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Dairy Special: Holsteins head to Belgium for championships

The 2019 Holstein European championship will be held in Libramont, Belgium next month and the UK representatives for the competition have now been chosen. Katie Jones reports.

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Holsteins head to Belguim for championships

The Holstein European championship takes place every three years, with 19 countries represented, and over 250 cows competing.


This year’s event is taking place in Libramont, and the UK will be represented not only by a team of cows, and a youth team of Holstein Young Breeders, but also by two UK judges – Mark Nutsford who will be judging the Holstein classes, and Michael Halliwell who is one of the judges in the youth team competition.

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Mark Nutsford, who owns Celltech Embryo Transfer, runs the Riverdane Holstein herd with his wife Susan and farms in Middlewich, Cheshire.


As a keen showman, Mr Nutsford and family have taken wins at the National Holstein show, the All Britain All Breeds calf show, AgriScot, UK Dairy Expo and many other Holstein fixtures.


  • Which shows have you judged at in the past?

I have judged many shows in the UK including the National Holstein show and the National calf show. I have enjoyed judging in South Africa, Sweden (twice), Ireland (four times), Northern Ireland, Spain (twice), Germany, Holland (three times), Poland and Finland. I will also be judging in Denmark later this year.


  • What has been your judging highlight to date?

One of the most enjoyable experiences has been to be a master judge at the European judges workshop. This gives you the opportunity to pass on knowledge and share experiences with other top judges. I also enjoyed the experience of judging at the Canadian judging conference which gives you a slightly different perspective of things that are happening over the water. If you were to ask me the very best highlight it has to be judging my country’s National Holstein Show.


  • What are you most looking forward to about judging this year’s European Championship?

The ‘buzz’, the great excitement, the expectations, the challenge of judging the very best in Europe. The European show is like no other; it is like being at a football match where the crowd join in and support their team and it erupts with excitement as you call in your first cow and make a switch or any decision really.


  • What will you be looking for in your champions?

Like most judges really, I always have the true type model in the back of my mind, the cow that gets to the top with me has great balance and symmetry, has a beautiful udder, walks on functionally correct feet and legs and has lots of breed character.


  • Which shows would you like to exhibit / judge at in the future?

I enjoy judging all kinds shows from small local ones to international, but I would really like the chance to judge in North America as I have learned a great deal of my cow knowledge from some of my great mentors in North America. In the future I would like to venture further into Europe with my cows: Swiss Expo or Italy’s International show excites me, but I realise health restrictions might be an issue.


  • Do you judge cows differently now than you did five or 10 years ago?

Not really. I have always liked a cow with great balance and the true type model has not changed, but I suppose things change with fashion slightly, but as I travel and go to quite a few international shows I would like to think I keep up to date on modern dairy cow trends.


A team of two Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) will also head to the championships after being selected to represent Holstein UK as part of the youth team. The competition will include clipping and showmanship, and will be judged by Michael Halliwell along with Cord Hormann from Germany.


  • Junior competitor: Robert Morley (Border and Lakeland HYB Club)

Robert has been involved with HYB since he can remember and started competing from the age of 13. He is currently in his second year of sixth form studying for A levels in Biology, Chemistry and PE, with plans to study for a degree in agriculture. As well as studying he works on the family farm which has 200 pedigree Holstein cows with 100 followers under the Petteril prefix. The herd averages 10,800 litres and in 2018 were awarded Master Breeder status.

Robert has represented Holstein UK at the 2016 Cremona open junior show and winning the overall stock judging was the stand out moment. He has also won the senior showmanship and reserve champion titles at the 2018 All Britain All Breeds calf show.


  • Senior competitor: Jonny Woodhouse (Lancashire HYB Club)

Jonny has been an HYB member for eight years and works on the family farm in Cumbria. The Shoreline herd comprises of 100 cows averaging 33kg milked twice a day.

Jonny has taken the honourable mention at the All Britain All Breeds calf show on two occasions with home bred calves, and has won the clipping at the HYB weekend rally and the 2016 European championships in Colmar.


One of the UK show team, Wiltor Chipper Rosie Polled Red, has previously taken the Red and White championship at UK Dairy Day 2018.



  • Blydale Gold Lynn from S. and T. Wake, Kettering, Northamptonshire.
  • Knowlesmere Atwood Chic from A. and J. Whittaker, Redcastle, Shrewsbury.
  • Aireburn Mogul Pearloma from Huddlesford Holsteins, Staffordshire, ICow Holstein, Yorkshire, and Whinhill Holsteins, Yorkshire.


Junior Red and White

  • Wiltor Integral Jodie Red from D.W. and C.E. Jones, Wilcrick, Monmouthshire.



  • Knowlesmere Solomon Diamond from A. and J. Whittaker.
  • Wyndford Doorman Atlee 2 from D.W. and C.E. Jones.
  • Feizor Elude A Rapture from W.A. and A. Booth, Lancashire, and A. Lawson and Son, Yorkshire.
  • Littlebridge Goldchip Honey from J.L. Miles and Sons, Yorkshire.



  • Blythbridge JessyD2Cou from A. and C. Laird, West Linton, Peeblesshire.
  • Davlea Bradnick Alicia from B.L. Davies and Son, Ilminster, Somerset.
  • Riverdane Ashlyns Gold, J. and L. Wilson, Carlisle, Cumbria.
  • Davlea Goldsun Raven from B.L. Davies and Son.
  • Whinchat Stanleycup Farrah from J. and L. Wilson and I. Lancaster.
  • Newbirks Susan 108 fom A. Lawson and Son.
  • Icow Huddlesford Rosann from Huddlesford Holsteins, Staffordshire, and ICow Holsteins, Yorkshire.


Senior Red and White

  • Wiltor Chipper Rosie Polled Red from D.W. and C.E. Jones.
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