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06-12-2016

Excellence in Farming winners announced

Afbeelding: Excellence in farming awards logo - Copy

Farmers at the top of their game have been recognised in this year’s inaugural ForFarmers Excellence in Farming Awards.

National winners were Charlie Hughes based near Pulborough, West Sussex; Michael and Caroline Wainwright from Buxton, Derbyshire; and Gethin Brown from Stackpole in Pembrokeshire. The three winners won their regional category rounds before going forward to the national competition, where they won the overall awards for Dairy Feed Efficiency, Youngstock Producer and Forage Manager.

Innovative farmer Charlie Hughes milks 110 cows, with an average yield of 11,163 litres per year, through two Lely robots at Southview Farm, West Sussex. He received the Dairy Efficiency award, thanks to his forward-thinking approach to farming, making use of available technology and best practice to achieve high cow health as well as efficiency.

“Charlie is a true innovator who is never scared to change,” says Peter Cade, ForFarmers area manager. “He’s open to new ideas, will judge their merit, and provided he believes they will benefit his business, he will adopt them. He’s built a great team around him and the results speak for themselves.”

Michael and Caroline Wainwright milk approximately 60 Holstein cows with 140 followers. The sale of freshly calved heifers is a key income source for them and the attention they pay to every detail of the rearing process led to them winning the Youngstock category national award.

John Parry, the Wainwrights’ ForFarmers Account Manager said: “Even before their birth, Michael and Caroline are making sure calves have the best possible start in life by managing the transition period diet to ensure colostrum quality is high. That attention to detail continues throughout the calves’ lives, until they leave the farm as newly calved heifers.”

Gethin Brown is Farm Manager for James Bros at Hope Farm, Stackpole in Pembrokeshire, where 1,100 Jersey x Friesian cows are managed on a grazing-based extensive system. Gethin carefully manages grass growth and quality to maximise the amount of milk achieved from grazed grass. Last year the farm sold 5,143 litres per cow with 4,103 litres milk coming from grazed grass.

Ken March, Gethin’s ForFarmers account manager said: “Gethin’s attention to detail and the meticulous way he follows everything through to its conclusion is remarkable. His true passion for both dairy farming and grass management is reflected in the results he achieves.

The winners received their awards from Henry Verwaijen, ForFarmers Ruminants Marketing Director in the Netherlands, at a ceremony at the Farmers Club in London on Thursday November 24, 2016. “The farmers here today show that there is no good or bad strategy when it comes to farming, it’s about optimising a chosen strategy and believing in it. Being open to new ideas is also key and the winners have demonstrated this in bucket-loads.”

Each winner wins two places on an organised four-day study tour in Europe.