Dairy herd manager Dawn Talbot from Dorchester in Dorset, has been announced as the regional winner of the Award for Excellence in this year’s M&S Select Farm Awards at the Royal Welsh Show.

As the winner of the Award for Excellence category in England and Wales, Dawn was praised for her role in developing an award-winning dairy herd and ensuring exceptionally low levels of antibiotic use.

Dawn Talbot is herd manager for JF Cobb and Sons at Northground Dairy, near Dorchester, a family farming partnership since 1928. She is responsible for 850 High Genetic Merit Holstein dairy cows and a team of eight or nine dedicated team members alongside partner, Nick Cobb.

Under Dawn’s care the Northground herd has won a number of prestigious dairy industry awards, including the NMR Gold Cup, and regularly achieve some of the best scores in terms of health and welfare standards.

Nick Bell, M&S Herd Health consultant, who nominated Dawn for the award, said: “Dawn is a very modest and conscientious herd manager, who cares deeply about the welfare and performance of the cows in her herd.

“The herd has picked up numerous accolades under Dawn’s management, and these awards reflect the hard work and attention to detail that Dawn puts into managing her cows to ensure that they perform to their optimum ability, have excellent genetics and good fertility.

“Despite these other successes, Dawn’s biggest achievement has probably been to help reduce antibiotic use to record low levels on the farm, whilst simultaneously maintaining excellent cow health, comfort and performance. In order to achieve these low levels of antibiotic use, Dawn has had to demonstrate exceptional technical knowledge and ability, as well as a willingness to work closely with vets and embrace the use of new technology.”

Steve McLean, head of agriculture and fisheries at M&S, said: “Dawn is a hardworking and dedicated member of the JF Cobb and Son team and her work to reduce antibiotic use amongst the cows in her care is highly commendable."