2013-07-04   facebook twitter rss

Shropshire Dairy Farming Family Takes 2013 Gold Cup

The Higgins family from Wilderley Hall, Pulverbatch, near Shrewsbury are this year’s winner of the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup. A family business in every sense of the word, brothers Andrew and Bill, supported by parents Bill and Margaret, manage the 316 cows and 266 followers that make up the pedigree Holstein Wilderley herd.


Bill Higgins (centre) with sons Bill (l) and Andrew. RABDF President David Leaver (left) NMR Chairman Philip Kirkham (right)

Presenting the award at the Livestock Event today (July 3, 2013) RABDF Chairman and Chairman of the Gold Cup judges Ian Macalpine described this herd as a shining example of attention to detail right through the dairy business. “Every aspect of calf rearing through to the milking herd’s routines is managed with great care and to an exceptional standard. This herd is well bred, well cared for and as a result it is performing to a very high level which is reflected in its production data and its overall lifetime daily yield.”

Runner up and recipients of the NMR Silver Salver are David, Sheila and James Tomlinson who manage the 230-cow Bilsrow Holstein herd from Bilsborrow, Preston in Lancashire.

Winner of the Chris May Memorial Award, given to the Gold Cup qualifying herd with the higher average lifetime daily yield (LDY), is Nick Cobb from Dorchester, Dorset. His 731-cow herd achieved an average LDY of 19.47kg/day for the year ending September 2012 and has a calving interval of 383 days.


The Higgins have increased cow numbers and performance on their 145-hectare unit in the past 15 years through breeding their own top quality replacements. Cows have been bred consistently for production with good functional type. Their aim remains to breed a uniform herd of top cows. Calving is year round with a calving interval for the qualifying year of 433days. Milk is sold via Muller/Wiseman to Tesco.

Andrew, Margaret, Bill and Bill Jnr Higgins Wilderley Hall Farm

Andrew, Margaret, Bill and Bill Jnr Higgins
Wilderley Hall Farm

In the year to September 2012 this three-times-a-day milked herd achieved 12,718kg of milk at 3.81% fat and 3.03% protein. Average cell count was 68,000cells/ml.

A team of three full-time staff and five part-time milkers are part of the Wilderley Hall team. They are an asset that the Higgins fully appreciate and admit that the high level of stockmanship shown by their team is integral to the success of their herd.

RABDF Silver Salver winners 2013

Silver Salver winners 2013
James and David Tomlinson
with David Leaver, RABDF President left
and NMR Chairman Philip Kirkham (right)


Responsibilities are shared on this 154-hectare unit. James Tomlinson takes care of milking, fertility and health with the help of an assistant herdsman James Billington. His father David – with part time help from Russell Thompson– looks after the land work and feeding.

Breeding decisions are based on a balance of type and production and have always underpinned the progress and success of this herd, which achieved an average yield of 10,538kg of milk at 4.41% fat and 3.14% protein on twice-a-day milking with an average cell count of 118,000/ml for the year ending September 2012. Milk is sold to local cheese makers Dewlay at Garstang. The sale of surplus heifers is also an important part of the business.

With cow numbers now at 230 and 210 youngstock and more land recently acquired the Tomlinsons are set for expansion.


Also presented at the Livestock Event was the Lilyhill Cup for the top Jersey herd and the Muchland Cup for the top Ayrshire herd among this year’s 500 Gold Cup qualifying herds.

Winner of the Lilyhill Cup, awarded by the Jersey Cattle Society, is Swangrove
Farms from Badminton, Gloucestershire. This 107-cow herd achieved a yield of 6,486kg of milk at 5.23% of fat and 3.72% protein with a cell count of 153,000 cells/ml.

The Murchland Perpetual Trophy, awarded by the Ayrshire Cattle Society, went to John Adamson & Son from Pettinain, Lanarkshire. Their 157-cow herd achieved an average yield of 8254kg of milk at 4.33% fat and 3.31% protein. The herd average cell count was 147,000/ml.

RABDF Gold Cup

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