Leigh Woolmer of Stuchbury Manor Farm, Banbury has been named Milkminder Manager of the Year award 2018.
Mr Woolmer manages a 160-cow Holstein Friesian herd, on behalf of the 2,000-acre Marston St Lawrence Estates.
He overcame tough competition to scoop the national title, according to the agri-food consultancy behind the award, Promar.
James Dunn, Promar Managing Director and judge said: “Leigh’s attention to detail has been a big driver in the success and technical performance of the herd, which averages 8,966 litres, with 4% butterfat and 3.2% protein.
“He uses his 19 years’ experience to achieve great results,” Mr Dunn added.
Good milk quality
Mr Woolmer has achieved consistently good milk quality recordings as a result of a rigid five-point parlour routine implemented on the farm.
“Each cow is pre-sprayed, wiped, and stripped before milking, and sprayed again before leaving the parlour,” he said
“This has led to an average somatic cell count from the last 12 months of 86,000/ml, along with a bactoscan of 9,000/ml.”
Mr Dunn added that the health and welfare of the herd is the key priority for the farm.
“The estate invested in a cubicle system around 18 months ago, replacing the previous open pen system in order to further improve udder health, and the results have been significant.
“The cubicles are cleaned twice a day, and scraped as often as possible, which has seen mastitis cases reduced considerably,” he said.
Around four years ago, the farm was also faced with a significant Neospora outbreak, with nearly half the herd aborting in a year.
Mr Dunn said: “This was a huge blow for both Leigh and the estate, but he has been determined to tackle the issue with a strict breeding policy.
“Milk testing is carried out before drying off, and any cows that have tested positive are put to beef sires, along with any that may have a history in the dam, to prevent any carryover to the next generation of the herd.
“Leigh’s technical performance, meticulous standards and eye for detail are a rare commodity, and it’s great to be able to reward a manager who is focused on making the most of his milk to drive the business forward,” he said.