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specialists). He trained as a nutritionist and has been one of their dairy specialists for ten years now. This work has enabled Gregor to get out on the road with the opportunity to see a vast array of systems and practises, which helps him to manage and look at Bervie’s ‘big picture’ and, conversely, his own experiences helps him to relate to farmers as well. Now working part time with Harbro, he balances this role with managing the herd and business at home. Gregor believes the herd has benefi ted from staff that has long term involvement and work together well. In addition to Gregor, Judy and Blair, Murray Johnston has been dairyman at Bervie for over 20 years and he is responsible for overseeing the robots, milking the remaining 70 cows through the parlour and other routine jobs with the


ABOVE Gregor (centre) is supported day to day on the farm by his father Blair (left) and dairyman Murray Johnston.


ABOVE RIGHT & BELOW The herd is run as one, housed on mattresses and bedded with lime kiln dried sawdust. The feeding passages feature rubber matting for cow comfort.


herd. He is assisted by two Polish men, part of a team of three working on rota with the third one always in Poland. Finally the team is rounded of by a tractor man of 32 years standing, Christopher Barclay, who does the fi eldwork, youngstock feeding and barley beef.


FARM FACTS  Alec Colquhoun Ltd run by Judy and Blair


Colquhoun and son Gregor


 Based in North East Scotland  810 acre farm with 200 permanent grass, 300 acres temporary grass and 300 acres arable


 350 cows, 400 followers and barley beef  Annual production of 3.5 million litres sold to Tesco via Wiseman


 Herd milked since 2007 with four Lely Robots and 70 cows through parlour


 Winner of the inaugural Agriscot WWS Scottish Dairy Farmer of the Year award


 Cow families coming to the fore through functionality since herd graded up 30 years ago include Fame, Symbol and Willow


 Service sires: Baxter, Jayzz, Ross, Suede, Die Hard, Bolton, Jeeves, Gerrard and Design while he is using sexed Mr Sam and Focus on the heifers, selection based on health traits


 Herd average 10,500 kg with SCC 108 and 394 days CI


 Herd classifi cation 18 EX, 112 VG and 172 GP, with 12 LP100 cows in the last fi ve years


THE JOURNAL AUGUST 2010 19


The herd was milked three times a day from 1980 to 1994; however the demands on labour and expansion in general saw the Colquhoun’s decide that robots were the best way forward. Improvement in the future is focussed on effi ciency, simplicity and improving the quality of life for both cows and people. Targeted performance from the four robots is 8000 litres per day (2000 litres/robot). The Bervie herd produces 8700 litres per day from the four robots and the cows are milked on average 2.8 times per day, although Gregor sees this as an area of opportunity. There is a lack of free time at each of the machines, and with cows standing waiting to be milked there is an impact on mobility and herd health in terms of mastitis. His two alternatives are to reduce cow numbers or to increase milking opportunity and it is therefore his intention to install a fi fth robot, which may also enable the 70 cows that are milked through the parlour to go through it as well. Currently the fresh calvers, problem cows (lame or mastitis cases) and cows with close rear teat placement are milked through the parlour twice daily. Waste milk is fed to the bulls as the herd is undergoing a Johnes eradication programme. Health monitoring and disease control is a key area


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