Hall Farm. Alec quickly demonstrated his ability working with a grassland system, taking more responsibility for day to day decisions and planning to the point that he now manages Clive Hall. Alec runs 215 spring calving cows over 70ha. He has also recently completed the Entrepreneurs in Dairying Course supported through Grasslands and continues to establish himself within the business.
John started with Grasslands in 2012 having studied at Reaseheath, where he enrolled on the trainee manager scheme with Will Gill at Cholmondeston Hall. John remained at Cholmondeston Hall for 3 years where he thoroughly developed his skills and ability. John was then promoted to Parkfields Farm in the summer of 2015 taking over from James Yeomans. John is the farm manager and is responsible for 300 spring calving cows over 250 acres.
David is a former partner within the business who farmed at the family farm, Lower Key Green, in Bosley, Cheshire. He lives there with his family. David’s home farm makes up one of the current youngstock platforms.
David now largely overseas the financial function within the group, however you will still find him getting stuck in with the condition and mobility scoring.