Brothers Chris and Rich Norman and their team from The Leen, at Pembridge in Herefordshire, have won the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup 2017.
Runner-up and recipient of the NMR Silver Salver is James Tomlinson, parents David and Sheila and wife Eleanor, from Bilsborrow, Lancashire.
The Normans have developed a 600-cow dairy herd, as well as a 200,000-bird broiler unit and an anaerobic digester, on their 162-hectare family farm. Average milk yields of 5,536kg, at 4.99% fat and 3.70% protein, are combined with a cell count of 97,000 cells/ml and a calving interval of 374 days.
Maximising yield from grass is a priority in this Friesian Jersey cross-bred autumn block-calving herd. They target 12.5 tonnes of dry matter per hectare and look to produce 73% of their annual milk production from forage, relying on just 950kg of concentrates per cow per year.
Grazing discussion group
The Normans were nominated for the Gold Cup by their grazing discussion group Wye Graze in 2017 – the first year that nominations for the Gold Cup were invited from national and regional discussion groups. This allowed them to compete alongside milk-recorded herds that met the qualifying production, health and genetic merit criteria required for entry.
“Chris and Rich have clearly shown that there is more than one way to run a successful and profitable dairy business,” said chairman of the Gold Cup judges Mike King. “Their investment in their dairy unit has allowed them to build a system that best suits their farm situation. And their attention to detail around management and staffing is of the highest level. This has, in turn, led to a very robust business that is able to manage market volatility and one that consistently delivers a profit.”
Read the article about the Norman brothers in our January issue. A full article will be published in our March issue.