Entries for the 2022 Royal Association Of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) Gold Cup competition are now being accepted, and will continued to be until the deadline of July 29.

The annual competition, sponsored by National Milk Record (NMR), is one of the most coveted awards in the dairy industry. It looks to recognise dairy businesses for all-around excellence.

Dairy businesses can enter either through their milk recording organisation, where they must meet minimum herd size, production, and health criteria, or by being nominated by consultants, discussion groups or companies that support their business. 

It is open to all herd management systems, including block calving herds, grazing herds, and housed herds.

All herds with official milk records, who meet the qualifying criteria, have already been notified and invited to enter.

The qualifying criteria for milk-recorded herds, based on the 12 months to September 2021, is as follows:

  • More than 100 cows/heifers with qualifying lactations in the milking herd;
  • Annual somatic cell count average of 200,000/ml or less, or 250,000/ml for organic herds; 
  • Minimum £PLI value specific to the breed;
  • Minimum £SCI value specific to the breed.

A shortlist is drawn up for visiting by the judges in late summer 2022, before the 2022 winner is announced at Dairy-Tech in February 2023. 

The most recent winners of the Gold Cup are from the 2020 competition. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Torrance family (pictured top) were awarded their trophy this year.

The family's herd, the Curtismill herd, comprises 670 cows and 430 followers. The average annual yield (September 2021) for this all-year-round calving housed herd, which is milked three times a day, was 13,700kg of milk sold, at 4.08% fat and 3.26% protein, with a calving interval of 382 days.

The family will host a free-to-attend open day on their farm near Ramford, Essex, on July 5. Visitors to the event will hear how the team’s close attention to detail in the cow environment and parlour routine and commitment to the key disease control and eradication schemes for dairy herds contributes to the low disease incidence and high health status seen in this herd.