An East Devon dairy caring for hundreds of cows has risen to the challenge of social distancing during the coronavirus crisis by splitting its milking parlour in half.
The Clinton Dairy, with two organic sites at Otter Farm and Dalditch Farm grazing 750 cows, has adapted its entire milking operation so staff can follow the Government’s guidelines while also keeping up with the growing demand from customers.
The team at the dairy, run by the Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, has been working around the clock to make sure organic milk supplies continue.
Sam Briant-Evans, farms manager, said: “We have essentially had to split the milking parlour in half, with one member of the team at the very front and one at the back.
“Each will look after a section of the parlour, wiping the cows clean and putting the milking units on them as they come in. We do this twice a day and although this is different to how we normally do things, the team have adapted very well to it.”
The dairy produces 5.4million litres of milk each year and supplies its product to Muller.
In addition, it has a round-the-clock milk vending machine at Otteron Mill’s visitor centre.
Sam said: “At the end of the day we are very lucky in that we are still selling our milk and as long as we are adhering to the guidelines, can carry on pretty much business as usual.
“We don’t have the option to work from home. The cows still need to be fed and milked, so we have to change the way we do things in order to continue to operate and get through this really difficult time.”
He added: “We are taking all the correct precautions and following daily government advice to ensure our teams are safe and protected at all times.
“We are observing all social distancing guidelines and following strict hygiene and sanitisation protocols.”
The milk vending machine at Otterton Mill, which usually sells around 12 litres a day, has seen an increase in demand of up to 30 litres a day since the pandemic began, said the Clinton Dairy.