Chris Knowles milks 340 cows in a once a day milking Spring Block Calving herd based in St Ives, Cornwall. Cows are grazed up to 270 days a year and milk is supplied to their onsite award winning dairy, Trink dairy.
“I’ve used the Genus ABS Herd Ranking tool for the last two seasons to select the cows I should breed to Sexcel® and those to go to beef. It’s simple to use and bespoke to my breeding goals which enables me to maximise the genetic potential of my cows. We know the most fertile cows calve at the start of the block but they may not be the most profitable. The herd ranking tool works by utilising the milk recording data to rank the performance of my herd. The result is that I have complete control of the cows I breed to Sexcel®; these are my best performing heifers and cows. I realised very quickly that we didn’t need to be breeding from so many cows to get the amount of replacements needed. We were being very selective over the animals bred to sexed, further increasing the genetic gain of our herd.
We begin calving on the 1st of February for 9 weeks, so for us, breeding fertility into the herd that is going to have great milk solids is our goal. Genus ABS technicians service the herd “So far results for spring look very promising. Initially we hit a 97% submission rate and early signs look good. Our herd is 75% Irish Friesian and 25% New Zealand and Jersey X. We need moderate volume with high constituents. We are also once a day milking, so need cows that can produce milk from Autumn grazing.
The ranking tool, alongside the use of a Sexcel® & Beef InFocus™ strategy is a no brainer. We are making the right genetic progress for our herd by taking into consideration our bespoke breeding goals.”