October 2015: Holstein NI members enjoy two day trip
Members of Holstein NI were among almost 8,000 visitors who attended the 2nd UK Dairy Day, held recently at Telford International Centre.
The event attracted more than 180 cattle entries, and a host of trade exhibitors from within the dairy industry.
The Holstein classes came under the expert eye of international judge Nico Bons from the Netherlands.
“In three years I’ve judged 35 shows, and this has easily been the best. It wasn’t just the champion and reserve cows that were outstanding, all of the classes from top to bottom were exceptional.”
Grand champion was the senior winner Berryholme Infloence Linda 3 EX95 from Francis and David Wright, Kendal. She calved her fifth in March and is giving 52kgs daily. “This is an amazing cow with a great, well-attached udder. She is so correct it is almost impossible to find a fault,” said Nico Bons.
Runner-up was the 2015 UK Dairy Expo champion Richaven Goldwyn Squaw 6 from Richard Bown, Hanley Castle, Nr Worcester. This second calver is giving 44kgs per day, and produced 10,648kgs at 4.01% bf and 3.4%p in her 305 day heifer lactation.
Taking the honourable mention award was the junior champion Showgirl S C Sara, by Gillette Stanleycup, from the Showgirl Holsteins herd owned by sisters Emma and Lucy Jones, Wiltor Lodge, Caldicot, Monmouthshire.
Northern Ireland judges also took centre stage at the one-day show, with club member Mark Logan, Clandeboye Estates, Bangor, officiating in the Jersey and Dairy Shorthorn sections; while John Suffern, Crumlin, judged the Ayrshire and Brown Swiss classes.
The inaugural Red Ribbon Sale saw prices soar to a top of 20,000gns for Sterndale Atwood Noel VG89 (3yr) from WJ Nadine and Co, Derbyshire. Sired by Maple Downs IGW Atwood, she is bred from Sterndale Advent Noel Red ET VG89 (3yr). AI’d to Seagull Bay Silver she sold to Elite Street Genetics based in County Cork.
Visitors witnessed a moment in history when Bluegrass Vindications Harp VG88 (2yr) set a UK Jersey record of 11,000gns. Sired by Vindication, she is backed by five generations of VG and EX dams, and sold in a three-way split to NI bidders the Fleming Family, John Henning and Keith Agnew.
Fellow club member Sam Wadsworth, Lisburn, realised 6,800gns for the home-bred Ayrshire calf Glenwood Dreamer Irene. Sired by Nexus Dreamer, she was bred from Craigtown Irene EX91, and sold with AI contract interest.
15 lots sold to average £6,068 per head.
The Holstein NI party visited three herds on the second day of the trip.
First stop was the noted Aintree herd owned by Richard and Ruth Pilkington, Shordley Hall, Wrexham. The 250-cow herd is milked twice daily and is averaging in excess of 9,500 litres per cow per year. The group was escorted around the farm and shown the calf rearing facilities and cow accommodation.
Sarah Williams is responsible for the day-to-day management of the calf rearing unit. She outlined the daily routine, while herdsman Scott Fairhurst discussed the various rations fed to the high yielding and low yielding batches, and dry cows.
After lunch the group visited Bubney Farm Ltd, owned by Andrew Evans, Whitchurch, Shropshire. He farms 1,900 acres across nine holdings which are in a 23-mile radius of his home farm. During the past eight years Mr Evans has been increasing the size of his dairy herd, and is currently milking 1,750 commercial cows producing in excess of 10,700 litres per head.
Milking three-times per day, Mr Evans employs 17 staff to help with the running of the extensive farming enterprise.
The herd has been housed continuously for three years, and is milked in a 60-point rotary parlour. Mr Evans is profit driven, and plans to increase cow numbers to over 2,000 by establishing a second herd on another site.
En-route to the airport, the third and final stop was Cogent’s Lea Manor Farm, which is part of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Farms Estate based at Aldford near Chester.
The multi-million pound state-of-the-art facility is home to 1,100 dairy cows, with a further 300 managed at the nearby Hatton Heath farm. Producing 16 million litres of milk per annum, the farm operates the largest Tesco contract in the UK.
The impressive facility was designed to enhance animal health and welfare, and boasts two large sheds with cantilever-style roof, locking head yokes, and sand bedded cubicles. The light and airy sheds provide additional loafing areas for cows. Cow flow to and from the 60-point rotary parlour has also been improved. The whole site has been completely ring fenced to minimise the TB disease risk posed by badgers.
The site also boasts its own solar energy scheme, exporting 30% for its solar power; and a sand and slurry separation system. Sixty per cent of the sand is removed and reused in the cubicles, while the liquid is applied to growing crops, and the solid manure is spread over stubble fields.
Two members of the Holstein NI group, Jackie Hamilton from Collone, Armagh, and William McKee from Newtownards, were the winners of the club’s Balmoral Show prize draw sponsored by Devenish Nutrition. They enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip courtesy of Devenish Nutrition.
•Holstein NI is currently planning a trip to the European Holstein Championships which takes place from 17th to 19th June 2016 in Colmar, a town in the Alsace region of North Eastern France. Watch press for further details or contact John Martin on mobile: 07711 041128.