The Herd Ranking tool allowing Block Calving herds to achieve goals faster

Mathew & Coral Senior

Crewkerne, Somerset

Herd Type

Autumn Block Calving, Holstein Friesian, Spring Block Calving

Herd Size


Mathew & Coral senior milk 320 British Friesian X cows in an organic block calving system. The herd is split into both Spring and Autumn block calving patterns (9 weeks and 6 weeks, respectively). Lely robots were installed 2 years ago and the cows graze from the middle of February to November. The average yield is currently 5,300 KGs milk at 4.7% Butterfat, with the goal of achieving 5,500 kgs milk.

10 years ago the herd began with 100% Jersey cattle and the initial goal was to increase yield and body size. Therefore, the British Friesian was used as the perfect cross which has been successful in achieving an increased yield and bodyweight. At the same time, the Fertility of the British Friesian has been key in maintaining the tight block calving pattern. 

The introduction of the Herd Ranking Tool…

“To drive the productivity and profitability of our herd we decided to use a sexed and beef strategy in conjunction with Genus ABS Herd Ranking Tool to unlock the potential of every female in the herd,” explains Coral Senior

Coral continues “The Herd Ranking Tool is a fantastic tool that fully utilises our milk records to rank our herd on the Autumn Calving Index (£ACI) or Spring Calving Index (£SCI). This is great as you can compare different breeds on the same base.  Based on the replacements needed, it will recommend which females to breed to dairy and which to breed to beef.

We have always ranked our herd’s performance; however, the Herd Ranking Tool provides the opportunity to customise your own index allowing you to weigh for the traits that are most important to you. For example, you can add weight to key traits that are essential for your system. Paul Voysey & Rob Burlton our Breeding advisor and Key Account manager take our data and sit down and talk through the results with us.”

New opportunities

“The introduction of robots combined with the increase in genetic progress has contributed to increased yield and time saved. The extra time saved through not milking has unlocked other ventures. We have opened 5 milk vending machines within the local area and their demand has continued to grow! This has been a hugely positive step that has resulted in the increase of our overall milk price across the whole herd!

We are very excited about the future of our business and recognise the herd ranking tool and overall Sexcel® and beef strategy is a very simple way we can achieve our goals quicker.” Mathew Senior concludes. 

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