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Durable, versatile, reliable & long lasting

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Andrew and Teresa Cotton farm at High Ridges farm in Staffordshire and run a herd of 100 Montbeliarde dairy cows with approximately 50 followers. Bull calves are marketed through Leek market on a Tuesday which is local to them. Andrew explains;

“We rely on French AI as we continually strive for herd improvements and their gene pool, advise and service gets us what we want. We serve our top progeny back to sexed Montbeliarde semen successfully even into fifth lactation and the rest of the herd to British Blues. Monty bull calves sold into Leek fetch a premium as dairy cross calf, due to the excellent confirmation of the Montbeliardes and we are delighted with breeding progress as our home bred heifers enter the milking herd.”

“Montbeliardes are fertile, cubicle friendly, durable and long lasting with some of our cows in a seventh lactation. We want a tag equally as durable and user friendly as our cows and find that Z tags are both easy to apply and really do stay in over time so suit us just fine.”

“We have used Z Tags for a number of years now and previously we found other makes snapping off after only three lactations which does not suit our herd of Montbeliardes as they remain highly productive and in the herd a lot longer than that.”

Andrew and Teresa tried three dairy breeds before settling on Montbeliardes and Teresa adds;

“A Montbeliarde is a truly durable animal which is flexible, fertile, friendly and long lasting -and are extremely profitable in our herd with great lifetime yields. This breed lends itself to calving easily with a great rump structure, a well attached udder and durable feet. As cows mature, we aim for a medium, cubicle friendly cow. You generally know where you as we breed with good temperament bulls. We have a number of cows into their seventh lactation and 25% of Montbeliardes actually get into their fifth lactation and calve 20 days earlier than a Holstein.”

As any cattle breeder knows, data recording is key and Teresa explains;

We use Medium Flag Z Tags and freeze brand the last three tag numbers so we know who we are dealing with at the ‘business end’ of the cow. We meticulously record breeding history and family lines so rely on our Z Tags to stay in and remain readable over time as we add the dam line number and bull onto the secondary tag. This is great to track family lines helping in our aim to keep improving the herd and to eradicate our poorer milkers, and take advantage of the added beef calf value and the added value of our cull cows.”

Andrew and Teresa along with daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Thomas have successfully exhibited cattle in the Dairy Day 2018 at Telford, the first time for the Montbeliarde breed at this show. The Montbeliarde stand has also been a regular exhibitor at the Dairy Expo at Borderway in Carlisle and the Bath and West Dairy show at Shepton Mallet, so you can check out the breed for yourself. You can venture farther afield as there will be organised trips to France, where the cream of Montbeliardes will be proudly on show and anyone fancying a change or great social should take a trip. Andrew and Teresa are happy to answer your questions of this rapidly expanding dairy breed and can be contacted at; or browse the UK site

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