Whole Herd Grade Up

Step 1

Contact Membership Services, a Holstein UK Field Officer or Classifier or the CIS team who will then arrange for a Field Officer to visit your farm at a convenient time to discuss the next steps.

You must be a Holstein UK member to Grade Up, a team member will advise you how to sign up and register a prefix.

Step 2

The Field Officer will collect information on cows in the herd.

Information is taken from on farm records, milk records and farm software along with a BCMS or DARDNI download of animals on the holding.

Step 3

The Field Officer will gather as much information as possible and walk through the cows to advise on Breeding Tools available from Holstein UK, the Type Classification system and check for any cross breeding in the herd.

Step 4

The Field Officer will create a spreadsheet of all alive Holstein/Friesian animals on the farm which are then sorted into families.

Cost can be established at this stage; if the grade up is done on Fast Track Pedigree, cost can be determined as soon as the data is checked. If members pay through direct debit, the cost of the grade up can be spread over 6-12 months.

Step 5

Once the data has been collated, the Field Officer will go through it with the Member, making sure only animals they want registering are on the list. Non breeders etc. can be excluded, although it is encouraged that as many animals as possible are done as a Grade Up is a one off event.

Step 6

The Field Officer will ensure that the farm knows how to register calves by internet or telephone within 45 days of their date of birth and will discuss pedigree packages such as THR and Holstein Complete.

Holstein UK offers a grading up procedure to enable members with non-pedigree animals to start the process to become pedigree. The member will be asked to sign a declaration at the start of the Whole Herd Grade Up to verify that the animals entered are not under any DEFRA movement or compulsory slaughter restrictions. 

A Whole Herd Grade Up is open to all members with non-pedigree animals, irrespective of numbers. Only one application will be accepted per member, so it is important that all non-pedigree animals are applied for.

Note: Animals must have been born on the members’ farm otherwise they can only be registered as ASR, unless of course they are already registered in which case we will transfer them to a Member's new prefix and their progeny can be registerd full pedigree provided they have a known Holstein or Friesian sire.

Holstein UK rules of registration are those that are contained in the European Directive 2016- 1012 on animals that have 87.5% bloodlines in recognition as that breed. Holstein UK calculate percentage bloodline and breed purity up to 100%. 

All animals that do not have authenticated parentage will enter the ASR register. If the sire is unknown, the animal must be inspected and verified as of Holstein or Friesian character before they can be entered in the ‘A’ Supplementary Herd Book.  Animals that have died may enter the ASR register as Dead ASRs, but must have a registered sire as they cannot be inspected. Animals out of ASR’s can be BSR so long as they have a known pedigree Holstein or Friesian sire and their progeny will be deemed full pedigree, again as long as they have a pedigree sire. 

All applications must be verified by official records. The process involves a staff member visiting the farm and inspecting the animals to check ear tags and that there is no evidence of cross breeding. In areas of doubt the animal can be DNA tested to establish parentage, however this is not used often as animals in doubt are placed in the ASR register. 

A Dead ASR can be registered with an ear tag, registered pedigree sire and a name. 

Alive ASRs are registered in their own right with a family name, ear tag, line number, date of birth and a pedigree sire, if this can be verified as out lined above, a certificate is not issued for these animals. BSRs are progeny out of the ASR group bred to a pure breed registered sire. They are registered with full details of the ear tag, date of birth, dam, sire details verified as outlined above, and a certificate is issued for these animals. 

Calves registered from BSR bulls cannot be graded up to full pedigree and either remain as BSR or are registered as ASR. 

Full Pedigree animals are registered out of BSR dams with a full pedigree sire, or other full pedigree animals. 

Details are collected as for BSR registration and a certificate is issued for these animals. 

Once animals have been graded up, their calves must be registered by telephone or the internet within the normal time limits.

For further information, or to Grade Up your herd, please contact Membership Services on 01923 695200 or

Whole Herd Grade Up - Holmescales Holsteins

Brothers Luke and Joe are the fifth generation of Robinsons at Holmescales in Cumbria, working with their Mum and Dad, alongside one full time employee, Sam, and additional weekend relief staff. They currently run 200 cows with 150 followers with plans to increase herd numbers to around 300.

Having enquired about grading up the herd during the very first COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020, Holstein UK Field Officer Marion Holliday was able to start the process in May. The process was done remotely with no social contact to meet COVID-19 guidelines and Luke provided Marion with access to their BCMS number and the herd’s milk records so that she could analyse the data and start the process of grading up the herd.

Luke says: "The reason we initially decided to grade the herd up was because I have a real interest in cow families and their pedigrees and I really think it helps us to make better breeding decisions on the farm by breeding from the best cows which will help to make the herd more profitable. It gives me confidence in buying heifers as it means I know their history which helps to ensure that I am buying long-lasting and profitable cows.”