24 Nov 2021

Farmer Focus: E G Harris & Son, Gillingham, Dorset

CIS customer Tom Malleson has been contract farming for 14 years in Dorset and for the last two years has been using the CIS Health Testing Service as part of his quarterly milk recording for his herd.  The Spring block calving herd historically have been predominately New Zealand and some Irish Friesian genetics, however, earlier this year they have started a 3-way crossbreeding programme introducing Scandinavian Red.

The herd of 400 cows are milked in a herringbone parlour twice a day and average 5,200 litres with a butterfat of 4.8% and protein of 3.99%.  For much of the year, the herd are paddock grazed with the addition of silage at each end of the season and a small amount of cake in the parlour. During the winter the herd graze forage crops on a neighbouring farm.  Tom breeds all the replacements and has about 200 followers.

CIS Area Manager Karen Reeve assists Tom’s herd by providing a milk recorder to visit the farm each quarter to take milk samples, record yield and other relevant herd information.  In addition to tracking herd performance and health, Tom uses the milk records for breeding purposes and to check cell counts. As Tom is selective on which animals he uses sexed semen on, the milk records play a strong part in deciding which animals he chooses to breed from.

The herd are Johne’s tested twice a year as part of the Health Testing using milk samples taken at milk recording.  The CIS Johne’s monitoring service helps to manage the potential disease affecting the current and future herd.  Johne’s is a chronic progressive intestinal disease caused by the infection with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP).  The disease has a significant impact on the technical performance of the cow, affecting productivity and fertility.

YourHerd, the secure web-based management portal, features a wide range of reports and the most useful for Tom is the Johne’s control report.  He also finds the CIS MobileHerd app very useful to view and capture the basic herd information whilst out and about on the farm and thinks it’s a real bonus that It’s free to CIS customers.

As well as being a first-generation Dairy Farmer Tom is an Agricultural Business Consultant for Midwest Consulting Ltd and finds the other reports and summaries on YourHerd very useful in his advisor role.  Regular milk recording provides a useful insight to his dairy customer’s providing an overall overview of what is, or is not, working well for herds.