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Terri Packard: When you build it…they do come

Kueffner Cows’ Terri Packard is a rare mix of elegance and grit.  

Although she isn’t royal in the strictest sense, there’s no doubt her iron-clad reputation makes her one of the industry’s blue bloods – and a shining example when it comes to talent, integrity, intelligence and grace under pressure.

Terri is married to Ernie Kueffner, and there is nothing this power couple has not achieved in the industry – for others – and, for themselves. They are among the small echelon of A-listers that influence the top end of the global registered-cattle business. (Read more: KUEFFNER DAIRY TEAMWORK “2 Dream the Impossible Dream!”)

 Terri was recently named a judge for the National Jersey Jug Futurity at Louisville. It’s only the second time a woman has been asked to judge the world’s oldest and richest class for dairy cattle. The first was Alta Mae Core, and it’s an accolade Ernie believes is long overdue.

 Terri is not only ready to step up to judge, she is also ready to speak up about the registered industry, her defining moments, what it takes to market cattle, and the extreme solution the couple has been mulling over to combat the cancellation of this year’s World Dairy Expo (WDE)…

Now settled full-time at Kueffner Cows in Western Maryland, Terri and Ernie are well-known for launching Arethusa Farm’s brand, and taking its cows – among other achievements – to a history-breaking effort at the WDE. It was 2004 when Arethusa won both Supreme and Reserve Supreme Champion with their Holstein, Hillcroft Leader Melanie, and Jersey Huronia Centurion Veronica. (Read more: Arethusa: A Winning Focus)

The couple also co-managed (with Dan Donor and Isaac Lancaster) and hosted the Global Glamour sale from Arethusa’s Connecticut base in 2008, which averaged US$97,491, when Apple was sold for US$1 million. They won Premier Breeder banners for Arethusa in the two toughest breeds at WDE – Holsteins and Jerseys.

More recently, Terri and Ernie were the co-owners, masterminds and grunt behind the 2019 WDE Grand Champion Holstein, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara EX95, who was 65 days fresh after a break of two years.

There have been too many blue ribbons and Grand Champions in between to mention.

Great cows need care

Known equally for her cowmanship as for her marketing genius, Terri’s talent – in combination with Ernie’s – has granted the couple access to some of the best cows and deepest pockets in the industry.

Yet being a sixth-generation farmer, Terri’s ultimate master remains as it has always been: hard graft.

Terri has overhead people saying it’s easy to market great cows on the budgets they’ve had access to over the years. Her reply is simple.

“Yes, we have worked with a lot of people who have had money, and some people say we bought the cows, and there was the money to do it.

“But, one of the biggest things for me in marketing is first and foremost you have to take care of the cows. Without them, you have nothing. It doesn’t cost anything to brush tails, and soap is cheap.

“Yes, you can spend a lot of money on a beautiful display at a show, but if all you do is look after the cows, you’re still promoting your ability, your programme, and your attention to detail.

“There’s honestly nothing I enjoy doing more at a show than brushing tails. It’s therapy. We were all taught in 4H to clean hooves, ears, and have the sweat out from the udders … and so many seem to forget that. It’s something you can do without a lot of financial outlay. That’s what my mother taught me. And, wow, she was tough. She taught me more about elbow grease than anything else.”

Within the bigger picture, it has been Terri’s upbringing in northern Pennsylvania, her 4H experience, her personal journey, and Terri and Ernie’s partnership – all of which has collectively contributed to her stellar career. 

More than show day

Terri says not having WDE this year will sort out who truly is prepared to put the work in on their cattle day in, day out.

“With the shows falling like dominos, it’s going to sort the people out. I’m talking about the people who take care of their cows every day, no matter what, and who takes care of them ‘just because there is a show on’ – because this is an every-day, detail-oriented business.”

Terri says Ernie still gets up every night between midnight and 2 am to check the cows whether there is a show on the horizon or not.

He either puts the lights on them if they are in the pasture, or he picks the shits while he’s there if they are in the stalls. Terri does the early morning shift. They know their best insurance is having eyes on their cows.

Terri says, “You can’t teach people to observe. You either have it, or you don’t. You can teach them all the other stuff. But not that.

“Ernie gets annoyed with me at shows, because I’m on the wash rack, which is my one-on-one time with the cows, and I’ll come in and say, ‘There’s a cut on this cow, this cow has some swelling in her neck, and I can smell some hoof rot’. He’ll say to me, ‘Did anything good happen on the wash rack?’.

“But, we both know that observing and the attention to detail is so important, and it’s unrelenting.”

Unsurprisingly, it was Terri who suggested a sign for the new barn’s entrance at Arethusa. It’s a statement that hung at Ernie’s family operation in Wisconsin: “Every cow in this barn is a lady. Please treat her as such.”

It speaks to both of their hearts.

Ernie on Terri’s talent

As always with industry couples who are both talented, Ernie has often been given the lead. However, his respect for his wife runs deep, and he says her judging role at Louisville’s National Jersey Jug Futurity is overdue.

Ernie says, “In agriculture, to get to the top requires sacrifices. If they’re willing to do it, I’ve always thought that women had as much – or more – ability than the men. I’ve never had a question about that in my mind.

“I thought there was an opportunity for Terri to go forward to judge because she’s ready, she enjoys it, and that’s extremely important. She’s been up for judging roles before now, and she’s been beaten by males that aren’t qualified as her … because they’re men. It’s irritating. In fact, it irritates me a lot, because I believe that holds a number of women back sometimes.

“When she got the Louisville appointment – even though we don’t know for sure [the event] is going to happen – it was quite thrilling.”

Ernie also says Terri has strong opinions – these will keep her steady when she gets to the pointy end of the day.

“Over the years I’ve seen when certain male or female judges get to the Grand Champion – the very important times – they start to second guess themselves. Terri doesn’t second guess herself.”

Terri confirms she enjoys judging, and she knows it includes some pressure for her peers.

“I think it’s hard being in a situation whereas a couple the two of us have had success. People think I might do what Ernie would like. It’s hard to get out of that shadow, and it seems to be hard for people to understand that you might have your own opinion.

“If a woman doesn’t do a good job judging, then it’s that much harder to get momentum for other women. If a man does a bad job, it doesn’t hurt the other guys as much.”

Terri’s associate in the National Jersey Jug Futurity will be the dry-witted Richard Caverly, who managed Arethusa before Ernie and Terri took over.

Ernie’s best deal

Ernie says his wife is one of the special ones, and when asked what she has brought to their operation, he doesn’t hesitate to give her the credit she deserves.

It’s a little difficult to answer real quick because she obviously brings a great deal. She brings a lot of energy and a lot of objectivity.

“She does physical, mental and emotional work, and she’s outstanding in marketing and advertising. Terri can do anything – and she does it well.”

He smiles, “We don’t always agree, and sometimes she takes longer to do some jobs than I’d like her to, but she always does it well.”

He quips, “And when she gets a new haircut, that looks good too!”

All jokes aside, Ernie knows he made the best deal of his life when Terri agreed to share her life with him.

“There is an integrity and decency in Terri which means she can also go to any farm anywhere, at any time and she will always be welcomed.

“That’s quite a compliment. I’m not sure I’d be welcome everywhere, but that’s okay. Because there’s some places I don’t want to go.”

Arethusa was defining

What some don’t know about the couple’s dominating run at Arethusa is that for the first 12 months of their full-time association, Terri managed Arethusa while Ernie continued to run their home operation – six hours away.

She was 33 at the time, and Ernie and Terri had never milked more than 15 to 20 cows at home. Her brother, David, worked alongside her, and Ernie commuted a couple of times a month. It was a defining appointment for Terri.

Ernie says, “That was probably quite extreme for Terri at the time, and she was probably quite shocked for the first five minutes after I suggested it. But, for me, it was simple. From a personal standpoint, I wanted her to be more challenged; I knew she’d do well, and I knew there would be no failure.”

Terri agreed that she was stunned when Ernie suggested it without discussing it with her first.

“That really changed me – because it threw me out there,” Terri says. “I wasn’t on my own entirely, but it sure felt like it. That first year we were there, our mother [Marilyn], passed away and David and I were on this new farm, with young employees, Japanese interns and college kids.

“It was like being a parent in many ways, but I also had the responsibility of the cows. It was a lot. But I enjoyed it. There were days in the beginning where I was out mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and mowing the pastures, because in the beginning, we did it all. When it got to that first successful year at Madison, that put me in the office full time, and I then became the relief milker.”

The 2004 WDE success put a lot of pressure on Terri and Ernie because it “ratcheted” up Arethusa’s owner’s expectations. And the industry was paying attention.

Terri says, “When you have a certain amount of success, there are people that are happy for you, and there are people that are jealous. Some people are both.

“But Arethusa was great at letting us do our job. From the beginning we said we would stay involved as long as they remembered that the cows came first, followed by the owners, and then the employees. But, the cows would always come first.”

