14 January 1999
‘Intensive dairying is safer’

INTENSIVE dairy cattle regimes are a better welfare bet than walking cattle long distances to grass, it has been claimed.

The claim was made by William Hamilton, a West Perthshire farmer and veterinary surgeon, at the British Cattle Breeders Club conference in Cambridge.

The average yield of Mr Hamiltons 230 Holstein Friesians is 9000 litres.

Mr Hamilton limits grazing and forage production on his 647.5ha (1,600 acre) farm.

The high input-high output system was built up using high-index donor cows and a flushing and embryo transfer system with top bulls from the USA.

Mr Hamiltons high-yielding efforts were trumped by the experience of a Florida farmer who runs a 3700-strong Holstein herd yielding over 10,200 litres each.

Robert Forster, chief executive of the National Beef Association, expressed concern about moves towards extreme Holstein diary types.

Mr Forster urged the alternative move towards premium products aimed at niche markets.

  • The Herald 14/01/99 page 25