* Scaling down the dairy herd to take on a full-time position with Alta Genetics has meant Gloucester-based Ayrshire breeder Alan Timbrell and his family can concentrate on a side of dairy breeding they love most – showing.
Previously running a herd of 110 cows, consisting of 60 Ayrshires and 50 Holsteins, the Millford herd is now down to 40 milking cows, with 24 of those being Ayrshires. “I’d been working for Alta part-time for four years, but decided to scale down the herd and go full-time last February to help supplement a rapidly decreasing milk cheque.”
Even having scaled down, showing still remains part of the Millford herd calendar. “We usually only show at the Royal and the South West Dairy Show, but having been impressed with how many people attend the Dairy Event on both days, I decided to enter for the first time this year and possibly not go to Shepton Mallet,” says Mr Timbrell.
Part of the team scheduled for the Dairy Event will be the winning cow from this year’s Royal Show Burke line-up, the second calver Millford Lark 20. “The Lark family has been in our herd for the past 20 years, following a purchase through family friend John McGregor,” explains Mr Timbrell.
“We established the herd through purchasing quality genetics from Scotland, of which the Lark family has been one of the most successful. In fact, the win in July was a more than momentous occasion for the family, he adds. “My late sister Sharon did most of the showing, so not only was this a huge win for the society, having not won the Burke trophy for 18 years, it was a bitter sweet irony for my family as this would have meant so much for Sharon.”
The other two entries in the team will be a freshly calved heifer Millford Mayflower 4, classified 88 points as a heifer. “Her mother was bought from the Cunningham’s West Mosgiel herd and is one of five cows to be classified at 95 points. She is sired by Blackadder BB Kelog,” he adds.
The final member of the team will be the third calver and 45 litre a day yielder Millford Heather Honey 41, sired by Bonny Brae Tuxedo. “She hasn’t been re-classified since she was scored 88 points as a heifer.”
Not only is a big win greatly sought after by the family, but attendance at the event should lead to livestock sales, Mr Timbrell hopes. Having sold a number of bulls and females off the back of attending the South West Dairy Show over the past couple of years, he is hoping to do the same at Stoneleigh. “We have a number of bulls for sale from quality female lines, as well as heifers entered for the Society sale in October.”
And no stranger to the show circuit either, Mr Timbrell is well aware of the quality of Ayrshires out there. “I had the pleasure of judging what I felt was an outstanding display of Ayrshire cattle at the Royal Cornwall Show earlier this year, so it’s hoped there will be strong line-up at the Dairy Event.”
Ayrshire John Suffen, Raven Hill, 10 ArdmooreRoad, Crumlin, Co Antrim
Dairy Event 2007