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BRITISH FRIESIAN


FOCUS


LEFT A group of Friesian breeders from Germany photographed when visiting the Deangate herd in July, with owners John Ro- botham (fi fth from right) and Ian Robotham (far right). Germany is the latest country to import British Friesian semen from Genus.


BELOW Lakemead Rancher, bred from two generations of 90 tonne cows.


large number of young sires in progeny testing that are bred from long lasting, high producing cow families. Some examples include: Catlane Caleb has six 100 tonne cows in his pedigree. He is by Catlane Corsair out of Catlane Crescendo Christine BFE90. Deangate Tarquin is a Tittenser Hylke son of Deangate Queenie 9 BFE94, who is milking in her thirteenth lactation and has given 109 tonnes so far. Genus have recently purchased another young bull out of Queenie 9; Deangate Quiz by Arenberg Frans 133. Winnoch Umpire is a son of Mileoak Hercules out of Winnoch Penguin 90 that was classifi ed BFE93 after giving 98 tonnes of milk. Blackisle Rosehaugh is a Foxhole Panatella son out of Blackisle Laura 5 BFE92 that was Champion at the British Friesian Club Show as a young cow and gave over 100 tonnes in her lifetime. Deangate Quentin (by Tittenser Hylke) and Deangate Quadrant


(by Marshside Rocket 3) are both out of Deangate Queenie 14 that is milking well in her ninth lactation. Langley Brandysnap and Langley Evolution are bred from the Ethel family and their grand dam gave over 100 tonnes.


The British Friesian certainly has the ability to produce a profi table


cow that will last for many lactations and the emphasis that breeders have placed on lifetime production has been a key ingredient in the breed’s success.


TWO YEAR CALVING ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO!


They say there’s nothing new under the sun, and Henry’s article in the last Journal reminded us of information discovered, in our quest to write up the history of the British Friesian breed.


It is fairly obvious that the earlier heifers calve down , provided they are well grown enough, and start their productive life, the more profi table they will be. There is also strong evidence of increasing calving diffi culties as heifers get older. However, calving at two years is no modern phenomenon. Frederick Houghton, who was Secretary to the Holstein-Friesian Association of America and editor of the Register, tells us in his ‘History of the Breed and its Development in America’ which was published in 1897, of the experiences of various travellers to North Holland. He quotes from one such observer, a Mr S Hoxie, who wrote (rather quaintly to our ears);


“At two years of age, with rare exceptions, they commence giving milk, and at six or seven years old they uniformly go loaded with fl esh to the butcher. These dairymen do not lose their dairy plant at the end of every eight or ten years in a lot of old or worthless cows. They sell their cows well fattened at an age when their fl esh is of the best quality. The price obtained pays for extra food that may have been used, and replaces at a profi t with younger animals.” There are repeated references to the fantastic quality of the land and the productivity of the cattle in what has been claimed to be ‘the most fertile pastures in the world’. There are also countless references to the skill of the Friesian people in the management of their dairy cows and their highly developed business acumen.


Houghton goes so far as to say; “The preservation of the Friesian people and their continued adhesion to cattle breeding for more than 2,000 years is one of the marvels of history”. With the right type of cow, the formula is as relevant today as it was all those years ago. Mary Mead


THE JOURNAL AUGUST 2010 53


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