15 Feb 2019

Farmer Focus: JG & SM Ley & Son, Hoops Prefix

In the heart of Devon is the Ley family who last year celebrated the 70th Anniversary of the Hoops prefix. The first cows were registered in 1948 by Henry Ley with his son Guy and wife Florence developing the herd which is now being managed by Stuart with help from his partner Michelle.

In the late 1960s the Hoops Ivory family was introduced and since then over 1,100 descendants have been registered. Many Ivory’s have been sold over the years and the family are always pleased how well the family have performed for other dairy farmers.  Other notable families at Hoops include Flower, Clover, Judy, Verity, Anna, Daffodil and Trientje all of which have bred many generations.

Breeding continues to be at the heart of the 3rd generation family farm with all replacements home-bred as nothing has been brought in for 15 years. Calving is all year round with a rolling average interval of 369 days and any excess young stock are sold.

The current herd comprises of 345 pedigree Holstein’s with low yielders milked twice a day and the high yielders milked 3 times a day through a 24:24 Westfalia Parlour.  In the parlour cows are fed to yield with TMR ration fed to the whole herd.  The rolling 12-month average milk yield is 10659 kg, butterfat 3.97% and protein 3.31%.

Customers of CIS for the last 3 years, the family use the Holstein Complete package which for a single fee includes monthly milk recording, pedigree registrations, fertility and health recording, classification visits twice a year, cow mating tools and access to the CIS online portal YourHerd and the MobileHerd app.

Commenting on the service from CIS, Stuart says “The complete package is a simple convenient service from CIS which fits into our system.  Our milk recording samples are also tested for Johnes which is great as it is part of our Parkham Farms contract to test quarterly and is a good tool to monitor the herd. The data we access through the Your Herd is fantastic as it provides excellent information for breeding and managing the herd along with automatically updated results from our classification visits. All staff have Mobile Herd app on their devices and supported with paper reports myself and Guy have a huge amount of information available”

To support the expansion of the farm a new shed for the high yielders had been built with specific feeding and health management in place for those animals. Over the last few years, the family has grown the herd and want to continue maintaining their high standards whilst adapting to the ever-changing industry.

They hope at some point farmers will be paid a stable price for milk and costs adjusted in line with the milk price.

Showing is a major part of the summer calendar for Hoops Holsteins, attending county shows and local shows; as well as The Dairy Show at Shepton Mallet and regularly qualified and exhibited at the National Calf Show.  The family is also a member of the Devon Holstein Club and North Devon Holstein Club and compete in both Herd Competitions.