An outstanding result for Wills Brothers Ltd – Matthew and Rob Wills and family – winning 3 trophies including
the over all John Beckett Memorial Cup. Read more about our winners in issues of British Dairying.
“Willsbro stood out from their submission, their statistics speak for themselves. Having been fortunate enough to visit their farm and listening to their story and attitude they became the clear winner,” commented one of the judges. The business is continuously evolving. They have invested in all areas of the farm, ensuring a cow centric approach and ‘Keep It Simple’ philosophy. They are pioneers for genomic testing in the UK and it shows in the quality of their animals.”
Sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers
Winner – Kate & Kevin Hoare, Trenance Farm, KR & KA Hoare
“Great focus on the environment combined with productivity,” said the judges. Concentrating their efforts in a number of areas, including measuring and benchmarking, sustainable energy production, animal health and welfare, soil analysis, improved forage production, targeted feeding, increasing biodiversity and trialing new technologies is greatly reducing the environmental impact of Trenance Farm.
Highly Commended – Joe & Andy Welford, Marsh Farm, AF & BA Welford
“Working hard to reduce their environmental impact, recognizing the link to improved farm efficiency.” Their investment in renewable energy, their goals for genetics and feed efficiency, the practical use of their carbon audits and embracement of new technologies has delivered some great results and have helped them set some realistic goals for the future.
Special recognition – First Milk
The judges would like to recognize the great work being encouraged by First Milk through their regenerative agriculture program and their reward scheme for participating farmers.
Sponsored by Peacock Techology
Winner – Homer Farming Ltd
“A stand-out entry” said the judges by someone who is an outstanding dairy producer. With robust mobility assessments, they have invested in a system that gives an automated score for ongoing monitoring of lameness; boasting industry leading results and modern protocals and management strategies.
Highly Commended – Charlotte Wallbridge & Kenton Bennett, Perry Farm
“An application that shouted quality throughout,” the farm managers have made many wise decisions, “the facilities looked excellent, every aspect of cow comfort is addressed to a high standard, with early detection, prompt effective treatment.”
Winner – Oliver Chedgey, Kingsclere Estate, Roaming Dairy Ltd
Demonstrating a novel approach for getting into farming, a real commitment to organics, supporting innovative strategies whilst keeping with the principles of the whole estate. “A showcase organic dairy farm that is demonstrating business success whilst maintaining the highest standards of health & welfare, fertility rates, good average milk yields, staff engagement.”
Highly Commended – Andy & Lianne Farrow, Webscott Farm
“Our mission is to produce the highest quality organic milk from as much locally grown forage as possible to lower our carbon emissions whilst delivering the highest animal welfare possible,” stated Andrew, and the judges applauded their efforts, improving fertility and cow health year on year and to ensure the farm has a sustainable future, focusing every bit as much on the wellbeing of the farm staff.
Winner – Jersey Dairy
Judges loved Jersey Dairies ‘MyMilk – CowPow!’ campaign targeting local children on the island.
The farmer owned cooperative with a unique heritage going back to 1763, receives over 35,000 litres of fresh milk from its 13 dairy farms, daily, which in turn is processed into their range – milk, cream, butter, yogurt, ice cream and milkshake products. The export market is the fastest growing part of the business. Over the last 6 years Jersey Dairy has exported over 8 million litres of UHT milk to Hong Kong alone.
Highly Commended – Brades Farm
The judges were impressed with the quality of Brades Farm’ marketing skills, all of its production is now processed into specialist milk for coffee shops and baristas, mainly in London, under the brand name of Brades Farm Barista Milk. An innovative business strategy to market its own milk and back this up with transparent herd management and environmental information to promote its products.
Winner – Lora Fryars, Lanes Farm Vets
The judges particularly noted Lora’s detailed submission and testimonials and also her commitment to the local young agricultural community with setting up an agri business discussion group which has over 100 young people involved, all done in her own time.
