Dale Farm Dairy Herd Efficiency Award winner announced

Dairy farmers George Rea and sons from Finvoy, Ballymoney have been named the overall winners of the Dale Farm Dairy Herd Efficiency award, which took place last Thursday at the RUAS Winter Fair.

The awards, which are sponsored by independent dairy consultants Kingshay, honour farmers that run productive herds by improving milk value and making good use of purchased feed, which maximises milk yield from forage.

Coming out as overall winners were the Rea family from Finvoy, Ballymoney. The Rea family manage a 110 cow Holstein/ Friesian herd with the bulk of the cows and heifers calving in the September to December period. The herd is averaging 9,879 litres of milk sold on a feed input of 3,540kg of concentrate per cow giving a feed rate of 0.36kg/litre which results in 3,080 litres being produced from forage.

The runner-up was James Wilson from Broughshane. James and family manage a herd of 170 Holstein/ Friesian cows which calve across the autumn/winter period. Herd performance has been relatively consistent over the years that James has been tracking performance. Herd yield is 9,819 litres of milk sold on a feed level of 3,514kg/cow which gives a feed rate of 0.36 kg/litre resulting in 2,611 litres being produced from forage.

Fred Allen, Dale Farm Chairman, said:

“The Winter Fair is always a great opportunity to showcase the positive work our farmers are doing and I am delighted to once again present the Dale Farm Dairy Herd Efficiency awards at this year’s fair.

“These awards recognise those farmers who produce high quality milk in the most efficient, sustainable way, helping us create the very best consumer dairy products.

Both farms are demonstrating that they are operating sustainable dairy systems and we wish both continued success in the future.

“I'd like to congratulate overall winners, the Rea family, and James Wilson, the runner-up, on behalf of Dale Farm. Across our cooperative we have some of the most forward-thinking dairy farmers, and the Reas and Wilsons in particular have demonstrated a commitment both to maximising productivity and sustainability across their farm operations.

Sarah Bolt, Kingshay said: “Efficient dairy herds make for more efficient, sustainable and profitable farm businesses, and we are delighted to once again support these awards. I would like to congratulate the worthy winner and runner up. Both farms represent the very best of dairy farming excellence and we wish them every success in the future.”

The 37th Royal Ulster Winter Fair was held on Thursday 14th December 2023 at Eikon Exhibition Centre, Lisburn attracting over 5,000 dedicated farming related visitors each year. For further information visit www.winterfair.org.uk

1 Front Sarah Bolt Kingshay Winners Adam Rea Hannah Mc Neill George Rea Edel Madden United Feeds Back Dale Farm Chair Fred Allen

Front - Sarah Bolt, Kingshay; Winners Adam Rea, Hannah McNeill, George Rea; Edel Madden, United Feeds. Back - Dale Farm Chair Fred Allen.

2 L R Sarah Bolt Kingshay Andrew Woodside Dale Farm Runner Up James Wilson Dale Farm Vice Chair David Rea Kathyrn Mc Keown United Feeds

L-R Sarah Bolt, Kingshay; Andrew Woodside, Dale Farm; Runner Up James Wilson; Dale Farm Vice Chair David Rea; Kathyrn McKeown, United Feeds.