The history of the farm
Hardisworthy Farm is a 170 acre dairy farm situated on the North Devon coastline in the beautiful, picturesque area of Hartland. The farm is run by Gareth Tape, the fourth generation of Tapes to farm there since his grandfather bought the farm in the 1960’s.
Gareth took over the farm a couple of years ago when his father Les, who was running it at the time, was nearing retirement. It was then up to Gareth to decide what he wanted the long term future of the farm to be. At 32 years old, Gareth made the big decision to switch to robotic milking and they haven’t looked back since.
Why Robotic Milking?
The decision to install robotic milkers was influenced by Gareth’s passion for working with dairy cows and his belief that the farm had huge long term potential that it currently wasn’t fulfilling. This investment and installation of a fully robotic milking system has now set the farm up for the next 25 years.
Throughout the two year project both Gareth and his father Les spent time visiting other farms with robotic milking systems to learn as much as they could, this included a trip to Holland. It is this depth of research and experience that has helped Gareth to design a custom, purpose built system, which they consider to be the best possible.
The building part of the project was a very difficult and stressful time for the family. It took place during the winter of 2014, the wettest since records began, but this didn’t deter the family, and in August 2014, they launched the robotic milking system.
Reaping the benefits of their investment
Since the launch of the new milking system the farm has seen some phenomenal benefits, these include:
- Cutting labour time dramatically from 8/9 hours a day for both Les and Gareth, to 3-3.5 hours per day
- Much healthier and relaxed cows as the system is fully automatic. This means the cows can be milked when they choose.
- An increase in milking capacity. Gareth believes it has increased by 15/20% which will be a big income boost to the family run business.
Gareth estimates that in 12 months’ time he should start seeing a saving of £25,000 a year.
A helping hand from Cornish Mutual
The Tape family have been insured with Cornish Mutual since the early 1970’s and we played an important role in the project. Investing significantly in the farms infrastructure meant that the farm’s sums insured needed to change to ensure they had the correct level of cover in place.
As well as insurance to cover the new machinery and buildings, the Tapes have also taken out increased cost of working cover under Farm Insurance Policy. This means that if the dairy suffered loss or damage due to a storm or flood then the increased cost continuing to run the business would be covered.
Les says ““Our main benefit of insuring with Cornish Mutual is having peace of mind and the personal contact so we can get things sorted out when we need it. One of the unique benefits of Cornish Mutual is the fleet policy we have for farm vehicles as we find very flexible.
The Tape’s have covered all of their insurance needs with Cornish Mutual including home, personal accident, agricultural motor fleet and farm insurance.
Les comments “Cornish Mutual have been visiting us for over 20 years. We see them at least once a year and we feel well looked after. It is nice having their face to face contact and very good service. We have been very pleased with Cornish Mutual over the years. They have always been very good with claims, straightforward and quick.”