A Holstein herd from the south west has been crowned the best in the country.

The Davlea herd is the winner of this year's National Holstein UK Premier Herd Award, which recognises the most outstanding Holstein herd in the UK.

Ian Davies, and son Max, run their 140 head herd in Somerset. The herd was established by Ian’s father, Bryn, in the 1970s.

The herd are all year round calving and have access to grazing during the summer months with TMR all year round.

Around 300 acres is farmed with a mixture of owned and rented land and contract-grown maize with an aim to produce healthy, balanced and strong cows with quality udders.

The herd are currently averaging over 10,000kg at 4.12 per cent butterfat and 3.29 per cent protein.

It has been crowned Champion Small Herd in the south west region consistently since 2017.

Chairman of Holstein UK, Michael Smale, said: “I would like to congratulate the Davies family on this extraordinary achievement.

"With such a distinguished group of national finalists, the competition sees some of the UK’s best herds judged against each other.

"Davlea have seen great success in the show ring and it’s fantastic for them to receive the Premier Herd title which cements their commitment to breeding quality, purposeful animals."

With prominent families including Alicia, Ashlyn, Loana, Lulu, Pledge and Raven, classification is an integral part of the Davies' business.

There are currently 60 EX and 80 VG animals in the herd and the Davies have seen great success on the show circuit and in previous herds competitions.

A major highlight for the herd was winning the National Holstein Show at UK Dairy Day in 2018 with Davlea Bradnick Alicia as well as taking home the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor titles.

National Premier Herd Judge, and 2019 winner, David Wright of the Berryholme herd, visited each of the finalists.

He said: "The winning herd was phenomenal!

"They were very much my type of cows with a stamp of high class udders, balanced dairy frames and great feet and legs throughout with lots of outstanding individuals too.”

The seven regional winners are:

Eastern – R V Winter & Sons, Corringham herd

Northern – J Burrow & Son, Stardale herd

Northern Ireland – J & N McCann, Simlahill herd

Scottish –Brian Weatherup & Partners, Parkend & Lesmay herd

Southern – I M Davies, Davlea herd

Welsh – W P & E G Williams, Waliswood herd

Western – F G Windsor & Sons, Hendomen herd

Mr Smale said: "Congratulations must also go to the Stardale herd who were awarded the Reserve Champion title and the Simlahill herd who were recognised as Honourable Mention.

"I would also like to thank 2019 winner David Wright who has taken the time to visit all of the regional finalists in order to determine the 2021 national winner.”

The winner of each individual club’s herd competition competes against neighbouring clubs to become one of the seven regional winners and finalists in the National Premier Herd Competition. Due to Covid-19, the award has not been presented since 2019.

The awards was presented at UK Dairy Day on Wednesday (September 15),