NMR/RABDF Gold Cup winner announced!
NMR RABDF Gold Cup awards winners announced at Dairy-Tech
Crossbred herd breaks the mould to win 2023 NMR RABDF Gold Cup
Bisterne Farm in Ringwood, Hampshire, was crowned the winner of the prestigious 2023 NMR RABDF Gold Cup award at Dairy-Tech 2024 yesterday (7 February). This is one of the first farms in the competition's recent history to receive the award with a crossbred, low-input, grass-based herd.
Estate owner Hallam Mills and contract farming partner George Brown are milking 600 cows within the 1,500-ha estate near Ringwood, focusing on producing milk from grazed grass. They produce 3,730 litres of milk from forage and have a target to reach 4,000 litres with cows yielding 550kg of milk solids per cow per lactation.
Current average yield is 6,282kg of milk at 5.06 % butterfat and 3.84% protein from this spring and autumn block calving herd.
Thanks to the strong, ambitious team supporting George, they have a fine attention to detail, with five full-time staff members and three students working on the farm.
Teamwork at Bisterne Farm is one of the attributes that stood out for this year's judges, which included RABDF’s chairman Robert Craig and Trustee Di Wastenage, NMR's veterinary adviser Dr Karen Bond and 2020 Gold Cup winner Essex dairy farmer John Torrance.
Commenting on the winner, Mr Craig said: "George and his team are a great example of what modern pasture-based dairying should look like. All the judges unanimously decided on Bisterne Farm as the 2023 winner, not only because of their excellent attention to detail and focus on KPIs across their system, but also because they go above and beyond to showcase dairy to the consumer.
“They have a really positive attitude towards dairy farming and have an excellent social engagement, hosting over 4,000 visitors during last year's Open Farm Sunday and opening the farm up to other groups such as Scouts, NFYFC and ex-offenders.”
The judges highly commended the other finalists and were encouraged by the high standards witnesses across all the farms during their judging visits. These are:
- Graham Farms, Drumgoon Manor, Maguiresbridge, Co.Fermanagh
- Michael Eavis, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
- Joe Ives, W&P Ives, Herriard, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Four further Gold Cup awards were made at Dairy-Tech:
Chris May Memorial Award
The Chris May Memorial Award, for the Gold Cup qualifying herd with the highest lifetime daily yield (LDY), was awarded to the Torrance family from Stapleford Abbotts, near Romford, Essex. Their Curtismill pedigree Holstein herd, comprising 670 cows and 430 followers, achieved an LDY of 21.5kg of milk per cow per day.
This dairy business, run by John Torrance in partnership with father Robert, mother Janet and wife Lucy, won the Gold Cup 2020.
NMR Silver Salver
The NMR Silver Salver, awarded to the Gold Cup qualifying Holstein herd with the highest combined fat and protein production for the year ending September 2022, was presented to Janet and Sandy Law, Woodside Farm, Derbyshire of Marshall and Law Partners.
The mother and son farm in partnership with Sandy’s grandmother, Mary Marshall, who established the Overseal herd in 1947 with her husband Jim. The all-year-round-calving herd numbers 200 cows, with a combined fat and protein of 1,007kg a cow. Average milk yield is 13,850kg at 4.4% fat and 3.35% protein. The herd is housed all year and milked through a 20:20 Herringbone parlour.
Mark Hunter and his parents, Robert and Lorraine, from West Tarbrax Farm, Lanarkshire, won the Lilyhill Cup for the second consecutive year. This trophy is awarded to the Gold Cup qualifying Jersey herd with the highest combined fat and protein yield.
The Hunter's Clydevalley Jerseys of 200 milking cows achieved a combined weight of fat and protein of 907.56kg a cow. Average yield is 7,900kg of milk at 7.08% fat and 3.97% protein.
The Chairman's Cup, for the Gold Cup qualifying herd of a breed other than Holstein or Jersey, with the highest combined weight of fat and protein, was won by Stuart Neish, with a combined fat and protein weight of 749.40kg a cow.
He is milking 210 Red and White Holsteins and Ayrshires at Muirside Farm in Dumfries, where they are yielding 11,000kg a cow on twice a day milking.
(Photo: James Dunning and George Brown from Bisterne Farm receiving the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup from Robert Craig, Chairman of RABDF and Mark Frankcom, MD of NMR)