14 September 2001

SHOW WINNER PROVES A DYNASTYS FOUNDER

The lack of live cattle at this years Dairy Event will be a sad loss to breeders,

who rely on this showcase to prove the worth of stock. Jeremy Hunt finds out

about one previous show winners influence on a Cheshire dairy herd

ASKING your employers to make a five figure investment in a six-month-old heifer calf is a bold step for any newly appointed herd manager.

But in the case of David Hastings it was to prove the most significant £10,000 spent on black-and-white genetics in recent times. That six-month-old heifer calf was Primsland Inspiration Kimo. She not only went on to win the supreme championship at the 1993 European Dairy Farming Event, but has since become a Holstein legend.

Through her own remarkable breeding achievements and those of her daughters, she has been responsible for a dynasty – and one which currently includes a daughter with a 17,500kg 305-day yield.

Back in 1990 David Hastings convinced his new employers – John and Valerie Barlow – that hed found a calf that was just too good to miss.

"She really was something very special. Her grand-dam was the best Enhancer cow Id ever seen and the great grand-dam was the best Tempo cow Id ever seen. Tempo Kimo finished up in the Quality herd in Canada where I saw her again at 16 years old, when she was still a great cow.

"Combine all that with a fantastic sire-stack coming down through Starbuck and Inspiration and I reckoned this calf was the bees-knees," says Mr Hastings.

She was bought from Johnny Jordans sale and was soon installed at the Barlows farm at Church Minshull, Nantwich.

She was flushed as a maiden heifer and gradually, following three natural calvings and further ET-work, Mr Hastings and the Barlows began to realise they had something exciting on their hands. She now has over 50 registered progeny.

Unfortunately, Primsland Inspiration Kimo broke a leg as a third calver. But she had already produced the foundation of one of the most famous UK Holstein cow families of modern times.

Ironically her three natural calvings produced bulls; all three have been successful sires – the Prelude son, Painley Knighthood and Jabot sons, Painley Knight-ingale and Painley Kensington.

"It was fortunate that we decided to undertake ET work with Kimo or there wouldnt have been any females to carry on the line," says Mr Hastings.

Among his favourite female Kimo progeny is one by Jabot and one by Lux; another by Ked Juror collected a fistful of show awards. And the fact that Inspiration Kimo produced so many successful progeny, by such a wide range of bulls, is testament to the cows breeding ability.

Jabot clicked particularly well. There are four sons in AI and five daughters have classified VG as two-year-olds.

"She bred well to every type of bull we put her to, whether we were selecting on type or figures," says Mr Hastings.

No special treatment

The Painley herd – now being managed by David Hastings Jnr – currently numbers 211 cows averaging 10,857kg at 3.6% fat and 3.24% protein. The herd is winter-housed in cubicles and straw yards. There is no special, box treatment for the star performers.

Among the herds gems are the Ked Juror daughter out of Kimo that gave 13,500kg as a two-year-old and stood first at the Royal last year. But by far the brightest star is Painley Prelude Kimo 3rd who yielded 17,300kg with her third calf, at 4% fat and 3.4% protein, after an 11,000kg heifer lactation.

She went Excellent with her fourth calf and is predicted to give more than 17,000kg again this year after producing 12,210kg in 226 days. She runs with a group of 60 cows.

Even under commercial management at Painley, high yielding cows thrive and last. "Its down to the cows as much as anything else. The Kimo family are aggressive feeders and will always make sure they get their share at the trough," says Mr Hastings Jnr.

Painley Prelude Kimo 3rd peaked at 70kg/day. No cow in the herd is fed for more than 57kg of milk. Cows are offered a year-round total mixed ration which includes silage, whole-crop, a blend, sugar beet and molasses and is topped-up with concentrates in the parlour. Prelude Kimo 3rd has never been fed more than 12.4kg of concentrate a day over three feeds in the parlour.

"The genetics to produce milk is inherent in the Holstein. The bulls we use are available to anyone. Milk is easy to breed for, but unless you want to avoid high yielding cows falling apart after their second lactation youve got to give thought to the way the cow is put together.

"That means emphasis on constitution and aiming for strength through the front end and plenty of heart-room, as well as good udders, legs and feet," says Mr Hastings Jnr, who has no shortage of six and seven lactation cows.

But his father would like to see changes made to the way production is evaluated. He says the 305-day yield is outdated and should be replaced with a 365-day lactation figure.

"The biggest risk to any cow is calving. With a 365-day lactation you could calve a cow twice in three years. Youre reducing the risk, allowing the cow to fulfil her yield potential and giving her time to replace her body condition.

"We have one cow, Norwell Quasar Lana Ex 94, that gave 27,000kg in two years without calving. Shes given 101t of milk in seven lactations. It isnt unusual for us to be drying cows off giving 30kg – but wheres the sense in that." &#42

The 1993 show winner and her progeny have proved to be aggressive feeders in the Pamley herd, says David Hastings (right). His son David Jnr (left) now manages the herd.

SHOW WINNER

&#8226 Successful in herd.

&#8226 Achieved high yields.

&#8226 Flushed for embryos.

Loyal award winner

David Hastings has been attending the Dairy Farming Event for over 40 years and has twice taken cows to win the supreme championship.

He led a cow to the overall title at the 1966 London Dairy Show – the last time the event was held in the capital – with the Ayrshire, Wheatrig Bronwyn.

Mr Hastings father also won the supreme award in 1936 with an Ayrshire. He can recall his father telling him that she gave 44kg (96lbs) in the milking trial – and she was hand-milked.

But he says that without doubt his finest hour was winning the supreme inspection ticket with Primsland Inspiration Kimo in 1993. She gave 55kg in the milking trial as a second calver – the highest weight of milk in the show. That was the last year of the production-inspection format.

"It was a sad day when the production element of the show was dropped." Now the show values cows on its Total Performance Evaluation system. "It was a great challenge; something you started planning for a year before the show to make sure your cows were calved about four to six weeks before the show date.

"The camaraderie in the milking trials was unbeatable, everyone helped each other. It was the ultimate challenge for a stockman and his cows and no other show in the world has ever tried to emulate it."