Here are some of the highlights from last week’s Livestock Event.
RABDF launched the Association of Robotic Milkers (ARM) at the Livestock Event at a time when approximately one half of new dairy installations are robotic.
Initially, ARM will facilitate an exclusive on-line forum. Here, members can share knowledge and access a network of like-minded industry members. The forum will be moderated by RABDF, an independent consultant and robot users across the UK.
RABDF national co-ordinator, Emily Egan said: “The forum is designed to provide a discussion platform for farmers operating what is still relatively new technology.”
The ARM is hoping to establish a conference in coming years, but firstly will be organising a series of farm walks followed by an association dinner this autumn.
Brown and Beer of East Hele, Bideford, Devon, were announced the winners of this year’s Lily Hill Trophy for the best Jersey herd among the Gold Cup qualifiers.
It was presented to Maria and Chris Beer who run 231 cows with Maria’s parents, David and Linda Brown The herd produces 5,695kg on average with 5.97 per cent fat and 3.92 percent protein, varying seasonally with their spring calving.
This year’s Murchland Cup for the best Ayrshire herd in the Gold Cup went to Gilmour Lawrie, Sandyford Farm, Prestwick, Ayrshire for the second year running.
Mr Lawrie, along with his wife Caroline farm in a partnership with their son Kevin and their 167 cows are producing an average yield of 8,593kg, with 4.16 per cent fat and 3.35 per cent protein.
The winners of the inaugural NMR Herdwise award were Robert and Bryony Symms from Sherbourne, Dorset with Tom and Karen Holton from Congleton, Cheshire, as runners up.
The new award aims to highlight herds which have adopted comprehensive management plans and demonstrated how they work alongside their vet to successfully tackle Johne’s in their herd.
The winners of the 2015 RABDF Farm Health Management Award were William Cranfield, a foundation degree student from Plumpton College and Paul Doran, who studies at the University of Cambridge Vet School.
The applicants were required to write a 1,500 word essay on proactive farm health management. Entry was open to agriculture, livestock and veterinary students from any year of study, including post-graduates.
The Hildreth Family from Curlew Farm, York, were presented with the 2015 Promar Milkminder Manager of the Year Award.
Selected from three regional winners and beating over 600 other businesses to the prize, Roger, Judith and their son Thomas run a herd of just under 100 Holstein cows averaging 10,200 litres, at 3.94 per cent fat and 3.24 per cent protein.
The business aims to maximise cow margin driven by milk from forage. The cows are managed on a straight forward, low cost system based on grazing and buffer feeding in the summer.
In the year to March 2015, yields have been increased by 700 litres while feed costs per litre were reduced by over 0.55pl, with a feed rate of 0.31kg/l. Margin over purchased feed is an impressive £2,198.
ADF Milking launched a new product at the NEC, Birmingham during the Livestock Event.
Although the distinctive clusters remain, the dipping and flushing system manufacturers have five new features to their product.
The Livestock Event saw the launch of the UK’s first on-line ram buying facility, by the sheep breeding company, Innovis.
The on-line buying process allows customers to make a series of trait selections, depending on the purpose of the ram.
“We hope to move the country’s sheep industry forward in the way rams are bought”, says CEO Dewi Jones.
“Some customers may feel uncomfortable in buying rams without seeing them first. Although our rams are selected on EBVs, they need to look the part too. They are all well-grown and powerful, even though fed a predominately forage based diet.”
The website operates similarly to other on-line purchasing systems. However the buyer is required to put down a 50 per cent deposit on purchasing, and pay the additional sum on collection. Top 25 per cent rams are set at a fixed price of £950 and the top 50 per cent at £750.