Efforts to drive up milk constituents across British farms have lifted solids production 13% to 685kg a cow in the past decade, according to a leading milk recorder’s latest production report.
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Tim Scrivener

The current Holstein-Friesian average cow lactation figure stands at 693kg of milk solids from a milk yield of 9,472kg.

This is 849kg higher than in 2010-11, according to National Milk Records’ (NMR) routine milk recording.

NMR’s latest figures also show increases in other breeds, as well as a strong gain in the most recent production year to September 2021.

Breeds performed as follows:

  • Holstein-Friesians added 9kg of fat per lactation to total 693kg (+1.31%). This was done while lifting milk yield by 103kg to 9,472kg
  • Ayrshires added 11kg to average 536kg (+2.09%)
  • Brown Swiss added 33kg to average 586kg (+5.96%)
  • Montbeliardes added 17kg to reach 555kg (3.15%).

Somatic cell counts fell by 33,000 cells/ml over the past year to 171,000, and calving interval dropped by 22 days to 401 days.

British Friesian and Ayrshire herds both averaged 163,000 cells/ml.

Harveys top again

The Harvey family from Beeswing, Dumfries, ranked as the top Holstein herd for the sixth consecutive year.

The farm had 270 cows with qualifying lactations and added 13kg of fat and protein to achieve 1,017kg of milk solids a cow and 14,267kg of milk on a three-times-a-day milking system.

Dairy-farming-family-From left: John Harvey and Margaret and Stuart Harvey
Dairy-farming-family-From left: John Harvey and Margaret and Stuart Harvey © National Milk Records

In second place was a newcomer to the top 1% of Holstein herds. PJ and PE Ashley and Son, Shropshire, milk a 212-cow herd using robots and achieved 945kg of milk solids and 13,0802kg of milk a cow.

The lead Ayrshire herd was PA and JM Astley, Montgomery, with 665kg of milk solids and 8,384kg of milk on a twice-a-day system with 64 cows.

The top Guernsey herd was D Vincent, Devon, with 617kg of solids from 7,315kg of milk a cow.

PLI and performance

A number of farms showed correlation between profitable lifetime index (PLI) and NMR performance rankings.

Cornwall-based BC and PM Cox managed a top-five ranking in both. The farm’s 96 qualifying cows averaged a £343 PLI and 967kg of solids from 12,333kg of milk using a robotic system.

A2 Milk Company Ltd (ATM.NZ) said on Wednesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deferred its request to sell infant milk formula products in the United States, sending its shares down more than 12%.

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