New herd of pedigree cattle will bring research benefits

Agriculture students at Hartpury will benefit from the arrival of an exciting new addition to its award-winning commercial farm – a herd of 50 pedigree Guernsey cattle.

Sourced with the help of the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the herd will provide college and university students at Hartpury with more opportunities to carry out research about the breed – famous for its rich flavour of milk – in an applied, commercial setting.

As pedigree cattle, the new Hartpury herd will also open up opportunities for students to show them at livestock events, providing students with additional experience and skills ahead of a career in the agriculture industry.
Andrew Eastabrook, farm manager at Hartpury, said: “We’re continually exploring new and innovative ways of providing our students with genuine experience of working on a commercial farm in preparation for a rewarding and successful career in the agriculture industry.

“We sourced the new herd thanks to support from the English Guernsey Cattle Society, with whom we will continue to work closely on future studies related to the breed.

“We’re delighted that our students will now benefit from helping to manage the new pedigree herd, preparing them for showing, and undertaking college studies and undergraduate and postgraduate research to uncover new knowledge about the breed. It’s a hugely exciting new venture for everyone involved.

“In addition, we believe the new herd will also bring major commercial benefits to our farm, where we already had 200 Holstein milking cows, 200 beef cattle, and approximately 250 dairy youngstock. We also currently have 650 ewes and are expecting 1,200 lambs.

“Demand from milk processors nowadays is heavily centred around milk solids, so while Guernsey cattle have a lower overall yield, they produce higher-percentage fat and protein milk.

“Our milk buyer also requested that we supply a more level profile of litres across the year.

“With our autumn calving herd, we produce a peak litreage in late autumn, and through winter, but less milk in summer when cows are drying off.

“The Guernseys are calving in spring as a standalone herd, so they should balance the cyclical changes in the Holstein milk solids.”

The new Guernsey herd is just the latest agriculture innovation to gain a new home at Hartpury since the turn of the year, with a state-of-the-art dairy parlour now up and running to provide students with hands-on experience of the latest technology.

The modern facility expanded the already extensive range of modern equipment within Hartpury’s on-site commercial farm that supplies produce to M&S, Muller, Glencore and Frontier.

Hartpury won the Promar International Milkminder Manager of the Year 2019 – Regional Award for the South of England, in recognition of the success of its dairy herd and facilities.

Agriculture degrees and diplomas at Hartpury provide routes into a range of career opportunities within the UK and international agriculture industry, including farm management, agronomy, policymaking, research, science and consultancy.



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About The Author

John Swire - 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.