The Gold Cup competition has been revised for a second time to make it more inclusive to all breeds and dairy farming systems.
In 2017, the competition was given a massive overhaul when organisers, the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) and National Milk Records (NMR), opened it up to grass-based, crossbred herds for the first time in its history.
Previously, only higher-production herds were eligible to enter the competition.
The latest change affects the competition’s associated awards – the NMR Silver Salver, Lilyhill Cup and Murchland Trophy, with all three refocusing on milk solids production:
- The NMR Silver Salver will no longer being awarded to the runner-up of the competition. Instead, it will be reassigned and presented to the qualifying Holstein herd with the highest value of total solids produced (fat and protein).
- The Lilyhill Cup has previously been presented to the highest-placed Jersey herd in the competition, but it will instead be awarded to the qualifying Jersey herd with the highest value of total solids produced (fat and protein).
- The Murchland Trophy will also be reappointed, and instead of being awarded to the highest-placed Ayrshire herd, it will be opened up to all non-Holstein and non-Jersey Coloured breeds and presented to the qualifying herd of this type with the highest value of total solids produced (fat and protein).
- The entry parameters for the Chris May Memorial Award will remain unchanged and it will continue to be awarded to the Gold Cup qualifying herd with the highest average Lifetime Daily Yield.
Organisers said the changes had been put in place with the view that the new rules will allow qualifying herds, regardless of their system, to compete against other, same breed herds.
See also: Metcalfe Farms wins Gold Cup award
Peter Alvis, chairman of judges, added: “The decision to make these changes has been discussed in great length and the new rules and qualifying parameters implemented for the future success of the competition.
“Over the past few years we have seen a major decline in the number of Ayrshire herds qualifying for the competition; another reason for opening the Murchland Trophy to all non-Holstein and non-Jersey Coloured breeds.
“We hope this move will also incorporate breeds more commonly associated with grazing systems – reiterating our commitment to fully incorporate all system types in the competition.”
Qualifying or nominated herds for this year’s competition will be advised of their eligibility in May.
They will then have until the beginning of July to submit their entry form.
This year’s Gold Cup open day is taking place at 2018 competition winner Metcalfe Farms, North Yorkshire, on Tuesday 18 June.
Further information, including the full programme of events, is available on the RABDF website.
Pre-registration is essential and can be done online.