For someone who hadn’t even seen a cow until he was 16, you could say that Matt Edwards is making up for lost time.
Managing the calving yard at Sansaw Dairy means the 25-year-old will be keeping an eye on more than 1,600 ‘girls’ as they calve at the beginning of next year.
It’s a big task but Matt’s looking forward to putting all his training and experience into action.
“My job is to make sure the calves get the best start in life possible,” he says. “It’s got to be fresh, clean and warm, with good ventilation and easy access to water and food.
“There is a lot of preparation because when calving starts it’s pretty relentless for six weeks or so. Getting all the foundations right is key to the ongoing success of the Sansaw dairy.”
Born in Chester but bred up the road in Ellesmere Port, Matt’s upbringing couldn’t be more different.
“I guess I’ve got quite a split life compared to my mates,” Matt laughs.
“We were all into football and stuff but I just new I didn’t want a ‘normal’ job. The rural life suits me: I can’t stand the city or busy towns and traffic does my head in.”
Instead of leaving school at 16, doing an apprenticeship or going to university, Matt went off to Reaseheath College after doing a few weeks of A Levels and thinking better of it.
“I loved it at Reaseheath. I felt at home. It wasn’t anything I’d experienced before but I knew it was for me.”
After a stint on a small farm in the North West he moved to “an immaculate family farm” in Tarporley, Cheshure, where he was eventually responsible for all the fleet and cow management.
“I’ve always watched the vets in action, or the AI people, because I just want to learn as much as I can.
“The farm in Tarporley was a great place to work,” Matt remembers. “The entire place was pristine and the owners really wanted everything done properly. It’s the same at Sansaw, just on a different scale!”
But while many people switch off after a week at work, Matt and his girfriend Amber are the opposite.
“We’ve got 28 sheep – a Texel cross – and we’ve just entered into a share farming agreement with another farm,” he reveals. “In return for us having the sheep on the farm I help out on my weeks off.
“I also enjoy training my gundogs. I have a cocker and a lab and love being out in the fields with them. It’s a real passion of mine.”
All of this love of the countryside is rubbing off on his family.
“My dad has got a Land Rover Defender and used to train birds of prey, so he loves coming up here and takes a real interest in what I’m up to.”