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Six Go For Gold in Dairy Industry’s Top Award
2009-09-01

Six dairy producers have been named as finalists in this year’s NMR/RABDF Gold Cup from more than 1,000 qualifying herds. Selected from entries throughout Britain, including herds in Scotland and Northern Ireland, these six herds spread from County Antrim to North Yorkshire and south to Dorset.

Priestland Farm, Bushmills.

Priestland Farm, Bushmills

Iain and Joyce McLean, Priestland Farm, Bushmills, Co. Antrim were runners up in the Gold Cup last year and are back for a second attempt at the top prize. A family farm, run with help from Iain’s father John and the couple’s three children, the McLean’s manage the 105-hectare unit where the 105-cow pedigree Priestland herd plus almost 200 head of youngstock are based. Milk is sold to United Dairy Farmers.

Production for the Gold Cup qualifying year, ending September 2008, was 10,778kg of milk at 4.29% fat and 3.09% protein with a 401-day calving interval.

Geoff Spence, Lowfields Farm, Brompton, Northallerton is a Gold Cup finalist on his first attempt in the competition. He runs the Miresdale pedigree Holstein herd of 370 milking cows and 430 head of youngstock on his 84-hectare unit in North Yorkshire.
For the year ending March 2009, 3,640,000 litres of milk were sold off the farm to Arla on an ASDA contract. Average yield was 10,400kg at 3.9% fat and 3.1% protein with a 385-day calving interval.

David and Jane Homer from Chisbury Lane Farm, Chisbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire are also first time entrants to the Gold Cup. With sons Geoff and Chris and nephew James they have the Chisburylane pedigree Holstein herd of 180 milking cows and 100 followers based on a 112-hectare unit. Milk is sold to Waitrose, via Dairy Crest. For the year ending March 2009, 1.6 million litres of milk were sold off the farm.

Production for the Gold Cup qualifying year, ended September 2008, was 10,550kg of milk at 3.67% fat and 3.15% protein with a 430-day calving interval.

Stephen Bendall from New Farm at Marksbury, Bath, returns to the finalists arena after four years. With father John, brother Andrew and nephew Richard he has the Pensdown pedigree Holstein herd of 150 milking cows and 100 followers based on a 186-ha dairy and arable unit. Milk is sold to Tesco, via Arla. For the year ending March 2009, almost 1.5 million litres of milk were sold off the farm.

Production for the Gold Cup qualifying year was 10,332kg of milk at 3.77% fat and 3.15% protein with a 400-day calving interval.

Andrew Guilding, of Stockland Lovell Manor, Fiddington, Bridgwater, in Somerset, joins the finalists’ fold for the first time. He manages the 350-hectare unit with 266-cow pedigree Holsteins, plus 300 youngstock, with help from herdsman Michael Peach and Michael’s wife Annette. Milk produced by the herd, which totalled more than 2.5 million litres for the year ending March 2009, is sold to Tesco, via Wisemans.

Production for the Gold Cup qualifying year, ending September 2008, was 10,176kg of milk at 3.5% fat and 3.25% protein with a 404-day calving interval.

Tom King of Church Farm, Martinstown, Dorchester, in Dorset, runs Vortex Holsteins with his father Alan on the 120-hectare unit. Finalists for the first time, they have doubled herd size during the past 10 years to its current 200 cows with 170-head of youngstock. Annual milk output is 2.1 million litres and sold through Dairy Crest on a Sainsbury’s contract.

For the year ending September 2008, average yield for the herd was 11,134kg at 3.9% fat and 3.02% protein.

All finalists in the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup 2009 come under the scrutiny of the Gold Cup judges; RABDF Chairman and producer Lyndon Edwards and producer and NMR board member Trevor Lloyd – both from Wales; and Cheshire-based producer and 2006 Gold Cup winner Mark Roach.

The winner will be announced at the Dairy Event, Stoneleigh on Wednesday September 16 at the NMR stand at 4.30pm.

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