Farm Walk 2019
Neale Sadler
Steve & Ruth Ashley

BCBC Dairy Farm Visits – Tuesday 6th August 2019

The British Cattle Breeders Club will visit two Shropshire dairy farms on Tuesday 6th August 2019.   Everyone is welcome, please register your places with the secretary on 07966 032079 or heidi.bradbury@cattlebreeders.org.uk or Book your ticket here  Please book your place by Tuesday 30th July.

Lunch will be provided kindly sponsored by Lely.

Both farm visits are likely to be on foot and mainly around the yards and fields adjacent to the farm, it is essential that footwear suitable for thorough cleaning and disinfection is worn.

Timetable for the day:

10.00 – Arrival at Bridge Farm for tea/coffee

10.30 – Tour commences

12.00 – Depart for Meadow Bank Farm

12.30 – Lunch at Meadow Bank Farm

13.15 – Tour commences

14.45 – Tea/coffee prior to departure

BRIDGE FARM

Edstaton, Wem, Shropshire, SY4 5RG

Farmer:  Neale Sadler

Bridge Farm is a small family dairy farm in North Shropshire milking 75 cows.  Neale farms 210 acres growing a variety of crops including maize, lucerne, wheat and oats all of which are used for feeding the dairy herd. 

Neale sold the herd in 2003 and after seeing the first Lely robot in use at the Dairy Event he decided to return to milking cows, this time with a robot.  He visited numerous robots throughout the UK and in Holland and 3 years later in July 2006 he started milking through the A3 robot at Bridge Farm.

The herd was converted to a2 cows 6 years ago, when Neale was given the opportunity to join the founder group of dairy farmers who would be supplying the joint venture of the a2 Milk Company and Muller Wiseman, supplying a niche product.  A2 genetic cow’s milk is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant and suffer from conditions such as eczema and IBS.  His involvement with the a2 company has developed and he regularly speaks and promotes the product at various events.

The herd calves all year round and the cows average 31 litres per day and are milked on average 3 x a day.  The cows are housed with access to grazing.  Neale is looking to expand with a new building to house a second robot.

Neale was a finalist of the British Farming awards in 2018 and the Cream Awards in 2016, he is involved with the Shropshire County Agricultural Show and Chairman of his local NFU branch.  Neale will be one of our speakers at our annual conference in January held at Telford.

MEADOW BANK FARM

Cantlop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY5 7DB

Farmers:  Steve & Ruth Ashley

Meadow Bank Farm is a family owned and run dairy farm in Shropshire with 113 acres owned and a further 300 acres rented.  They grow maize and winter wheat harvested as wholecrop, multi-cut silage, hay and haylage.  Steve and Ruth run a closed herd of 130 Holstein Friesian’s milked with 2 Lely A4 Astronauts which were installed in 2013.  The milk is sold to Muller on a direct contract with 30,000 litres a month going to Lidl.  The cows are housed all year round, fed a Total Mixed Ration and bedded on deep sand.

Health and welfare of the cows is important to both Steve and Ruth, they do everything they can to ensure the herd is comfortable and cared for through every stage of their life.  The vet visits fortnightly to check fertility and fresh cows.  Steve and Ruth find the health reports available to them are invaluable and are used to look for any changes in activity, ruminations, fat and cellcounts on a daily basis.  The cows are fitted with a collar that reads ruminations which is a good indicator to the cow’s health and will flag up any issues.  The foot trimmer visits fortnightly for routine trimming. 

The herd’s current average yield is 44 litres a day, with a 305 day lactation of 13,420 litres.  The calving interval is 390 days with an average pregnancy rate for the year of 32.71% and conception rate for the year of 37.07%.  The cows calve all year round with the age at first calving of 24 months.