The six finalists in the 2017 NMR/RABDF dairy farm Gold Cup competition have been revealed, selected from a wider field following a review of the entry parameters. The Gold Cup winner and the runner up, who receives the NMR Silver Salver will be announced at the inaugural RABDF Dairy-Tech event to be held at Stoneleigh Park on February 7th 2018.
The revised entry rules open the annual competition to a wider range of management systems and businesses that better reflect today’s UK dairy sector, say the organisers. As well as entries from herds with official milk records that meet specific criteria for milk production, somatic cell count and genetic merit, for the first time the spring calving index, that also appears on a herd’s milk records, was considered where applicable. Herds could also be nominated by regional and national discussion group leaders and specialised grazing groups. While these herds do not have to have official milk records, they are expected to have recording protocols in place.
The six finalists are: Thomas Dickinson from Scaftworth in South Yorkshire; Andrew Giles of Glasbury on Wye, Herefordshire; Darren and Stuart McMurran, Banbridge, Northern Ireland; Chris and Rich Norman, Pembridge, Herefordshire; James Tomlinson, Bilsborrow, Lancashire and David Williams, Northop, Mold, Clwyd.
The finalists will be assessed through an on-farm inspection by four judges – RABDF chairman and south Gloucestershire-based producer Mike King; NMR’s Jonathan Davies; Alvis Bros’ Nick Green and Leicestershire-based producer and dairy consultant Gaynor Wellwood over the next few weeks.
“We are looking at the whole dairy business and at how each unit takes advantages of the farm’s resources,” says Mr King. “How they integrate technical, business and people management skills is important, as well as their contribution to environmental management of the farm and their involvement in the local community. These are factors that apply to all progressive dairy units, regardless of the system.”