22 Oct 2018

Farmer Focus: Bruce & Jenny Ravenhill, Umberleigh, Devon

Great Blakewell Farm is run by Bruce and Jenny Ravenhill with the help of their daughter Jessica who has recently returned from studying agriculture at university to work on the home farm full time.

The 150 acre county council farm plus 30 acres owned and fifty acres extra rented is home to 200 pedigree Jersey’s under the prefix of Whitenhill.  Over the last two years CIS has been providing a milk recording service, female pedigree registrations and type classification visits, which are all part of the CIS Jersey Complete Service. They have also tested quarterly for Johne’s and regularly use the PregCheck service

Average yield of the Jersey herd is 6763kg, with average butterfat at 5.64% and average protein at 3.94%.  The closed herd are milked through a 18:18 Herringbone parlour and the cows are cubicle housed.  Calving is throughout the year, however the family try not to calve too many in November, December and January.  All replacements are home reared with the odd bull purchased in if required.

Milk recording is completed monthly with a CIS milk recorder visiting the farm to take the samples.  In addition health testing is done quarterly and the herd are visited twice a year by a classifier.  When selling bulls at local sales the auctioneers always compliments Bruce and Jenny on the quality of data they provide for the herd.

“Since Jessica has been back on the farm she has been using MobileHerd which is a fantastic app as she has everything in front of her when she in the field, sheds or parlour.  If there are any questions or problems she can contact CIS immediately and get answers to resolve queries straight away which is a great service to have supporting our business”, comments Bruce

The CIS Jersey Complete package, used by Bruce and Jenny, provides for a single fee a range of services required to manage their herd and make informed decisions.  This includes milk recording, pedigree registrations, fertility and health recording, classification visits, cow mating tools and access to online portal YourHerd and the MobileHerd app.

One service that helps save time and veterinary costs is PregCheck, a milk pregnancy test is based on Elisa technology which detects presence of Pregnancy Associated Glycoproteins (PAGs) in the milk sample and has a 98% level of accuracy.

Commenting on the PregCheck service from CIS, Bruce says, “It’s important we get a timely pregnancy diagnosis in our pedigree jersey herd so we can identify the non-pregnant cows as early as possible. We use the CIS PregCheck service because it is non-invasive and hassle free using samples from our routine milk recording to be tested by CIS. The results are with us within 48hrs through the YourHerd online portal and can also be accessed through the MobileHerd App”.