Midlands - Nick and Liz Haines - Hardwick Farm - Shropshire

Published 24 February 17

Area: ShropshireNick And Liz Haines

Trading Title: Hardwick Farm - a contract farming arrangement is in place between the land owner and ND & ET Haines.

Farm Address: Hardwick Farm, Hardwick, Ellesmere, Shropshire.

Milking herd numbers: 340 cows.

Herd yields: 5,200 litres at 5% fat and 3.75% protein.

Breeding: Mostly Jersey cross Holstein/Friesians with some pure bred black and whites and Jerseys. The aim is to produce highly fertile animals that are 25% Jersey and 75% Friesian, using New Zealand genetics.

Replacement rate (%): 18%.

Calving pattern: Spring calving from the end of January for 12 weeks.

Fertility stats: 6% empty and 95% calving in the first six weeks of the block.

Average age at first calving current (months): 23 months.

Average age at first calving target (months): 23 months.

Average heifer yield: The Haines feel that heifers are not doing as well as they would like in their first lactation, which is a key area they would like to improve.

Calf housing set up: Cows calve inside and are left with the dam for a maximum of 2 hours. They then move into groups of 12 with heifers kept in two marquees (36 calves in each). The marquees are on a concrete standing with three sides which can be rolled down when necessary. Stock boarding will be used instead of the canvas sides in 2017. Calves move into bigger groups of 36 at one month old and are put outside as soon as possible, prior to weaning.

Calf feeding system: All calves are tubed with 4 litres of colostrum within 2-6 hours of birth. This year (2017), this volume may be dropped to 3 litres. All colostrum is tested and refrigerated and only the best is fed to heifers.  Last year, calves were fed 2 litres of calf milk replacer at 150g/litre, twice daily up until 3-4 weeks old. They then moved onto 3 litres, twice a day. From 5-6 weeks they were then moved onto 4 litres once a day at 200g/litre, fed outside. Straw in racks and calf nuts are provided from birth.

Main person responsible for calf management: Pete Williams, assistant herd manager.

Weaning target (weeks/weight/feed intake): Calves are weaned at 12 weeks old when they are eating 1.5-2kg of concentrate a head (as well as grazed grass). The aim is for Jerseys to weigh 80kg at weaning, cross breds to weigh 90kg and black and whites, 100kg. All calves are weighed fortnightly.

Any other information of interest: The Haines would like to calve in bigger heifers and so are aiming to wean and serve animals at a bigger size. Calf jackets are used on all heifers.