Coton Wood Farm
About Coton Wood Farm
- Strategic Dairy Farm since Sept 2018
- All year round calving herd of 500 Holsteins
- Averaging 9500 Litres per cow per year
- 750 Acre farm
- 8 Lely Robots
- Grazing lows, cut and carry and TMR to highs
Follow our journey if you are interested in:
- Improving your transition - Increasing dry cow intakes and perfecting the ration
- Calf and youngstock management
- Developing the management of large herds using robotic milking - Honing the robotic system
- Making the most of forage - Gaining an extra 1000 Litres from forage
- Increasing our average litres per cow - achieving 10,000 litres per cow per year
Brothers Michael and Tony Ball farm in partnership, running a 500-strong herd plus followers across three sites and operating an all-year-round calving system. Five years ago, a major investment was made into robots to increase cow numbers from 200 to 500 with the intention of producing milk in the most efficient way possible with an emphasis on cow comfort and welfare.
Based in Derbyshire the Balls currently produce 9,500 litres per cow per year on their 750-acre farm and are looking to optimise their system to reach 10,000 litres. They have a great team around them consisting of 4 full-time members of staff and 1 part-time.
The herd is currently made up of 500 All Year Round Holsteins averaging 9500 Litres at 3.88% fat and 3.35% protein through 8 Lely Robots. They run three groups, fresh cow, high yielders and low yielders. The low yielders graze from April through to October with the highs on a mix of cut and carry and TMR.
All replacements are home reared, calving in at an average of 25 months at an 18% replacement rate.
The Balls are exploring every factor to hone the robotic dairying system to efficiently and profitably produce milk, paying key attention to enhancing the health and welfare of the herd to directly improve the profitably of the business. By refining the management of the transition period, revising the nutrition and use/utilisation of forage within the diets and paying more attention to the monitoring and husbandry of youngstock, gains can be made to achieve their goals.
Our key performance figures
Coton Wood openly share their KPIs so you can see how they perform against a number or technical and financial measures.
Past meetings and updates
- September 6, 2018 - Coton Wood Farm launch overview - Tony and Michael Ball are joined by a host of farmers and industry people for the launch of Coton Wood Farm
- December 13, 2018 - Optimising transition to maximise performance - Dr Chris Hudson of Nottingham University Farms joins Michael and Toney as they look improve transitions to drive increased production
- April 30, 2019 - Maximising the potential of home-grown forage - Tony and Michael were joined by DR George Fisher to look at grassland management - no learning is available for this event
- September 5, 2019 - Putting the next generation first - Tony and Michael are joined by Vet Rob Drysdale as he canters through ways to reduce illness in your herd
- January 23, 2020 - Making the most our of robotic milking - Michael runs through his rationale for opting for a robotic milking system and provides a farm update at this event
- September 2020 - Farm update - Knowledge Exchange Manager Hannah Lilburn visited strategic dairy farm Coton Wood to find out what they've been up to during lockdown, the challenges they’ve faced and what’s in store for the future.
- November 2020 - Lowering your purchased feed costs this winter - Find out how reducing intervals between silage cuts has helped Tony and Michael improve their milk from forage and reduce feed costs.
- November 2020 - Calculating and reduing your carbon footprint - Michael and Tony Ball, along with Becky Willson from The Farm Carbon Toolkit, explore how to measure and reduce your carbon footprint and make your farm more efficient.
- April 2021 - Improving transition management on an AYR system - Michael and Tony Ball, along with Mark Hall from Trouw Nutrition, explore top tips in transition management, how to assess transition and get cows off to the best start after calving.
"Everyone that goes on a farm visit learns something. You get a lot of information from talking to other farmers, this is how we have gained a lot of our knowledge. "