A TASTE of milking and a Melplash Agricultural Society bursary helped set 21-year-old Lucinda Bearpark on the road to farming.

And now she’s in the vanguard helping to run a ‘robotic’ dairy in Broadwindsor.

So grateful was her mum Anna for the Melplash award she wanted to let other students know just where it could lead.

Lucinda, a former student at Kingston Maurward College, said it was very helpful to get money to help with fees, books, transport overalls and wellies.

She said: “When I was younger I was always very horsey. Dad tried to push me away from it a bit because he’s always been in farming and said there was no money in it.

“But I went to college and did a morning milking and that was it – I was hooked. For an 18-year-old to get up at half four in the morning is slightly extraordinary!”

Since then Lucinda qualified with a national diploma in agriculture and went to work at Denhay Farms in Broadoak before moving to Devon to milk 500 cows.

She came back to Dorset just over a year ago and got a job on Broadwindsor Farm.

She said: “We have just moved to the robot unit which means I don’t have to milk any more.

“I spend a lot more time foot trimming and animal husbandry.”

Although she’s had to give up milking in the way she knew and loved she’s a convert to robotic milking.

She said: “It is hard to explain but it is basically a little unit which the cow walks into when it wants to be milked.

“I literally don’t have to do anything. It is the way agriculture is going. The cows are a lot happier, a lot quieter because we are not messing about with them so much so they are just chilled out and do what they want when they want.

“They just chose themselves when they want to be milked and that’s difficult for people to get their head’s round.

“They get nice food when they go in and that’s an incentive and they want to get milked.

“They go in three times a day.”

Lucinda now looks after 140 Friesian Holstein cows and she knows them all by name.

They are like pets to me.

“I have no regrets. I knew the farmer was planning on going into robotics and I thought that was a good thing and a step up in the world.”

Although farming is a male dominated area Lucinda said she’d always managed to hold her on and get on with the job.