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Herd of the Month Last Updated: Oct 5, 2010 - 10:08:48 PM

The Skeel Herd -- June Herd of the Month
By Digby Gribble
Jun 4, 2005 - 10:38:00 PM

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George and Gwen Davies and their sons Dyfrig and Emyr run a mixed farming business at Newhouse Farm Haycastle, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

The Skeel Guernsey herd was established in 1956 and now consists of 85 cows.  The family have always bred and used their own bulls within the herd supplemented by limited use of AI sires.

There are currently working age sons of Stingray and Tradition whilst there is a Silverado calf out of Skeel Hazel 38 who is one of the highest GMI calves in the UK.

Skeel Hazel 38

Arrow Head TF Lindon worked well in this herd and his daughter Skeel was the Homebred Interbreed Champion at the Welsh Dairy Show in 2002.

The other bull who worked well in this herd was Hill Hoath Rex and this English bred bull has left long lasting cows with good udders and high butterfat percentages.

Skeel Rex Hazel

Whilst the herd is largely self contained George has always been prepared to introduce new cow families to the herd and the latest of these is Brynllys Glaciers Mary 15 VG 85.

Brynllys Glacier Mary

In addition to the milking cows, there is a Pedigree Limousin herd which is mainly looked after by Emyr and the Limousin is crossed on some of the Guernseys with the progeny finished on the farm, whilst Dyfrig has a small herd of sows all the progeny finished as baconers.

It is the attitude to the arable side of the farm which is different here and in the past Lucerne has been grown and now Fodder Beet is grown.  The 10 acre field had grown Spring Wheat in 2004, harvested as Wholecrop in August, then the stubble was cultivated and broadcast with Italian Ryegrass which was then grazed by the cows in March 05 before a heavy dressing of Farm Yard Manure, ploughing and drilling with the Fodder Beet.

It is hoped that the Beet will yield 35 tons per acre which will be fed at the rate of 4-5 kgs per cow as part of a mixed forage ration with Wholecrop wheat silage and grass silage. The beet is washed but not chopped and is put in the bottom of the ring feeders with the silages placed on top and the cows dig down through the silages after the beet.

The cows are milked through a Herringbone parlour and have access to out of parlour feeders, the cubicle divisions were replaced five years ago with Dutch style Mushroom cubicles and the cows appreciate the extra lunging room.

It was as ever a pleasure to visit Newhouse again this week and to see what is always a very well managed business where Guernseys provide the core of the operation.


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