North Midlands Herd Visit to the Tanat Herd of the Bailey Family - Saturday 13th August 2016
On Saturday 13th August the North Midlands Regional Members and friends were invited to visit the Tanat herd of the Bailey family. Set in the picturesque Tanat Valley, Llanhaeadr the Bryn Coch farm of 40 acres was brought in 1955 by Elizabeth and Peter Bailey. Bryn Coch is now farmed by brothers David and Frank who have been fortunate enough to build on the enterprise their parents started.
Comprising of three farm units totalling 459 acres of grassland and mountain pasture the family run an eighty milking cow herd with sixty followers plus 850 breeding ewes. Bryn Coch's now 110 acre grassland is where the milking herd is based. The Bailey family are certainly new comers to the breed starting the conversion from Holsteins in 2008 and they are extremely pleased with how the Dairy Shorthorns have adapted to the difficult farming terrain. The herds foundations have been sourced from the Dairy Shorthorn Society and on-farm Sales, since then all cows have been graded up using Shorthorn genetics.
Of the original cows that have been purchased Elkington Clara 11th by Loughdale Rising Star Red and Elkington Fairy 15th by Elkington Othello from the Davis family stood out. Both had great dairy characteristics and good udders for senior cows. Frank has even kept a bull out of Clara, Tanat Stellbound Yogi for breeding purposes. Dunham Heather 88th by Winbrook Vince and Dunham Margaret 114th by Nejay Prince 3rd from the Royle family were also cows that displayed great capacity and shone as seniors amongst this young herd. Rodway Oscar has also proved a fruitful purchase for the Bailey family with thirty five daughters in the herd. This Treeton Pimp son has certainly bred a type of animal that fits well into the herd, most of his progeny are milking with in their first or second lactation. In fact my eyes were instantly drawn to Tanat Oscar Faldwyn on entering the field. She had beautiful bone quality, good depth of rib with a lovely udder, she is also one of Franks favourites alongside Tanat Oscar Firinne whose dam was Amber Fillpail Fay 30th.
Whilst wandering through the exceptionally quiet natured herd it was obvious that the Bailey brothers have a keen eye for buying and breeding cows. The herd shows great progress for such a short herd history, they have uniformity, lovely dairy characteristics with tidy udders. I was impressed and pleased that I had made the somewhat unexpected journey into the unknown on the small, at times steep and undulating country lanes! On making our way back to the farm we saw a small selection of youngstock that had been brought back from the hill farm for us to see. In this bunch Broadlane Valery 2nd looked a cracking calf fit for the show ring. The youngtsock are mostly the result of AI sires like Strickley True Perfection, April Day Wisconsin Red and Nejay Ernie. Whilst calves brought from Broadlane are sired by Rodway Redman and Cotonhall Strombreaker sires calves brought from the Llechwedd herd. The only sires left in the flask are Llandovery Prides Prophet and Panorama Anticipation.
After a delightful afternoon viewing the stock we sat down outside the house overlooking the valley in the glorious sunshine to an exceptional feast followed by an abundance of sweet treats. Most of us were almost too full to make the homeward bound trip but alas we had to leave! Many thanks to the entire Bailey family for allowing the region to visit, the hospitality was exemplary and the Dairy Shorthorns are definitely performing well that the herds future is without a doubt bright.