When the couple called time on Arethusa after a decade, they gave owners George Malkemus and Tony Yurgaitis just over a year’s warning to put their plans in place.

“Sometimes it feels like it was a lifetime ago. We had a great group of cows and a great group of young people.

“One of the best things was the people we got to work with. Because we had young people who wanted to learn. And, they were dedicated, teachable and they loved cows.

“They’ve gone on to do great things. At one point, we had former employees managing every one of the major show herds in North America.

“We still get calls and texts with what they’re doing. That’s been a major highlight for both of us to watch their careers.”

Reputations make sales

Terri and Ernie were planning a sale in conjunction with the Franchise Kind in June.

When COVID-19 happened, they were preparing to hunker down and ride it out until they could re-schedule.

In the interim, the Hogan family, who milks over 5000 cows at Misty Meadow Dairy in Oregon, approached them with an eye on acquiring the 2018 WDE Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand Champion, South Mountain Voltage Radiant EX91. Ernie had always said she was for sale. On one condition.

“There was one cow in particular that they wanted and other people have asked about her at different times,” Terri confirms. “And, the answer was, ‘Yes, Radiant is for sale, but not alone’. Because, if she is not here, the excitement is gone about going to the barn in the morning for Ernie.

“He’s said that for a couple of years now.”

“Finally, I just gave the Hogan family the spreadsheet of all our animals, and they came back and asked us how much for all of them. You can’t pass up that kind of opportunity. Ernie and I each picked out one baby calf to keep and we have a couple of donors, some Holstein heifers, a Brown Swiss donor and Barbara left.

“We still have Radiant here too on behalf of the Hogans, because we had planned to prepare her for Madison. Hopefully, Louisville will go ahead, so we can get her out there.”

Importantly, Terri and Ernie have never been able to ship milk in their operation, and so 37 head were loaded up for their new future. They are now in the care of Misty Meadow’s herdsman, Danny Upchurch. Danny handled a lot of the sale detail and is responsible for the family’s type herd, which is currently located in California while a facility is being acquired for them in Oregon.

“We sold because there was so much uncertainty in these unprecedented times. We didn’t know when we’d be able to have a sale, what the economy would be, whether anybody would be in the mood to buy anything and whether there would be any shows. And, when somebody comes along with sincere interest in type cattle with pedigrees who wanted to breed from them, we had to consider it.”

Ernie and Terri remain in the mix, helping the new owners with decisions related to marketing, showing and breeding.

“It’s hard to see them go, and I still cried when we left after visiting them, but they look good,” Terri said. “They’re doing well and they’re happy. The first day we walked in there they were so buried in this beautiful oat hay they were eating that they didn’t even want to talk to us. Which was good. They’ve adjusted well, and it couldn’t be more opposite living for them.

“But this is the first time since we’ve lived here for 23 years that there’s not been a Jersey heifer on this farm.”

Circular business

Terri says she wasn’t surprised when Ernie immediately started gathering new animals.

“This is an addiction, right?! No sooner had we got them loaded and out the driveway than Ernie started talking about Michael Heath and Nathan Thomas’s sale, which was running a week later. Ernie felt he should support it because he’s a firm believer that everyone in this industry has to give and take.”

They bought a springing heifer that caught Terri’s eye, who they say has calved out beautifully. Terri says while buying goes against their “sort of” plans to slow up, they both have a happy knack for finding the good ones.

“I give Ernie a hard time about it, but it’s usually beneficial,” she pauses reflectively. “If we sell a whole bunch of cattle, two years later he’ll end up buying one of them back. When we had our sale in 2016, we sold a bred heifer for $5500. She calved out the next year, and Mike Deaver called and said, ‘You might want to know about this one.’

“We bought her back over the phone, and we never saw her before she arrived at the farm. That was Radiant. And, he’s done it before.”

Another Jersey recently joined them – a daughter from Radiant – who was sold last year. She’s owned in partnership with RCD Jerseys (Rankin, Ceresna and Deist).
The two calves they chose to keep include Ernie’s choice of a Velocity out of Radiant, while Terri chose a calf who goes back to one of the first Jerseys they bought from Canada after they moved to Boonsboro in 1997.

Terri says, “I’m keeping something out of that Sofie family until we’re done. Her dam is a Premier x Comerica x Deluxe x Premonition x Sofie and she’s sired by Velocity too, so I’ve got my shot of Veronica in there.”

Giving up the business may have been muted, but somehow it still feels a world away.

“We did have that discussion pretty seriously, and I thought selling that many cattle during a pandemic might be a sign that perhaps it is enough, and we should slow down.

“Ernie is almost 20 years older than me, he’s got Parkinson’s Disease, and while he’s working hard against it, he does have it.”

Barbara: sweet win

When the talk turns to achievement and favourite cows, Terri says for Barbara to go all the way last year under judge Chad Ryan, of Fond du Lac in Wisconsin, was a personal sweet spot in her career. 

“I remember when Barbara was in the ring, all these people were wanting to talk to me. And, all I wanted to do was to watch that cow,” Terri said. “Finally I got up on top of a chair, so that no-one could talk to me.

“Because that moment was the culmination of so, so much work, and I just wanted to see Barbara be happy, and see her appreciated.

“We’ve shown some beautiful older cows in the last few years that have been hammered in the ring. And, I wanted to see a judge respect an older cow. And, I’ve never seen her in all the years we’ve had her behave so well and look so happy out there, and just show off like Veronica and Ashlyn used to do.

“That moment made up for all the hours of work over the years.”

Terri says Barbara calved at the end of July. She hadn’t had a calf in two years, was fat and angry to be in-milk again.

“She was wicked. She was the nastiest Holstein cow I’d ever milked for those first two weeks. She was so mad that her udder was full of milk. We had quite a roller coaster ride with her for 65 days, and then to stand there looking at her in the ring was a testament to the cow and to the judge, who was so respectful of both the cows and the exhibitors.

“I don’t think anyone would feel that he didn’t give their cows time that day.

“If we never showed again after that, I’m okay with that.”

Barbara inspirational

Terri Packard worries that missing WDE could be critical for a number of form cows, and she has been mulling over an edgy alternative because it also worries her what the industry will do without some light at the end of the tunnel.

“Every day since they’ve cancelled WDE, I have the discussion with my husband about another show.”

“So many of these cows have that one day like Barbara, and you may not ever get it back. That’s one of the main reasons why I want a show this year. For all these cows that are ready.

“People say there is always next year, but there may not be next year for some of them.”

Veronica still favourite

People who know cows, know that if they get great care and management, they have the confidence to show their personality and intellect.  

And, of all the great ones Terri has worked with – even though she was reared with Holsteins – it is a household Jersey name, Veronica, who remains her favourite.

“There’s been so many unique and interesting animals I’ve worked with, but I don’t think anyone else looked at you like they knew what you were talking about like Veronica did.

“She was so aware of people. It is 18 years since we bought her, and we worked with her for more than 10 years, and we still tell the stories about her because she was just that smart.

“She had such an appetite, and she was so aggressive at a show. When we would take her out to be washed, Ernie would have to stand the end of the barn and clear the way for her when she came back.

“Because as soon as she got to the door, she knew her feed would be in her stall, and no-one could hold her back. We literally always had the biggest guy we had in our team bring her in, and she’d start getting mad, and Ernie would say, ‘Let her go.’ She’d just storm into the barn, and into her stall, and start eating.

“She was the same in the clipping chute. And, she knew when people were watching her. You could see the angle of her head change. One day we were classifying Holsteins at Arethusa, and we were washing and clipping the cows and the Holsteins were getting all the attention, and that morning we left the Jerseys out.

“When they let the cows back in to feed, we turned around and Veronica had walked into the barn, and she was standing in the clipping chute like she was saying, ‘What am I? Chopped liver?’

“Norman [Nabholz] used to lead her, but I remember one year we took her to Louisville, and she was pissed that day. Norman saw her come out of the chute really mad, she was hauling arse as she stormed up the aisle and into her stall, and he was like, ‘I can’t do it. I’m out. She’s gonna take me for a ride’.

“Ernie was like, ‘We haven’t got time for this’. Norman said, ‘Steve White will do it’. And, Ernie didn’t think he would. And, Norm replied, ‘He will if I ask him’.

“Steve is such a big, broad-shouldered man, and luckily for us he said he’d do it. So, we walked Veronica down to the ring with Norman at the halter and right before Veronica went into the ring, Steve took over.

“And, you could see Veronica slowly look up at Steve, take in his size advantage, and you could literally see her thinking, ‘I’m not gonna be messing with this guy’. She led like a dream that day, and she was Champion.”

Does Terri think she would have led for Norman?

“I think that day she might have taken him.

“Everything she did was always extreme. It was great to be around her. I led her twice over the years – once at The Royal as a second-calved two-year-old when she was Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand under Steve Borland – and, as a 10-year-old at the Spring Show where she was Reserve Grand. But she was a handful and headstrong. Her great-granddaughter acts just like her.

