Milk Records (NMR) celebrates 60 years of milk recording this year
and the company plans to mark the occasion with an anniversary gathering
of dairy farmer customers and friends on its stand at this year’s
Dairy Event at Stoneleigh on 17 September.
Among the longest to have milk recorded are the Crozier family
from Lower Stotfold, Elwick, Durham, who have been NMR customers
since it started and still have their records from 1943.
The Milk Marketing Board took over National Milk Records (NMR)
in England and Wales from the Ministry in 1943. They, in turn,
had taken control of national milk recording from the federation
of country and branch clubs. By the mid 1950s NMR was recording
50 per cent of dairy herds in England and Wales and 60 per cent
of cows. The service was supported financially by the MMB and
Following withdrawal of Ministry support, the MMB continued
its support by a subvention of around 30 per cent of NMR’s
costs, as it was deemed that all producers derived some benefit
from the information provided by the service.
Since 1997 NMR has been a totally independent company whose
success depends upon providing the modern, cost-effective services
required by its customers. Despite these changes, it is still
by far the major milk recording organisation in Britain and through
its on-farm services and dairy management programs it still records
and manages data for over half the country’s herds.
|Alan and Marguerite Croziers'
sons, Robert and Stephen, Alan, NMR's field manager Lynn
Stoker and Marguerite - looking at some of the old records
that go back to 1942.
Charles Cecil Crozier, who died just last year, started the
pedigree Biggen herd in 1930 and made full use of the NMR service
as soon as it was available. His library of NMR Annual Reports
makes interesting reading. The Crozier’s herd ranked second
in the Friesian listings in NMR’s 1943 Annual Report for
Durham with an average yield for the 17 cows and heifers of 10,608lbs.
Their cow, Brunton Season, was the highest yielding animal in
the county giving 14,473lbs (6,571kg) in 355 days. Although the
Friesians gave most milk, the predominant breed in Durham was
still Shorthorn. And of all the herds in the county only three
were producing over 10,000lbs (4,540kg).
Particularly interesting are the comments in the 1943 NMR report
from Cecil Pawson, then senior lecturer at King’s College,
Newcastle upon Tyne. He urged those dairy farmers not milk recording
to re-consider, describing it as the first step in dairy farming.
Milk records, he said, are an essential means of increasing
output and reducing costs of production in a way that will not
impair efficiency. But he did stress that milk records need proper
interpretation so they can be used as an efficient management
The same arguments hold true today.
The Biggen herd is now managed by grandson Alan in partnership
with his father Dennis and brothers Colin and John. The herd
has developed into 190 pedigree Holstein Friesians with an average
yield of 7,863kg and 615kg of fat plus protein. They remain firm
advocates of accurate milk records and have recently introduced
impelPRO software, which manages and analyses their herd records
for management purposes and automatically transfers required
information to third parties.
There’s no doubt that NMR records have contributed to
the success of the herd. Still regular winners in herd competitions,
their latest success is Best Cow in County award this year with
Biggen Mab 139. She scored top points for a combination of production,
inspection and calving interval over the past three years. In
her fourth and most recent lactation she gave 10,644kg of milk
and 843kg of fat plus protein. And, in line with her herd mates,
Mab an average cell count of 59,000 per ml.
Andy Warne, managing director for NMR is seeing increasing demand
for milk recording. “Although the total number of dairy
farms is declining, cow numbers are relatively stable,” he
“ There is increasing demand for good on-farm records and information from
our customers, consultants, retailers, the government and consumer organisations
“ In 60 years the service has moved on from recorders travelling by motorbike
or even horse around farms and relying on postal services to a highly technical
electronic system. But the demands remain the same – for regular, reliable
and accurate records.”