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The winter ration is based on self-feed grass silage with maize silage fed in troughs after the afternoon milking.


abandoned self-feed systems many years ago, the Wyatts like the simplicity and feel it works well with the addition of the maize. Cake is fed to yield in the parlour up to a maximum of 9.5kg and this diet allows cows to record yields in excess of 10,000kg. A couple of examples are the Blackisle Glen Albyn daughter, Duchess 55, classified BFE94-2E and with a seventh record of 10,292kg in 305 days and Ida 150 BFV85, by Catlane Chatsworth, who completed a fourth record of 10,005kg in 305 days. In addition to the grassland at Manor Farm, there are between 300 and 350 acres of arable land with a rotation that includes wheat, barley, oilseed rape and the maize for silage. Grass silage comes from about 80 acres and the aim is to get three cuts from the younger leys.


The main cubicle building was built in the 1960s as loose housing, converting to cubicle accommodation in the 1970s. At about the same time as the 10:10 herringbone parlour was installed, which was updated five years ago with new stallwork, mangers and feeders. Both have been well maintained and still do the job they were built for. Most of the milking is done by herdsman Malcolm Hoyland, who’s been at Englishcombe for seven years,


with the Wyatt family providing relief. Milk is sold to Arla on a manufacturing contract. So why has the British Friesian remained the breed of choice for the Wyatt family? Richard explains: “We have family in North America and have travelled over several times to visit. I took the opportunity to look at milking herds on a visit in 1978 and didn’t think the type of cow being developed there would suit our system at home, so we remained loyal to the British Friesian; I’ve seen nothing to make me change my mind since.”


The only threat to British Friesian exclusivity was the Wyatt’s decision to use Newfailand Mr Frosty, who turned out to be a Holstein cross. “We’ve registered 93 Mr Frosty progeny and were concerned at the time, but the families containing his blood are returning to pure British Friesian status and his daughters certainly yielded well,” says Richard. Other sires to have made a significant impact on the herd include Lavenham Arizona, Catlane Marker, Catlane Marple and Blackisle Glen Albyn. Current sires in use are Catlane Chad, Skyhigh Patrol, Skyhigh Lord, Kirkby Jupiter, Nerewater Tiptop and Trumpet Titantic, whose calves are being born at the moment. The herd calves all year round with


Grass silage comes from about 80 acres and the aim is to get three cuts from the younger leys.


Aberdeen-Angus sires used on the heifers and lower end of the milking herd and every calf is reared; the purebred bulls and Angus crosses are sold as stores through Frome Market. Calves are reared in pens, where they are cared for by Richard’s wife, Rosalie, and moved into groups of 12-15 on weaning. Out at grass during the summer, heifers are housed in winter where they get grass silage and are bedded daily with wheat straw. The herd restarted classification in 2014 after Richard went to a workshop at Mary Mead’s Lakemead herd. “We’ve currently got 10 BFEX and 17 BFV animals under the British Friesian scheme plus another nine Mr Frosty daughters scored VG under the Holstein programme,” enthuses Richard. “We feel that classifying adds interest and improves the value of highly scored animals,” he continues. It’s also been a key reason behind Genus’ decision to contract Carnation 42 BFE93- 2E and Mischief 78 BFV88 for bulls to add to their programme Englishcombe British Friesians impress on many levels; deep cow families with good classification scores, solid production and kept on a simple management system. It’s a herd with an interesting past and a bright future.


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