The Dairy Shorthorn cows were presented with long service awards by agriculture students at Brinsbury, the countryside campus of Chichester College. The ceremony was part of the campus’ end of term celebrations.
Brinsbury Margot, Digitalis and Symphony have all spent ten years at the college, while Rantonhall Baroness has completed 12 years’ service – and produced a stunning 68,092 litre of milk for the college.
Only Brinsbury Margot was able to attend the ceremony, as the other three cows prefer to stay out of the limelight.
Dan Stamper, farm manager at Chichester College, said: “We felt it was important to mark the achievement of these four cows and to highlight how seriously we take animal health and welfare on the farm.
“It is absolutely vital to get this right to ensure our cows enjoy healthy, happy and long lives.”
Herd manager Amy Aylwin said the long lives of these cows is down to the hardiness of the Dairy Shorthorn breed as well as giving them individual care, paying careful attention to detail. She explained: “By focusing our attention on heat detection last autumn we managed to achieve a submission rate of 92% in 21 days and increased our conception rate to 50%.
“This has vastly improved the cows chance of staying in the herd.” The four cows are the matriarchs of the college herd, with many daughters, granddaughters and great granddaughter throughout the herd.
Baroness, from the Rantonhall herd of Dairy Shorthorns in the North West, moved to the college in 2004 and recently calved her twelfth calf, a white heifer, also named Baroness in October 2016. The college focuses its milk production on milk from grazed grass and forage, which is topped up with in parlour concentrates to 800 kilograms.
The 150 dairy cows graze from March until November in paddocks, with a 12 hour grass allocation. Students are involved in all aspects of dairy farming from the measurement of grass to the twice daily milking of the cows.
Mr Stamper added: “We hope by sharing our celebration of these cows, it gives UK consumers’ confidence that the standards on dairy farms are very high.”