Scottish farmer Colin Murdoch decided to change his breeding strategy to improve production of components. The journey took him to sell his previous herd, and in November last year the whole operation was replaced with a batch of imported, in-calf, VikingJersey cows from Denmark.
When Scottish farmer Colin Murdoch and his family switched their herd to the Jersey breed, it was not so much that they were tired of the Holstein, but tired of the price of Holstein milk.
Selling on a conventional contract, Mr Murdoch describes ‘the roller-coaster of prices’ as the key driver for change and had indicated to his buyer that he and his parents, Jim and Sheena, and wife, Kathryn, were keen to make the switch.
“No place for emotional attachment”
When a producer eventually retired from the Jersey pool supplying Graham’s Family Dairy, they had already carried out detailed, three-year budgets and were delighted to be offered the chance to take his place. “We thought about it for two minutes… and then we said ‘yes’!” he says.
The reality of this decision implied selling a herd which had been built up on Buntonhill Farm near Kilmarnock – by his father, grandfather and great grandfather – for over 100 years.
“There was no place for emotional attachment as we are a business and we need to be profitable” he says.
Also confronted with the need to increase the size of his cubicles to keep pace with the Holsteins’ increase in stature, he said he preferred to invest in Jersey cattle than build a new shed.