Patron: HRH Prince Charles

The winner of this year’s Herd Competition is Sir John Bell, Arncliffe Farms, Northallerton, Yorkshire. Sir John and Lady Venetia Bell and their son Jack manage this commercially run pedigree herd of 100 South Devon cows and their followers, and they were judged the best of 14 herds from across the country by judges Mark Thomas, Colin Edwards and Julian White.

To improve efficiency & secure the long term future of the business the Bells turned to the AHDB for guidance and over the last 5 years have successfully implemented their recommendations.

The focus has been on:

  • Increasing herd numbers. This has been achieved by implementing 2 year calving;
  • Implementing a tighter calving pattern meaning management and marketing of cattle is easier due to even batches;
  • Regularly weighing animals & using Breedplan figures to select the fastest finishing animals;
  • Using ultrasound scanning to measure muscle area in order to select animals that meet market requirements;
  • Working towards a low maintenance herd using detailed record keeping; and
  • Using an agronomist to improve the pasture management on this low input system.

The Bells say, “The South Devon cow ticks all the boxes here. It is milky, easy to handle, thrives on grass in summer and the poorer end of the silage & straw with liquid feed in winter. This leaves the best quality fodder for the youngstock.”

A total of 14 herds from across the country entered this year’s Competition, judged by Colin Edwards, Mark Thomas, and Julian White.  Full results will be made available at the Farm Walk – which is one not to be missed!  Please contact the SDHBS office to book – 01392 447494, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

THE OPEN DAY IS BEING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 10TH OCTOBER AT 1.30 PM, at ARNCLIFFE FARMS, INGLEBY CROSS, NORTHALLERTON, YORKSHIRE, DL6 3PA

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