A selection of promising young vets will be battling it out for the prestigious title of Dairy Industry Vet of the Future at this year’s Dairy Show, having been shortlisted from the brightest and best of the industry.

Competitors are judged on the research project produced in the final year of their studies, with the winner receiving £1000 and a trophy while each runner up gets £200.

Alan Lyons, head of shows at the Royal Bath & West Society said: “Vets are an important part of any dairy farm, and this competition recognises the best dairy vets for the future.

“The role which dairy vets play on-farm has changed dramatically in recent years, with a greater focus on disease prevention and healthy herd planning. They are integral to the success of our forward-thinking industry and it’s only right that we celebrate that commitment.

Mike Steele, ruminant vet and technical director at Micron Bio-Systems, which is sponsoring the award, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this year’s award, knowing how much livestock farming relies on the capabilities and expertise of our vets on a daily basis. Their role in protecting the health and welfare of the cattle population without compromising the individual animal is a tough challenge, which they work hard to fulfil.

“The ability to adapt in a changing agricultural environment and respond to the needs of the farmer is what makes a vet of the future stand out from the rest.”

Last year’s finalists were Rebecca Dodd, Holly Hills, Catrin Davies and Henry Miller, who submitted projects on various subjects from lameness to methane emissions. The eventual winner was Miss Davies, based on her project on Johne’s disease in the current economic climate.

Judges commented that Miss Davies’ project brought up more questions than it answered but also indicated that there is some research which could be used to stop the effects of the disease.

She said: “I didn’t expect to get to the final, let alone win. My bosses have been telling everyone I won the award; as a new graduate I’m more respected. I aim to work alongside farmers rather than just telling them what to do.”

Even being a finalist for the award has brought its benefits too. For Holly Hills it enabled her to take on more lameness work at her practice and training on mobility scoring. “I now do a lot of mobility scoring and that means I get to go out on dairy farms and get to know dairy farmers which I really enjoy,” she said.

All the finalists are invited to the Dairy Industry Dinner the eve of the Dairy Show and to a presentation on the day of the show.

The Dairy Show will be held on October 2 at the Royal Bath & West Showground.