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Will Barber

Manor House Farm, Halcyon Genetics Ltd, Lancashire

With a keen interest in numbers, Will Barber and his family are operating a micro-herd specialising in advanced Holstein progeny and genetics.

In 2015 the family partnered with Cogent Breeding to begin reproduction from an elite calf, born out of a Dutch cow from the Mars Froukje family.

Though this coalition, the family have also developed strong relationships with a number of other AI companies who are interested in their third season of progeny, which are all estimated to break the £PLI 700 barrier in May of next year.

After three years of operation Will and his family are continually forecasting what specific matings and sire selection will produce the best possible progeny by running genomic figures through heritability calculators and onto the PLI formula, which enables more reliable figures.


An IVF programme began in August this year and by harvesting oocytes earlier than traditional embryo transfer, Will is able to shorten the gap between generations to just 15/17 months, compared to 23/26.

The family are aiming to be at the forefront of British genetics and create bulls and females which will become trait leaders.

Will, who is studying Business Economics and Newcastle University, says: “You strive to push that number higher and higher so you’re in a position to produce breed leaders, pushing the Holstein breed as a whole to become profitable, and ultimately, pushing for progression rather than waiting for it.”