Farmer Focus: Danish Reds bring benefits to dairy herd

This time last year I wrote about looking at some Danish Red cattle with a view to adding some to our herd.

The reason for this was that they have a good beef calf value and is something just a little different.

This breed seemed to tick all the boxes, with yield, fat and protein being good, along with excellent overall herd management.

We decided to buy some to see how they fit with the system and the pedigree Jerseys. Twelve months on and the first handful has been quite impressive. They are real workers and don’t have a problem pumping out high-fat and high-protein milk, and lots of it.

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They are extremely hardy, so feeling confident, we have taken the plunge and just taken a shipment of 20 more. They are all in-calf heifers due August onwards with the intention of moving to an autumn-flush herd.

If I am being totally honest, I am going through a period of adjustment, as I love the Jersey herd we have built up and I have a pedigree man’s eye. So changing part of the herd to commercial takes some mindset changes for me.

Our Jerseys will remain the mainstay for our ice-cream; they are part of our recipe, so we will always have a Hillside herd here on Manor Farm.

It is to be our final article next month, so I will hopefully be able to conclude my story about our Danish Reds and the ice-cream parlour. It is still very much a work in progress, with a date fixed for opening next year. We will then be the only on-farm ice-cream manufacturer and parlour in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Everyone in the Dales has gone mad grass cutting. It has been good hay-making weather and the smell is that of summer. There really is nothing better in Wensleydale than a beer, BBQ and the view. And an ice cream for dessert, of course.

Adrian Harrison farms 81ha in partnership with his father Maurice in Wensleydale, Yorkshire. He runs 130 pedigree Jersey cows with 70 followers. Milk is used to make Wensleydale cheese.

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