Dorset Dairy business wins Gold Cup title

Simon Bugler from Pilsdon Dairy Farm, Bridport, Dorset is the winner of the NMR RABDF Gold Cup 2016. 

This is the first time the Bugler family partnership has entered the Gold Cup with its pedigree Holstein Bettiscombe herd made up of 570 cows and 700 followers. Simon Bugler runs the unit in partnership with his parents Roland and Heather and 12 full time employees on 295ha with a further 142ha of rented land for youngstock and forage. 

NMR/RABDF Gold Cup winner 2016 Roland (second left) and Simon Bugler with Professor David Leaver and NMR Chairman Philip Kirkham

NMR/RABDF Gold Cup winner 2016 Roland (second left) and Simon Bugler with Professor David Leaver and NMR Chairman Philip Kirkham

The herd achieved 11,260kg of milk at 3.56% butterfat and 3.1% protein on three times a day milking in the Gold Cup qualifying year to September 2015. Despite looking to increase yields, Simon is firmly focussed on keeping a herd of cows that combine yield with good fertility and health and his management priorities are set to achieve this. 

Cows are housed year round; a move Simon says has improved cattle health as well as lifting yields. Cases of mastitis are currently 20 per 100 cows, and cell count runs at 111,000cells/ml and Bactoscan at 6. Calving interval is 380 days. Simon has cut antibiotic use at drying off and now up to 95% of the dry cows have no antibiotic treatment, just a teat sealant.

Commenting on the Bugler’s success, judge, RABDF chairman and former Gold Cup winner Mike King described Pilsdon Dairy Farm as a progressive and well-run business. 

“The Bulgers have a very strong business plan with a clear direction for the future,” says Mike King. “This is supported with excellent attention to detail and careful, well thought out cost savings in many areas. It’s good to see established health protocols in place and a clear focus on reduced antibiotic use. These are all attributes of professional dairy farming.” 

Runner up and recipient of the NMR Silver Salver, for the second year running, is Brian Yates from East Logan, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway. With wife Sheila, and children Michael and Anna, they run the 280-cow pedigree Logan Holstein herd on a 137-hecatre unit. 
Housed all year round and fed a TMR. Average yield was 12,273kg of milk at 3.83% butterfat and 3.09% protein on three times a day milking, with a cell count of 102,000 cells/ml.

Joining Mike King in judging the Gold Cup this year were NMR director Jonathan Davies and Gold Cup winners 2013 Andrew and Bill Higgins.
The Chris May Memorial Award, for the herd with the highest average lifetime daily yield among Gold Cup qualifying herds, goes to Nick Cobb from West Chaldon, Dorchester, Dorset. His 669-cow Holstein herd achieved a lifetime daily yield of 18.48 kg Contributing to this is the herd’s average milk yield of 12952kg at 3.43% fat and 3.12% protein and a calving interval of 382 days. 

Also presented at the Livestock Event was the Lilyhill Cup for the top Jersey herd in this year’s Gold Cup qualifying herds. This year’s winners are the Richardsons from Wheelbirks Farm, Stocksfield, Northumberland.  Their 115 cows achieved production of 5766kg at 5.88% fat and 4.01% protein for the year ending September 2015 with an impressive calving interval of 373 days.
Brothers Hugh and Tom and Tom’s wife Lucinda run the farming business that includes 120 pedigree Jerseys. Members of the Jersey Cattle Society, their herd is the oldest pedigree Jersey herd in Northumberland. Keen to progress, they use mainly sexed semen on heifers, rearing about 40 a year and selecting from Danish and American genetics.  

They have developed the business and use the milk for their award-winning Wheelbirk ice cream – sold through an ice cream parlour on the farm. They also sell unpasteurised liquid milk from the parlour too.