Wesley is a Dairy Consultant at White Avon Consultancy. He is a qualified Ruminant Nutritionist with feed industry knowledge and experience but covers other aspects of Dairy. An increasing part of his role involves budgeting and cost of production.
Wesley graduated from the University of Plymouth in 2008 in Business Studies. He holds the much-acclaimed Advanced Diploma in Ruminant Nutrition from Harper Adams, and a general Diploma in Agriculture from the Royal Agriculture College.
Wesley joined WhiteAvon Consultancy in July 2015 from the Ruminant feed industry, working for national compounders, in the South of the country. He helps run his family 160 AYR calving 10,000 litre dairy herd near Devizes, Wiltshire, which keeps him up to date with the practicalities and technicalities of dairy farming, including grazing high yielding cows.
Specific farming interests include Dry cow management, Amino acid profiling, low Crude Protein diets, fertility and maximising milk from forage. He also helps run the Calne Dairy Discussion Group.
Outside work Wesley has a keen interest in CrossFit, Spartan obstacle courses, gardening, farming, nature, Bath rugby and wine.
Rob Pickford - Cherryhill Holsteins, Cherhill, Wiltshire
“We have worked with Wesley & FCG since 2015 where we decided to freshen up our thinking on feeding the cows. We interviewed several candidates but found Max Sealy & Wes Habershon more thorough and a better fit looking at the cows, listening and keen on a team approach to nutrition, as opposed to standard blueprint.
At the outset we set an objective to improve milk from forage and aimed to do this by maintaining yields but feeding less cake. Firstly, the diet was simplified by removing added ingredients, and then cake levels were reduced to allow cows to eat more forage.
To get milk from forage, forage quality is all important, and Wes helps keep our whole team motivated to make the best silage we can. But from time to time forage quality isn’t what it should be or changes in forage effect rumen function, so we (Tom Allan, Herdsman & Dave Scott, Assistant, yard & feeding staff), our vet (Tom Oxtoby), Cogent AI & Chalk and Wes monitor cows looking at cow condition, muck, rumen fill & milk quality; and then Wes will adjust the diet in small increments, adding in other ingredients where necessary to correct rumen function.
|Rolling Costings||July 15||June 19|
|Feed Rate (Kg/Litre)||0.37||0.27|
|Milk From Forage||19%||43%|
|Feed Cost/Litre (ppl)||8.01||7.15|
When Wes first started advising us our cows were averaging 9,200 litres from 3.4 tonnes of concentrate, which was 1,880 litres from forage; but now our cows are producing 4,551 litres from forage (10,600 litres from 2.8 tonnes of cake).”
Richard Thompson Farms Ltd & Oliver Mundy, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
We have a 340cow Share-Farm Autumn Block herd in Norfolk with a focus on milk from forage and grazed grass. We paddock graze in the Spring/Summer and recently graze calved cows in the Autumn. Plate metering is used to manage paddocks whilst in the winter we use straights, fodder beet and compound with our maize and grass silage.
We have worked with Wesley and FCG for several years to improve farm performance. In recent years we have had a big push to improve our milk from forage particularly when housed. We our now growing an ever-increasing grass silage fraction of our diet which now stands at 33%. Rainfall and Geography make this a challenge, but rotation is increasing our milk/hectare.
|Rolling Costs||June 18||June 19|
|Feed Rate (Kg/Litre)||0.24||0.22|
|Milk from Forage||51%||54%|
|MOPF /Litre (p)||24.16||25.79|
|Feed Cost /Litre (ppl)||5.02||5.13|
We set Wesley a criterion of how much concentrate we wish to feed over the winter and then Wesley monitors/alters as we progress. Wesley’s knowledge of the compound industry and the FCG consultancy advice allows us to make independent decisions and question everything.
We are working towards reducing straights in winter rations and simplifying feeding. Wesley has constructed dairy cakes based on (1) Quality, (2) Complementing our existing feeds & (3) Applying technical nutrition in a practical way.
Jack Weeks - AgraCity Crop & Nutrition, Ex. FCG work colleague, Calgary, Canada
During my tenure working alongside Wes at FCG he consistently impressed and astounded me with his ruminant technical knowledge.
His insights into nutrition, health and herd management enables our advice to go from good to great.
He is a real asset to the WhiteAvon team and without a doubt provides costs effective advice and nutrition management on your farm. I would have no reservations in recommending Wes to anyone in the future!
