South Wales - Andrew and Kathy Joules, Castell y Gwcw. Llandeloy, Pembrokeshire

Area: Wales

Trading Title:  G C & A C Joules Ltd - Andrew Joules, wife Kathy and father Geoffrey.

Farm Address: Castell y Gwcw, Llandeloy, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

Milking herd numbers: 320 predominantly British Friesian cows and 20 pedigree dairy Shorthorns.

Herd yields: 5,700 litres a cow a year at 4% fat and 3.38% protein.

Breeding: In the last year, the farm has started using larger Holstein types on smaller cows to increase cow size, whilst maintaining constituents for their cheese contract with First Milk.

Replacement rate (%): 20%

Calving interval (days): 368 days.

Calving pattern: Spring block from 21 March until the end of June.

Average age at first calving current (months): 24 months

Average age at first calving target (months): 24 months.

Average heifer yield: 4,500 litres per head per year.

Calf housing set up: The farm has two loose yards which are penned up with hurdles. Calves are in groups of three for the first seven days. They then move into groups of around 13.

Calf feeding system: Depending on weather, half of the herd calves outside. Calves are left to suckle the dam for 24 hours and then bottled with three litres of colostrum. They are then fed 2.5 litres of colostrum, twice a day for the first 6-7 days via a teat feeder. Calves then move onto yoghurt milk, which the farm makes themselves from whole milk. This is fed at three litres twice a day. Ad lib concentrate is offered when calves are at the larger group stage and barley straw is offered in racks. The Joules believe feeding yoghurt milk helps create a healthy gut and reduces scouring. However they would consider feeding calf milk replacer instead if milk price improves.

Main person responsible for calf management: Kathy Joules and daughter Lucinda.

Weaning target (weeks/weight/feed intake): Calves are fed two litres, once a day from seven weeks of age. They are then weaned at around 8-9 weeks of age when consuming about 2kg of concentrate a head.

Any other information of interest

Heifers need to be 24 months old as all replacements calve in the first six weeks of the block. Although heifers are currently achieving this, the Joules have concerns that heifers are not hitting growth targets so they do not weigh enough at service. As part of the C2C initiative, heifers are being weighed with the aim of managing them better and calving them down a bit heavier. The hope is by getting heifers to a bigger size in first lactation, fertility and yields will improve.