Highly Commended – Hannah Kent, Shires Vets, Eccleshall
Many achievements noted, in a short space of time since graduating, particularly during Covid. Judges were also pleased to see her enthusiasm to promoting the practice and services through social media and also colleagues describing her as ‘revitalising’
Winner – Heydon Dark, Higher Skewes Farm
Praised for his “commitment to pursuing his ambition to farm independently and his willingness to adapt to the opportunities available.” At 26, Heydon has clearly already achieved a great deal in his farming career; purchasing a farm and the cows to stock it and achieving good levels of technical performance said the judges. “his unwavering passion and commitment to dairy farming will guarantee his future success.”
Highly Commended – Andrew Patterson, Millers Court Farm, JR & ED Newton
Andrew Patterson, Herd Manager at Millers Court Farm was Highly Commended by the judges for achieving excellent herd technical performance, having driven and delivered significant improvements in key fertility and health metrics since joining the farm in 2020.
Winner – Herdvision – Agsenze
“Being able to assess cows continually for mobility and body score and thus aiding earlier intervention is of great benefit to all, not just larger herds,” said the judges. “The ability to identify and act on the very earliest signs of a problem greatly reduces animal discomfort and the resulting financial impact. Easy sharing of data with the farm vet, foot trimmer and milk buyer is an added bonus of this system. Also, the system can be retrofitted to most farm systems with a number of data transfer methods making it suitable for all farms.”
Highly Commended – Lactalign Milking Cluster Support, JH & PM Solutions Ltd
“Sometimes the simple innovations can be the most beneficial and this cluster support seems to be one of those. Simple to install and use with a little training, the reduction in mastitis due to weight strain on the teats is impressive.” By providing even weight distribution across the udder and the four quarters this reduces the risk of liner slip and cluster kick off. Trialled on some very good dairy farms with impressive expert trial results, commented judges.
Commended – UFAC UK Ltd, CIEL and University of Nottingham – Palm-free fat supplement for dairy cows
A palm-free fat supplement for dairy cows containing locally sourced vegetable oil which improves milk, fat and protein yields and feed efficiency while reducing the carbon footprint of milk production.
Commended – Smart Microdairy – Unison Process Solutions
An innovative plug-and-play unit that includes everything the farmer requires to pasteurise their own milk to make on-farm processing and milk vending easier than ever before.
Commended – Semex – Geno-typed embryos
The world’s only source of female, genotyped embryos from elite donors and high demand genomic sires which enables breeders to fast track herd genetic gain, even in a closed herd scenario.
Commended – N2 Applied – Plasma slurry treatment technology
A novel on-farm slurry processing unit that uses electricity and air to near-eliminate methane and ammonia emissions while improving nutrient content and fertiliser value of the manure to help reduce the dairy herd’s environmental impact and carbon footprint.
Winner – Andrew & Bill Higgins, Wilderley Hall Farms
“A real focus on improving milk yield from forage as well as forage quality in a high producing herd,” commented judges.
“Holding a stakeholder meeting to discuss forage quality and what can and should be done going forward with everyone working towards the same goal.”
The farm uses analyses and supplier expertise to drive forage quality forward by being open to change for example changing when silage is taken; multi-cuts ; the use of appropriate silage additives, which impressed judges.
Highly Commended – Rob & Debbie Chilman, Old House Farm
“A focus on good feeding strategies whilst not overcomplicating the process,“ said judges. A TMR based ration. Low concentrate cost per litre; good milk yield from forage and margin over purchased feed. Judges liked the systems in place to manage raw materials and intakes on farm, and over all attention to detail.
“There is always room to improve, however and we will continue monitoring the herd closely and updating facilities to get these improvements,” Robert commented.
Winner – Robert & Matthew Wills, Wills Brothers Ltd
The Willsbro herd is one of the top elite herds for high genomics, making extensive use of embryo transfer to accelerate the rate of genetic gain. Consequently, youngstock rearing is a crucial component of the business. “Wills brothers have developed a youngstock system which delivers exceptional results with high daily growth rates and exceptional reproductive performance which means the high genetic merit animals enter the herd able to produce to an exceptional level.”
