Hillhead of Covington, Lanarkshire

Published 7 August 18

William Baillie 3Hillhead of Covington, run by William Baillie, is the first Scottish farm to be recruited.

William bought Hillhead of Covington in 1996 and initially started off with 50 cows. He now has 310 pedigree Holsteins and is aiming to grow the herd to 400 cows. Housed all year the round, the herd is milked three times a day and is fed a diet of mainly grass silage, whole crop and draff. For William, the right diet is key to increasing yields. His ultimate aim is to improve his business performance by focusing on two important areas; nutrition and genetics.

William says “I’ve been benchmarking for over five years and I’ve always found it incredibly useful. Now, as a strategic dairy farmer we’ll be benchmarking our performance against AHDB’s key performance indicators for all year round herds. Using that data we will be able to set targets and measure our progress to ensure we are among the best performing dairy farms.”

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Key Performance Indicators

Our Optimal Dairy Systems program defined a set of measures and targets, which enable us to show how the farm performs against good, average and poor performers. 

Dairy Enterprise KPIs

Good performance

Average performance

Poor performance

Hillhead of Covington

Pregnancy rate 





Age at first calving 

24 months

27 months

>30 months

24.5 months 

Total feed costs 

<8 pence per litre

pence per litre

>10 pence per litre

9.9 pence per litre

Average daily lifetime yield 

>13.6 litres/day

11.8 litres/day

<9.8 litres/day

 18.9 litres/day

Overheads (fixed costs) as a proportion of income (output) 





Genetic Merit

 <25th percentile 50th percentile  >75th percentile 20th percentile


Financial KPIs

Good performance

Average performance

Poor performance

Hillhead of Covington

Full economic costs of production 





Return on tenants-type capital 





Income retained 





To see KPI definitions and access our online calculator to benchmark your own performance click here.