The NMR RABDF Gold Cup has become the premier dairy business competition in the UK.

Since its inception in 1920 the Gold Cup has been the most coveted award in the dairy industry and has been won by some of the most influential breeders. Combining elements of production, inspection and genetic management, the trophy is regarded as an award for all round excellence. The monetary value of the cup changes with the price of gold but is of the order of £100,000, however, its true value is the prestige it conveys to the winner.

2020 NMR RABDF Gold Cup Winners - R Torrance & Son from Stapleford Abbotts, Essex. Pictured Robert, John, Lucy and Rory Torrance
2020 NMR RABDF Gold Cup Winners - R Torrance & Son from Stapleford Abbotts, Essex. Pictured Robert, John, Lucy and Rory Torrance

How to win the Gold Cup

Many farmers look at the list of previous winners of the Gold Cup and think that the competition is beyond them, however, this is not the case. The overwhelming common themes among the winners are nothing fancy but doing the basics right and attention to detail. This is within the grasp of every dairy farmer who records his cows with any recording organisation.

So how do you win? The first step is to familiarise yourself with the competition process, ensure you put your best foot forward and then simply be the best of the finalists on the day.

Gold Cup Timeline

Late April & early May

All milk recording organisations are invited to submit herds that meet the competition's qualifying criteria for the standard recording year ending on or around 30th September.

These are:

  • More than 100 cows/heifers with qualifying lactations in the milking herd
  • Annual somatic cell count average for the recording year ending 30th September of 200,000/ml or less, for non-organic herds. For organic herds a SCC of 250,000/ml or less for the same period; all other criteria apply
  • Minimum £PLI value specific to the breed
  • Minimum £SCI value specific to the breed
  • Grazing group entries: Each grazing group across the UK will be invited to submit applications and to complete the online questionnaire. These will be the best and most efficient operators chosen by group co-ordinators


Qualifying herds will be informed and invited to enter the Gold Cup. Online entry forms will now replace the paper based system.

Typically, 1,500 farms will be notified their herds have qualified, which is already a good vote of confidence in your enterprise if you are one of the recipients. Do leave yourself plenty of time to complete the online application form. Decide what it is that makes your farm different from everyone else's and then promote this in the entry form. Remember your entry must stand out from the completed entries we receive.


Closing date for completed entry forms to be returned to the organisers online is 29th July.

Finalists selected and announced.


The judges will visit each herd during a 3 day tour of the country in September, with each visit lasting no more than 2 hours. This gives the opportunity fir the farmer to highlight why they believe they're a Gold Cup winning farm, while the judging panel quiz them on their entry. The visit is informal in nature but this is the principle way of picking the winner from the finalists who by this stage of the competition, all have very good enterprises.


Gold Cup presentations at DairyTech, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire

  • Gold Cup winner announced
  • NMR Silver Salver to the runner up
  • Chris May Memorial Award to the herd with the highest Lifetime Daily Yield out of all qualifying herds in the Gold Cup Competition


The judges include the RABDF chairman, a former Gold Cup winner and a NMR Director. The selection panel will consist of industry specialists including farm management consultants, vets, bankers and previous Gold Cup winners.

Contact Us

Please fill in the form below with your enquiry and contact details.

By submitting my details I confirm that I agree to my personal data being stored in accordance with the Privacy Notice.

Stay Up To Date

Receive the latest in agricultural innovation and other important news straight to your inbox.