IT may sound strange, but it is cutting edge technology which is helping to maintain a traditional family farm near Ledbury.

And the formula is so successful it has prompted Court Farm at Kempley, Dymock, to be nominated as the Family Run Farm of the Year in the Three Counties Farmer annual awards.

The Pugh and Carter partnership is made up of mum and dad Calvin and Rachele Pugh, daughter Sarah and her husband Richard Carter, plus their 10-month old daughter Alice.

There is another child due in October and after that there is just one member of staff, Josh Ralph.

With 560 Pedigree Holsteins, made up of 260 milking cows and 300 young dairy stock and beef cattle, that’s not many pairs of hands for all the hard work required.

But its possible because the farm has invested in new technology which gives them a mixture of greater flexibility and more efficiency.

Milking by robots

Not only is the milking done by robots, the electricity for the machines is generated by an anaerobic digester fed with cow slurry.

There is also a solar power system, automatic calf feeder, robot silage pusher and robot slurry scraper.

“We wanted to keep things in our own hands,” says Sarah. “It was either invest in technology or employ staff.

“For us it was a family farm and we like to do the work ourselves.”

The farm was nominated by Belmont Farm and Equine Vets, who say the owners are ‘driven by improving the life of the cows and manage to do it all with a smile while building for generations to come.”

“If they are happy then they perform to their best, and that means more earnings and makes the family happy,” says Sarah – with a smile.

  • Do you know someone who should be nominated for an award?

The Three Counties Farmer awards help highlight best practice in the industry and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of local businesses and staff.

Entries are open now and to nominate just go to and fill out the online form.

Categories are: Sheep Farmer; Farm Conservation; Cattle Farmer; Family Run Farm; Pig Farmer; Young Farmer (under 26); Arable Farmer; Farming Contractor; Fruit/hop farmer.

The awards ceremony will be in digital format this year– because of coronavirus.