North Wales - Caenarfon - Rhodri Owen

Published 3 August 17

Area: North Wales 

Trading Title: Coleg Llandrillo Menai, Glynllifon.

Farm Address: Ffordd Clynnog, Glynllifon, Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

Milking herd numbers: 150 cows.

Herd yields: 8,700 litres at 4.3% fat and 3.3% protein.

Breeding: Three way cross; Holstein x Norwegian Red x Montbeliarde. Currently have some F1 heifers on the ground. Replacement rate (%): 25% (currently carrying a high number of heifers as they are building the herd).

Calving pattern: Moving from all year round to autumn block calving. Currently 75% calve in the autumn with the rest in the spring. Targeting a calving block of October/November.

Average age at first calving current (months): 24 months or under.

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

Average heifer yield: 8,000 litres.

Calf housing set up: Calves are in individual pens until they have learnt to suck. They them move into groups of 15 in igloos, which are arranged on one side of a single span shed. At weaning they move into loose housing.

Calf feeding system: Calves are tubed with four litres of colostrum within the first six hours which may be split over two feeds. All colostrum is tested with a colostrometer and only the best is frozen. It’s this that is fed to calves. Calves are then fed milk replacer out of buckets with teats. CMR is fed at 150g/litre and calves receive up to three litres, twice daily. Calves are step weaned and fed once daily from day 57 to 63. A milk taxi is used to reduce feeding inconsistency on weekends and between staff. Calves also receive ad-lib pellets and straw in racks.

Main person responsible for calf management: Joseph Edward Cox.

Weaning target (weeks/weight/feed intake): Milk replacer rates are gradually stepped down. The aim is for calves to be eating at least 2kg of concentrate a head a day and cudding on straw.

Any other information of interest: Over the last two years, the farm has focused on improving heifer rearing which has meant they have been able to serve well-grown heifers younger. Changes have been made to colostrum management and total kilos of milk solids fed per calf per day. Igloos have also been introduced. Calves are kept in a roundhouse once they are 5-6 months old.