Dairy farming excellence celebrated

Pictured is Chris Hamilton, from Carrowdore, receiving the award for Dairy Herd Fertility New Entrant. Presenting the award are John Dunlop, Chairman, Dale Farm Group and Stephen Hughes, Ulster Bank
Pictured is Chris Hamilton, from Carrowdore, receiving the award for Dairy Herd Fertility New Entrant. Presenting the award are John Dunlop, Chairman, Dale Farm Group and Stephen Hughes, Ulster Bank

The excellence of the Northern Ireland dairy industry was celebrated at Balmoral Show last week, with the 2019 Dale Farm Dairy Herd Fertility Awards, sponsored by Ulster Bank, being presented on Thursday, May 16.

These awards recognise the innovative steps taken by Dale Farm farmer members to improve herd fertility.

The overall award and top prize went to Kenny, Matthew and James Alcorn of Omagh, County Tyrone.

The judging panel screened all members using Dale Farm’s Dairy Herd Management system and selected those with a calving index under 380 days, showing year on year improvement and a replacement rate of 25% or less. Those farms were then cross-checked with their milk quality results.

Farm visits were undertaken by Dale Farm to view production systems and determine the key management factors and development steps implemented over the past three years to result in improved herd fertility.

Seven finalists received awards in total. They were:

New entrant winner – Chris Hamilton (Carrowdore)

Up to 7,000 litres/cow runner up – Alan Johnston (Newtownhamilton)

Up to 7,000 litres/cow winner – John, Philip & Barry Meeke (Dromara)

7,000 - 8,000 litres/cow runner up – Mark Robinson (Dungiven)

7,000 – 8,000 litres/cow winner – Hugh Harbison (Aghadowey)

Over 8,000 litres/cow runner up – John Millar (Dunadry)

Over 8,000 litres/cow winner & overall winner - Kenny, Matthew & James Alcorn (Omagh)

Speaking at the awards presentation, Chairman of Dale Farm Group John Dunlop, said: “Once again, Balmoral Show has provided Dale Farm with the ideal opportunity to recognise and reward the world-class quality of dairy farming amongst our members. Their continual innovation and commitment to quality drives the success of our cooperative.

“I would like to congratulate all winners in this year’s awards and pay particular tribute to the Alcorn family, whose focus on enhancing fertility has resulted in a productive and sustainable herd.”

Ulster Bank’s Director of Corporate Banking Stephen Hughes added: “Ulster Bank is proud to once again sponsor the Dale Farm Dairy Herd Fertility Awards at Balmoral Show – a true testament to the quality of dairy farming here in Northern Ireland.”