Norbreck Genetics



The Halhead family has a long and deeply rooted history in cattle breeding and dairy farming. Richard Halhead, born in 1900, came to Norbreck Farm and grew the mixed cattle and arable enterprise. Then in 1965 Richard Thornton Halhead took over the business expanding the family dairy farm. Furthermore, in 1992 Philip Halhead, while in partnership with family members, grew the agri-business to 300 Holstein milking cows alongside a successful pedigree beef breeding operation.

With our customers we meet the demand for good quality milk with high nutritional content to serve the world’s growing population. We do this by providing the best cows, genetics, knowledge and training to all players in the dairy value chain and sector.

Norbreck Farm is a modern, high tech dairy farm located in Cockerham, Lancaster, UK. Active across the dairy value chain, Norbreck Genetics and farming operation applies its experience in cropping, feed, feeding, nutrition, dairy cows, genetics, reproduction, breeding, milking, farm management and herd managemen, in a complimentary manner to address our clients’ needs.

Central to our success on the farm is the team who work hard to make our cows happy, led by farm team Nick Haigh, Cameron Coates and Charlotte Walling supported by a reliable part time team of staff.

We have a very clear mission that guide our principles and daily activity to ensure great outcomes for our people and our cattle:

Norbreck genetics

1999 saw the establishment of Norbreck Genetics, a new and exciting idea to improve the quality of beef calves born from dairy and beef cattle, clearly focused on easy calving and superior calf quality giving customers maximum returns from calf sales.

At the heart of the Norbreck portfolio is a deep desire to continually invest and find the very best pedigree genetics that will improve the outcomes for our customers in the UK and worldwide.

Philip’s expertise extends to a depth of knowledge which enables a fast moving and resilient approach to sourcing genetics. Particular focus remains with Blue and Aberdeen-Angus cattle and other major beef breeds alongside a fast-moving Holstein genomics investment programme to improve all areas of dairy farming income.

Success in this industry is all about partnerships. The Norbreck team works with some of the biggest and smallest genetics companies in the world and unlike other semen companies we see ourselves as a partner, not a competitor to our customers.

Norbreck Genetics offers customers the total solution in beef semen and genetics making profitability a given. We encourage our customers to call and discuss their needs so we can tailor our genetics to suit your needs.

The focus within the Norbreck Genetics business and farm constantly involves the reduction of our carbon footprint in line with improving the environment. Alltech EcO2 audits our operation annually and benchmarks our business against leading UK dairy farms. Our latest investment is in a Keenan feeder wagon to optimise diets and improve outcomes.

Sustainability is a non-negotiable in agriculture as the animal food supply chain is faced with growing pressures to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions. As concern for our planet’s finite resources escalates, we have a responsibility to be proactive in sourcing solutions and partnerships that can relieve environmental strain and prioritise sustainability on-farm. Keenan are at the forefront of supporting farmers achieve a carbon neutral footprint.

Our Keenan Feeder has been validated by the Carbon Trust as a diet feeder which can reduce methane emissions on-farm. Keenan has long been synonymous with engineering cutting-edge diet feeders which produce a unique homogeneous mix that optimizes rumen health and ensures consistent animal performance.

The Carbon Trust has validated that reduced methane output can come as a result of improved feed conversion efficiency (FCE) in livestock. Having investigated the output from the Keenan diet feeder and reviewing data from the Keenan controller, the Carbon Trust has established that the Keenan machine can reduce methane emissions. 

We also commit to a programme of both tree and hedgerow planting and minimal cultivations where possible, as well as protecting and improving our water and air quality. We can only look for sustainable pathways in the future and all our investments will satisfy our strict criteria to meet all health, welfare and sustainability credentials that we know our consumers demand and expect now, and in the future.

Richard Thornton Halhead