“Jerseys have so much more personality than Holsteins, and they just draw you in. There’s the rare Holstein that is responsive like that, and Barbara is one of them, so I enjoy working with her, and I love observing her.”
Terri says Jerseys might get sick a little quicker than Holsteins, but they get better faster.

“And, don’t let anyone tell you they don’t eat as much.”

Delicate marketing dance

Terri warns that marketing in today’s world is a delicate dance.

“I think it’s just so important, especially now that we don’t get a Holstein World, and every state doesn’t have their own breed publications. We’ve got to build our own hype, and have our cows in front of people. And, it’s very accessible to do that through social media.

“But, I don’t like to badger everyone, because – when I need to market – I want them to listen.”

Every industry needs leaders

In closing, Terri hopes there is room in the industry for the next generation to come through.

“There are a lot of young people out there who have a strong interest in registered cattle, and they want to take care of good cows,” Terri said. “But I don’t see very many of them going out and buying the farms, or having the income to be the next generation of that.

“All these young people who love to do this – there needs to be the next layers of owners who can afford to hire them, and who can afford to take care of these good cows.

“I hope there are enough people that still get excited about going to the shows and having a nice cow to look at in the barn in the morning.

“Because it does take more work, those kinds of cows do need more care, and in order to be developed to that point…it’s every day – it’s not just once you get on the truck, and head out for the show.”

It’s been said that without someone to set the bar, how does everyone else know how high they have to climb?

There’s no doubt that Terri and Ernie help bring the energy, and the excitement, that makes this industry special and compelling for everyone else. And Terri is a beacon for young women who are aspiring to take lead roles at any level.

Panmure Jerseys Rebuilding After The Fire – It Will Never Be The Same

Jill and Brad Porter with their dairy cows. Picture: Christine Ansorge

It was the phone call every dairy farmer dreads when they are off-farm.

 Brad and Jill Porter were milking 600 cows at Panmure Jerseys, just out of Warrnambool in south-west Victoria. On March 17, 2018, they were in Tasmania for a short break when their neighbour, Jack Kenna, rang. He said a power pole had fallen on his farm, ignited a fire and it was headed their way. He said they had three minutes to get out.

 There was no time to do anything. The flames, propelled by the hot windy temperatures and a lot of fuel, would wreak unspeakable destruction within 30 minutes – including killing or maiming 400 of their herd. Cows which Brad adored. The life-changing event was to be so catastrophic and traumatic on so many levels that it still haunts them both today.

 Both Jill and Brad have become fierce advocates for change, board members for Blaze Aid, and they have advice and life lessons – that they wish they had never had to learn – for their colleagues facing up to their own recoveries after the recent bushfires across Australia…

Brad and Jill (who was still in her pyjamas) rushed to the airport. They left their rental car sitting in the middle of the drop-off zone, and sprinted for the ticketing counter. They managed to bag the last flight out of Tasmania. The airline put them in the front seats, giving them the best chance of a rapid exit when they landed.

The Porters arrived home at 3am and began immediately checking the cows. Jill, a pharmacist, stepped into her professional role to help assess and triage the herd. As the sun rose, the depth of the carnage became clear. They wouldn’t go to bed for the next three days.

Brad said, “There were the dead, the walking dead, the severely burned cows, the burned cows, and the cows that were okay. The fences were all gone, and the cows were in shock. So were we. One side of the farm wasn’t as bad, and we could put all the other animals over there so we could concentrate on the herd.

“We assessed all the cows and we had to get a number destroyed immediately, and we were forced to sell a large number of cows that were burned, but saleable.

“Some things you just can’t un-see. And, I don’t want to ever see what we saw that day ever again.”

‘I wouldn’t have my husband’

Jill’s life has also changed in the aftermath, and she is sure of one thing.

“I wouldn’t have my husband today, if we had been home,” she said without a pause of hesitation. “He would have died defending those cows. Every day I get up now and look at him and think, ‘Thank God, we weren’t there’.

“I still can see in my mind’s eye a cow who was burned … with her nose half peeling off. And she just stood and looked at me. I couldn’t help her, and I couldn’t protect my husband from seeing her. He knew every cow. He loved them all. Those memories remain very raw. I struggle to go to the dairy even today if it’s hot and windy.”

Brad still hasn’t had the heart to check the computer thoroughly to update his records on the cows which survived. Because he will see the ones that didn’t.

“I don’t even think about how many cows we’ve lost, and that’s why I haven’t gone back into the computer since the fire. I just block it out. It’s for my own mental preservation.”

Running to find peace

The fire was caused by a power company’s ageing infrastructure – with nothing the Porters, their neighbour Jack Kenna, or any other neighbour could do about it. The bitter pill to swallow is that was preventable. The result has been lengthy and engulfing litigation that threatened to swallow Jill. She was so enraged by the injustice of that day, that her counsellor advised her to take up a sport.

“I am not into sport at all, so I started walking,” Jill said. “But it was too slow because I was so angry, so I started running.”

How far does she run?

“Until I feel good.”

It could take 19 kilometres to achieve peace. It depends on the morning.

Jill didn’t work off-farm again for 18 months.

Daily, intensive treatment

Brad still tears up when he thinks about the cows and the suffering they went through.

One of the first things the Porters needed to do after the fire was to get the cows through the dairy. It was akin to a war zone: so many of the herd were injured and in pain. So many needed treatment every milking.

Neighbours and friends pitched in. There was a kindness and solidarity that Brad and Jill will never forget. For about six months afterwards they were feeding up to 150 people every lunchtime.

Milking health focus saved cows

Brad said they considered drying the herd off, but he needed the routine to make him get out of bed every morning.

“We needed the income as well. But mostly I needed my usual routine to maintain my sanity. I think it helps with making decisions.”

One of the first post-fire orders of business was the dairy. The clusters and liners, which had concerned Brad in the past, were now causing havoc.

“The cows’ teats were weeping, and their skin was so thin and so tender. We were so worried about stripping all the skin off the teats because we had really bad cup slippage. We needed cups and liners that were gentler on the teats.

“For the health and comfort of the cows we didn’t have a choice. There was no running away from it. We would have lost so many more cows if we hadn’t done something, and we knew it had to happen fast.

He made an SOS call on the Thursday to Mick Scanlon of Scanlons Dairy Centre in Terang, who in turn contacted Leon Lourey from Daviesway. By the Saturday, a full install of new Milkrite clusters and liners was complete. They chose Milkrite because the science behind the design gives cows the highest level of comfort (they have the world’s only internally triangular moulded plastic shell with mouthpiece vented triangular liners).

Team works with farmers

Leon said the whole team made it happen.

“Knowing the circumstances, we just knew we had to do something as quickly as we could,” Leon said. “Mick was also a big part of it. Our sole focus was to help in any way we could.”

Brad said it was a life-saving decision.

“Most of the cows’ udders were burned. The teat orifices on a lot were fine, but we would have lost the entire herd with that cup slippage. We needed cups that hung on, but which were gentle.”

Milkrite, which is used by 40% of farmers in the USA, includes a patented and revolutionary air-vent position in the mouthpiece of each shell. It introduces air above the milk-flow, stops splash-back and makes cluster removal gentler.

“I was so delighted and relieved with the result,” Brad said. “The clusters were much lighter, and much easier to use.

“I was a real sceptic about the air hole in the mouthpiece of the liner – I thought it’d get clogged up with shit – but it hasn’t been an issue.

“I’d be happy to stand on the corner of the street and sell Milkrite to anyone who would listen.

“They milk cows out properly, they are much gentler on their teats. We haven’t seen any teat-end damage in the last two years and that’s been a big thing for me because I can’t afford to lose anymore cows. I wouldn’t dare put my name to it if I didn’t think it was worthy.”

Fences around the district have been destroyed. Picture: Rob Gunstone

80% of bushfires preventable

What now haunts Jill is that her research has revealed that more than 80% of the bushfire deaths in Victoria can be traced to electrical failures. Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has determined that Powercor failed to identify the termite-riddled power pole which razed Brad and Jill’s property. That day six fires – all started by electrical failures – burned 40,000 hectares.

“These fires are really deadly. If you look at Black Saturday [February 7, 2009], six out of the 11 fires were electrically initiated. On Ash Wednesday [February 16, 1983] five from the eight were ignited by electrical failure. All of the 1977 fires [that burned about 103,000ha] were electrically started.

“On the day of our fire, all were started from electrical infrastructure failing. Every single one of them. And, it’s because the infrastructure is aging and it’s failing our community.”

Jill has been fighting for change ever since because their community’s pain remains real and raw.

“I think the biggest thing is I’m devastated that a Government and a system can let a community down like we’ve been let down. We deserve to be safe. That is not happening.

