09 Aug 2019

CIS Farmer Focus: GG Baynes, Northumberland

The countdown is on for Richard Baynes to get his pedigree Dairy Shorthorns and Ayrshires ready for the show ring at UK Dairy Day. The Marleycote herd dates back more than 85 years and is nationally renowned for quality with an impressive show record. 

The herd was established in 1932 by the late Geoffrey Baynes and is now managed by his descendants – son David and grandsons Richard & Paul. When a nearby farm was purchased in 1994 the dairy herd numbers were increased with the purchase of Ayrshire cows from a number of herds including Morwick & Middle. Marleycote Walls runs to 165 acres, along with nearby Woodnook Farm of 120 acres. Cropping is mainly grass with 30 acres Barley and 15 acres Wheat.

The family have blended their Shorthorn cows with modern-day red and white. Twenty years ago Swedish Red and subsequently American Milking Shorthorn breeding was introduced, then Ayrshire and Holstein crosses were used taking care not to compromise on the traditional Shorthorn breed’s attributes of quality milk production, good health and longevity, to produce what they believe is the ideal dairy cow. While few cows are 100 per cent Shorthorn, the ideal is to maintain at least 25 per cent Shorthorn bloodlines in the herd.

The original Ayrshire cows were a mix of pure and blended bloodlines. The breeding policy has been to mate each cow individually to try to improve her faults, so a wide variety of pure and blended bulls are used. Although breeding the right type of cow is more important than percentage, the show ring plays an important part in the breeding decisions, so if possible the aim is to keep them over 50%.

Faced with the economics of milk production at the beginning of the millennium the family opted to continue to pursue quality, not quantity, and add value to their milk with on-farm processing.

The aim across the herd is for a cow to last 7 - 8 lactations with an average yield of 8000 litres whilst getting straight back in calf with minimal health problems. The cows are fed a simple diet of grass silage, wholecrop wheat and brewers grains in winter with an 18% nut in the robots.  They are grazed through the summer and buffer fed silage. The current herd average is 8050kg, 3.95% fat, 3.35% protein for the Dairy Shorthorns and 7790kg, 4.13% fat, 3.38% protein for the Ayrshires.

The herd are type classified and current classifications are 18EX, 35VG, 40GP and 11G

The family are a long standing CIS customer and milk record and health test the herd which comprises of 15 Dairy Shorthorn and 90 Ayrshire cows, dairy replacements and bull beef.

Commenting in the CIS services, Richard says, “Capturing accurate records on milk quality and cell count are essential for us as we need data to help market our animals.  We sell 30-40 animals each year so it is important for buyers to have confidence in the herd performance and health status.  The herd are BVD free and vaccinated.”

Investment has been made in a new dairy building and new equipment including bulk tank storage, pasteuriser and bottling machine.  In May 2005 they launched Northumbrian Pedigree Milk and Cream – the only on farm processor in Northumberland.  They currently sell 50% of the milk production in bottles. Products include double, whipping and single cream, whole milk, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk. Paul took over the management of the processing side of the business leaving Richard to manage the dairy herd along with Lewis Short.  David splits his time between the two sides of the business.

A decision was made in 2009 that the existing milking and housing facilities were becoming dated so investment was made in 2 Lely Astronaut robots along with a new purpose-built shed. This was designed with cow comfort and ease of management in mind including 124 cubicles, slatted floor with 8 months slurry storage beneath and a straw yard for up to 20 cows.

The herd is nationally renowned for quality and has an impressive show record at the country’s top agricultural shows over the years including Northumberland County, The Great Yorkshire Show, Agriscot and UK Dairy Day.

The Great Yorkshire Show remains the family’s favourite show. In 2015 Marleycote Brown Nell 20 EX93 took the Ayrshire breed Champion at the South West of Scotland Dairy Show. In 2016 Marleycote Apricot VG86 was awarded heifer Champion, in 2017 Marleycote Sea Lily 21 VG87 won Ayrshire Heifer & Breed Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show and this year Marleycote Sea Lily 23 won breed champion.

In 2013 Ayrshire Marleycote Sea Lily 14 and the Shorthorn Marleycote Princess Jill 31 sold to the Mclean family in Ireland, both cows have won numerous breed and interbreed championships with Lily scoring 94 points and Jill at 95 points.

2016 saw another landmark at Marleycote with the homebred Songstress 8 Ex91 3E becoming our first 100t cow, giving 101,855 with the completion of her 9th lactation. She is due her 10th calf this autumn. Songstress 8 is also an 8star brood cow and twice winner of the society Gold Cup for regular breeding and high components.

Ahead of UK Dairy Day, Richard says, “It’s great to go to a show where the organisers really want us there, its best show in the industry to show off your progeny.  I have been showing for over 30 years plus, it’s not just about getting the results in the ring, it’s our shop window to show breeders across the UK what Marlycote have to offer.  The breeders around the ring side are likely to be our next customer and the we currently have lots of orders which is a nice place to be in.”

Look out for Richard in the show ring at UK Dairy Day 2019 on Wednesday 11th September.  Good Luck from CIS.