Livestock Event 2015: Farmers Weekly Awards winner scoops Gold Cup

Former Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year Neil Baker has scooped the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup award.

Mr Baker, from Rushywood Farm, Somerset, has been a finalist three times, and in that time has made some impressive changes to his business.

In the past 12 months alone he has increased cow numbers by 520 head to 1,800 Holsteins.

See also: Michael Eavis named 2014 RABDF/NMR Gold Cup winner

Farmers entering the award must have at least 100 cows in the herd, an annual average cell count of 200,000/ml or less and a profit index number (PIN) value that is breed specific.

Mr Baker’s average herd performance stands at 11,772kg of milk at 3.62% fat and 3.25% protein on three-times-a-day milking.

He has an average somatic cell count of 125,000 cells/ml, a bactoscan of 30 and has managed to reduce mastitis cases by 20% in the past 12 months.

He also has a tight handle on calving, with a calving index of 385 days and age at first calving 23 months, with 57% of cows in-calf within 100 days of their lactation.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at the Livestock Event, Mr Baker said he was “overwhelmed” at winning. “It was totally unexpected,” he added.

Taking the second prize Silver Salver trophy was current Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year finalist Brian Yates, from East Logan, Castle Douglas.

Mr Yates manages a 277-cow Holstein herd and averages 11,707kg of milk at 3.97% butterfat and 3.13% protein on three-times-a-day milking.

Average cell count is 108,000 cells/ml and in-calf rate 100 days post-calving stands at 65%.