Congratulations to Dr Dick Esslemont, BSc, PhD, NDA, CertEd, CBiol, FRSB, FIAgrM, FRAgs, Hon Assoc RCVS, FBIAC, Honorary Research Fellow University of Reading for being awarded the Princess Royal Award 2016 Gold Medal by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.
This award is for his outstanding achievements of benefit to the UK dairy industry and was presented by the Princess Royal at a cememony at Buckingham Palace on 27th April 2017.
Dick was (with a team of up to eight colleagues) responsible for the development of innovative dairy management software carried out over some thirty years from 1972 at the University of Reading, Department of Agriculture. DAISY (The Dairy Information System) greow from a punch card bases servie dealing with the health and fertility of cows in some ten herds studied for Dick's PhD, to one which was a fully integrated on farm scheme, recording all aspects of the cow's life on several thousand dairy herds in some 35 countries. DAISY was widely used by veterinary surgeons operation a practice bases service for their clients. The approach taken, based on Dick's PhD was to study an aspect of cow management (such as fertility) or heath (such as mastitis), develop a practical approach to its better management, record on the software the essential elements of occurrence and treatment so farmers and advisers culd evaluate and apply up to date techniques to improve profitable output of the herd. Having once been a tool only used by a few innovators, such an approach is now the norm. Dick wrote widely in the commercial and academic press and lectured all over the world. He retired from Reading in 2003 and has worked as a consultant since then. He lives in Poole with his wife, Bridget. He has a son Tom, who is a journalist.