In 1961, Michael and Vera Beddoes who had recently married moved to Common Piece Farm, Churchstoke after Michael’s brother Ben moved from the family owned farm to a larger farm. At that time, Common Piece Farm consisted of 13 acres and a farm workers cottage and the couple milked six cows. As time past, Michael and Vera bought further land and also began renting ground as the milking herd started to increase, this also lead to the building of new sheds and buildings to house the stock. In 1964, two poultry units were built on the farm to further increase the business, each unit being capable of housing approximately 5,000 laying hens. During the expansion of the farm and whilst maintaining the successful farming business, Michael and Vera also raised a family of three sons, Jonathan, Stephen and Benjamin (Ben).
In 1993 Michael and Vera took a radical move and decided to change from the British Friesian and Holstein cows that they were milking and imported six Meuse Rhine Issel (MRI) heifers from Holland and also bought a stock bull along with two more MRI heifers from Somerset. Since then, the herd of MRI’s has grown and the aim is to now become a full pedigree herd of MRI’s, which is being achieved over time with only three pure Holsteins remaining at the farm. The MRI is red and white in colour and currently there are still some black and white cows in the herd as it can take at least three generations of breeding to bring out the red and white. The change has proved to be for the better as the benefits include longer living stock, increase in yield and increase of herd profitability to name a few.
Due to Michael and Vera’s hard work and dedication to farming,
Common Piece Farm has expanded and now owns three dwellings, 79 acres
of land, 140 milking cows with 76 of young stock, two stock bulls and
two poultry units still housing laying hens.