James Robinson runs 130 Dairy Shorthorn cows on an organic system with his father, Henry and mother, Kathleen.
James Robinson runs 130 Dairy Shorthorn cows on an organic system with his father, Henry and mother, Kathleen. Milk is sold to OMSCo and calving mainly takes place in late summer and early autumn to take advantage of higher prices at peak production times. The herd average is 7,000kg/year with some cows producing 10,000-11,000kg.
James works closely with his vet, Kirsty Ranson of Westmorland Vets on health and fertility. Being organic, antibiotic use is limited but James does not find this a problem. Attention to detail and hygiene is vital and selective dry cow therapy is used. Cows are expected to produce at least six calves with some in the herd having had considerably more. Dry cows are housed during the summer months and fed a high dry matter diet. Since adopting this regime there has been a reduction in cases of slow fever, retained cleansings and milk fever.
Calves are fed their mother’s colostrum after birth and have a jacket on for about the first eight weeks of life. Heifers are served when they reach 335kg bodyweight which James says is achievable at around 12 months of age. A relatively new investment has been a new building which has been designed specifically with cow comfort in mind. It has slats over a slurry pit and an additional 40 cubicles for high yielding cows which have a cranked head rail and high end mattresses with powder bedding. They are limed every day to reduce incidence of mastitis.