Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer Of The Year

Congratulations to Neville & Sue Loder who were awarded the coveted Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of The Year 2017.

The 2008 South West Dairy Farmers of the Year winners, from Sherborne, Dorset, eclipsed their previous success nine years later to the day when they won the top accolade in early October.

The Loders have been clients of the Farm Consultancy Group since they started farming 17 years ago initially with the help of Caroline Taylor and in the last 12 years with Gerard Finnan.

The Loders have changed and adapted their dairy farming system over the years from very humble beginnings.  The secret to their success has been a combination of teamwork, tenacity, taking calculated and informed risks, learning from their peers through discussion groups, simplifying their business and a focus on clear objectives to generate profits to secure their future.  They still budget and plan their business today like they did when they started farming.

Neville commented ‘Investing in the consultancy service from Caroline and Gerard has enabled us to take control of our business by helping us forward plan and budget.  They filled some of the skills we were lacking in our business.  They have given us confidence in our decision making, which meant we have taken bigger and bolder decisions, which has sped up our business growth with minimal risk.  Having Gerard at the end of the phone to share a problem and provide constructive practical solutions is important to us.’

Gerard commented that ‘It is very fitting that a dairy farm of national average output, that started up 17 years ago has won this award in a year of rock bottom milk prices (to March 2017).  It should give hope to all those smaller dairy farmers struggling to cope with volatility in the industry. The message I take is that it doesn’t require lots of increased output to improve profitability and make a living from a well-managed dairy farm.  Maybe if less milk was produced the milk price would be higher on average!’

For more information, please contact Gerard at

Posted in Business Management, Dairy & Forage, Gillingham Grazers, Midwest Grazers, Sherborne.