We have a relatively high yielding pedigree herd of 105 Holstein Friesians and are generally calving all year round.
Our present breeding programme using British Friesian artificial insemination aims for easy calving and what we hope will be hardiness and longevity for our dairy replacements. Beef sweeper bulls are also used.
Cows are milked twice a day in a 16 x 16 herringbone parlour; individually they produce approximately 9,500 litres each year.
Our milk is sold to Dairy Crest on a liquid milk contract and the base price is subject to 3.75% butterfat, 3% protein and Farm Assured Status.
Bonuses are achieved for hygiene and quality and we also attract other payments for recognition of our membership to Dairy Crest Direct, with a further bonus paid on an annual basis on the first 245,200 ltrs sold as a White Gold member.
We use National Milk Recording (NMR) to monitor herd performance, as well as lnterherd and Kingshay costings to provide data for both students and for the smooth running of the operation. We welcome the Royal Veterinary College with their students who are studying the herd for both practical and theory knowledge transfer.
Housing and Feeding
Our winter accommodation consists of cubicle housing for up to 90 cows and loose straw.
Although our aim is to gain the maximum use of grazed and conserved grass, we recognise the need for supplementary feeding to maintain condition and to keep yields at a reasonable level.
We use a Keenan Mech Fibre Feed Wagon fitted with a P.A.C.E (Performance Accelerated Conversion Efficiency) monitoring system to help give a controlled consistent mixed ration formulated by Nutritionist Mark Voss.
The total mixed ration is mainly based on grass and maize silage, straw, minerals and a blend consisting of rape and soya meal, beet pulp and rolled wheat. Parlour feeding of concentrates is predominantly aimed at higher yielding animals, although smaller amounts are used to entice the animals into the parlour.
Students are involved with the milking, heat detection, hoof trimming and routine tasks such as feeding, yard scraping and bedding.
ln 2011 we have been presented with awards in recognition of four cows having individually achieved successful life time yields of over 100 tons (100,000 ltrs or 175,975.40 pints).
After producing 130 tons of milk during her 13 years, Maurward Pamela was placed top in the highest lifetime kilograms yield category as well as in the lifetime daily yield class - her average is 28 litres.
“This is like a rock star getting a lifetime achievement award,” said Nigel Allen, dairy herd manager.
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