Reaseheath College has purchased 33 new pedigree Holstein heifers to help secure the long term performance of the college’s elite dairy herd.
The freshly calved heifers, which have been imported from 12 guaranteed TB free breeders in northern Germany, have been genetically selected to raise the levels of fat and protein in the herd’s milk without adversely affecting its volume.
It is the first time that Reaseheath has bought in dairy cows since its purchase of the Genus MOET high genetic merit herd in 2010 and the arrival of the new cows is viewed as a significant milestone.
The Reaseheath Holstein dairy herd is now running at capacity with 263 dairy cows plus followers. The new heifers, which are between two and two and a half years old, have adapted to the college’s 32/32 fast exit milking parlour and have settled in well, although they have yet to be introduced to the main herd.
The heifers were earmarked for potential purchase based on the genetics of their dam and sire and the final selection was made by Dairy Herd Manager Steve Small, who travelled to Germany to view the animals before they were transported to us. When they are ready to conceive again they will be served by Artificial Insemination (AI) with pedigree Holstein semen.
Said Farm Manager Mark Roue: “This is a very exciting time for Reaseheath Holsteins. By introducing new bloodlines and genetics into the herd we are expanding our options for continuous improvement. We have gone for commercial types of good conformation with the aim that they become productive, long lasting dairy animals, capable of producing 50,000 litres of milk in their lifetime.”
Welcoming the purchase Reaseheath Principal Meredydd David said: “This major investment will ensure that the further and higher education students studying agriculture and dairy production with us continue to receive the best possible experience from working with one of the top herds in the UK.
“Our students benefit hugely from the hands-on technical and management experience they receive at Reaseheath. The practical skills and knowledge they gain, coupled with our modern and highly technical training facilities, prepares them well for a successful future in the industry.”