New Buildings Show Confidence in British Dairying

 Milk for making Stilton cheese


The buildings complex on Alma Bank Farm, Somerby, Leicestershire, is surrounded by 400 acres, farmed by the Barnes family since 1941. Harry Barnes (21) is the fourth generation to work on the farm, which is managed on the grass paddock, spring-calving, economical New Zealand system.  

The farm supplies milk to the Long Clawson co-operative for making Stilton cheese. 

The Barnes family are among the 45 members of the Long Clawson co-operative, which takes milk from Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire only, because Stilton cheese has to be made from milk originating in these three counties.





Alma Bank parlour
Alma Bank panorama Alma Bank barn Alma Bank cows Alma Bank Harry Barnes

Dairying and visitor information

Harry and his parents Mark and Jane work on the farm every day, assisted by two relief milkers. The herd has been expanded, requiring a larger milking parlour, a herringbone supplied by Waikato Milking Systems of Hamilton, New Zealand. 

The milking parlour, 14,000-litre bulk tank, calving area, cow housing, straw storage and visitor education and viewing areas are in a suite of Shufflebottom galvanised steel-framed buildings, erected by Bill Tracey and his team from Dorset-based Tracey Structures, in less than seven weeks. The roof area of the largest building is 1.3 acres, covered with 80 tonnes of P6R fibre cement roof cladding, with rooflights on one-fifth of the area.

The cattle housing, which should be in use constantly between December and February in a normal winter, has Ventair side cladding above concrete panels, for ventilation and protection from the elements.

The two largest buildings are 220 feet long, and just over 110 feet and almost 71 feet wide respectively. The smaller third building is still 80 feet by 20 feet, and all three are 16 feet to the eaves. The eaves beams for the three are the Shufflebottom galvanised integral gutter, incorporated into the galvanised steel frame construction for added strength.

The open-sided galvanised barn on the edge of the site, which has a capacity of 80,000 cubic feet, is 100 feet long, 40 feet wide and 20 feet up to the eaves.

After the team from Tracey Structures finished on the site, local firm GB Contracting was in late summer 2018 busy with concreting, digging a channel for slurry to flow to a new lagoon, installing internal walls and floors in the visitor areas, and continuing the work of transforming a former field into the hub of a modern, grass-based dairying enterprise.

H N Barnes & Son, the family company which commissioned the build, commented that Shufflebottom was "invaluable in the design and technical planning stages for our project", and that "staff were very professional". In addition, the company was pleased with customer service. 

"All our sheds were bespoke, made to a very high specification which we have full confidence in to last for many generations. We'd be more than happy to recommend Shufflebottom to anyone looking to build a new agricultural shed," the company concluded. 

Refs: E12344, E12470

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