“Yes, we got a civil settlement, but they are now arguing about what they should and shouldn’t pay for. They’re still in the driver’s seat. They destroyed my husband, and you can’t get that back.

“His passion and his livelihood was gone. I can articulate that, and I’ll continue to take it to them. Because they are wrong, they are indecent, and they are cruel.”

People were the difference

Day-to-day their community’s resilience has been the shining star to come out of the experience.

Jill said, “We are still a long way from recovered. I’m not saying we’re not functioning. I’m back now, but it took me 18 months to go back to work.

“You listen to the psychologists and it takes an average of six years to recover from a bushfire. You’re not ‘right’, even when the grass is green again because everything changes. It rips you apart.

“People talk in terms of ‘getting back to where you were before the fire’. It’s very much the catch phrase in recovery. I’m absolutely certain that you never get back to where you were because the recovery takes you down a different pathway.

“It’s not all bad. There are some good things – people’s generosity and support of us is something Brad and I hope to pay forward.

“Our neighbours and community that were burned out have become very resilient, and we know each other on a much deeper level because of the fire.”

Brad said it had been a humbling experience, and it had been hard to accept help. But people had made the difference

“I remember walking out the door after the fire and thinking, ‘where do I start?’. People came from everywhere.

“It was a generosity you never, ever forget. It pays to be charitable in life. I would walk over hot coals for my neighbours – there are so many people I have such a high and healthy respect for in my neighbourhood. At the end of the day, they’re the ones that got us back up on our feet.”

Jill said her advice to peers now facing their own recovery in the wake of the most recent fires was to take care of each other, and not to be afraid to ask for help.

“It takes a long time to come out of the fog, and you don’t need to rush it. You have to attend to certain things straight away, but you don’t want to make too many decisions unless you have to.

“There are a lot of good people in this world, and you’re not on your own.”

Thanks to Daviesway for allowing us to share this story.  Also, be sure to check out Dianna Malcolm’s new venture Mud Media.



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Proof How Critical Calf Care Is

Half of a calf’s lifetime height and growth is achieved in its first six months, according to a visiting US specialist.

David Kuehnel was raised on a family farm in Wisconsin, which reared 1200 special fed veal calves every year. He went on to major in Meat and Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin, and he is the former president of Milk Products for Land O’Lakes – the biggest producer of milk replacer in North America. Today, he runs consultancy firm, Rule of Three. 

Talking to dairy farmers throughout Victoria as a guest of Daviesway, David explained that 25% of a calf’s lifetime weight gain also happened within the precious six-month window of birth.

And, for every additional 100gms of Average Daily Weight Gain (ADG) achieved in that time, producers could expect an additional 821 litres of production on the first three lactations – or a 7:1 Return On Investment (ROI).

“We can argue whether or not it was an increase of 600 litres or 1000 litres,” David told one group in northern Victoria. “But the key point, and the takeaway message, is that the better the weight gain we achieve pre-puberty and pre-breeding age, the bigger the impact on the future milking ability of those individuals.

“And, you can’t recover it, if you don’t have it to begin with.

“There is no such thing as compensatory frame growth – a short calf will be a short cow. I’m talking not just scale and size. I’m also talking body, lung, liver and digestive capacity. They are all set in early life.”

He acknowledged that every operation was different, but stressed that the reality of the maths, and the ROI didn’t change. The subjective part of the story lay only in the way that producers chose to prioritise their next generation.

“You have one chance to feed her right, and as I see it, one chance to screw it up,” he said.

US studies reveal that calves fed a higher solids diet the first eight weeks gained 11kg (16.1%) more weight, were 3.3cm (3.8%) taller, were 5.6cm (7.3%) longer and had 33 litres (17.2%) more body volume.

David was sensitive to the cost of rearing replacement animals in a tight economy. But he offered some options to address the issue. Using a baseline of a 100-cow herd, he explained that producers needed 63 herd replacements if they had an average first-calving age of 23 months (and a cull rate of 30%). At an average first-calving age of 24 months (with a cull rate of 40%), the number of replacement heifers jumped to 88. 

“I’d advise to invest only in the calves with the greatest potential and sell your surplus animals as early as possible,” he said. “Re-invest that money into rearing the calves you choose to keep better. 

“I think that’s a more positive result than saying, ‘I didn’t have enough money to raise them well, but I raised them all’. 

Daviesway’s calf rearing specialist Brendan Johnson said the visit was part of Davieway’s commitment to knowledge sharing at a time when it has never been more valuable.

Thanks to Daviesway, Australian Probiotic Solutions, and David Kuehnel for their efforts helping Aussie farmers rear their best calves.  Also, be sure to check out Dianna Malcolm’s new venture Mud Media.



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KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET – Everything and more

Mike Deaver and Apple captured by Nina Linton in this iconic WDE image in 2011.

So many exciting cows have been lost to the international industry too soon.

Misadventure, illness and calving complications have all too often put a fatal full stop on the careers of the high-profile cows the world has loved to love. In the last two decades, the mortality levels of several exciting young cows set to impact the global dairy community have been crushing.

So, it is worth celebrating the incredible career of a Red & White Holstein, who has bucked every trend the industry has to offer – almost as much as one of her owners – when she celebrated her 15th birthday in May.

Everyone knows her simply as Apple, but her official title is KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX96 4E DOM 19*.

Story starts….

So many things have to go right for a cow to become a household name. Most of that rests in the hands of whomever is managing her. 

Apple was lucky in that regard. She was bought by one of the industry’s cleverest cowmen – Mike Deaver – as a bred two-year-old.

While Mike couldn’t afford her, he knew people who could and, importantly, he knew how to manage her. Mike, of Sherona Hill at Edgerton, Wisconsin, USA, is at the heart of Apple’s story – and most of her early success.

Mike remains the majority shareholder (30%) in Apple, who lived at Sherona Hill during her early reign and for the past seven years has resided in a prime-time box stall at Mike and Julie Duckett’s Duckett Holsteins, at Rudolph, Wisconsin.

As Mike reflected on his adventures with Apple after selling his farm recently and re-locating to a warmer climate on the other side of the USA in Arizona, this master storyteller brings Apple’s journey into perspective.


KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX-96 DOM
2013 HI Red Impact Cow of the Year
Res Grand Champion, Grand Int’l R&W Show 2013
Grand Champion, Grand Int’l R&W Show 2011
All-American R&W Aged Cow 2011
HI World Champion R&W Cow 2010
Unanimous All-American Jr 2-Yr-Old 2006
All-American R&W Jr 2-Yr-Old 2006
HHM All-American Jr 3-Yr-Old 2007
Nom All-American R&W 5-Yr-Old 2009
Photo: John Erbson.

It’s worth noting that Apple was only shown eight times in her career – for three historical results at World Dairy Expo (WDE) and seven All-American nominations. Today, she has more than 280 EX descendants all over the world, and is the only cow to have her clone beat her for Grand at WDE and her daughter finish Honourable Mention.

Her sons and grandsons have also had an extraordinary impact on both the Black & White and Red & White populations. And, there isn’t a person on the planet interested in great cows who doesn’t know her.

Apple’s lineage was recently traced back 26 generations and 139 years of registered Holsteins to 1880. She comes from an imported cow from North Holland named “Vriend”, who was number 2439 in the Dutch herd book.

She remains modern, timeless, and in demand. Her ability to cross credit to the genomics market, and the family’s super production records and great components, hasn’t hurt her either.


The day Apple sold for US$1million at the Global Glamour sale in 2008, she was the reigning All-American for age, the maternal sister to KHW Kite Advent-Red-ET (multiple WDE Premier Sire), the first Red & White in 11 years to win a Black & White in-milk class at WDE, and her pedigree was laden with six consecutive EX dams.

After that sale, Apple would go on to win Grand Champion Red & White at WDE in 2011. She was Reserve Grand at WDE in 2013 to her clone (KHW Regiment Apple-3-Red ETN owned by Westcoast Holsteins) with her Talent daughter in Honourable Mention (Ms Candy Apple-Red-ET EX93, owned by Frank & Diane Borba and Frank & Carol Borba). That year, KHW Kite Advent-Red-ET was again Premier Sire of the Red & White show. It was hardly surprising that Apple was also the 2013 Holstein International Red Impact Cow of the Year. 

Much of the credit for her success comes down to the core group of people who understood what she was capable of from the get-go, and then made sure that it happened.


The day Mike met Apple he had visited with Norm Nabholz to look at a Jersey he was considering buying at Kamps Hollow Dairy in Belmont, Wisconsin.   

I was completely obsessed to buy her when I saw her as a bred heifer,” Mike said. “I liked the Jersey that day, but she wasn’t good enough to suit me. Norm and I were talking on the way home and I was going on and on about how much I liked the two-year-old, and he said to me, ‘You’re more excited about this Jersey than I thought you’d be?’. I replied, ‘The Jersey? No, I’m talking about the Red one’.

