Holsteins reached a record of combined fat and protein (CFP) in the National Milk Records (NMR) annual production report for the year ending September 2023.

The black and white breed which represents 67.7% of NMR recorded herds saw milk yield increase to 9409kg at 4.12%BF and 3.31%P. CFP reached 700kg against 686kg in 2021/22.

Somatic cell counts (SCC) amongst the Holsteins dropped to 157,000 cells/ml; the lowest level in at least a decade, while calving interval slipped four days, to 395.

Similar improvements on the year were recorded in the Jerseys, which account for 2% of NMR recorded herds. The breed averaged 550kg of CFP, an increase of 6kg, 5910kg of milk, up 58kg at 5.38%BF and 3.93%P.

SCCs for the Jerseys were down slightly, at 185,000 cells/ml and the calving interval fell by a day to 401 days.

British Friesian, which represents just 1.5% of NMR recorded lactations, had a drop in CFP of 2kg to 481kg, and average milk yield fell 74kg to 6364kg. SCCs increased by 3000 cells /ml to 158,000 cells/ml, while calving interval dropped four days to 387.

With 1.2% of recorded lactations, Ayrshires achieved the same CFP yield as the previous 12 months, at 519kg, and marginal drops in both SCCs, to 155,000 cells/ml, and calving interval to 399 days.

Lead production

The top three Holstein herds ranked in production all achieved a CFP yield above 1000kg.

The firm of JH Shropshire remains in first place, increasing its CFP by 32kg to 1045kg and yield by 440kg to 14,659kg. This Shropshire-based robotically-milked herd recorded 59 completed lactations.

In second place was Marshall and Law Partners’ herd from Derbyshire with 173 completed lactations and milked three times a day, recorded 1026kg of CFP and 13,725kg of milk.

Shropshire-based PJ and PE Ashley came in third with their 106 robotically milked cows achieving 1002kg CFP and 13,705kg of milk.

Newcomers to the top 10 national Holstein herds ranked on CFP saw the Forsyth family’s Baltier Farming enterprise from Whithorn come in eighth.

Paul George’s herd from Cornwall, which is in seventh place – up from 10th – boasts the highest fat and protein percentages in the top 10 NMR-recorded herds, with 4.58%BF and 3.57%P, and a milk yield of 12,060kg of milk.

Other breeds

A new line up of herds lead the Jersey national rankings, led by Kingsbeck Limited’s Kerricks herd from Dumfriesshire, managed by Scott Mcgill. The herd of 17 cows produced 768kg of CFP and 7441kg of milk.

In second place is FJ Bunny and Sons’ herd from Hampshire, which recorded 761kg CFP and 8190kg of milk from 195 completed lactations. New in third

place is S Johnston from Northern Ireland, with a 90-cow herd average of 730kg CFP and 6997kg of milk.

Cumbria-based Nerewater Farm holds onto first place in the British Friesian table for the seventh year running with 646kg CFP and 8366kg of milk from 47 cows.

Second place was awarded to W Gratton and Son from Derbyshire, with 74 cows averaging 565kg CFP and 7149kg of milk.

A new line up appears in the Ayrshire top production herds with two Yorkshire herds taking first and second places.

In pole position is B Danforth with 46 cows averaging 634kg of CFP and 8529kg of milk, while E and Horsley’s 55 cows achieved 607kg CFP and 7785kg of milk.

The Harries’s herd from Carmarthenshire holds on to top place in the Shorthorns with 24 cows producing 695kg of CFP and 8659kg of milk.

Top genetic merit

Derbyshire-based Easom and Son’s Holstein herd remains the top genetic merit Holstein unit having increased its PLI by £24 to £365 with 334 qualifying cow lactations.

Second place is David Foot’s herd from Dorset with 699 qualifying lactations achieving a PLI of £353.