record number of dairy herds have qualified for the NMR/RABDF Gold
Cup in the North East and Yorkshire regions this year.
Just over 60 herds in the region have met the competition's rigorous
criteria of more than 50 animals with an average cell count, for
the year ending September 2005, of no more than 200,000/ml and
a genetic merit above the level set for the breed.
Robert Moore's 120-cow pedigree Guernsey herd - based at High
Jervaulx Farm, near Masham, North Yorkshire - qualified for the
first time this year. And he was thrilled with the news.
"I'm going to fill out my form - I like entering competitions.
And because we run a Guernsey herd I think that it's good publicity
for the breed, as well as our own herd.
"Just qualifying is an excellent achievement for our dairy
herd and it will have a positive effect on our ice-cream business
if we manage to progress into the next round," he says.
"It's also great for my moral, as well as that of the farm
staff. It's something to show for all our hard work - we must be
doing something right to have qualified."
Nationally, more than 800 milk-recorded herds have met the criteria
required to enter this year.
"This is the industry's main competition - but it's not a
competition for the elite, but for the practical producer doing
a good job," says Lyndon Edwards, dairy farmer Chairman of
Gold Cup judges.
"We recognise that we set a high level for entry - and it's
no mean feat to get this far." All the qualifying herds are
sent an entry form - a fairly detailed but straightforward questionnaire
covering grassland management, feeding, breeding, and conservation,
as well as their plans for the future."
Completing the questionnaire will automatically take Robert Moore's
herd, and other qualifiers, through to the next round. And all
the herds that enter receive a runner-up certificate in recognition
of their achievement.
A panel of independent judges will then select around six finalists
from all the entries.
"This is not a competition for selecting the biggest and
grandest. We're looking for a herd that makes the best of what
it has with a producer who is dedicated to the industry and looking
ahead," adds Mr Edwards.
All entries should be sent in by the end of April and finalists
will be informed in May. Judging will take place in July and the
winner will be announced at the Dairy Event in September. For more
information contact NMR customer services on 08457 660236.
Dairy Farmer Takes Top Industry Trophy
Six 'All Round' Herds Compete for Dairy Gold Cup