IT’s not long now until we find out who are the region’s farming heroes in our Three Counties Awards.

We will be broadcasting the awards ceremony on November 26 via our Facebook page and in the run-up we are taking a look at the finalists in each category.

To start with, here are those in the running for the Cattle Farmer award, sponsored by Belmont Farm and Equine Vets:


Matt Cleland has been highlighted for his continuous work to improve the health and productivity of his cattle.

Matt, who farms near Dinedor, south of Hereford, was nominated by the team at Belmont Farm Vets for the Cattle Farmer of the Year award.

They said: “Matt is a young farmer with his hands well and truly full with a young family and a 320 cow spring calving suckler unit.

“He has a great focus on efficiency and has been focusing on improving performance on the beef unit.

“He has taken the calving pattern down from 16 weeks to seven weeks over the last five years.

“This has been as a result of improved management of his heifers and through strategies to improve herd fertility.

“This now means the herd is productive with more total kilogram of beef sold.

“Matt continues to look at ways he can further improve the health and productivity with adoption of strategies to improve pneumonia control and fluke in recent seasons.

“He is a great farmer with a can do attitude.”

Matt also has a pig unit and an arable enterprise.


Hartpury College Farm Manager Andrew Eastabrook and his team have been nominated in the Cattle Farmer category on the basis of their 250-cow dairy herd.

The cows are housed from calving and during winter, and graze in spring and summer.

The herd averages 9,500 litres per cow per year. Cows are milked twice a day, and milk is sold on contract to Muller.

Technology is at the fore, with CCTV and heat detection cameras, gene tracking; automatic weighing and recording of growth rates, and robotic feeding. There are also mechanical rotating brushes for cow comfort and cleanliness.

Cows are bred (by DIY AI) to either Holstein semen, based on genetic merit, or Aberdeen Angus or British Blue semen. All beef X calves (including dairy bulls) are reared to finish on-farm. Dairy youngstock are all reared and join the dairy at approximately 24 months of age.

All bovines are fitted with Allflex sense hub tags at birth to monitor health and growth throughout calfhood; and thermal imagining is used for heat detection as maiden heifers, and milking cows


David Thornley has been praised for his work helping others like him in the industry, as well as being a “true leader” on his own farm.

He has been shortlisted for his work at his site in St Weonards. Mr Thornley is also one of the original members of the Wyegraze discussion group, which sees farmers from the county come together to give help and advice to each other.

Wyegraze is a group of farmers who have been together as a grazing discussion group for over 15 years.

They openly share costings and farm issues, visiting a different farm in the group every month.

It is a great resource for members and their businesses and has been fundamental for many members in helping the direction and growth of their business.

As well as his involvement in the group, Mr Thornley was described as a farmer with high aspirations.

“The whole team at Thornley Farms is highly engaged in striving to improve their farm.

This leadership means the team at Thornley is well placed to take advantage of the great foundations in place.”

For more on the awards go to