Farmer/owner: Becci Berry
Farm location: Swindon, Wiltshire
Farm name: Brimstone Farm
Herd: 180 cows
Milking system: Milk meter upgrade and Crystal herd management software installation
Date of installation: January 2012
Becci Berry farms a total of 365 hectares in a family partnership, at Brimstone Farm where she runs a 180 cow dairy herd alongside the farm’s arable enterprise. Over the last eight years the dairy herd has moved away from pure-bred British Friesian and Holstein cows, with Swedish Red and Brown Swiss genetics being used to address underlying fertility problems, improve longevity and rectify cow stature.
“The Holsteins were getting too big for the farm’s milking and housing facilities, and we were starting to struggle in terms of cow fertility,” Becci explains. “We therefore started to cross-breed to rectify these issues and have more recently introduced Montbeliard and Norwegian Red genetics.”
The herd is currently averaging 8,800 litres per lactation and is milked twice a day through the farm’s 16:16 Fullwood parlour. The 32-degree herringbone plant was originally installed in the 1970s but has been updated at various stages, turning it from a receiver jar to direct-to-line plant. Fullwood’s AugerMaster in-parlour feeders have also been added.
Subsequent plans to improve the layout and functionality of the milking facilities were being drawn up when Becci’s late husband, Richard, was diagnosed with cancer. Following his death in February 2011, Becci completed a number of the planned improvements under the help and guidance of local dairy engineers, MMT Services. The first of these projects was to install ACRs and cluster flushers. At the same time, both rump rails were moved by a couple of inches to accommodate larger cows, and improvements were made to the parlour building for easier cow flow at the parlour exit.