Hillhead of Covington
About Hillhead of Covington
- Strategic Dairy Farm since August 2018
- All year round calving herd of 310 Holstein cows
- 11,591 litres per cow @ 3.82% fat, 3.11% protein
- Milking 3 x Daily
- Total 159 hectares
- Fully housed
Follow our journey if you are interested in:
- Managing a high yielding, all year round calving, pedigree Holstein herd
- Feeding and managing the high yielding dairy cow
- Increasing milk production - achieving 12,000 litres per cow per year
- Reducing the overall cost of production – improving business performance by focusing on two important areas; nutrition and genetics
- Improving herd health – Mastitis target < 15%, RFM < 3% and DA < 2%
- All year round housing of cows – Cow accommodation with emphasis on the cow
- Managing an efficient, progressive business – setting targets and using benchmarking to measure progress, ensuring they are amongst the best-performing dairy farms
William Baillie bought Hillhead of Covington in 1996 initially starting with 50 cows. He now has 310 pedigree Holsteins and is aiming to grow the herd to 400 cows. There are eight staff on the farm supporting Willie, four full time and four part-time.
Hillhead is based in the county of Lanarkshire in the central Lowlands of Scotland. It is 6 miles from Biggar and just 12 miles from the main M74 motorway. The farm consists of 159 hectares – of which is 118 hectares is grassland and 33 ha arable land.
The herd is currently made up of 310 pedigree Holstein cows, calved all year round and achieving 11,591 litres of milk per cow per year at 3.82% butterfat and 3.11% protein. The herd is milked three times per day and are housed all year round. They rear all their own replacements with an age at first calving of 24.5 months. Cows are fed a diet of mainly grass silage, whole crop and draff.
Their journey over the years has seen the expansion of the herd from the initial 50 cows to over 300 today with all being home reared. This has seen investment in modern cow housing with sand cubicles and expanding the young calf housing.
William is a big believer in benchmarking, having been doing so for over five years prior to becoming a Strategic Dairy Farm, and has always found it incredibly useful. William says “Now, as a strategic dairy farmer we’ll be benchmarking our performance against AHDB’s key performance indicators for all year round herds. Using that data we will be able to set targets and measure our progress to ensure we are among the best-performing dairy farms”.
The ultimate aim at Hillhead is to reduce the overall cost of production and increase efficiency, whilst further improving the herd health. William wishes to improve business performance by focusing on two important areas; nutrition and genetics
Our key performance figures
Hillhead of Covington openly share their KPIs so you can see how they perform against a number or technical and financial measures.
- August 29, 2018 - Hillhead of Covington launch overview - Hillhead of Covington becomes AHDB's fifth strategic farm and our first in Scotland as it launches in Lanarkshire.
- December 4, 2018 - Feeding the high yielding dairy cow - Soaking concentrates overnight helped milk yields increase by 1.5 litres per cow at Hillhead of Covington
- April 25, 2019 - Breeding the best genetics for your herd - AHDB's Fern Pearston and Marco Winters join William Baillie to explore how to make the most out of genetics in your herd
- June 17, 2019 - Excellence in youngstock - Willie Baillie is joined by Professor Jim Reynolds as they explore how to help youngstock thrive
- October 10, 2019 - Understanding Mastitis control in your herd - William Baillie is joined by Dr James Breen as they explore the practicalities of controlling Mastitis in your herd
- July 8, 2020 - Controlling and treating Mastitis in your herd - Vet Dr. James Breed returns nine months on to review the learning and progress in treating and controlling Mastitis on the farm
- Jan 20, 2021 - Feed focus: Successful profit drivers in all-year-round herds - Willie is joined by feeding expert Jimmy Goldie of Carrs Billington as they explore the key profit drivers around nutrition throughout all stages of the dairy herd.
- August 2021 - Using genomics to future proof your herd - Genomic testing and an effective, tailored approach to breeding, has lifted Hillhead's herd’s genetic merit into the top 15% across the UK.
“I’ve been benchmarking for over five years and I’ve always found it incredibly useful. Now, as a strategic dairy farmer we’ll be benchmarking our performance against AHDB’s key performance indicators for all year round herds."