Alex & Ed Breach - Bulkington Holsteins, Devizes, Wiltshire
We have been working with Wesley since August 2016. We have always had a good grip on grazing and feed efficiency, but Wesley has helped us push on further. Since working with Wesley, we have moved up 1,400litres/cow in 3 years, increased our milk from forage 10%+ and dropped our feed cost/litre below 6ppl. We have also gone onto grow wheat for the first time as part of our rotation and update our milk from forage/hectare further.
|Rolling Costs||Aug 16||May 19|
|Feed Rate (Kg/Litre)||0.28||0.24|
|Milk from Forage||39%||49%|
|Feed Cost/Litre (ppl)||6.4||5.98|
We have also taken advise from Wesley for labour and SCC issues, whilst working as part of a combined team with James Breen (QMMS), Emma Ward (Our Vet) and the farming team.
We meet for monthly meetings and start with a walk. Dependent on the time of year we will focus on certain aspects – harvest, grazing quality, cow BCS, Silage stocks and farm limitations.
Ed & Tom Burcher - Pucklepool Holstein-Friesians, Arlingham, Gloucestershire
“We have been working with Wesley for our herd and youngstock nutrition for 2 years now. We felt that we needed to freshen things up and have a new viewpoint to our operation.
Wesley has a very good understanding of the feed sector and make up of dairy compounds and dairy rations trying not to rely on expensive supplementary feeds.
As well as rationing Wesley offer's good practical advice on small tweaks that work well on other farms that he either works with, had experience of at home or from farm tours that he has been on. We find this very helpful as not everyone has the perfect unit and small cost-effective adjustments can make a big difference.
|Rolling Costs||May 18||June 19|
|Feed Rate (Kg/Litre)||0.38||0.28|
|Milk from Forage||22%||41%|
|Feed Costs (ppl)||9.12||7.73|
We have been aiming to produce more milk from forage rather than increasing yield and the following figures demonstrate the improvement we have made.”
Keith Durston - Chestnut Holstein Friesians, Mark, Somerset
Wesley started working with us in September 2015. Monthly visits consist of rationing, viewing cows, youngstock, forage and grassland and financial/cow performance.
We also work in combination with Claire Tibbs (our Vet), Andy Dodd (FCG, business side) and the farm team to create business direction. In recent years we have moved to Autumn Block and increased yield from 7,860litres to 9,364litres.
The farm has seen significant change and modernisation with great improvements in calf health, installing disease protocols and tackling Neospora. MOPF/litre has increased 2.64ppl (18.49p to 21.13p). Our youngstock have seen great growth rates, reaching bulling weights a month before target. We have reduced milk fever through X-Zelit and Wesley’s advice, whilst still feeding a large proportion of grass silage.
There is a lot of permanent pasture either on farm, rented or recently bought meaning productivity per hectare is lower than desired but we are in the process of rejuvenating fields, rotation, balancing agronomical issues and regulations in order to improve quality and quantity of feed produced. Being a smaller dairy farm means we must make steps in small increments and in line with available cash flows.
Wesley is helping me through this process and ensure we make the best possible forages and improve cow performance. Silage making has been a significant focus and this is the first year we have achieved close to 11ME for our permanent pasture. As you can understand this is the next step in milk from forage.
Lindsey Carnell - St Katherine’s British Friesians, Barrow Gurney, Bristol
“At the time I was first put in touch with FCG I wanted independent dairy cow nutrition advice in addition to business planning advice. It’s important to have a range of perspectives when it comes to decision making and moving forward.
|Rolling Costs||May 16||June 19|
|Feed Rate (Kg/Litre)||0.17||0.24|
|Milk from Forage||54%||51%|
|Feed Cost/Litre (ppl)||5.72||5.65|
Working with Wesley has allowed me to consider all opportunities to improve both herd and business performance. Wesley is extremely thorough and critical when it comes to feeding the herd. He has pushed us to achieve higher milk and milk from forage with our herd of British Friesians. Our herd has improved production significantly and body condition scores are now on target. Improvements which are a result of working closely with Wesley.”
Dean Sparkes - Vale Hollow Spring Grazers, West Harptree, Somerset
We have been working with Max Sealy at the Farm Consultancy Group for over 20 years. Max and Wesley encouraged me to change to a spring block system as we grow a lot of grass in this part of Somerset.
Wesley has worked closely with me persuading me to utilise and grasp the benefits of a Platemeter and grass measuring software (Agrinet). This has enabled me to utilise spring grass, increase grass grown on my platform and improve farm profitability.
We changed systems before the 2018 season which due to the weather made it a difficult time to grasp “the Spring Calver ethos”. Wesley navigated us through this difficult time and now in 2019 season we have improved cow performance, built various tracks, paddocks and grasped the Spring Calver concept.
Since February 2019 cows have averaged 4.1ppl feed cost, 65% milk from forage, 29litres at a 0.19kg/litre feed rate and 60% of my cows are confirmed pregnant midway through July 2019. We still have a long way to go but I can see where we are going.