Farmer Focus: P M Bradbury, Whitchurch, Shropshire
Second generation dairy farmer Paul Bradbury farms in partnership with his wife, Dee, and son, David. The family farm near Whitchurch in Shropshire and milk 130 pedigree Holstein Freisian cows under the Brookroad prefix.
The family calve all year round breeding all their own replacements and selecting what they are keeping at six months, then selling the excess. They AI the herd using sexed Holstein semen, with an Angus or Blue to clear up. Bull selection is assisted by using the cow mating tool Bull Selector which is a simple hassle free web based tool helps dairy farmers find bulls to make informed breeding decisions. It is one of the longest established, unbiased and independent bull selection tools.
The Brookroad herd is milked twice a day through a 10:20 swing over parlour with average yields of over 9,000 litres, Butterfat at 4.35% and Protein at 3.31%. The milking herd are cubicle housed and in the summer grazed outside in the daytime. Dry cows and youngstock are in straw yards. Feeding comprises of grass silage and maize with additional nuts fed in the parlour based on yield. The farm has good grass so the family has to make the most of this through grazing and silaging. The maize is supplied as part of a contract with a local farmer who takes the farm yard manure.
Paul joined CIS five years ago and uses Holstein Complete which includes the monthly milk recording. Using the web based secure YourHerd portal and mobile app Mobile Herd, Paul believes milk recording is one the best services to have a good control of the business.
Commenting on CIS, Paul says, “The services offered by CIS are fantastic and supported with excellent data enabling me to look if milk yield is up or down and identify any problems early on. The MobileHerd app is extremely useful and I would not go without my phone, having all the information to hand is especially useful when looking at the youngstock. I have also been using the PregCheck service and I love it. It is a convenient and none invasive method of testing and I don’t have to sort the cows out for the vet, or have cost of the vet, and I have full faith in the results.”
Over the last 2 years Paul has invested in a new youngstock shed so the animals reared are on one site. This has delivered better results by rearing themselves so the investment has been worthwhile. Plans for the future are to continue focusing on herd improvement; the family has won the Shropshire Small Herd competition on numerous occasions awarded by the Shropshire Holstein Club. Although Paul and the family operate on a small scale they compete with the larger units and enjoy the networking and social aspects by being members of the Shropshire Holstein Club.
In June 2020, Paul and his family will be opening the farm gates to the Holstein UK Celebration, this year hosted by the Shropshire Holstein Club. He is very honoured to have been asked to host a visit and looks forward to welcoming visitors from across the UK to view the farm and Brookroad herd.