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Shropshire Holstein Club News. October 2017

I am pleased to report that Clive Norbury is making a steady recovery and I hear that he has visited the offices at Beeston to make sure all is well. We look forward to seeing him back on the rostrum.

Since my last newsletter we have had our Combined Calf Show qualifier with Western and Stafford Clubs at Barbers Auction Mart at Market Drayton.

Despite the constant rain prior to the date, we had a great day and it stayed dry allowing our Judges Anna Stable from Bolton Manor Holsteins who judged the handlers section, and Sam Wake who presided over the calf classes, to place a very high standard of both exhibitors and calves with the class winners going on to represent the three Clubs at the ABAB at Malvern in October. Both Judges remarked on the high standard of entries from all three Clubs.

We wish them all every success.

September saw 40 members travel up into Lancashire and Yorkshire for our annual Study Tour or as some call it - “Our GIN Fest”.

We started with a  visit to Feizor Holsteins kindly hosted by David Booth and family and here we viewed a great herd of cows which everyone was most impressed with, both at the production level and also the high type of the cows before us. This was followed by a very filling lunch at the Walker’s Café at Feizor.

The second herd we visited was by kind permission of Brian Moorhouse at Aireburn Holsteins who won through to the finals of the HUK Premier Herds Competition for 2017. Here we walked through a tremendous herd of uniform and high performing cows which Brian is obviously very proud of and not only that but these cows produce the milk which makes the Icelandic style Yoghurt, SKYR, that the family produce on farm and market themselves. We got to taste this new and innovative product in the garden at Bell Busk while consuming tea and cakes and of course the Damson Gin.

Day two saw us visit Philip Metcalfe at Metcalfe Farms where we saw 1300 very impressive Holsteins and their housing and feeding regimes, as well as viewing the 72 point Boumatic rotary parlour in action. We also discussed the various management skills needed to operate this scale of operation. They operate a very smooth system, employing specialist skills and have reduced the staff cost per litre produced to a very impressive low level. They have increased the skills level on farm by employing outside professional labour elements including, Nutrition, Vet care , Heat Detection and AI and  foot trimming.

Philip then also showed us around the other parts of the business including truck and car service and repair, Heavy Haulage, Agricultural contracting and an Anaerobic Digester.

Day three saw us all visit Neil Bellerby and family at Oxclose farm who at very short notice invited the group to see the 800 milking goat enterprise which proved to be a very interesting visit as well as viewing their herd of Holsteins which again proved to be of a very high standard and we are indebted to Neil and Robert for their very kind hospitality and what proved to be a very educational visit.

Frank Dixon.

Secretary. Shropshire Holstein Club