Hartpury's new pedigree cattle herd to bring research benefits

A new pedigree herd of Guernsey cattle has arrived at the agriculture college
A new pedigree herd of Guernsey cattle has arrived at the agriculture college

A herd of 50 pedigree Guernsey cattle has arrived at Hartpury for students to carry out research on the breed, which is famous for its rich flavour of milk.

Sourced with the help of the English Guernsey Cattle Society, the arrival of the pedigree cattle aims to provide students with additional skills and experience.

The new herd will also allow those studying at Hartpury college and university an opportunity to show the animals at livestock events.

Hartpury's on-site commercial farm already has 200 Holstein milking cows, 200 beef cattle, 250 dairy youngstock and 650 ewes. It is also expecting 1,200 lambs.

Andrew Eastabrook, farm manager at Hartpury, said the college was always exploring innovative ways of providing students with farming experience.

"Demand from milk processors nowadays is heavily centred around milk solids, so while Guernsey cattle have a lower overall yield, they produce higher-percentage fat and protein milk.

“Our milk buyer also requested that we supply a more level profile of litres across the year," he said.

“With our autumn calving herd, we produce a peak litreage in late autumn, and through winter, but less milk in summer when cows are drying off.

“The Guernseys are calving in spring as a standalone herd, so they should balance the cyclical changes in the Holstein milk solids.”

The herd follows the construction of a new dairy parlour at Hartpury, providing students with hands-on experience of the latest technology.