2016-01-29   facebooktwitterrss

Lowest Cell Counts and Calving Interval for 14 Years

The latest breed averages for all NMR recorded herds, published this week for the year ending September 2015, show that somatic cell counts and calving interval are at their lowest levels for 14 years.

For the Holstein breed, that represents 73.4% of all NMR recordings, the average calving interval is now 414 days – down from a peak of 428 days in 2009/10. SCC is now at 185,000 cells/ml, which is its lowest level since 2000/01.

Farm Images

© Farm Images

Average yield for the Holstein continues its upward trend with a year-on-year increase of 56kg in milk yield to 8,871kg and an increase of 6kg in fat and protein to 630kg.

Of the breeds representing 1% or more of NMR recordings, the Jerseys, with 2.4% of lactations, have maintained fat and protein production at 549kg despite a slight fall of 11kg of milk to a new average of 5,962kg. While their calving interval is well below that of the Holsteins at 401 days, the average SCC for Jerseys has fallen by just 2,000 cells/ml to 193,000 cells/ml.

Calving interval and SCC averages have dropped in the Ayrshire breed to 408 days, down four days, and to 175,000 cells/ml – down 6,000 cells/ml – respectively from the 2013/14 level. Combined fat and protein yield has dropped by 2kg to 492kg and average milk yield has dropped 34kg to 6,674kg.

British Friesians, with 1% of total NMR recordings, have increased milk yields by 101kg to 6,668kg, while fat and protein have dropped by 7kg to 494kg. Both average SCC and calving interval have decreased and are at the lowest levels among the popular dairy breeds recorded with NMR at 167,000 cells/ml and 392 days respectively.


Leading the Holstein production rankings in the latest Annual Production Report for the year ending September 2015 is Jenkin and Son from Cornwall, with a fat and protein yield of 959kg and milk yield of 13,482kg.

In second place, for the second year running, is John Shropshire’s 60-cow herd, from Market Drayton in Shropshire, with 940kg of fat and protein and 14,072kg of milk on twice-a-day milking.

In third place, from 2015’s first and despite an increase in yields, is Messrs Harvey from Beeswing in Dumfries. Their 285 cows averaged 937kg of fat and protein and 12,789kg of milk on three-times-a-day milking.

Of the other breeds, The Windel’s 93-cow Ayrshire herd, from Wiltshire, is in top place with the Wadman’s Somerset-based 20-cow Jersey herd in first place for the breed. Top in the Friesian breed is Mrs Healey and P Major’s 33-cow herd from Somerset. Top Guernsey herd, with 88 cows, is owned by DW & RJ Warren from Cornwall and top Shorthorn remains the Royle’s 128-cow Cheshire-based herd.


For the fifth consecutive year, T H Davis’ 113-cow Holstein herd, from Gloucestershire, is in top place in the genetic merit rankings with a PLI of £224. In second place is David Foot’s Dorset-based herd with a PLI of £185 for his 305-cow herd.


Related Links
link Zoetis Sponsor Calf Health Farm Meetings
link New Year Marks Staff Changes at Angus Society
link Correct Forage Acid Loading and Unlock Significant Savings
link Depth Of Scottish Dairy Crisis Unprecedented