Ayrshire herd picks up RABDF Gold Cup award

The Sloan family from Auchinleck, Ayrshire, have won the prestigious 2019 NMR RABDF Gold Cup.

Robert Sloan and his wife Emma were presented with the trophy at Dairy Tech, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, yesterday (6 February).

The duo farm with Robert’s parents, Bryce and Anne, and run two herds; 180 Holsteins under the Townlaw prefix and the 60-cow Darnlaw Jersey herd, added in 2016.  

Holsteins are housed year round and milked through three Lely robots in a new purpose-built shed on a greenfield site.

See also: What’s in Your Livestock Shed? visits a Gold Cup-winning farm

Meanwhile the Jersey herd is run separately and milked twice a day through the original parlour, grazing in summer and housed in winter.

Commenting on the win, RABDF chairman and competition judge Peter Alvis said: “This is a business where family members have worked together to develop the dairy herds and to establish a good working relationship with their milk buyer.

“They have invested well in technology and systems and their flexible approach to staffing ensures a good work-life balance.”

Robert said he was “absolutely thrilled” with the win adding: “We were just very pleased to get [shortlisted] in the first place.”

Farm facts

  • Employs three people full-time
  • Both herds calve year-round
  • Holsteins averaged 11,980kg at 3.99% butterfat and 3.13% protein up to the end of September 2018 (qualifying year)
  • Jerseys produced 7,115kg of milk at 6.02% fat and 4.01% protein
  • 19% herd replacement rate
  • Somatic cell count: Holsteins: 116,000 cells/ml; Jerseys: 79,000 cells/ml
  • Milk sold to Graham’s Dairy
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