AN open day for the NMR/RABDF Gold Cup-winning dairy unit attracted almost 3000 people recently to view its 1300-cow herd.

The Metcalfe family’s Metcalfe Farms, of Leyburn, played host to visitors and also 75 trade stands supporting the day.

Matthew Knight, managing director of RABDF, said it was a fantastic day for the dairy industry and one that would without doubt go down in the history books. “It’s days like this that demonstrate all of the brilliant things the dairy industry stands for. It has been a privilege to work with the farm to showcase everything they do as an example of best practice.

“I doubt there is one person who left without taking a piece of new information home to implement on their own farm which in itself shows how the sector is continuing to focus on progression and the implementation of new ideas and concepts – elements vital to future success.”

Host farmer, Philip Metcalfe, said it was a chance to showcase their farm as a result of winning the Gold Cup competition. “It was a pleasure to host everyone – we have been totally overwhelmed with all the kind comments we’ve received and can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to pay us a visit.”

The day saw talks from a variety of industry specialists, all of whom had been integral to the farms success. Topics covered optimising the milking system, feeding for health and performance, early life nutrition and an overview of herd health.

Dr Jim Reynolds, from the US, spoke on achieving excellence in youngstock welfare as part of his tour to the UK with AHDB Dairy.

The Metcalfes’ Washfold Holstein herd is milked three times per day and achieved an annual production of 10,800 litres per cow at 3.80% BF and 3.25% P. It’s not just about production, though, as the herd is home to 30 Ex and 200 VG-rated cows.

Cows are fitted with pedometers, have auto ID in the parlour, and there is auto recording of yield, conductivity and activity. Bulling heifers are fitted with Heatime heat detectors.

A 200 kW anaerobic digester plant has been installed to take all the farm slurry converting it into electricity. This provides all the farms electric requirements and the surplus is sold into the national grid.