FARMER FOCUS: Grass boosts milk yield

Since my last article things have started to warm up. It has resulted in finally getting most of the stock outside. It is so wet that some of the younger heifers are still inside. In 2011 we took our first cut on 18 May – fat chance this year!

Our cows are performing well: we are averaging 22 litres a cow as they are enjoying the best of both worlds, with a bit of wet spring grass while still on winter rations. In short, the injection of protein is pushing milk yield up.

However, it is doing nothing for my fats. Having said that the milk is still producing a high per cent of cream for our ice cream.

May bank holiday brought with it the Dales Festival of Food and Drink. This year we were exhibiting our ice cream for the first time – Wensleydale Ice Cream. Thank you to all of you who came for a taste.

We have been overwhelmed with positive feedback and we have now got quite a few local outlets in the area. It is a very good feeling adding value to Jersey Milk.

All change at Manor Farm this year, we have just embarked on a new trial breeding programme. Some 90% of the milking herd are being bred to Belgium Blue; the remaining 10% have been carefully selected for brood cows.

All maiden heifers are now being served with sexed semen. Our aim is to increase revenue from beef calf sales while still breeding our own replacements.

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

More on this topic

Read more from Adrian Harrison

Read more from Livestock Farmers Focus