25 May 2022

Farmer Focus: B L Davies & Son, Ilminster, Somerset

Ian Davies, and his son Max, run their 140 head pedigree Holstein herd in Somerset under the prefix of Davlea. The herd was established by Ian’s father, Bryn, in the 1970s and last year won the Holstein UK Premier Herd Award which rewards herds achieving the best breeding status.

The herd are all year round calving and has access to grazing during the summer months with TMR all year round. Around 300 acres are farmed with a mixture of owned and rented land and contract-grown maize with an aim to produce healthy, balanced and strong cows with quality udders. The herd are currently averaging over 10,000kg at 4.12% butterfat and 3.29% protein. Their milk from their farm near Ilminster in Somerset is sold to Wyke Farms on a constituent contract.

With prominent families including Alicia, Ashlyn, Loana, Lulu, Pledge and Raven, classification is an integral part of the business. There are currently 65 EX and 75 VG animals in the herd and the Davies have seen great success on the show circuit and in previous herds competitions. A major highlight for the herd was winning the National Holstein Show at UK Dairy Day in 2018 with Davlea Bradnick Alicia as well as taking home the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor titles.

They milk record with CIS, taking advantage of the Holstein Complete service, overseen by their area manager Karen Reeve. The Holstein Complete package enables them to milk record monthly, do their female calf pedigree registrations and classify two/three times a year for a set monthly fee which for the Davies’ herd was the most economical way of paying for the Holstein Groups services that they have been using for over 6 years.

Max comments, “Milk recording gives us all the information we need, we use the cell count report to look for any abnormalities giving us the insight to go and assess any cows that have raised and use the management lists on YourHerd on a regular basis in our day to day running of the herd. It also gives a good overview of the overall herd’s performance.  We use the MobileHerd app to check service details on our phones along with the ‘not served list’ and ‘drying off list’ when out in the yard”.

The Davies classify to build generations of highly scored families and believe it is useful to have another set of eyes to assess the animals, sometimes noticing traits that haven’t been spotted in the parlour.

On Thursday 28th July 2022 the family will welcome visitors to their farm for the Holstein UK Premier Herd Open Day following winning the prestigious title last summer.