Mike Miller and family from Evesham, Worcestershire have scooped the dairy industry’s top award, the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup. Presented at Livestock 2012 today (Tuesday September 4) the Millers were placed top of the six finalists in this year’s competition.
Paul, Mike, Shan and Steve Miller
Mike and Shan Miller and sons Paul and Steven run the 320-cow Shanael herd on the 336 hectare tenanted unit. In 2011 they were runners-up in the Gold Cup.
During the past 12 months they have increased herd size and have plans to reach 350 cows by the end of the year. Their aim is to maximise their buildings and parlour. Fertility and health management have also been improved with more aggressive heat detection and monitoring through InterHerd and with the vet.
NMR annual average production for the Gold Cup qualifying year ending September 2011 is 12,199kg of milk, 535kg higher than the previous year, at 3.6% fat and 3.08% protein on three times-a-day milking. Somatic cell count average is 176,000/ml and the calving interval has improved recently to the current 410 days.
Runner up in the Gold Cup 2012 and recipient of the NMR Silver Salver is David Hodgson and his team from Burgh by Sands, Cumbria.
The 145-cow Wormanby Holstein herd is run by David and his father Harry with help from his wife Louise and mother Margaret. Milk is sold to Arla but a third of the business’s income comes from the sale of newly calved heifers and breeding bulls.
For the qualifying Gold Cup year ending September 2011 the herd averaged 10,761kg of milk at 3.76% fat and 3.12% protein on twice a day milking.
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 Pulversbatch, Shrewsbury for the second year running. Their 290-cow herd achieved a lifetime daily yield of 18.22kg for the year ending September 2011.
Bill and Margaret Higgins with sons Andrew and Bill run the Wilderley pedigree Holstein herd on 145-hectares. They rear all replacements and average calving age for heifers is 24.9 months. Cows are in the herd for an average of four lactations.
Management and nutrition is geared to maximising the cows’ full potential whilst keeping the herd fit and healthy and avoiding extended dry periods. These, they say, are all important factors in achieving a high lifetime daily yield across the herd.
The Lilyhill Cup, awarded to the highest placed Jersey herd in the Gold Cup competition this year, was presented to Andrew and Helen Wright from Tixall, Stafford.
Their homebred Fourcrosses pedigree Jersey herd has an average yield of 6,609kg per cow at 5.43% butterfat and 3.73% protein. Young sire, Fourcrosses Ontime Stag, is currently in the Cogent Breeding/UK Jerseys Visions programme.
The Murchland Perpetual Trophy, awarded by the Ayrshire Cattle Society to the highest placed Ayrshire herd in the Gold Cup competition, again went to Gilmour Lawrie, Sandyford Farm, Monkton, Prestwick; the third time in four years.
However, for the first time this year, the Lawries were in the final six of the Gold Cup competition. Gilmour farms 445 hectares of cereal and forage crops with his son Kevin and in partnership with his brother Jim along with the 240 Brieryside dairy herd. Half the cows are red-and-white with the remainder pure Ayrshire. They have plans to increase cow numbers to 300.
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