Sheffield’s ‘Superfresh’ milk producer invests in processing – and new McCormick tractor

Mick Rimmer from Barlow’s hands over the McCormick tractor's keys to Graham Andrew at Cliffe House Farm.
Mick Rimmer from Barlow’s hands over the McCormick tractor's keys to Graham Andrew at Cliffe House Farm.

A Sheffield dairy farm known for the eye-catching ‘Our Cow Molly’ branding of its milk processing business is among the first in the country to take delivery of a new McCormick X6 Series tractor to handle field and yard work.

The sparkling new red and silver machine was handed over to Graham Andrew at Cliffe House Farm, Dungworth by Mick Rimmer of McCormick dealership Barlow’s of Henbury. It will be the main power unit on the 216-acre farm, which has a 100-cow milking herd and about the same number of followers and beef heifers.

The X6.420 will handle all the routine jobs – spreading slurry and fertiliser, harrowing the grass pastures and conservation ground, and running a trailer from field to pit when the silage contractor is chopping grass for the herd’s winter feed.

“It’s not over-complicated but has enough features to do the job,” says Mr Andrew of his new tractor. “And it’s easy to understand and use the different controls and features.”

The tractor will operate at the heart of a family-run farming and processing business that has increased the proportion of its milk sold locally – either in liquid form or as ice cream – by promoting the benefits of ‘super fresh’ milk delivered within hours of the cows producing it.

“It makes a real difference to a cappuccino – the milk froths better and has a sweetness that makes a good coffee taste even better,” says Eddie Andrew. “We’re already supplying a number of shops and cafés in Sheffield and the University and Sheffield NHS are keen to take more but we haven’t had the processing and bottling capacity to meet demand.”

A new processing facility just completed will change that – and it will enable Our Cow Molly butter to be added to the product mix.

The colourful branding used on containers and delivery vans and regular use of social media has helped offset the decline in traditional doorstep deliveries by promoting fresh milk sales to shops and cafés, and sales of the varied flavours of Our Cow Molly ice cream sold on the farm.

“This is the last farm in Sheffield processing its own milk and for years we just milked the cows, delivered the milk and didn’t tell anyone about it,” says Eddie Andrew. “Through our branding and promotion at events, and by using Facebook and Twitter social media, we’ve built a strong reputation for a quality local product with good nutritional and ‘green’ credentials.

“That enables us to sell a greater proportion of our milk more profitably and to invest in the new processing facility, creating opportunities for expansion and safeguarding jobs on the farm,” he adds.

While the new processing facility will be a key element of future retail growth, the new McCormick tractor will be the lynch pin of the farming operation that supplies it.

The new X6 design is a more advanced successor to the X60 and MC ranges that preceded it, with added features for increased productivity, a new cab interior for greater comfort and driver appeal, and lower running costs through longer engine service intervals.

There are three models in the X6 range, stretching to 140hp. The X6.420 at Cliffe House Farm has 111hp when working with a plough or cultivator or pulling a trailer or slurry tanker in the field. But out on the road, the 4.5-litre engine can produce a bit more muscle – 121hp – for added performance and productivity.

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