Milkminder award success for Oxfordshire farm manager

Leigh Woolmer of Stuchbury Manor Farm, Banbury has been named Promar’s 2018 Milkminder Manager of the Year.

Leigh, who manages a 160-cow Holstein Friesian herd, on behalf of the 2,000-acre Marston St Lawrence Estates overcame tough competition to scoop the national title.

“Leigh’s attention to detail has been a big driver in the success and technical performance of the herd, which averages 8,966 litres, with 4% butterfat and 3.2% protein. He uses his 19 years’ experience to achieve great results,” says James Dunn, Promar Managing Director and judge.

A rigid five-point parlour routine has been implemented on the farm and Leigh has achieved consistently good milk quality recordings as a result.

“Each cow is pre-sprayed, wiped, and stripped before milking, and sprayed again before leaving the parlour,” he says.

“This has led to an average somatic cell count from the last 12 months of 86,000/ml, along with a bactoscan of 9,000/ml.”

James adds that the health and welfare of the herd is the key priority for the farm.

“The estate invested in a cubicle system around 18 months ago, replacing the previous open pen system in order to further improve udder health, and the results have been significant.

“The cubicles are cleaned twice a day, and scraped as often as possible, which has seen mastitis cases reduced considerably,” he says.

Around four years ago, the farm was also faced with a significant Neospora outbreak, with nearly half the herd aborting in a year. “This was a huge blow for both Leigh and the estate, but he has been determined to tackle the issue with a strict breeding policy.

“Milk testing is carried out before drying off, and any cows that have tested positive are put to beef sires, along with any that may have a history in the dam, to prevent any carryover to the next generation of the herd,” adds James.

“Leigh’s technical performance, meticulous standards and eye for detail are a rare commodity, and it’s great to be able to reward a manager who is focused on making the most of his milk to drive the business forward.”

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.