Eccles farm wins Scottish Dairy farm of the Year award

Sandy Mitchell (centre) with two key staff members Ewan Corbett and Dairy Manager Ian Fenwick at Kennetsideheads. AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year
Sandy Mitchell (centre) with two key staff members Ewan Corbett and Dairy Manager Ian Fenwick at Kennetsideheads. AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year

A Borders farm is the winner of the prestigious AgriScot Scottish Dairy Farm of the Year award.

The accolade, which is sponsored by Cogent Breeding Ltd, has been awarded to Kennetsideheads, near Eccles, run by Jimmy and Sandy Mitchell.

The official assessor for the award Russell Alison, who is a highly respected dairy management and nutritional advisor, chose the winner after visiting the final four farms, which were shortlisted from every milk recorded dairy farm in Scotland.

The award was judged according to a wide range of criteria, including calf rearing, sire selection, practical management techniques, feeding and nutrition programmes and the general well being and contentment of the cows.

Kennetsideheads is home to one of the largest dairy herds in the country with 1,019 cows, and was awarded the title based on a number of factors, including exceptional attention to detail and efficiency in business.

The three runners up in alphabetical order were: Drum Farm, Beeswing, Dumfries (Messrs Harvey); East Logan, Castle Douglas (Brian Yates); Meldrum, Blairdrummond, Stirling (Wm Hamilton and Son).

Commenting on the award and its winner, Russell Alison said: “Kennetsideheads is a great advert for the Scottish dairy Industry, every aspect of herd management is excellent with the whole team at KSH Farmers demonstrate exceptional attention to detail.

“Efficiency is paramount at Kennetsideheads. Milk production is maximised and the costs of production are measured on a daily basis.

“Animal health and comfort are excellent; water beds and foam beds, rubber lined feed fences and a strict foot bathing regime mean minimal foot and hock problems.

“The KSH Farmers team demonstrate a pro-active attitude to managing fertility with pregnancy diagnoses at 32 days and subsequent protocols giving a calving index of 384 days and a very low cull rate because of fertility.

“Age of first calving is 24 months and eight days and this is achieved by tight feed practices and increased concentrations of milk replacer which in turn produces consistent growth rate in calves and heifers.

“All top 20 farms are a great credit to the Scottish dairy industry, but the top four were absolutely outstanding in every aspect of their detailed management; from calf rearing and fertility to animal health, yields and length of life in the herd.

“It was a very difficult task deciding who would be named the winner, but ultimately the attention to detail and results achieved at Kennetsideheads shone through.”

A delighted winner Sandy Mitchell said: “I am delighted, this is a great reward for the efforts of our whole team.

“We are very cow focused at Kennetsideheads – if the cows are not in good order and performing then the whole business can’t perform. We work very closely with our vet and nutritionist too.”