“He thought I was a bit over the top. But, from the moment I saw her, it was complete obsession – more than any other cow during my career. I didn’t really care about the proof of her sire [a plus proven Rubens sire, Carrousel Regiment-Red-ET], but I really liked the dam of her sire [Stelbro Renita Ranger EX94 8*]. She was a four-time Madison Grand Champion, and it was good blood. I’d never seen Apple’s mother until that day. I’d heard she was a pretty nice cow – and [Kamps Hollow Durham] Altitude was an incredible cow.”

Altitude is today remembered as one of the breed’s most important brood cows. Sired by Durham, she lived to 15 years old, and was classified EX95. Not only was she Apple’s dam, she was the dam of bulls Advent, Acme and Jotan, and the granddam of Amor Red, Absolute, Big Apple and Armani. She, herself, was the Red Impact Cow of the Year in 2009, and every bull from her that was put into stud made the active line-up.

Behind Altitude was Apple’s big-hitting fourth dam – the famous D-R-A August EX96.


Mike asked Norm who the best person was to broker the deal. That man was cattle photographer John Erbson, who would join Mike in the Apple partnership.

“John got to Kamps Dairy at 10am the day we bought her, and I never got the call until 10.30pm that night that they had finally priced her,” Mike said. “John asked me if I was sitting down. It was US$60,000.

“I think they priced her where they thought I wouldn’t take her. I had no idea how to pay for her. I probably had $600 at that point. I said to John, ‘That’s a lot of money for a heifer. Tell them I’ll take her’.”

She was at Sherona Hill by 4.30am the next morning.

Mike said he also asked about housing and working into a partnership on Altitude with Ryan Kamp (one of Apple’s former owners).

“I was inches away from that, and we’d agreed, but Ryan called me the next morning and he said it would break his heart if she left his farm, and I completely understood.

“In the end, he used to drive over to look at Apple at our place and stand outside her box stall for an hour and just smile as he watched her eating. Then he’d turn around and say, ‘Thank you. She could never live like this at my house’.”

KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET stormed onto the international stage when she won the junior two-year-old class at the 2006 World Dairy Expo. She was led and co-owned by Mike Deaver. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.


Apple calved in at Sherona Hill as a junior two-year-old, and was set for WDE in 2006. As always, Mike had put some thought into her campaign. He entered her in both the Black & White and Red & White shows – deliberately building hype on the young cow.

“Everyone wanted to know if I was going to show in the Red & White show or the Black & White show, which was held two days later. And, I didn’t say anything to anyone,” Mike said.

“And, then the word went through the fairgrounds that I had her uddered for the Red show.

“I’d half-bagged her, and I had her prepped, her tail brushed, and, although we didn’t oil her, we wiped her down with a sponge, and she had her show halter on. We went through the whole process like we were going to show her. 

“Everybody was still hanging around, looking around at her, waiting for her to head to the ring, but as soon as they did the first call for the junior two-year-old for the Red show, I milked her out.

“That news went through the sheds so fast, ‘He’s gone black. He’s gone black’! I thought it was kinda funny to screw with everyone a little bit.

“I was always going to show her in the Black & White show. Someone asked me why I chose the Black & White show over the Red that year? And, I said to them, ‘If you don’t compete with the best ones, what’s the sense in winning?’” 


Mike said he wasn’t nervous when he hit the ring with Apple the sole Red & White entry in a class numbering 31 head under judge Dan Donor.

No, because I had hold of the greatest young cow I’d ever seen,” Mike said.

He deliberately didn’t enter the ring in order by his class number, hanging back despite the ring steward’s best efforts, and eventually entered the WDE’s coliseum last. And out of order. The ring steward was then forced to escort him to his allotted spot.

“I walked Apple on the inside of every cow in that ring, and when I got to the end and the steward told me to follow him, I knew who Apple went behind, so I just turned right and went straight across the middle of the ring.

“And, then when I got there Dan [Donor, the judge] walked straight to the middle of the ring and I just set her up, and he did a complete walk around her like she was the only cow out there. He said, ‘thank you’ to me, and then I just walked over and put her in her spot.

“I thought, ‘I might get my arse beat, but I do know he’s going to know I’m here’. And, she was the only Red one.

“After he got through looking at her, the crowd started clapping. He couldn’t not win with her because the crowd was already hooping and hollowing, and the damn class hadn’t even started.”

Mike was to have a good day that day, because in the very next class he was exhibiting Quality Ridge Stormi Hazel, who would go on to classify EX96 2E 3* and be nominated All-American seven times in milking form.

“I knew I had Hazel to come next and Dan knew that too. So, we had a nice one-two punch there. That’s the way that day went down.”


The day the four-year-old Apple sold for US$1million in the Global Glamour sale at Arethusa in 2008, the sale manager Ernie Kueffner and a former founding partner in Apple, said the new partnership was smart to include Mike, and for them to continue to house her at Sherona Hill.

“Successful businesspeople don’t buy cows because they want a blue ribbon,” Ernie said at the time. “They buy because they are a good investment. And, truthfully, finding money is easy. The real problem is once people purchase the cows, where can they keep them and who will take care of them. That is the biggest problem in our industry – taking care of animals properly.”

And, while WDE had set the tone for her career, Mike felt she had nothing to prove that year.

“Right after we sold her we had two really good daughters to sell in our Prime Time sale [held during WDE week],” Mike said.

“And, we’d just sold a half a dozen calves for another million dollars. So, I left her at home from WDE that year and put her on display at the sale. I had a calf bring US$140,000 and another one bring US$100,000. I didn’t need to take her down to the show and give anyone the chance to beat the million-dollar cow.”


Mike said Apple is aggressive and intelligent, and kept everyone on their toes at Sherona Hill.

“She’s a sneaky cow. If you left the gate slightly open, she’d get out. I ended up having to put a rope and snap on her gate, because she worked out how to open the spring-loaded latches.

“She would fart around until she could flip the latch up, and then pull it over with her mouth and either go and tear your hay stack down or eat a barrel of grain.”

Mike also left her in the third box stall at Sherona Hill so she never had to turn a corner to go to the dairy. At shows, the only person to take Apple to the clipping frame, for show preparation or to the wash rack was Mike’s son, Todd. In the end, they put a ring in her nose to keep her safe.

“She’s not mean, and she’s not mad, but she would make you suffer. Running back to her stall from the wash rack around corners on concrete is not good.

“If Todd did nothing else at the show, his job was to look after Apple. She liked him. No one else was to put her their hands on her except Todd, me or Joe Hoffman.

“It’s not because we were so smart or anything. It’s just she was so inquisitive and so on her own, and she respected really diligent handling, and if we made sure that happened, then she didn’t go out of place.

“And, I didn’t want to be the guy responsible for her going down and breaking her hip. At home, it didn’t happen because we just opened the gate and she had a straight line to the dairy.

“I’ve got a Sid daughter, who is exactly the same. If you have a pail of milk she’ll stop and drink the damn thing on the way back from milking. She’s always screwing around. Instead of fighting her, we just made sure there was no milk there.”

Mike said the ring on her nose also kept Apple on her game in the show-ring.

“I showed her one year and she’d look like a million dollars, and just when it was time to put her game face on she’d drop her shoulders and chine and spread her front legs, and goof around with her head.  

“It changed her whole front-end perspective. As soon as I could feel her starting to do it, I’d flick the ring and she’d shape back up. I might have got beaten, but Apple wasn’t going to beat me.”

– Apple’s clone, KHW Regiment Apple-3-Red ETN (pictured and owned by Westcoast Holsteins) won the four-year-old class at the 2013 WDE before going on to best Apple for Grand Champion Red & White Holstein. Apple finished Reserve and one of Apple’s Talent daughters was Honourable Mention, making it an historic Apple triple-crown. Apple 3 went on to win Reserve Supreme of the show. Photo: The Bullvine.


Her breeding plan early on was a studied exercise.

Mike said when the partnership won a free cloning session with Trans Ova Genetics when Apple won as a two-year-old, they took the sample right there at the show.

“That’s what got us going on the cloning thing. I always thought when others had cloned a 96-point cow that was 12 years old, that all the resulting clones looked like a 12-year-old cow when they were two.

“So, I believed the cloning had to be done with the genetic information when they were at their best, and they had to be a modern cow that would be modern in another five to 10 years.

“Trans Ova kept that genetic information, and we cloned that same tissue sample three separate times for nine calves. And, they all look like her, and they all looked like young cows.”

Among them was KHW Regiment Apple C-Red-ETN – the dam of popular sire Dymentholm Mr Apples Avalanche *RC. Another clone – Apple 3 – would be the cow to deny Apple her second Grand Champion at WDE in 2013 under judge Michael Heath, of Westminster, Maryland, USA.

Mike has judged many of the world’s biggest shows, and even though Apple was Reserve Champion that day and her Talent daughter was Honourable Mention (detailed above), the historic three-way Apple bonanza wasn’t his fairy-tale finish.

