CREAM RISES to the top, so it should come as no surprise that the four finalists in this year's AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year include three previous winners and a business which regularly appears in the lead listings.
The top four farms are: Big Balcraig, Whauphill, Wigtownshire, where 322 Holsteins are farmed by T and A Wadsworth, who were finalists in 2013; Dendoldrum, Inverbervie, Kincardineshire, where 695 Holsteins are farmed by A Colquhoun, 2013's winner; Kennetsideheads, Eccles, Berwickshire, where1096 Holsteins are farmed by KSH Farmers, 2015's winner; and Meldrum, Blairdrummond, Stirlingshire, where 789 Holsteins are farmed by W Hamilton and Son, 2014's winner.
“The top four farms were selected by our independent assessor, without sight of their names," stressed an AgriScot spokesperson. "All he had in front of him was the Milk Recording performance figures.
“It is hugely encouraging to see improving performance across the whole Scottish dairy sector over the years, and the best, also, just seem to keep getting better."
Backing up this statement are the average performance figures for this year's top four farms – 11,387 litres in 305 days, calving age 24 months, calving index 380 days and somatic cell count 121.
Last year's winner, Donald Millar, of Trailflat Farm in Dumfriesshire, is the independent assessor for the 2017 award. Next month, he will visit each of the top four farms to appraise factors such as calf rearing, management techniques, and the final part of the jigsaw, the contentment of the cows. The ultimate winner will be presented at AgriScot on Wednesday, November 15, at Ingliston.