Head Herdsperson required for a 450ha farm with a 250-cow dairy unit near Totnes in Devon

Riverford Farm is a 450ha farm with a 250-cow dairy unit near Totnes in Devon.  The farm is family-owned and has been farmed organically since 1986 under Soil Association standards.  Milk is processed on the farm and is marketed though associated family businesses.  The farm is going through a review of its strategy so that there is an opportunity for a new team to form and help shape the future of the farm.  We are looking for a head herd-person who is practical, organised and focused, with experience in leading people and improving herd productivity from grass and forage, to join this team.


  1. Dairy Unit
  • For the welfare and day to day management of the herd.
  • For the Dairy Hygiene Inspection and other Inspections in accordance with the Food Standards Agency, the Soil Association, Farm Assurance Schemes and the milk buyer.
  • To contribute to the development and changing needs of the Dairy Unit.
  • To ensure the farm is kept clean and tidy at all times.
  • To manage the Dairy Unit in liaison with the Farm Business Manager and contribute to the overall labour requirement of the unit.
  1. General Cow Management
  • To ensure that all stock is cared for to the highest standard of husbandry in accordance with the Herd Health Policy and other Farm Policies.
  • To ensure that stock is safely secured at all times and that their whereabouts are clear to all members of staff and the owners at all times.
  • To manage and implement footcare programmes, control lameness and support the herdsman in performing routine foot trimming.
  • To take responsibility for and be involved in the night inspections of calving and bulling cows.
  • Ensure that assistance is given to calving cows when required and that standards of hygiene and colostrum management are high.
  • To monitor cell counts and clinical mastitis and control them accordingly, working closely with the Farm Business Manager and Vet.
  • To monitor and record the storage and usage of medicines and help reduce the use of medicines in the herd.


  1. Milking
  • To ensure cows are milked according to management policy, to include:
    • Frequency
    • Milking times
    • Milk quality targets
    • Somatic Cell Count targets
    • Compliance with dairy hygiene regulations.
  • To take responsibility for the milkings in liaison with the herdsman and participate in a weekly milking rota.


  1. Cow Feeding and Watering
  • To ensure the agreed policy on feeding and watering is effectively implemented and participate in feeding all stock.
  1. Staff Management
  • To ensure that daily tasks are properly resourced and allocated to competent persons.
  • To manage staff in liaison with the Farm Business Manager and in accordance with Farm policies.
  • To help train and develop all staff and ensure that agreed training is carried out.
  • To develop good relations between all members of staff, farm owners, suppliers and customers of the dairy unit.
  • To work to avoid conflict and resolve conflict quickly when it arises.
  1. Cow Breeding
  • To contribute to and then implement the breeding policy and targets set for block calving.
  1. Grassland Management
  • To contribute to and then implement the policy and targets on grassland and forage utilisation.
  • Carry out weekly measurement of the grass covers.
  • Utilise Agrinet software to produce a weekly feed-wedge.
  • Liaise with the Farm Business Manager on changes to grazing plans during the season.


  1. Youngstock
  • To be accountable for youngstock rearing to ensure at all times youngstock are meeting target live-weight gains.
  1.  Continuing Training
  • To keep up to date with current farming practises, attend relevant courses, vet meetings and give feedback to other members of staff where relevant.
  • To identify own training needs in conjunction with an annual appraisal by the employer.


  1. To communicate regularly with management, participate in policy discussion and adhere to all policies.
  2. To participate in the preparation of annual budgets and forecasts and work within agreed budgets.
  3. To maintain total confidentiality of employer’s business at all times.
  4. To ensure that the farm is at all times an outstanding example to visitors. All aspects of its appearance must be permanently in order.
  5. To ensure that all mandatory and appropriate herd records are kept.
  6. To comply with and implement relevant legislation including Health and Safety regulations for yourself, staff and visitors to the farm.
  7. To implement the biosecurity policy of the farm.
  8. To undertake any other duties deemed necessary by the management.

Person specification

  • Proven track record of improving the productivity of a dairy herd with little or no supervision.
  • Experience, or keen interest, in organic farming.
  • Working knowledge of managing pasture and forage.
  • Practical experience of managing young stock and beef.
  • Practical experience of operating relevant farm machinery.
  • Working knowledge of – DIYAI Genetics, Record keeping, Hygiene standards H & S Regulations.
  • Staff management experience.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Numerate and IT literate.


  • Degree or equivalent qualification in agriculture.


  • Along with this progressive opportunity, a competitive salary of £26-£30,000 (dependent on experience) is offered, together with a house on the farm with Council tax paid by the employer (all other utility bills to be paid by occupant).
  • Holiday entitlement is 28 days per annum to include the Bank Holidays.

If you would like to apply for this position, please send a CV and covering letter to:

Helen Moyse

HR Support Consultancy

Tel: 01822 870 270

Fax: 01822 870227

email: helen@hrsupportconsultancy.co.uk