I wasn’t overly thrilled with the ‘bing, bang…boom’ finish, because I thought Apple should have been Grand that day,” he said.

“If you’re going to get beat, well, your clone doesn’t hurt you. And, I knew her clone was a great young cow. She had been Intermediate Champion in 2011 as a junior two-year-old. But, I thought that Apple’s maturity and complete development could have put her over Apple 3.

“One guy told me that Apple not being Grand that day was my own fault, since I was the one who made the clone.”

WDE’s 2011 Red & White Holstein judge Adam Liddle, of Argyle, New York, USA, makes KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET Grand Champion. Mike Deaver is on the halter. Photo: Nina Linton.


Mike said his coast-to-coast trucking business, which took him throughout the USA and Canada, had given him a lot of experience and perspective about the kind of cows that shine in every climate.

“I see how much the weather and the living conditions will make some cows valuable in one area, yet they have no value in another area,” he said.

“And, just as an example, Fond Matt was a great bull, but he had leg issues. The best Fond Matts were in California and Kansas and there were some great ones in Virginia, but their legs couldn’t hold up on ice and concrete in other states, so his daughters didn’t work there.

“Apple had – for me – all the right angles. Every angle I look for in a great cow’s bone structure is A-framed. All of Apple’s angles were right and symmetrical, so that’s the way I looked at it. In my opinion – and I’d travelled enough roads in North America to know – she’d work on every good farm I’d ever been to.”


Perhaps for that reason, Apple clicked with almost every sire she was joined to.

“We started off with her first flushes to well-proven bulls out of great cow families like Talent, Stormatic and Redliner to see if she was going to be a brood cow. Then we went to Goldwyn – because he was the breed’s greatest bull – and we used the best Goldwyn son at the time, Destry. Every bull worked.

“We didn’t flush her every two weeks to get as many embryos as we could. She had breaks. We’d do two to three flushes for show-age calves and then we’d give her a break.”

One of Apple’s daughters that Mike bought outright is Holstein International’s 2019 Red Impact Cow of the Year (and the sixth member of the Altitude family to achieve the honour in the 12 years the competition has been running), Ms Delicious Apple-Red EX94-2E.

She is also the dam to show specialist Mr D Apple Diamondback *RC at Select Sires and full sister to Absolute-Red and Big Apple-Red.

“Delicious Apple is probably the most proportionate, balanced cow I’ve ever owned. And, when Diamondback was born that’s exactly what he was. He grew at exactly the same rate with everything. His belly came down, as his legs got longer; his shoulder came up, and his neck stayed long. He didn’t shorten in the rump or sway in the back. He’s the best calf I’ve ever had born.”


Today, Apple loves holding court at Duckett Holsteins.

“People will stop by there, and put her picture on Facebook all the time. I was up there several months ago, and she looks superb.

“She lives in a nice, big pen with Treasure [Vangoh Durham Treasure EX96-3E EX(99)MS]. They’ve got the life. Neither one of those cows have a problem with people coming to see them.”


Mike is now settled in Arizona, with no dairy cows in his direct care. He is upfront that they had the best of the registered game in the USA, and he fears for the next generation.

“The market is now completely flooded with a tremendous amount of quality cattle. It used to be a big deal when I was younger to have four generations of EX. Now, having eight or 10 is a dime a dozen.

“The only show left is Madison and the Royal [Agricultural Winter Fair], and if they’re not winners, who wants them?

“It doesn’t hold a lot of hope for anyone that wants to be in business – unless you have way too much money.”

Mike said the costs associated with farming today, along with the icy winters in Wisconsin, made his decision to step aside easier.

“I don’t have a fourth-generation tradition going on in Wisconsin. I like what we’ve done to this farm, and it’s been fun. And, if we could make some money and the weather was nice here all the time, it’d be fine.

“But when we spend six months in the ice and snow, and you can’t go anywhere because you have no help, I’d rather go and see my sons, Todd and Kyle, and their kids.”


So, while Apple’s career continues with her latest batch of calves arriving in September, Mike has sold everything from the farm – except the halter he led Apple in – and the halter that he used on his first EX95-point cow.

“Apple is absolutely the only cow I wanted to own for her entire life, because I thought she was going to contribute something to the breed.”

And he was right.

However, Mike Deaver’s contribution to the breed – along with the cowmen of his generation – has been just as critical.

Because without Mike’s vision, work, daring and talent, Apple’s story may never have happened…

UK breeder says missing Libramont hurts more than the expense

David Jones is one of the many disappointed UK dairyman who will not show at the All-European Show at Libramont. David is pictured with Wiltor Chipper Rosie-Red, who was entered for this year, and Shirley Dodd (Garry Phillips Agricultural) after winning Grand Champion Red & White Holstein at the 2018 UK Dairy Expo. Photo: UK Dairy Expo.

As teams start to settle in for the All-European Championship at Libramont, most of the UK breeders have been left with the shattering reality that their cows will not be involved.

This is a contest like no other. It has loomed as an unparalleled marketing platform for Europe’s finest in-form cows. It rolls around every three years and on April 12 and 13, close to 200 cows form 19 countries will be appreciated by 30,000 spectators in Libramont – the small municipality of Belgium. The cows are going head-to-head for individual and national team titles in the Holstein and Red & White Holstein shows under UK judge Mark Nutsford (Holsteins) and Swiss judge Markus Gerber (Red & White Holsteins).

Teams have been selected by committees within nations. And it is these committee members only who perhaps truly knew the work, money and risk involved in putting together teams to travel. All the cows had to be from herds free of Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR). All were tested – several times – for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD), Enzootic Bovine Leukosis (EBL), Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (TB).

 When the news broke on March 27 – just days from the UK cows loading up – that its team of 16 animals was being pulled, the world’s registered industry held its collective breath in universal sympathy.

However, the UK was left with no choice because there was a recent outbreak of Blue Tongue in Belgium, and the UK’s cows were not vaccinated for it.

It is a decision which now haunts the UK team. They made the call after they were unable to get the vaccine in January because of high demand in the back end of 2018. They decided to push on without it because there were no Blue Tongue problems near Libramont at that time. 

Private offer from Belgium breeder

Wyndford Doorman Atlee 2nd VG89-2YRS pictured on her second calf three days ago was one of three from Wiltor Holsteins named in this year’s UK team for Libramont. She will now sit the show out at Wiltor Holsteins. Photo: Dean Malcolm.

Since then four animals have been cleared to continue on to Libramont (with added quarantine conditions and additional risk for their owners). It was made possible by a Belgium breeder who generously offered to house up to six UK animals at their farm for the extended 60-day quarantine period after the show.

Those cows are Knowlesmere Atwood Chic VG88-2YRS, Knowlesmere Solomon Diamond VG89-3yr Max, Feizor Elude A Rapture VG89-3YRS Max, and Riverdane Ashlyns Gold EX93 Max. If any are in-calf they will have to remain in Belgium until they calve.

While there is no doubt that it has been a herculean 11th hour effort for the UK team to have any representation at all, it is been reduced to a quarter of the original power-packed contingent.

Welsh breeder out 

Wiltor Holsteins is one of several UK farms who can now not show at Libramont after years of planning.

David and Claire Jones, of Wiltor Holsteins at Monmouthshire in Wales, had three cows chosen for the initial team. It was the biggest representation from one farm and it was to be the perfect swansong for the couple who will host their Virtual Dispersal sale on April 23. That dream is now over because two of their three cows were in-calf and the timelines were impossible for their sale. They have had to withdraw.

David, who is a board member of Holstein UK, said the expense and the work involved in the preparation was not the hardest part of the deal.

“It’s three years of planning gone,” he said. “There has been a lot of expense and a lot of hassle. It’s cost everyone a lot of money, including Holstein UK.

“But that is nothing compared to the disappointment of not being able to take our cows to the show. That far outweighs everything else. It just feels like we’ve all had the rug pulled out from under our feet at the very last minute.

“I don’t want to blame anyone, but I – like other farmers – am busy in our own business and I didn’t realise the enormity of the Blue Tongue problem in Western Europe. If I had of, I would have been far more vociferous back in January time to the vet when he said he couldn’t get hold of the Blue Tongue vaccine.

Grand Champion of the 2018 UK Dairy Expo, Wiltor Chipper Rosie-Polled-Red EX94 will now not attend the All-European Championship. She is pictured in 2018 with L-R Dean Malcolm, Stuart Maclennan and her owners David and Claire Jones. Chipper Rosie sells in the Wiltor Virtual Dispersal on April 23 and is due to re-calve on November 19. Photo: MacG.

“We were taking the vet’s advice who was employed to help us through the quarantine processes, and we all accepted it. None of the exhibitors at that time said, ‘Whoa, hang on’.”

David said his cows had been in quarantine since February. The next board meeting of Holstein UK will be in May, when the matter would be fully discussed.

