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a risk that was definitely worth taking – the day of my arrival was the same day that her Cashcoin son with a high GPLI (£248) Longmoor Cashman, was sent off to AI – no doubt the first of many. A sale in Luxembourg (where a polled Lithium heifer sold for 34,000 Euros while her horned Mayfield sister sold for only 2,900 Euros) certainly persuad- ed Stuart and Colin to take the plunge into polled genetics. Stuart invested in a polled Ladd P daughter, Ivana, in partnership with Drakkar Holsteins. Longmoor now have 15 Supershot eggs from her, each with a huge parent average (PA) of +2479 GTPI. Stuart exclaims: “When you start using genom- ics, you don’t want to use proven. When you start using polled, you don’t want to use horned. People are afraid to make that change.” Having used polled sires through the herd for 16 months, the Roger family are not fearful when it comes to moving with the changes in genetic progression.


Breeding goals


A family that is anything but afraid of change, the introduction of genom- ics caused them to scratch their heads and rethink their breeding goals. Be- fore genomics, the family were looking into lifespan and health, they were also looking for a good balance of udder, legs and Type of +3 or higher. Now Stuart thinks differently, he says: “People get hung up on Type, but if you use corrective mating and look at the transmitting ability of a bull, you can make a better cow.” At Longmoor, breeding decisions are now very individu- ally based and are made by focusing on the linear of a bull and the genomic figures of the sire and female. Stuart also comments: “The day a good homozygous bull comes out; we will use him pretty heavily.” I ask if they are governed by price when buying semen. Colin laughs: “Apparently not!”


Herd Management


Herd management is done thoroughly at Longmoor. Stuart and Colin say: “Everything we do is about breeding the healthiest herd we can.”


ABOVE LEFT The farmhouse at Longmoor had a complete face lift – inside and out.


ABOVE RIGHT Heifers and bulls have Electronic ID (EID) tags as well as BVD marker tags to monitor and to control if needed. All cows and heifers are vaccinated for Lepto, IBR and BDV.


BELOW With the ambition to sell heifers and bulls, a badger fence built 12 inches into the ground and 12 inches out of the ground was built around the farm in September 2013 to eradicate the potential of any TB.


When calves are born they go into hutches, weaned to small boxes of five or six on straw then move onto cubicles from the age of five months. With three batches of cubicles being put in the new shed for grouping, at 12 months old they will be put into different cubicles for service or embryos.


36 THE JOURNAL AUGUST 2014


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