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Third Time Lucky for Dorset Holstein Herd
2011-09-08

Tom King and family from Vortex Holsteins, Martinstown, Dorchester, Dorset is the winner of this year’s NMR/RABDF Gold Cup, announced at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show.

Gold Cup 2011 winner Tom King with RABDF President John Alvis (left) and NMR Chairman Philip Kirkham (right)

Gold Cup 2011 winner Tom King

Tom King is the fourth generation at Church Farm and runs the 120-hectare unit with his father Alan. Since 2000 the herd has more than doubled to its current 300 cows with 250-head of youngstock.

In order to keep more cows the Kings have converted two existing silage barns into cubicle sheds and built a new feed yard. They have also extended and upgraded the existing 16:16 herringbone parlour – it’s now an 18:18 with auto ID, ADF and pedometers to aid heat detection.

The herd is run as one group and fed on a TMR based on maize, grass and lucerne silage. With the help of Tom’s brother Charlie, a nutritionist, the feeding has been changed during the past four years with the introduction of a mixer wagon. Charlie formulates the rations and sources the feeds.

Vortex Holsteins average 11,568kg of milk at 3.9% fat and 3.03% protein (3x) with a SCC of 89,000/ml and a calving interval of 412 days. Milk is sold to Dairy Crest on a Sainsbury’s Dairy Development Group (SDDG) liquid contract.

NMR Silver Salver winner 2011
Mike and Shaun Miller and family

Mike and Shaun Miller and family

Runner up in the Gold Cup 2011 and recipient of the NMR Silver Salver are the Millers from Greville Hall Farm, Evesham, Worcestershire.

Mike and Shan Miller moved to Worcestershire from Somerset with 46 milking cows. Today, with sons Paul and Steve, they are heading rapidly upwards from the current 280 cows.

Nutrition and cow comfort are high on the agenda, as is producing high quality embryos and breeding stock. Embryos from the herd have been sold across Europe and North America.

This year’s production is likely to exceed 12,000 litres and the milking herd will reach 350 head. The Shanael herd has an NMR annual average production of 11,801kg at 3.70% fat and 3.15% protein (3x). Milk is sold to Cotteswold Dairy in Tewkesbury. The cell count average is 186,000cells/ml.

Three other major dairy awards were presented at the Dairy Event as part of the Gold Cup competition.

The Chris May Memorial Award, for the herd with the highest average lifetime daily yield among Gold Cup qualifying herds, went to the Higgins family from Wilderley Hall Farms, Pulversbatch, Shrewsbury. Their 245-cow herd achieved a lifetime daily yield of 18.34kg for the year ending September 2010.

Bill and Margaret Higgins took on the 80-hectare Wilderley Hall Farm, near Shrewsbury, in 1965 and have developed it into a family. With sons Andrew and Bill they now run the pedigree Holstein herd on 145-hectares.

The Lilyhill Cup, awarded to the highest placed Jersey herd in the Gold Cup competition, went to Hugh and Tom Richardson from Wheelbirks, Jersey Farm, Stocksfield, Northumberland. Along with herd manager Chris Shipley, brothers Hugh and Tom manage the 120 pedigree cows.

The Murchland Perpetual Trophy, awarded by the Ayrshire Cattle Society to the highest placed Ayrshire herd in the Gold Cup competition, went to Gilmour and Jim Lawrie, Sandyford Farm, Monkton, Prestwick.  This is the second time in three years that Gilmour has won the trophy. The Lawrie family farm 500 ha on the coast of Ayrshire milking 300 head in two units.

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