©Jim Varney

What an evening we had at the Farmers Weekly Awards last month.

It was such a privilege to have made the final three for Dairy Farmer of the Year and the Grosvenor House Hotel was an exceptional venue for a first-class event.

Congratulations to Peter and Di Wastenage – very worthy competitors and winners.

The middle of October saw us head to the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show at the Three Counties Showground.

Michael came third in his showmanship class and Logan McCutchen Ambrosia 2 came second behind the champion in a strong June-July class.

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Sheila’s Jersey won her class and ended up reserve Jersey champion, so we had a brilliant weekend.

The enthusiasm, ability and large number of the Holstein Young Breeders at the show makes you realise the future of our breed is in good hands.

By the time you read this, our local South West Dairy Show in Castle Douglas will have been.

It looks like there will be a good show of all breeds, and may serve as a benchmark in the run up to AgriScot later this month. We are hoping to be showing five milking cows and three calves. Preparation of the eight will be in full force beforehand.

We have a lot of embryos due to calve with some exciting pedigrees. Hopefully we will be able to sell all of the bull calves privately.

Flushing is an expensive business and we have cut back recently due to costs, but in my opinion it is by far the best way to add genetic value and improve the herd as a whole.

Our first-cut silage has analysed exceptionally well and we are noticing the benefits.

It has reduced concentrate usage and we have also seen a lift in components, with butterfat averaging more than 4% and protein 3.3% on 34.4 litres a cow a day.

Unfortunately, we are looking at booking Sheila on to an advanced driving lesson for her milk shuttle. Michael says it is so difficult to teach an old dog new tricks!

Brian Yates milks 250 pedigree Holsteins in partnership with his wife Sheila, son Michael and daughter Anna. Surplus heifers are sold for breeding.