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We are very lucky to be surrounded by a great team of people who have allowed us to take on new challenges and turn them into a success


up the Wiseman National Milk Quality Award, a prize which recognises excellence.


New horizons


Farming along the River Dane, where the herd inherits its name, Riverdane hadn’t even celebrated its tenth birthday before an opportunity arose that would change their future forever. After a particularly bad milking on a Wednesday evening in 2008, Mark received a call from Robert Wills of the Willsbro herd in Cornwall and whilst chatting Mark happened to say: “If someone offered me the right money for the herd – I would sell them.” Three days later Robert arrived at the farm flanked by father Anthony and brother Mathew and by the following Friday the cows were making the seven hour journey south. Apart from seven TLC cows and herd favourite Appleview Rudy Mattia, who was owned in partnership with Brian Whitfield, the whole milking herd was sold. Not filling a side in the parlour, the remaining cows were still milked three times a day and when two of them were taken to the Royal Show they contemplated buying some shop milk to top up the tank as they were falling short of their 150 litre contract! Although a tough





decision to make, selling the herd helped the Nutsford’s pay off their loan and invest in new ventures.


Selling 100s of animals over their lifetime, Mark says that they are happy to sell: “I get a lot of pleasure from it, I love to see animals go on and do well for people – I get a massive kick out of it. I never have regrets about selling, I only regret it if the animal doesn’t do well.” Sue adds: “But in those instances where things don’t go to plan, we will always try and rectify the problem and keep our customers happy.”


Today Today the herd sits at 105 head and utilising ET work, everything born is from a good cow. Most heifers have eggs with the thought that if they are good enough when they calve in they can be flushed later. A herd founded by hand- selecting the world’s elite cow families, Riverdane’s strongest families include Atlee, Ashlyn, Beauty and Sara.


Striving for the ‘true Type model’ Mark says: “Whether I am breeding, showing or judging I always have the true Type model at the back of my mind. Whatever country you go to the herd book


LEFT Riverdane Rose was owned with Sterndale. She sold for $255,000 to Willsbro Holsteins at the 2008 Global Glamour sale in the US (managed by Isaac Lancaster). It was a world record price at that time for a yearling and this picture was taken a couple of months before she sold.


12 THE JOURNAL AUGUST 2014


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