Six dairy farms – from more than 800 qualifying herds – are
through to the final stages of this year’s NMR/RABDF Gold
Cup. The 2007 winner will be announced at the Dairy Event, Stoneleigh,
on Wednesday 19 September.
RABDF Gold Cup
Newcomers are Tim Gue from West Sussex, Nick Cobb from Dorset,
and Mark Heywood from Gloucester. In the final a second time
are last year’s runner-up Devon producer William Ley and
Peter Jack from Dorset. Third-time finalists are Ian and Sally
Macalpine from Lancashire.
Tim Gue farms in partnership with his wife Marion, and his mother
Pauline Murphy, at Huddlestone Farm, in Steyning, West Sussex.
He manages his 350-cow Huddlestone pedigree herd with help from
four full-time staff, including herd manager Peter Blocksidge
and his assistant Anthony Trigwell.
The herd averaged 10,142kg of milk at 3.99% butterfat and 3.12%
protein for the recording year ended September 2006 on three-times-a-day
milking. The SCC stood at 171,000cells/ml and milk is sold to
Tim has spent the past 18 months building the current team
of dairy staff. He says that this was key to improving herd performance
and taking the business forward.
The first of two finalists from Dorset, Nick
Cobb farms at West
Chaldon Farm, near Dorchester in Dorset, where he and his father
David and uncle Alan have a tenancy on part of the Weld Estate.
The 636-milking Holsteins in his Chalclyffe herd averaged 11,507kg
of milk at 4.00% butterfat and 3.10% protein on three-times-a-day
milking. Milk is sold to Dairy Crest, with a proportion sold
on a Marks and Spencer contract.
Nick believes that the highly skilled team is vital to the herd’s – and
business’ – success. The herd is managed on a new
unit, designed to maximise cow comfort and all easy of management.
Also from Dorset, Peter Jack farms in partnership with his wife
Margaret at Normandy Farm, Winterborne Stickland, near Blandford
Forum, which forms part of the Crown Estate.
His 155-cow pedigree herd averaged 11,854kg of milk at 3.84%
butterfat and 3.04% on twice-a-day milking. Milk is sold on a
Expansion – as part of a 10-year plan – is on-going
with cow numbers expected to reach 200 by December. This expansion
has been made possible thanks to the herd’s dedicated and
high skilled and motivated staff. Peter says that, next to his
wife, his staff are the most valuable asset on the unit.
William Ley from Thuborough Barton, Holsworthy, Devon runs a
highly successful herd of 188 pedigree Holsteins averaging 10,600kg
of milk at 4.02% fat and 3.34% protein. Milk is sold to Dairy
His wife Marion is in charge of calf rearing and sons Gerald
and Roland have developed complementary businesses around the
dairy – bull hire and a machinery sharing scheme respectively.
This year they are putting up a new building that will allow
the herd to expand by around 50 head. High levels of cow comfort
and plenty of slurry storage are important components of its
Mark Heywood from Haresfield Farm, Gloucester, also makes it
to the final this year. The 250-cow dairy herd is part of a 1200
acre mixed farm and is managed by Chris Stone with a strong team
who are all involved in decision making.
Average milk yield is 10,491 kg, with impressive components of
4.41% fat and 3.18% protein on twice a day milking. The herd
has a high health status with no IBR or leptospirosis and a vaccination
programme for BVD.
Conditions for growing maize are exceptional on the farm and
this crop forms the basis of the cows’ ration. Cows graze
during summer but the grassland is much less intensively managed
than the forage area.
Ian and Sally Macalpine run the 200-cow pedigree Ribblesdale
herd at Laneside Farm, Waddington, near Clitheroe. They restocked
their 68-hectare grass farm with Jersey cows five years ago after
the 2001 FMD outbreak.
Five years on, production has exceeded the Macalpine’s
expectations with NMR figures running at a rolling average of
6,200kg a cow at 6% butterfat and 4% protein and a target of
Success relies on a strong team – Ian employs two staff,
herdsman Les Helliwell and apprentice Sam Wearden, as well as
occasional part-time staff. Milk is supplied to J and E Dickinson’s
Longley Farm Dairy.
The six herds were selected from all completed entries for their
comprehensive business approach and outlook for the future. Finalists
for the Gold Cup 2007 are being judged by dairy farmer and RABDF
Chairman Lyndon Edwards, dairy farmer and NMR board member Trevor
Lloyd and Dr Malcolm Crabtree of Leckford Estates.
The NMR/RABDF Gold Cup is open to all milk recorded herds meeting
the competition criteria of more than 70 cows/heifers in the
milking herd, an annual somatic cell count average for the recording
year ending September 30, 2006, of 200,000/ml or less, or less
than 400,000/ml for organic herds, and a minimum PIN value specific
to the breed – £5 for Holstein and £6 for Jerseys,
THE SIX NMR/RABDF GOLD CUP FINALISTS ARE:
Ian and Sally
Peter Jack, Blandford Forum, Dorset
William Ley, Holsworthy, Devon
Tim Gue, Steyning, West Sussex
Nick Cobb, Dorchester, Dorset
Mark Heywood, Haresfield, Gloucestershire
Time Lucky as Lancashire Jersey Herd Strikes Gold
Four ‘Islands’ and
Five Breeds Represented in 2007 NMR/RABDF Gold Cup
Dairy Farm Wins NMR / RABDF Gold Cup 2006
Cost Savings are Fullwood's Dairy Event Focus