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GOLDEN GLOW AT BICKFIELD


farm sale in 1996, 70 heifers were sold to Buckinghamshire in 2006 and 50 more heifers sold at Sedgemoor Sale Centre in 2008. Maurice admits that he’s amazed at the way he has seen the holding grow. Having bought small parcels of land locally over the years, he was offered the chance to purchase the original holding in 1994, which he was able to finance with the sale of 25 acres by Chew Valley Lake.


Original families The herd is now 100% homebred and still contains many original families from 1945;


Over 240 Guernsey’s milking on an ex County Council smallholding a few miles south of Bristol sounded intriguing, so Simon Gee went to find out what attractions the breed held for Maurice, May and Philip Durbin


the Dot, Stella and Trudy families being among the best. Other families doing well include the After Dark’s (who came from Cornwall), the Alison’s (breeding show cows), the Angela’s (herd competition favourites) plus the Jewel’s, Olivia’s and Suprema’s.


Bloodlines selected for use as sires tend to avoid the extremes of stature, as that’s not the type of cow Maurice and Philip are trying to breed. A Guernsey Society trip to the USA that Maurice and May made certainly


LEFT The management system at Bickfield is kept as simple as possible, with troughs used for feeding the TMR in winter and buffer ration in summer.


FARMFACTS Bickfield Guernseys


q 300 Guernseys owned by the Durbin family south of Bristol


q Three generations have farmed Bickfield since 1930 q Holding is now 320 acres owned in a ring fence plus 100 acres of rented keep


q High water table makes the lightweight Guernsey a good choice


q Simple forage-based ration based on grazing and grass & maize silage


q 150 new cubicles about to be erected q Herd average 5666 kg at 4.67%F and 3.51%P with 399 CI q Cows families include After Dark, Alison, Angela, Dot, Jewel, Stella, Suprema and Trudy


q Sires include Junes Royal Oak, Ezekiel, Yogi’s Esquire, Stargazer and EGCS young sires


THE JOURNAL OCTOBER 2010 35


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