Our Story

Acacia Grove Farm, Harlaston is situated in the beautiful Mease Valley in Staffordshire on the borders of Warwickshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire and is within easy reach of Tamworth, Lichfield, Burton and Measham.  We are four miles from the  A38 at Alrewas and four miles from Junction 11 of the M42.

The land has been farmed by the Hill family since 1956 and there are now three generations of the Hill family working together on the farm. The Hydaways Herd was established in 1942. The origin of the name “Hydaways” was taken from a local field and used as the prefix for the pedigree herd of dairy cows. Over the years the genetics have moved from Friesians to Holsteins and we take great pride in breeding long lasting cows with emphasis on health traits.

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Hydaways Inspiration Pamela Ex 95

The cow pictured was probably our most famous cow, Hydaways Inspiration Pamela. She, along with her dam, were awarded Ex95 points in the Holstein UK Classification system – meaning she was as near to being perfect as she could have been. She was a beautiful animal with a lovely nature and many of her offspring are still in the herd today as a constant reminder of her.

We like to show off our lovely animals and have had various successes at both local and national shows over the years. In October 2017 we had four calves qualify for the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show and two were placed in the top ten which we were very pleased with as the standard is incredibly high.

We are Farm Assured which means that we have regular inspections in which we have to meet strict criteria in animal welfare and hygiene standards. Our milk is also tested regularly by both the Food Standards Agency and by the milk processors that we are contracted to produce milk for.

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Three generations of the Hill family. Tom, Steve and Peter

In 2009 we made a huge investment and installed two robotic milking systems to milk the 130 cows in the herd. This enables the cows to choose when they want to be milked and means that they are very relaxed and comfortable. On average the cows are milked 2.8 times a day. They are housed all year round but have plenty of space and are free range. They always have access to feed in the trough, including fresh grass which is cut daily.

Sadly, over the past few years, supermarkets have devalued our nutritious milk and have sold it at a throwaway price meaning that milk is cheaper than bottled water! This has made us rethink our future and we took steps to sell fresh unpasteurised milk direct to the public via an Honesty Box system from the Farmhouse in November 2015.

We hope that you will support us in this venture and enable us to have a sustainable future in dairy farming.

In their working gear on Peter’s 80th birthday on 19th April 2017

In their working gear on Peter’s 80th birthday on 19th April 2017

Hydaways Inspiration Pamela winning Exhibitor Bred Champion in 1998 at the Royal Show

Hydaways Inspiration Pamela winning Exhibitor Bred Champion in 1998 at the Royal Show

Some of our more recent successes in Herd Competitions and local shows

Some of our more recent successes in Herd Competitions and local shows

Raquel

Hydaways Sender Raquel 9th place at ABAB calf show Oct 2017

Staffordshire Qualifier Calf Show results September 2017 Champion Calf Hydaways Sender Raquel and Honourable Mention calf Hydaways Winner Thelma

Staffordshire Qualifier Calf Show results September 2017
Champion Calf Hydaways Sender Raquel and Honourable Mention calf Hydaways Winner Thelma

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Hydaways Fontaine Beattie 10th place at ABAB calf show Oct 2017

Mease Valley

valleyThe beautiful Mease Valley in which we live takes its name from the meandering River Mease which is a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and flows along the border of Acacia Grove Farm.

The River Mease

The River Mease is formed by a confluence of smaller streams near to the village of Norton Juxta Twycross in North West Leicestershire. It flows westwards for approximately 16 miles (25 km) across a largely rural and agricultural landscape to its confluence with the rivers Trent at Croxall in Staffordshire, with its waters eventually reaching the North Sea via the Trent and the Humber Estuary.river

The river flows through areas underlain with bands of Triassic Period sandstone and Mercia Mudstone. After flowing through a wide valley between the villages of Measham and Appleby Magna, the land opens up into flat countryside: the river’s path is not of steep topography, meaning the river flows gently and meanders “passively”

The path of the river has changed little over time. Historical alterations were made near to the villages of Clifton Campville, Harlaston and Croxall, with the addition of weirs and leats to serve mills (now demolished or non-operational).

Fresh from Moo to You!

hydawayHydaways Holsteins enjoying the freedom of the Robotic Milking System which allows the cows to be milked when they want to be milked which means they are relaxed and comfortable.

The concrete passageways are scraped out twice a day and the milking system is hosed down four times a day in order to keep everywhere as clean as possible in order to comply with some of the strict hygiene regulations set down by the Farm Assurance Scheme and Food Standards Agency.
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zerograzer

The Zero Grazer means that our cows have freshly cut grass delivered to them daily. This field has been zero grazed seven times in 2017. This means that the cows always enjoy fresh new grass which is packed full of goodness.

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grazer

cowsstoryThe cows are housed year round in a large open shed which allows them freedom to roam but also gives them twenty-four-hour access to the Robotic Milking System. They always have access to feed and water.During the winter months they are fed home grown crops such as grass silage and maize silage which is topped up with concentrates fed to them in the robot whilst being milked. We employ a Nutritionist to ensure that their dietary needs are always met.

Farm Yard Manure is spread on the fallow ground and is used as a fertiliser for the home grown cereals which are mixed into a Mixer Wagon and fed to the cows as a buffer feed in the winter. Crops grown include winter wheat, maize, winter barley and grass.

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Three Generations working on the silage clamp

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Maize Silage all sheeted up for winter feeding

 

Winstar Mortgage Lena born 05.12.15. This is her pedigree/family tree - http://ukcows.com/holsteinuk/publicweb/AnimalData/data/ASAncestrydetails.asp?AnimalID=39874053

In order for a cow to produce beautiful rich nutritious milk she must have a calf.  Calves need specialist care and we rear our calves in individual pens and hutches where they are given dedicated care to ensure they reach peak condition in a protected environment.  During the first 24 hours, newborn calves are fed colostrum, the important nutrient-rich milk from their mothers. The first hours of a calf’s life are very important. It’s during this time that the calf can suckle the first milk that the cow produces. Colostrum is a rich source of energy and it also contains all the antibodies that help protect the calf from disease in its first days and weeks of life.  The calves are separated from their mothers as soon as possible, as this minimises stress to mother and calf. Calves continue to receive milk for several weeks after birth. During this time they are gradually introduced to other foods.  After weaning, female dairy calves are reared to join the milking herd.  Bull (male) calves are reared to the age of four to six weeks when they are then sold to a beef farmer to rear them further. Some of our bulls are reared as breeding bulls and sold to other breeders which means that the Hydaways genetics can be found in other herds.

Calves enjoying the sunshine

Calves enjoying the sunshine

We are a pedigree Holstein Herd which means that we register all of our female calves and all of our breeding bulls with our Breed Society Holstein UK. We know the names of all of our cows and can trace their families back through the generations as each animal has a Registration Certificate which details their ancestry. Below is a link to Hydaways Sender Raquel’s pedigree certificate. She is from a long line of VG and EX cows and this can be traced back through nine generations.

http://www.holstein-uk.org/animaldata/animal/ancestry/40341970

Our herd is classified three times a year by Holstein UK. Our cows are scored for locomotion and conformation. Currently the herd consists of thirty-two EX cows scoring between 90 to 96 points and seventy VG cows scoring 85 to 89 points. We were really proud to be awarded our first EX96 in 2017 with Hydaways Sanchez Lena who descends from one of our oldest foundation cows bought in 1942

http://www.holstein-uk.org/animaldata/animal/ancestry/37165685

All animals are given a unique number which is shown on their ear tag and on their passport. This passport must travel with the animal whenever they leave the farm. All movement of animals must be reported to the British Cattle Movement Service to ensure every animal can be traced.