Bisterne Farm in Ringwood, Hampshire has been announced as the winner of the 2023 NMR / RABDF Gold Cup.
The award was presented at Dairy-Tech this week to farm owner Hallam Mills and contract farming partner George Brown.
The Gold Cup, which was first launched in 1920, recognises dairy business efficiency and has been won by some of the country’s most influential farmers.
Bisterne is one of the first farms in the competition's recent history to receive the award with a crossbred, low-input, grass-based herd.
Hallam and George are milking 600 cows within the 1,500-ha estate near Ringwood, focusing on producing milk from grazed grass.
They produce 3,730 litres of milk from forage and have a target to reach 4,000 litres with cows yielding 550kg of milk solids per cow per lactation.
Current average yield is 6,282kg of milk at 5.06 % butterfat and 3.84% protein from this spring and autumn block calving herd.
Due to the strong team supporting George, they have a fine attention to detail, with five full-time staff members and three students working on the farm.
Teamwork at Bisterne Farm is one of the attributes that stood out for this year's judges, which included RABDF’s chairman Robert Craig and Trustee Di Wastenage.
They also included NMR's veterinary adviser Dr Karen Bond and 2020 Gold Cup winner Essex dairy farmer John Torrance.
Commenting on the winner, Robert Craig said: "George and his team are a great example of what modern pasture-based dairying should look like.
"All the judges unanimously decided on Bisterne Farm as the 2023 winner, not only because of their excellent attention to detail and focus on KPIs across their system, but also because they go above and beyond to showcase dairy to the consumer.
“They have a really positive attitude towards dairy farming and have an excellent social engagement, hosting over 4,000 visitors during last year's Open Farm Sunday."
Who were the other finalists?
The judges highly commended the other finalists and were encouraged by the high standards witnesses across all the farms during their judging visits.
• Graham Farms, Drumgoon Manor, Maguiresbridge, Co.Fermanagh
• Michael Eavis, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
• Joe Ives, W&P Ives, Herriard, Basingstoke, Hampshire.