More than 450 people descended on Boclair Holsteins for the Holstein UK Premier Herd Open Day on Thursday 28th June. The event, hosted by Holstein UK in conjunction with the Holstein Scotland Open Day, gave visitors a fabulous opportunity to view this fantastic herd, which was crowned winner of the Premier Pedigree Herd Competition in 2017.
The Brewster brothers, David and John, farm the Boclair herd which is situated in Bearsden, a few miles outside of Glasgow. As visitors arrived, they had the opportunity to enter a stock judging competition, which was run by Holstein Scotland as a fundraiser for the Club. Before the stock judging commenced, Holstein UK Chairman, Andrew Birkle, welcomed visitors to Boclair on behalf of the Society, commenting on the exceptional quality of the cows he had the privilege to judge the previous year. David Brewster also extended a warm welcome, explaining how much winning the award meant to the family and, finally, Robbie Duncan, Chairman of Holstein Scotland, introduced the stock judging.
There were four categories to enter for those taking part in the stock judging, including under 14, under 26, ladies and open, and entrants were required to judge six classes of cattle. The Club had a fantastic uptake, with a total of 262 people taking part, whilst Club member David Gray presided as master judge. Adam Montgomerie won the under 14 age category, whilst Sophie Lee took first place in the under 26 group. Elaine Butterfield was crowned winner amongst the ladies, whilst David Booth came out on top in the open category.
The stock judging was also an excellent way for the family to showcase some of their best cows, which are housed all year round and milked through four Lely robots. Visitors were also able to enjoy a wander through the sheds, where they were able to view both the cows and the robots in action. The family business extends to 850 acres, with 450 acres being arable. The aim is to make three cuts of good quality silage, whilst also feeding homegrown cereals. At present, 200 cows are milked at Boclair, with an annual rolling average of 13,500 litres at 3.67% butterfat and 3.21% protein. The calving index currently runs at 404 days. The family is also proud to have over 150 cows classified VG or EX within the herd. The Lely robots were installed over two years ago and have taken the herd to a new level of production, with heifers now giving up to 15,500 litres and some cows exceeding 19,000 litres. The herd is also a prime example of the effective use of sexed semen, with 75-100 surplus heifers sold each year.
David and John have recently made significant investment into the 30-year-old cow shed, which has improved cow comfort and environment. Attention to detail has always been a focus, as high yielding cows require substantial and careful management. The brothers strongly believe that taking a proactive approach to herd performance, including striving to prevent issues such as mastitis and lameness, is vital in achieving optimal health and production.
Hannah Williams, Head of Events & Marketing for Holstein UK, commented, “Our thanks must go to the sponsors who helped to make the day possible, whose support is invaluable and greatly appreciated. Thank you also to Holstein Scotland for their hard work and dedication in making this joint venture a successful and enjoyable day for all visitors. Finally, congratulations to the Brewster family once again on winning the 2017 Premier Pedigree Herd Competition and the greatest of thanks for welcoming so many people to view the fantastic Boclair herd.”