Until then, he congratulated the resilient UK breeders that had been able to continue on to represent the UK, and he was re-focussing on their family’s Virtual Dispersal. It included a Monument Impression daughter from the second-calved three-year-old he has been unable to show at Libramont , Wyndford Doorman Atlee 2nd VG89-2YRS

Holstein UK’s position

Holstein UK first posted on Facebook on April 1 that it had made the “disappointing decision” to withdraw its team. On April 5, it amended it to announce that four animals would attend.

Sue Cope Holstein UK’s CEO kept it upbeat, saying: “I am delighted that we have managed to achieve our goal of getting a team of cows to Libramont. I want to personally thank the exhibitors for the absolute commitment and determination they have shown throughout and also to everyone else involved who have worked tirelessly over the past few months.”

That said, there are also now more than 100 UK visitors headed to Libramont. So, rest assured, if a UK entry does well the Union Jack will be flying high.

Competition break-down


JUNIOR – Calved once, in-milk, and aged up to 32 months

INTERMEDIATE – Two calves, in-milk, and aged up to a maximum of 60 months

SENIOR – Cows, in-milk with at least three calves



JUNIOR – One or two calves, in-milk, and aged up to maximum 60 months

SENIOR – Cows, in-milk with at least three calves



Each participating country chooses their best four cows after the completion of the individual show results. The inter-nation competition is adjudicated by judges from all countries involved, although they do not place their own country’s entry.

Be sure to watch for full coverage of the show starting on Friday

All-European Championship – Libramont 2019 – Tension builds in Europe

Planning starts early for the triennial All-European Championship.

Preparation for this year’s event began way back in 2017, while 67 days out from the event on February 4 this year, quarantine started for the United Kingdom entries of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This year’s competition includes teams from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic (known as Czechia to its inhabitants), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UKBons-Holsteins Koba 21

It seems incredible to consider the scale of the efforts that are now being mobilised to move animals across so many national borders. Perhaps even more incredible to think it will culminate with them standing beside one another in one ring.

The long trek

Teams are selected by committees within nations. And it is these committee members only who perhaps truly know the work, money and risk involved in putting together a team to travel. All cows must be from herds free of Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR). All have been tested – several times – for Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD), Enzootic Bovine Leukosis (EBL), Brucellosis and Tuberculosis (TB).

Bons-holsteins has a dream….
After the open european show in Colmar we set a goal to have cows ready for the open European Show in Libramont 2019. 7 cows still selected for Libramont.

To put it into perspective, Belgium is a federal state located in Western Europe. It has 98 kilometres of coastline bordering the North Sea, just north of the English Channel which sits between England and Belgium’s southern neighbour, France. Belgium also conveniently shares borders with four other nations: France (a 556km long border), Germany (13km), Luxembourg (130km) and The Netherlands (478km). And while it’s less than 200km as the crow flies between England and Belgium, the UK teams do have to cross the English Channel to France, before heading on to Belgium to participate. All their entries have had individual passports, which is a legal requirement for all cattle in the UK, for some time.

Brexit (the UK’s decision to leave the European Union) is set to happen on March 29. This timing might further complicate the UK team’s travel plans as it passes through France, on route to its competition destination.

Any one of the challenges listed above would stop many, but for these competitors it simply doubly underlines the passion driving everyone’s campaigns and the excitement that this show creates.

One tour group of 30 supporters from the UK has booked out an entire castle to secure accommodation in the region’s pretty centre, where French, German and Luxembourgish (or Lëtzebuergesch) are all spoken.

2016 Champions

The final pick at the All-European Championship at Colmar, France in 2016 included the power-packed selection of (L-R) Lady Gaga EX97 (Germany), Ashlyn Vray Goldwyn EX96 (Spain), Illens Atwood Australia EX95 (UK) and Galys-Vray EX94-4YRS (Switzerland). 

Judge Markus Mock would tap out Galys-Vray.

At the last championship in 2016 at Colmar, France, the Swiss team dominated the big prizes. The Grand Champion Holstein was Swiss sensation Galys-Vray EX94. Sired by Atwood out of a Damion, she was owned by Mattenhof Holstein, Al.Be.Ro, Thomas Staub. Reserve Champion was the Spanish entry of Ashlyn Vray Goldwyn, owned by Ponderosa Holsteins and Al.Be.Ro.

Both Red & White Grand Champions were from Switzerland. Grand was Suard-Red Jordan Irene, owned by Schrago Frères. Reserve was Bopi Talent Lotanie, owned by Pierre Oberson and Nicolas Savary.


Bons-Holsteins Koba 219 Grand Champion FVZH Wintershow

This year, one of the individual danger cows in the Holsteins will undoubtedly be Dutch entry Bons-Holsteins Koba 219 EX94 Max. Bred and co-owned by Nico and Lianne Bons, a half share of Koba was sold to West Coast Holsteins (Canada) at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November for C$46,000. The L’Authority daughter carries a high profile and plenty of international respect.

Nico Bons knows much has to happen before Koba steps out at Libramont. But he is ready for it.

“This is the show I want to win once in my life,” he said. “We have worked three years already to get the cows ready for this show.”

He said while he has enjoyed many titles, the All-European Show Grand Champion one would be special.

“This competition is only held once every three years; every country sends their best animals, and the atmosphere is second to none.”

Sunibelle Dempsey Esprit EX94 (pictured winning Supreme Champion at the Swiss Expo in Lausanne on January 12 under Swiss judge Pascal Henchoz) looms as arguably the strongest contender for Libramont.

The other exciting entry is the newly crowned Swiss Expo Holstein Grand Champion, Sunibelle Dempsey Esprit, owned by Gary Jones, Markus van Känel, Pat Conroy and Nicholas Sudan.

The cow many know is capable of thwarting Nico’s dreams is the reigning Swiss Expo’s Supreme Champion, Sunibelle Dempsey Esprit EX94 (95MS), owned by Gary Jones, Markus van Känel, Pat Conroy and Nicholas Sudan, Gary was on the halter the day the third-calved four-year-old won at Lausanne in January, and his allegiances will be tested in April: Gary was born in Ireland, is married to English breeder Izzy Jones (nee Whittaker, whose family will most likely have animals included within the UK team), he will be fitting the Dutch team at Libramont, and is expected to lead Esprit for Switzerland against Koba.

Grand Champion HOLSTEIN Expo Bulle 2019: Au Parchy Doorman Jolie

The other cow to recently come into contention was a month fresh in March when she beat Dempsey Esprit in a tight race for Grand Champion Holstein at Switzerland’s National Show, the Expo Bulle in Espace Gruyère, Bulle. Dempsey Esprit won Best Udder of the show. Au Parchy Doorman Jolie has been quietly coming for two years – she won her class at the 2017 and 2018 Swiss Expo. She is owned by Gobeli Holstein, Gasser Ruedi & Räz Hansjörg. She has been included in the Swiss team, along with four of her Gobeli herdmates.  

With quarantine testing and internal selection processes still to navigate, most other countries were reluctant to talk up any cows at the time of writing this article.

This year’s competition includes teams from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic (known as Czechia to its inhabitants), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Spain, Germany and Italy preparing

Spanish team head fitter and leader, Agapito Fernandez, said he is proud to represent his country.

Spain is bringing 14 animals, leaving from Cantabria, in northern Spain, where they completed their quarantine requirements. Their trip will take 24 hours. The Spanish Holstein Association is helping support them.

Germany has entered with eight Holsteins and four Red & White Holsteins, with the effort costing between €5000 to €6000 (A$7900-A$9500) per cow. Their quarantine spans 30 days and the Germans have based their effort from the farm of Claude Thein, in Luxembourg, according to one of the team selectors, Henrik Wille.

“We want to present the best cows from Germany, and we are proud to be a little part of this big show,” he said.

Italy’s head classifier and team organiser for the All-European Show, Corrado Zilocchi, said there are 15 Holsteins and five Red & White Holsteins coming from his country.

“Unfortunately we don’t have a national plan of IBR eradication, so we are in the Annex III of the EU regulation and we need to test all animals of the farm that include animals participating at the show,” he said.

This year, the All-European Championship will be held in the small municipality of Libramont in Belgium. On April 12 and 13, some 200 cows from 19 countries will go head-to-head for individual and national team titles in the Holstein and Red & White Holstein shows under UK judge Mark Nutsford (Holsteins) and Swiss judge Markus Gerber (Red & White Holsteins).

Italy’s quarantine is 30 days and they have chosen a stable in Mantova. Their road-trip to Libramont will take 15 hours. The Italian team has no government support for the costs, and they were looking for sponsorship at the time of printing.

Corrado said the competition was the high point of the exercise.

“It is always an emotional experience,” he said.

In the 2016 team contest, France won followed (respectively) by Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

In 2019, the competition again promises to get the crowd’s adrenalin pumping. And there is no doubt that Libramont represents a culmination of work and planning in return for three years of bragging rights.