Highly Commended – Susannah Mottershead, M & S Mottershead
“We work diligently to develop and innovate our dairy system to continually improve and enhance cow care. However, I wholeheartedly believe our biggest innovation to date has been the overhaul of our calf care system.” Said Susannah. “We have placed calf care firmly at the heart of our business. It is one area of dairy farms which I believe is not given the focus and the dedication it deserves.”
Winner – Harry Roper & Team, Lyme House Farm
“Obvious energy and commitment, Harry has led his team to sustainable growth in the milking herd; in breeding their own stock; and ensuring the highest standards of welfare for both the milking herd and youngstock with excellent calving and colostrum protocols,” commented judges. Focusing on minimising their carbon footprint by growing their own wholecrop; investing in new calf, youngstock and cow accommodation and rapid exit parlour. Harry and his team have grown the herd significantly since 2014, from 180 head to 400 pedigree Holstein with 350 in milk and 350 youngstock, whilst ensuring the highest standards of welfare for both the milking herd and youngstock with excellent calving and colostrum protocols.
Highly Commended – Susannah Penney, Holly Green Farm, AJ Walker (Farm) Ltd
Susannah has been instrumental in moving the farm to 100% sexed semen for dairy replacements and most importantly increasing the health of the herd and business efficiency. Her dedication to tackling BVD, Neospora and actively investigating ways to reduce periods of stress to ensure the long term health and welfare of her herd, made her stand out to the judges. She showed outstanding persistence in achieving set objectives of increasing milk yield and therefore profitability and sustainability through attention to detail, great leadership and a fantastic relationship with her vet.
Winner – Dairy UK Nutrition Team
The judges chose Dairy Nutrition Team as the winner for this year’s Dairy Ambassador of the Year, because of their tireless work in championing the health and nutritional benefits of dairy produce. A lot of this work is under the radar, but informing health professionals about the role of dairy in the diet is absolutely crucial. Dairy is often criticised, but no-one can deny it is nature’s superfood, and the work of the DairyUK team to promote this should be rightly recognised by the industry.
Judges’ Special Award – John Allen, Kite Consulting
The senior panel of judges had much praise for the character, skill and commitment to the industry that is John Allen. Nominated for “his incredible efforts to bring a clear, informed and balanced approach to milk pricing discussions in GB over the past 12 months.” He has insight into the minds of farmers, the processors and retailers, helping to share concerns, build understanding and establish a common goal – a sustainable GB dairy industry, producing a high value product.
Winner – Meggy Moo’s Dairy – Sea Salted Butter
“Won by unanimous vote from the judging panel. Brilliantly balanced butter, presented well in the packaging, with a wonderful rich flavour.”
Morrisons commented: “Meggy Moo’s sea salted butter is up there with some of the best butters we’ve tasted in our kitchen – well done.”
Highly Commended – Plurenden Manor Farm – Greek Style Yogurt
“A lovely, thick yogurt with a really good flavour.” The judges also loved the packaging. “The farm’s greek style yogurt proved to be very distinctive in flavour and really stood out at the tasting session.”
Winner – Robert & Matthew Wills, Wills Brothers Ltd
This impressive business is managing a herd of 1500 cows with precision to achieve yields of over 14,000 litres/cow/year. Breeding is central to the ongoing development and efficiency of this herd; starting with the basics of having an average first calving age of 23 months to careful genetic selection to produce cows with remarkable feed efficiency of 1.8 litres per DMkg. Successful staff management has created a team that is dedicated to carefully managing every aspect of the herd’s needs, using data to inform decision-making and striving for continual improvement.
Highly Commended – John & Stuart Harvey, Harvey Killywhan Holsteins, Drum Farm
There were some truly outstanding entries in this category and it was inspiring to see many fantastic examples of farms operating at such a high level of performance with the attention to detail that allows them to achieve this – “The Harveys are an excellent example of this,” said judges.