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of the Lavenham herd and Mr to be retired on the farm, the herd philosophy is to treat every cow as an
Vestey’s policy of investing in individual on their own merits, so if there is a chance that they will hold to
good families rather than great another service, served they will be. This practice has led to a minimal culling
individuals, several in-calf heifers rate and, in previous years, the top 60% were served to black & white with
were bought in from Lavenham the remaining 40% put to beef. The herd is loose housed and an old tractor
at their heifer sale in 1989. shed and a barn containing separate bays were converted into two new
Of these, two were from the yards five years ago, allowing numbers to increase from 120 to the 180 as it
Seabreeze family which now stands now. Appropriately in this, their 50
th
year, the Ashdon herd will now
forms the largest Ashdon family
be able to sell a surplus group of summer/autumn calving heifers for the first
in terms of numbers, with M.E.
time in a number of years.
Dal Alliance daughter Ashdon
Fertility is one of the strong points of the current system. Over the past
Seabreeze 96 registered this
12 months, the average number of straws per conception stood at two,
April. The bigger influence was
including maiden heifers, although over the past three months this has
Lavenham Seabreeze Red 4 EX91-
dropped further to an impressive (given virtually no culling) 1.9 with a
3E who set the trend for this
calving interval around 400 days. Semen choice is limited to a few bulls at
prolific heifer breeding family.
a time; “We don’t like change too quick around here!”, and no semen is
Of her fourteen calvings, the
wasted. A clear out of the flask two years ago revealed 12 straws of Scottish
first six resulted in heifer calves
Sovereign Star at the bottom. Born in 1972, this bull’s semen had been in
followed by three more including
the pot at least 20 years so was used quickly! 11 pregnancies resulted in five
her last in 2002. This was a
heifers, now being served and demonstrating the width very evident in his
Jordan daughter who has had
proof today! First choice service is currently Far-O-La Debbie-Jo Drake or
four daughters in five lactations
Plain-O Durham Ross 331 with third repeats put to young bull Windy-Knoll
herself. Seabreeze Red 4
accumulated 119 tonnes of milk ABOVE Entirely loose housed, the straw yards are in use all year round.
losing only a month in calving
interval from 1989 to 2002 and
BELOW LEFT With origins dating back to 1949, Ashdon Honeysuckle 9 EX93-3E is
she was only put to sleep as a in her tenth lactation, although she is yet to produce a heifer calf.
19-year-old in 2006 due to a case
of laminitis.
BELOW RIGHT Now in her second lactation, Ashdon Duchess 53 VG88 won the
Although Seabreeze Red 4
Homebred Heifer class in the 2008 Suffolk Herd Competition. Her dam was a
is the only example of a cow
VG89 Kemview daughter out of an EX Tesk from Lavenham.
THE JOURNAL JUNE 2009 23
e3-09 Ashdon.indd 3 27/05/2009 08:56:00
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