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A FRESH START AT WINDYRIDGE


A Jersey herd in the Midlands established just eight years ago is already making waves in the showring. Alison Maddrell went to meet Emma Murray, whose keen eye for quality has created a strong base for her future and that of her Windyridge herd


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am and Sally Murray moved to Shipley Bank Farm on the outskirts of Wolverhampton in 1949. Son William and his wife Lorna continued to milk the herd of British Friesians, developed from an original Ayrshire base, extending the acreage over the years from 125 to 400, which now produces grass, wheat, barley, maize (contract grown for others) and 30 acres of potatoes that are sold at the farm gate. Whilst William and Lorna are still working at home, it is now the turn of their children, Emma and Robert, to take the farm forward and they have struck a good balance with Robert responsible for much of the tractor and field work and Emma managing the herd of 65 Jerseys (Windyridge) and a dozen Holsteins (Redhill). This is a very new herd, however, after the original milking cows were dispersed in 1987 leaving just beef, sheep (Lorna breeds pedigree Charollais and Zwartbles) as well as a Christmas turkey enterprise first established by Emma’s grandpar- ents, now supplying 600 birds to individual customers. This is an arduous task as all birds are killed and dressed on-farm, which creates a constant stream of traffic onto the yard in December.


Unfortunately, all the livestock was lost in a contiguous foot and mouth cull in 2001, but this tragedy was partly responsible for the reintroduction of dairy cows. As part of the clean-up, the ‘powers that be’ declared that the redundant milking parlour was included in the process and in order to achieve this, it had to be working. Emma says that by the time they were finished, every nut and bolt was gleaming and the parlour was functioning perfectly. This prompted her to consider milking cows as she was finishing school and looking for a future at home. She had always


40 THE JOURNAL OCTOBER 2010


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