Grassland Farmer Competition

Grassland Farmer Competition

'BGS Grassland Farmer of the Year' Competition

Congratulations to our 2018 Winner: Richard Rogers, Tre Ifan Farm, Anglesey (dairy).

A list of previous winners, finalists and regional winners can be viewed here.

What is the competition all about?

The 'BGS Grassland Farmer of the Year' competition superseded the 'National Grassland Management Competition' in 2013.

It is designed to award the 'best' grassland farmer in the country; a farmer who demonstrates overall excellence in grassland management and is a successful contributor towards profitable and sustainable farming practices.  

The competition examines the farmer's approach to the following areas:

  • Grassland & Forage Policy - nutrient management, alternative forages, weed control, re-seeding policy
  • Grazing & Forage Management - grazing system, grazing grass measurements, integration of grazing/ silage, length of grazing season, use of buffer feeding, stocking rate, silage quality
  • Livestock Production & Welfare - production data, balance of bought-in feeds, replacement policy, quality of housing, livestock comfort
  • Environmental Issues - manure management, environmental management, soil protection
  • Overall Impression - enterprises mix, use of resources, marketing, business profitability, future planning
Download the full scoring criteria matrix here

What do I win?

The winner of this prestigious competition will receive a trophy and a cheque for £500. 

You will also be invited, with a guest, to our annual awards evening.

Competition Sponsorship

The British Grassland Society is indebted to DLF and Yara for generously sponsoring this competition.

How can I enter?

The competition is open to all full BGS members and local society members.  The entrant can be based anywhere in the UK, providing they go through the correct application procedure (detailed below).

  • The first stage of the competition requires the local society to judge and put forward the worthiest farmer from their society for regional judging. The winner must complete Sections A and B of the online entry form (click here to view the form).
  • The Regional Council Member (click here for full list) will arrange to judge each of the local society winners within their region (this may only be one).  That winner is then put forward for national judging and must complete the online entry form in full (click here to view the form).
  • There can be a maximum of seven regional entrants, which may vary year to year. The three national judges, plus the previous year’s winner will individually review each entrant based on their entry form.
  • The judges will hold a teleconference to evaluate and agree on the final three which they will visit.  Only at this stage will the national judges visit the farms. 

Winners of local silage competitions are eligible to enter. If you reach the final three of the competition you will not be allowed to enter the competition in the following year.

When will judging and the awards ceremony take place? 

Dates for 2018

Local Society entries submitted to BGS (online form)
and notified to Regional Council Member
Friday 8th June
Regional Council Member to notify BGS of regional winner
Friday 13th July
National judges choose three finalists
 Tuesday 31st July
National judges visit three finalist's farms
20th - 21st August

Local societies in Wales must use the forms and deadlines set out by the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies (FWGS) to find their local winners and Wales regional winner.

The awards evening will be hosted by Cleddau Grassland Society, the local society of 2017 UK Grassland Farmer of the Year competition winner Rhys James. Further details will be made available nearer the time. 

Details of Rhys James' Winner's Farm Walk will be announced next month.

Who are the sponsors and judges?

The British Grassland Society is indebted to DLF and Yara for generously sponsoring this competition. Each sponsor organisation provides a judge for the competition to work alongside a head judge and the previous year’s competition winner. Let’s meet our competition sponsors and judges!

Paddy Jack (DLF)
“DLF is the world’s largest investor in grass and clover seed breeding with more varieties on the UK Recommended Lists than any other breeder. So it is natural for us to have an interest in farmers who are turning that breeding investment into a profit on farm. As breeders we have achieved a great deal over the years but this work only truly pays off if the grass and clover varieties we produce are properly managed.

The BGS 'UK Grassland Farmer of the Year' competition is the most prestigious of all grassland competitions. The farmers who enter this competition set themseleves high standards and are an inspiration to others. It is exactly this sharing of knowledge and knowhow that will help more farmers achieve their grassland potential”.

For more from DLF please visit their website here.

Philip Cosgrove (Yara)
"Yara has long recognised that whether growing grass for grazing or looking to reduce feed costs through better silage management, choosing the right balance of nutrients applied at the right time plays a vital role in growing grass successfully  - for both yield and quality.

 This is why from an Research and Development Programme over many years we have developed a complete range of grassland fertilizers, management and timing advice to enable our farmer customers to balance the nutrient requirement of their grass. Quality fertilizers that provide the balance between what a farm has, and what the grass needs to deliver the yield and quality the livestock farmer wants – whether for dairy, beef or sheep – and whether for grazing or housed feeding.

 We believe ‘if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it’ and soil and herbage analysis has a role to play in choosing the right fertilizer for the farm. This is clearly the ‘attention to detail’ philosophy held by members of the BGS and why we are particularly pleased to have the opportunity to be involved with the prestigious Grassland Farmer of the Year Competition". Rosie Carne, Marketing, Communications and Agronomy Manager, Yara UK and Ireland.

To learn more about grassland at Yara please click here. 
Find Yara on Facebook
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Steve Brandon (Head Judge)
BGS are delighted to announce that Steve Brandon will be the head judge of the competition for the second year in 2018. Steve is a dairy farmer from Staffordshire and former competition winner.

On stepping into the role Steve said, "I am pleased and honoured to have been asked and very much looking forward to judging the competition".

Rhys James (2017 winner)
Rhys impressed the judges last year with his well budgeted and planned utilisation of grassland that allowed for controlled supplementation to manage shortages or slowed growth in a highly stocked system. Rhys also demonstrated attention to detail across all aspects of the judging criteria.

Rhys farms near Haverfordwest in South West Wales, where they currently milk 419 cross-bred cows, calved as a block from February to mid-April. BGS are pleased to have Rhys join the judging panel this year, bringing with him a fresh perspective on what it takes to win the competition.





BGS Members BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.

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