The 2020 NMR RABDF Gold Cup will be presented at Dairy-Tech 2022 on 7th April 2022.
The 2021 Gold Cup competition will not be awarded. This is not taking the Gold Cup history into unchartered waters. In 1925, five years after its introduction, the award was cancelled due to a foot-and-mouth pandemic. Between 1939 and 1946, World War II brought the award to a halt and then, more recently in 2001 and 2002, the competition did not take place again due to foot-and-mouth disease.
The Gold Cup remains the country’s top prize and the lineup of finalists for the 2020 title certainly maintains the high standards expected of such a coveted prize.
Meet the Finalists
RP Sainsbury & Sons – Lyegrove Farm
This is the first time that Mike Sainsbury’s family business has entered the competition and he says that they are thrilled to be through to the final. The most recent investment at the unit was in 2014, when the Sainsburys erected a new cubicle house, which is spacious, naturally well ventilated, and comfortable. It comprises sand-bedded mattresses, rubber standings at the feed barrier, and resin coatings on the feed floor – to encourage high intakes and reduce spoilage and poor hygiene caused by eroded concrete.
W & P Ives – Park Farm
Joe Ives’ Hampshire-based herd has made it through to the final of the 2020 NMR/RABDF Gold Cup competition. Although this is the first time he’s put his 240-cow herd, plus 240 followers, forward for the coveted award, he’s no stranger to competition success. He lifted the Chris May Memorial Cup in 2019, given to the UK herd with the highest average lifetime daily yield. The farm has four Lely robots. Installed in December 2019, they required a complete change of system.
Gibbins Dairy Ltd – Hethenhill Farm
Jonathan Gibbins farms in partnership with his parents, Geoff and Peggy, near Cullompton in Devon. He’s the third generation to farm at Clyst Hydon and the existing 370-hectare unit is part owned by the family and the rest is rented from nine different landlords. The 500-cow herd, plus 200 followers, is predominantly Holstein, with some British Friesian and Jersey crosses, and averaging 7,900 litres of milk, at 4.20% butterfat and 3.30% protein.
R Torrance & Son – Battles Hall
An award-winning Essex-based pedigree Holstein herd has made it through to the final round of the 2020 NMR/RABDF Gold Cup. The all-year-round calving herd has expanded during the past few years, from 500 milkers, and John’s aiming for 700 head. “We’re growing the herd using our own replacements and more than 30% of the herd are in their first lactation. We expect to hit our target of 700 cows within the next six months,” he says.
The Downing Partnership – Wintersell Farm
John and Rachel Downing have made it through to the final round of the 2020 NMR/RABDF Gold Cup competition. A fitting finale to a year that, like the competition itself, sees the herd celebrating its 100th birthday. The herd’s impressive fertility figures, most notably the submission rate (76%) and calving interval (370 days), are down to several factors, not least are low levels of lameness and the use of electronic heat detection ear tags. “It’s all in the detail – low stress, high cow comfort, health and welfare, nutrition, and breeding. They all play a role in our fertility performance.”
Hoskins & Vickery – Down Dairy Farm
Mark runs a contract farming business, based at Hindon near Salisbury, and is currently milking 410 Friesian x Jersey dairy cows, plus 170 followers, on a platform of 138 hectares. The herd’s tight 12-week calving block starts on February 1. Cows are milked twice-a-day, through the unit’s 32:64 Fullwood herringbone parlour, which has a throughput of 200 cows per hour. The herd’s average yield stands at 4,600 litres, at 5.05% butterfat and 3.82% protein, with a SCC of 130,000 cells/ml. Milk from forage stands at an impressive 4,257 litres (92.5%) and bought-in feed cost for the qualifying year were just 1.3ppl.
Provided by RABDF