North Yorkshire dairy producer Geoff Spence and his team at Lowfields Farm, Brampton, Northallerton are this year’s winner of the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup.
NMR/RABDF Gold Cup winner Geoff Spence
Geoff Spence runs the Miresdale pedigree Holstein herd with 370 milking cows and 430 head of youngstock on the 84-hectare unit. Yields average 10,400kg at 3.9% fat and 3.1% protein with a 385-day calving interval. Milk is sold to Arla on an Asda contract.
A key point in this herd is the strong team approach both on and off the farm. Geoff works closely with his herd manager Mark Fawcett as well as his nutritionist, vet, adviser and breeding consultant to make sure cow health and welfare are first class.
And he’s embraced new technology as he’s developed the business – providing it looks to be of benefit to the herd. In the past 10 years Geoff has doubled herd size and turnover while, and at the same time, improving cow housing, handling facilities and the milking parlour.
Runner up in the Gold Cup 2009 and recipient of the NMR Silver Salver for the second year running is Iain and Joyce McLean from Priestland Road, Bushmills on the Antrim coast. The couple manage the 105-hectare unit where the 105-cow pedigree Priestland herd plus almost 200 head of youngstock are based, with help from Iain’s father John and their three children. Milk is sold to United Dairy Farmers.
Production averaged 10,778kg of milk at 4.29% fat and 3.09% protein with a 401-day calving interval.
Three other major dairy awards were presented at the Dairy Event as part of the Gold Cup competition. These included the Lilyhill Cup, awarded to the highest placed Jersey herd in the Gold Cup competition, which went to John Dickinson of Manor Farm, Scaftworth, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
A new award, the Murchland Perpetual Trophy, was awarded by the Ayrshire Cattle Society to the highest placed Ayrshire herd in the Gold Cup competition. It went to Lawrie Brothers, Sandyford, Monkton, Ayrshire.
The third, the Chris May Memorial Award for the herd with the highest average lifetime daily yield among Gold Cup entrants, went to Chris Simmons from Folly Farm, Kingswood, Wotton under Edge, Gloucestershire. This is the second year running that Chris has won the award, achieving a lifetime daily yield of 17.89kg for his 223 Holstein cows.
Cows are milked three times a day and Chris believes this plays a part in achieving high health, welfare and longevity across the herd.
THE SIX NMR/RABDF GOLD CUP FINALISTS WERE:
· David & Jane Homer, Chisbury Lane Farm, Chisbury, Marlborough
· Tom King, Vortex Holsteins, Church Farm, Martinstown, Dorchester
· Andrew Guilding, Stockland Lovell Manor, Fiddington, Bridgwater
· Stephen Bendall, New Farm, Marksbury, Bath
· Geoff Spence, Lowfields Farm, Brompton, Northallerton
· Iain & Joyce McLean, Priestland Farm, Bushmills, Co. Antrim
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