We are delighted to announce that the Castledale herd, which is owned by Gordon and Gavin Stockdale and family of County Down, Northern Ireland, are the winners of the 2021 British Friesian Herd of the Year Award.
This new award is aimed at recognising the top performing British Friesian herd each year, based on a combination of classification and production. Breed Code 20 females, bred and owned by the member, that have finished two lactations and calved within the last two years, will be allocated points according to their performance. To qualify for the award, a herd must have a minimum of 30 females included in the calculation and must achieve at least 20% of the total points from classification. The British Friesian herd with the highest average number of points (per female included in the calculation) will then be named as Herd of the Year.
The Castledale herd is situated on the Lecale Peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland. The Stockdale family have farmed in the area since the 1600s, however it wasn’t until the 1950’s that British Friesians were introduced onto the farm by Gordon’s father Tom. AI was used from the 1960’s onwards which really drove the herd forwards. In 1997, when Gordon’s son Gavin returned home from college, the herd was graded up to pedigree status under the Castledale prefix; classification and milk recording were also introduced. The Stockdales have always believed that the backbone of any herd is based around good cow families who will reliably breed quality stock for generations. The herd currently comprises of 150 British Friesians and includes 69 EX (including 6 EX95 and 10 EX94), 41 VG and 2 EX bulls. As of 2020, the herd was yielding 7,514 litres, 4.55 fat and 3.45 protein.
Previous achievements include:
- Twice winners of the British Friesian herds competition in the last decade.
- Top scoring mature cow in the last British Friesian herds competition, Castledale Excelsior Empress 39 (100 tonnes) EX96-10E and runner up heifer Castledale Brandy Pauline 2 (now EX93 in 3rd lactation).
- Runner up in British Friesian bull progeny competition, Castledale Odyssey.
- Castledale Excelsior Empress 39 scored EX96 one of the highest scored cows in recent years.
- Eight of the Top 20 highest classified British Friesian cows in the last three years are from the Castledale herd.
Sue Cope, Holstein UK CEO, commented: “The British Friesian Herd of the Year Award recognises the most outstanding British Friesian herd based on a combination of both classification and production. I would like to congratulate the Stockdale family on being announced as the first winners of this brand-new award. It is a fantastic achievement in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the British Friesian breed.”
Provided by Holstein UK