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Our milk processing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Cox   
Thursday, 05 February 2009 13:04

Our whole dairy was fitted out by P O'Connel of Dairy 2000 Engineering. Peter used to service the same equipment for the States of Alderney when they ran the dairy so he understood Alderney's geographic location and the situation of not being able to get a dairy engineer to the Island without some time delays.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 February 2009 09:05
To Process or Not To Process? That Is The Question PDF Print E-mail
The following articles will hopefully be of some help to those who are wavering on whether to into producer processing or not within the dairy industry. There is so much more to milk than just putting it on your cereal or in your tea and coffee. It is a product that can be used for so much more and there is money to be made from adding value to your raw product.
On Our Farm BBC Radio 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Cox   
Thursday, 08 January 2009 09:11

The edition of this long running Radio 4 programme on 28th December 2008 featured Kiln Farm — fame at last! The programme relayed the background to our arrival on Alderney and the development of the business, into the provision of meat and milk products to the residents on Alderney and, a developing market for our yoghurt and butter to Guernsey, as well as our butter to England.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2009 20:55
Historical farming methods PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Cox   
Monday, 20 October 2008 17:58

Going back far enough (and plenty of articles have been written) Alderney’s agriculture had been based around the French Normandy strip farming where the land was split up between the islanders with common land for all to use and 3 blocks for each person, of good, medium and poor land.

There were no TV's in those days and everyone had big families, so when the land was passed to the next generation it was split up equally with a portion of each type of land to each of the family members.

With the land being split up so much, some plots became as small as one tenth of an acre; each farmer would tether his animals on his own strip and no fences were built, nor water supplies laid on to the fields, right up to the 1990s.


Tracks snake through the land called “routes de sufferance” (meaning I suffer you, you suffer me) touching each plot where anybody could drive their horse through to get to their plots, but at certain times the routes could be planted and only access on foot was allowed.

As time went on these routes became permanent tracks although not public footpaths. All residents have access to them now but only with permission of the land owners — it's a case of “use them, but don’t abuse them”.

In the 1800’s agriculture was the main industry and high numbers of over 500 head of cattle were recorded. Cows and bulls from Jersey and Guernsey would first be shipped to Alderney as the harbour was better suited to the transatlantic ships. The American buyers came to view and purchase the good ones for as much as 100 guineas and to own such a cow was of great importance to them.


There is much mystery around the “Alderney cow”, however my interpretation is that Normandy cows were brought here by the French and as time went on, the Jerseys/Guernseys that had been brought here occasionally got loose. With nature taking its natural course, the Alderney ended up a hybrid of the three, like Jack Russell dogs, becoming a breed in its own right.


Since then however the Alderney has died out, with the Guernsey becoming dominant since the Second World War.

The dairy was government-run but by 1995-ish was losing so much money it was decided to close it down, leaving the two remaining dairy farmers with no market for their milk! Between them they took on the running of the dairy but this didn’t work out and finally, John Le Cocq and his wife were left to run both their farm and the dairy. By then, the old State Dairy building was in such poor condition that the State wanted to condemn it as being unfit for use.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 November 2008 09:31
Our arrival and first year on Alderney PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Cox   
Thursday, 16 October 2008 09:52

In 2000 Kiln Farm had been bought by an Alderney islander, Jackie Main, who after returning from Glasgow after the war in 1946 as an 11 year old boy with his family, had worked for his father in the haulage business. Jackie's introduction to farming came after one of the local farmers witnessed him helping the farmer's horse. The horse had become entangled in the tether rope and several people had been to tell the farmer of the problem but only the young Jackie had the foresight to help the animal before it strangled itself. From that day on, before and after his duties with the family firm, Jackie helped the farmer in all manner of seasonal work and stock duties.

When he was only 14 while working a plot of the family's land, a lady offered her plot adjoining for him to buy, coming to the deal that he could work her plot too for a year and, with the proceeds of what he was able to sell, could buy her plot. This is what he achieved and while working 50 to 60 hours for his father and being paid the grand sum of two and six (12.5p) a week, still managed to raise the sum of £8 for 8 perch*, his first plot of land. His love of the out door life and working on the land, grew and grew.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2008 07:36
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