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Stackyard News Feb 2010

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Latest NMR Dairy Production Trends and Top Herds

Figures just published in NMR’s Annual Production Report (APR) for the year ending September 2009 show that average milk yield in the Holstein breed, which accounts for 90.8% of recorded lactations, has fallen for the fourth year in succession.

NMR top production herd owned by Higgins family. Centre parents Margaret and Bill with sons Andrew (L) and Bill

Higgins family

And for the first time in at least 10 years average fat and protein production has also fallen. Somatic cell count has increased marginally by 1,000cells/ml to 205,000cells/ml and calving interval has increased by two days to 428 days.

Average yield for NMR Holstein herds is now is now 8,215kg (4kg below the previous year) and total fat and protein production is 584kg. Constituent values are 3.89% fat (3.91% last year) and protein remains at 3.22%.

A similar trend in production is seen in the other main dairy breeds, but looking at cell counts there has been a decrease of 4,000cells/ml in the British Friesian average to 178,000 and by 3,000 in the Ayrshire to 177,000. Both these breeds have also recorded a decrease in calving interval to 402 days for the Friesian and 413 days for the Ayrshire. There has been a reduction in the average Jersey cell count to 185,000/ml.

Increased production is seen among some other breeds including the Guernsey, Brown Swiss, Montbeliarde and MRI. The Montbeliardes have bucked the trend by recording an increase in fat and protein production of 25kg to 475kg with an average milk yield of 6,620kg. The cell count average has dropped by 20,000/ml to 176,000/ml and calving interval has gone down by a day to 402 days. The Brown Swiss has one of the lowest average cell counts at 164,000/ml.

Top production herds

The top Holstein herd, ranked on fat and protein production, is the Higgins family from Wilderley Hall, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. A family farm, Bill and Andrew Higgins farm the 360-acres and 240-cow herd with parents Bill and Margaret.

Production continues to increase in this herd and for the year ending September 2009 the herd achieved an average of 12,444kg of milk, 846kg of fat and protein at 3.72% fat and 3.08% protein on three times a day milking.

The Higgins maintain high standards of management and cow care and this is born out in the results they achieve. In the past three years they have been in top place in NMR’s Annual Report twice and in second place once. And for the past two years they have been runner up in the Chris May Memorial Award for achieving the second highest average lifetime daily yield nationally.

In second place is Andrew Greenwood from Westview Farm, Shotwisk, Chester. The 56 qualifying lactations in his herd achieved 841kg of fat and protein and 11,420kg of milk.

In third place and moving up from eighth last year is Henry Lewis from Tack Farm, Hereford. His herd, with 264 qualifying lactations, produced 839kg of fat and protein and 12,012kg of milk on three times a day milking. Henry Lewis has been in the top 10 herds nationally for the past three years.

Top herds in other main dairy breeds

The Mahon’s Jersey herd from Norfolk leads the breed for production with 687kg of fat and protein and an average milk yield of 7,463kg.

In the Ayrshire breed Tinkler and Sons Park Head herd moves up from third to first with a fat and protein yield of 654kg and a milk yield of 8,567kg.

The top British Friesian herd is the Gould’s from Dorset that moves up from third and now has an average of 640kg of fat and protein and 7,844kg of milk.

And the leading Shorthorn herd is E Reader and Son from Glamorgan who move from second last year and now averages 559kg of fat and protein and 8,638kg of milk on three times a day milking.

Top Guernsey herd is the Martel’s from Guernsey with 655kg of fat and protein and 7,553kg of milk.

Top Holstein genetic rankings

Leading the Holstein genetic merit rankings for the second year running is Grosvenor Farms’ Hatton Heath herd. This herd has increased its average herd PIN from £29 to £31. In second place is Grosvenor’s Chapel House that moves up from third place and adds £3 to its PIN to a herd average of £30. In third place and just £1 of PIN behind is a third Grosvenor Farms herd.

All results are available to NMR customers on the NMR web site using an individual password that they can get from NMR on 0844 7255567.

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