THE BEGINNING OF
Having farmed for many years on the Redhill Road during the war the Lilburn family made the decision to move to Canada in the hope to build a better life for their family.
While in Canada they were involved in the building of a Golf Course which is still open today.
After a number of years they decided to make the move back to the UK and restart farming on the Redhill Road. In 1954 Thomas was born; the next generation.
This was a mixed farm to start with - pigs, hens etc which overtime increased to include 6 milking cows. These cows were milked morning and evening in a 2 stall byre using the ‘milk and bucket’ method.
Over the next few years cow numbers increased to 35 – a small 4 stall swing over milking parlour was used at this stage.
At the age of 15 Thomas left school and became heavily involved in the farm after his father had his first heart attack at the young age of 51.
Around 45 years ago a state of the art (at that time) milking parlour was installed by Thomas and his father which could milk 16 cows at once. This allowed for a further increase in milking cow numbers.
WHEN THOMAS MET OLIVE...
Thomas met Olive and got married in 1982. They then started a family and continued life on the farm.
Family life was centred around the farm, establishing their award winning pedigree stock and showing of this pedigree herd.
Olive took up Holstein Young Breeders co-ordinator and held this position for around 10 years and in 1995 Olive won Interbreed Champion at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair
THE 3RD GENERATION
Make Their Mark
In 2005 (on the exact same day) Louise achieved the European Showmanship Champion title in Brussels and Richard achieved the Northern Ireland Showmanship Champion title.
Over the next 15 years the farm continued to evolve and milking numbers grew from 35 to approximately 200. Sheds were built and maintained.
Although Richard came home to the farm at the age of 16 it was in 2011 when Thomas took an unexpected brain haemorrhage that Richard stepped up and undertook more of a decision making and organising role with Thomas guiding him along the way.
In the spring of 2012 we decided to start Zero grazing. This involves cutting fresh grass daily during the summer months providing our cows with fresh feed 24/7. This was the start of technological advances at Brookvale Farm.
In November 2012 Pamela and Richard got married and started a family shortly after.
With a 45 year old parlour it was nearing the time to upgrade. We researched for a number of months and in March 2018 (after a year of building and installation) we started our Robotic milking journey with 4 Fullwood Robots. This gave us the flexibility that conventional milking never could. Life on the farm is no less busy but time can be flexed to suit our young families' needs.
This was just the start of our further technological advances – we now have automatic yard scrapers, automatic cow backscratchers, automatic calve feeder to name a few. All of these help maintain our cows’ welfare.
Farm diversification – We find in the farming industry you always need to have your thinking cap on and so in 2020 ‘It’s just milk’ was born!