In early summer shorthorn breeders were invited to see the Kenprest herd owned by Ken Prestidge at Forest Farm, Earlswood, Solihull. Ken has been breeding shorthorns since 1969. Firstly under the Cherryripe herd prefix and later under the Kenprest prefix. The last time I wrote about the herd it was at its 13th home at Lutterworth in Leicester, since then the cattle have travelled as far as Hampshire,Yorkshire and Somerset to name but a few before landing at the 19th and final farm!
Ken advertised for a farm to rent for his herd and Fowlers Farmhouse cheese had just sold their cows but wanted to continue making cheese on farm. The high protien milk is well suited to cheese making. Ken runs about 50 milkers which he feels is enough to handle on his own. They are loose housed in winter with big bale silage and a good quality concentrate producing yields of 6000 litres plus.
The breeding side is Ken’s real passion and he has a massive collection of marked catalogues which he writes comments in for future reference and all the herdbooks.If you are wondering where a family originates from Ken will be able to tell you.
Breeding policy has been to line breed to Hastoe bloodlines, usually 100% pure, and he has managed to retain the Veracity, Lady Hermiones and Millicents throughout.Ken has been able to start building up his herd again and being an avid collecter of old families the Waterloo Rose, Baroness, Digitalis (both Stockwood), Poynings and Ada lines have arrived from the Rantonall herd. Newpark Jean, Hale Georgie Cran, Hooton Lilyfair and Winhall Joy have also been added. Although Ken has been the self proclaimed “Doyenne of the hundred percenth”. He has become less radical in his old age! and now buys any cow that takes his eye. Last year saw the purchase of the Lilac, Wild Duchess, Fillpail, Princess Anne and Foggathorpe families from the Pattinson families Weaverdale dispersal at Leek Auction. These have gone on to milk really well with yield around 8000 kilos. Red Danes have taken his eye and the Syd Abru daughter Rodway Foggathorpe Primrose 25 was purchased at the Rodway dispersal and has gone Excellent having given 7113 at 4.47 fat and 3.80 protien on her 7th calf. Ken has used a few straws of the Danish bull R Facet and is impressed with the calves.
Bulls being used through AI at the present time include Brooksteads Bomber, Stockwood Lord Barrington 3rd, Oceanbrae Logics Plato and his favourite Hinxhill Grand Beau, a bull full of Hastoe breeding.
Concerned at the plight of the fast disappearing Guernsey breed, Ken decided to build up a small herd of these and uses old type bulls on them, they compliment the shorthorns in being good for cheese making. A very enjoyable day was had by all and it was good to see Ken back amongst his cows again.