The Brewster family of the Boclair herd has been awarded the esteemed Holstein UK Premier Pedigree Herd of 2017 at UK Dairy Day, held on Wednesday 13th September. David and John Brewster, who run the Boclair herd in Scotland, have enjoyed years of success, claiming multiple titles at regional and national level - and the latest win is the ultimate cherry on the cake!
National judge, and 2016 winner, Andrew Birkle of the Winchat herd, commented that every herd in the 2017 competition was of a fantastic standard, and that deciding on the winner was a tough decision. The Boclair herd claimed top spot as Champion Herd, whilst Reserve Champion was awarded to R J & H Clare of the Hawksmoor Herd and Honourable Mention to Messrs Winter of the Corringham Herd. All the qualifying regional winners are leading premier herds, consisting of animals which are at least 90% UK bred. The finalists included:
· Scotland - David & John Brewster of the Boclair Herd
· Northern Ireland - N McCann of the Simlahill Herd
· Eastern - Messrs Winter of the Corringham Herd
· Western - R J & H Clare of the Hawksmoor Herd
· Northern - G B Moorhouse of the Aireburn Herd
· Southern - Mr Dennis Smith of the Oakroyal Herd
· Welsh - W P & E G Williams of the Waliswood Herd
The Brewster family runs 850 acres; most of the land is at Boclair with additional land at the nearby Bogton, Bardowie and Branziet farms. There are 482 acres of arable land, whilst 360 acres are kept for silage and grazing during the summer months. There are 200 cows in the herd and a further 300 youngstock. All cows and calves are based at Boclair, housed in cubicle sheds during the winter months, and all heifers are artificially inseminated using high genomic sexed semen. In terms of classification, there are over 140 animals classified either VG or EX. The herd has a twelve-month rolling average of 12,312 litres at 3.77% butterfat and 3.22% protein.
The Boclair herd has always been pedigree. David Brewster comments, “I have always had a strong interest in high quality cattle and being a part of an animal’s journey and seeing them thrive to success is what fuels my passion. Being able to track ancestry, record performance and genetic information to breed an animal that, down the line, will have even greater genetic potential is what I find particularly exciting. Improved longevity is a major consideration for today’s industry and breeding for better udder traits, feet and legs and locomotion plays a huge part in this.”
David adds, “The one bull which stands out in Boclair history is Boclair Objective. He was registered over 20 years ago and has done exceptionally well, having had a great impact on the herd. Winning Holstein UK Premier Pedigree Herd this year is a truly honourable accolade and something we’re all extremely proud of.”
David Perry, Holstein UK President, concludes, “A huge congratulations goes to the Boclair herd and the Brewster family. This is a remarkable family set-up with quality of animals, performance and genetics right at the heart of the progressive business. As part of the Premier Herd title, Holstein UK will be organising a farm open day at Boclair in 2018 (date TBC). This will enable us to gain first hand insight into the farm’s genetics, breeding and set-up, as well as enjoying a look around Boclair animals.”