The main aim of the Beef Unit is to maximise the value of the calves born by dairy cows. Beef animals of all ages are used to teach cattle handling to all students who require it. Calves born will be either be pure Holstein heifers, which are raised to weigh at least 350kg at service and 500kg at calving, or Holstein males and crossbred calves of both sexes.
As an Autumn calving herd, older calves will be fattened for market at 16-18 months of age. Later calves are reared as stores and sold to local cattle finishers in Spring. A small suckler herd was started in 2017 from home bred stock.
In the ever changing world of dairy farming, producers constantly have to adapt their production methods to survive. The College is not immune to commercial pressures and fluctuating values for both milk prices and inputs. Also there is a nitrate legislation which has a substantial cost attached in order to comply.
To ensure the future of milk production at the College and therefore safeguard the unit as a teaching facility £9500 was invested in the Dairy Unit and the herd changed to Autumn calving to better fit with teaching requirements and term time.
Although smaller than the average herd, Sparsholt Holstein cows are consistently well placed on the Kite Consulting Twice per Day League Table for Southern England.
There has been a recent investment of £25000 to upgrade the milking parlour environment and improve ventilation.
Students and staff attend local country shows such as Royal Bath and West and New Forest Show. The team is known as Sparsholt Holsteins and is designed to teach an enhanced level of husbandry in a competitive environment alongside other commercial producers.