A modern dairy in North Yorkshire has submitted plans to build additional silage storage to provide 'food security' for its cattle.

In documents submitted with the planning application to North Yorkshire Council, agents for the family-run Crossgates Farm and Souber Dairy at Bank Newton, near Gargrave, say that the steel portal frame agricultural building will be used to house 'ensiled forage' to be used to feed the cattle.

The 500 milking cows are milked three times each day and the cattle are fed twice a day. Youngstock are housed at the farm with the dairy herd and calving cattle at the dairy, further along the single track road leading to a small hamlet including holiday cottages at Newton Grange. The proposed silage clamp, at the dairy,  will be 54.8m long, 16.7m wide and 10.2m high and covered with straw bales.

A planning statement by WBW Surveyors says: "The need for the buildings arises out of a requirement to ensure food security and reduce the carbon footprint of the business.

"The business has continually invested in technology and infrastructure to improve the efficiency of the business and to operate within the latest environmental and welfare regulations."

It adds: "The business has been in contract with Arla dairies for a considerable time, Arla contracted farms operate with some of the highest standards of health, welfare and management objectives of any milk processing units, as such Arla are pressing their contracted farms to safeguard their feed security amongst other things."

The family has no plans to increase the size of its herd, but instead to focus on productivity, efficiency and welfare, while also safeguarding food security. It has 'several blocks of land' in the area, all of which are cropped to provide feed for the cattle, most of which are housed all year round, and never go outdoors.

The business has recently bought 133 acres of land at Turf Pit Gate Farm, Bracewell, which will provide wheat silage for the farm. Land has also been contracted for the growing of maize.

Documents state: "The need for the silage clamp arises from the purchase of this additional land and the contracting of maize growing and the requirement to store these whole crops separately from the grass silage.

"Having these ‘home grown’ whole crop wheat and maize silage stores will allow the business greater food security. The conflicts in the Ukraine and the very wet conditions in the UK have made the cereal market very volatile both in terms of prices and availability throughout the year.

"Having the additional land and crop and ability to store the feed on farm will ensure that a balanced diet can be provided to the animals all year round without the need to rely on bought-in products, maize and whole crop wheat both have strong qualities for improving rumination in cattle and keeping them healthier."