SIR, – In reply to Stewart Jamieson’s letter, I would agree with Stewart that bigger is not necessarily better in dairy herds and can confirm that size of herd or breed is not a selection factor in deciding the top 20 for the Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year. 
The official assessor is given the statistics of every recorded herd without names or addresses. 
He/she then selects the ones that are above average of the breed on the main factors that indicate a profitable herd, with happy well-managed cows. The numbers in the herd does not come into the equation.
The factors he is looking for are calving index, age at first calving, length of life in the herd, yield and quality of milk, good somatic cell count. 
The number of herds that are above average for all the main factors are usually about 160 to 180 and then it is up to the assessor to fine-tune his selection down to the top 20 and then the top four for on-farm visits – all this without ever seeing any names or addresses.

Jack Lawson, 
convenor of the 
AgriScot Scottish Dairy 
Farm of the Year.