The Willsbro herd from Cornwall has been crowned the winner of the 2023 Holstein UK Premier Herd competition, which acknowledges outstanding Holstein herds in the UK.

The 1700-cow herd was singled out for praise by judge Brian Moorhouse of the Aireburn herd, for exceptional management and presentation on a very large scale.

“Willsbro had exactly what I look for in a herd,” Moorhouse, whose herd won the award in 2022, said.

“There’s tremendous consistency throughout, exceptional udders legs and feet the right balance of strength and dairy quality in every age group. They are outstanding with exceptional management and presentation on a large scale.”

The Wills family were presented with the award at UK Dairy Day.

Holstein UK Premier Herd 2023

The Willsbro herd was established in 1969 with just 40 cows milking. In 1976, it increased to 120 cows, and 2004 saw a further increase to 800 cows.

The Wills primarily house cows in groups of 200, split according to stage of lactation. The cows are housed in sand-bedded cubicles, with a tidal wash-down system and milked three times daily through a 60-point rotary parlour.

In 2005, the family graded up their herd to become full pedigree and started the journey in high-genetic female families including Amber; Adina; Aderyn; Ashlyn; Lila Z; Pammy; Rachel; Rozy; Rozelle; and Sharon. This was the start of Willsbro Holsteins.

The herd is currently achieving an average yield of 14,467kg, 4.06% fat and 3.24% protein with a calving index of 411 days. The all-year-round calving herd, gained a Holstein UK Master Breeder award in 2020.

The Wills family are showcasing their dairy setup in north Cornwall, at an upcoming open day and sale on September 23.