And, for that reason no-one has hesitated to put their hand up.  

Competition break-down


JUNIOR – One calf, in-milk, and aged up to 32 months

INTERMEDIATE – Two calves, in-milk, and aged up to a maximum of 60 months

SENIOR – Cows, in-milk with at least three calves


JUNIOR – One or two calves, in-milk, and aged up to maximum 60 months

SENIOR – Cows, in-milk with at least three calves


Each participating country chooses their best four cows after the completion of the individual show results. The inter-nation competition is adjudicated by judges from all countries involved, although they do not place their own country’s entry.

For more information, please visit “Holstein Libramont 2019” on Facebook or and be sure to watch right here on The Bullvine for full live coverage of the show.

Thank you to Sheila Sundborg (Canada), Brent Crothers (UK) and Alberto Medina (Spain) for their help in securing and translating answers.


Ferme Jacobs – “Dreams without goals are just….dreams”

It’s so hard to focus on the victories with Ferme Jacobs, because the way it wins is so well, winsome.

Just one other Canadian farm has won Premier Breeder at The Royal more times than Ferme Jacobs (Romandale Holsteins, 13 times). Notably, at The Royal, Ferme Jacobs showed no heifers and they have now nudged ahead of household names like Dupasquier Holsteins, Hanover Hill Holsteins, Glenafton Holsteins and Rosafe Holsteins.

And the last time a Holstein breeder won Grand and Reserve Grand Champion with homebred entries at The Royal was Agro Acres with maternal sisters in 1969. Before that the only other recorded time was by Mount Victoria in 1935.

The landslide results for Ferme Jacobs started here when The Royal judge Jamie Black slapped the family’s winning four-year-old, Jacobs Windbrook Aimo EX95 for Senior Champion.

This year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair belonged to Ferme Jacobs’ winning four-year-old, Jacobs Windbrook Aimo EX95, and their winning mature cow, Jacobs Lauthority Loana EX96-2E, who finished Grand and Reserve Grand Holstein respectively. Loana is owned in partnership with Pat Conroy.

And yet the lasting impressions from both WDE and The Royal are not only the family’s champions, but also the way they care for their cows, the way they celebrate and the way they share their success with the industry.

The squeals and multiple photographs of their children swarming ringside, together with the unadulterated joy between their parents in the ring, is infectious.

“We always have a party, even if we lose,” Ysabel Jacobs, 37, smiled.

“But that party at The Royal this year was one of the best ones we’ve had, for sure. We were so excited. We’ve never had Grand and Reserve Grand before, so we went wild.

“Because the level where we are now with our results; it’s easier to get there than it is to stay there. We know that.

“Last year we said we couldn’t have a better year than that was. Then this year, we did. We don’t know what’s coming up for us. But we know we are going to have to accept it when it comes, because we have kids around and we need to show them the right way to handle losing.”

The family was also unafraid to bring the reigning WDE Grand Champion Holstein out again at The Royal one month later – always a risk when a cow has something to lose.

WDE and Royal wins both special

“I think both the WDE and RWF results were special in their own way,” Ysabel said. “At WDE, Loana was perfect, and while Aimo [the 2017 WDE Intermediate Champion] won her class at WDE this year, she didn’t co-operate with us that day, and we had wanted her to look better than she did.

“At the RWF, it was the opposite. Aimo got ready perfect, and Loana didn’t want to co-operate. When we get our cows ready in the string, we get all excited before they leave the string if they are heading to the ring looking as good as we know they can be. After that, whatever happens in the ring is fine because you have no control over that.

“We think Loana might have had a big heat the day before the RWF because she was very mad that day. So, one show was perfect for Loana, and one was perfect for Aimo. We’re happy with that.”

As to which cow is best, Ysabel smiles. She always leads Loana and Yan takes Aimo.

“I don’t know,” she laughed. “If you talk to my brother he’ll say Aimo, and if you talk to me, I think I’d say Loana. There are some things that I like more about Loana and some things I like more about Aimo.

“We both like to lead, and we kind of always have our own cows. We never fight for who leads who, because we always differ slightly. We like the same kind of cow, but we like different things on individuals too. I would say Aimo is more Yan’s type, and Loana is more my type.”

Carl Saucier mentor

Semex’s well-known Carl Saucier, who has been a mentor and friend for Yan and Isobel, says there is something special about the family’s care of their cows, which always comes before winning.

“What I love about this family is that they are not only humble winners, they are great losers,” Carl said.

“I remember in 2015 at The Royal, they lost the Premier Breeder banner by the smallest of margins and they went down to Kingsway [Farms, the winner] and drank to their success with them. They are always happy for others. Ysabel is happy to help others at shows too – even her biggest competitors. She’ll give them some of their best hay to fill cows on show day. She just smiles and says: ‘Let the best cow win.’”

Buy when they want to

While the family is now recognised for its success with homebred animals, buying them is not without precedence. This year’s WDE Intermediate Champion, Erbacres Snapple Shakira-ET VG89, is jointly owned by Ferme Jacobs, Ty-D Holsteins, Killian Tehraulaz, Ferme Antelimarck and C & F Jacobs. The 2013 WDE Supreme Champion Bonnacueil Maya Goldwyn EX-95 3E 6* was co-owned with Drolet & Fils, Ty-D Holsteins, and Bonaccueil Holsteins.

Erbacres Snapple Shakira-ET VG89, gets the nod for Intermediate Champion at World Dairy Expo. She is jointly owned by Ferme Jacobs, Ty-D Holsteins, Killian Tehraulaz, Ferme Antelimarck and C & F Jacobs. She is led by Tyler Doiron.

“We do like to buy one once in a while and develop a cow to the max she can be,” Ysabel said. “But we’re never in a rush to buy them. It just happens when, ‘OK, I can’t get over it’. Then we get on each other. If I go to sleep at night and I still see her in my head, we need to buy her. We’re like kids and it’s satisfying to get a cow where you know she can be. With Shakira, it just happened that our friend, Killian, was there when we were looking at her, and he said he wanted in too.

“I think the partnerships we have now is that they know us. They know that we’re not going to call for a breeding decision. But they know also that we’ll make the best decisions we can on the cow’s behalf.

“If someone wants to be in with us, they need to just let us get on with it. We’re very bad for sharing news – very bad. We don’t spend all our time talking with a partner on the phone. They need to have trust in us and as soon as we flush, we usually separate everything so the partnerships don’t get too big. That’s the easiest way.”

Breeding with numbers often doesn’t add up 

When Ferme Jacobs decides on what bulls to use to breed the next one, genomics is the last consideration. The family is driven by cow families and the sires that leave the kind of cows the farm needs. They have alternated between high type and breeding for milk. It maintains a balance of stylish show cows that will work and last.

“We do look at the numbers, but that’s not big for us,” Ysabel said. “The only number we really do watch is that we will never use a bull that is minus for milk. Yan is starting to judge more now. He went to the USA, and Tyler and I are also starting to judge too, so we are all travelling a little bit.

“Between us, we see enough cattle in a year that we can see which bulls we want to use, and which bulls we don’t wanna use. When we go away, we usually also try and visit two to three farms to see what’s there and what’s working.

“Right now, we’re breeding for a bit more on milk, because you can have any good show cow in the world, if she doesn’t milk it’s not going to work.

“We are concentrating right now on balance, especially at our place because we have so many type cows. Using high type bulls here right now would be too extreme.”

Bulls in use now include Croteau Lesperron Unix, Seagull-Bay Silver, Comestar Lautrust, S-S-I Silver Spike, Sandy-Valley J Pharo, S-S-I Montross Missle, Monument Impression, and MR Mogul Delta.

“I know sometimes we use older bulls, but we don’t think using old bulls is a fault,” Ysabel said. 

Massive embryo demand

Their juggle remains working between showing cows, massive embryo demand (500 embryos were sold by Ferme Jacobs this year), and breeding a bull for the industry, to be marketed through Select Sires.

MOET embryo transfer work takes a seat behind show cow management and preparation. IVF is infrequent, because of the expense.

“If the cows are on a show programme, they are not going to be flushed,” Ysabel said. “We don’t want to work with hormones while they are showing. We’d rather flush them when they are done showing.”

And the Jacobs family remains true to itself when it comes to choosing potential bull mothers.

“Select [Sires] are not pushing us for the cross, because they know there are some crosses we don’t want and some crosses that make sense to us,” Ysabel said.

“It doesn’t have to be very high on everything, because we think that everyone in the industry is running a race right now on all that… for nothing.”

The cows they hope to make a bull from include 2017 Holstein Canada Cow of the Year, Jacobs Goldwyn Britany EX-96 2E 10* (Braedale Goldwyn x Jacobs Jasper Best), Loana (Comestar Lauthority x Jacobs Outside Linsey), Aimo (Windbrook x Jacobs Minister Aima), and Shikara (Snapple x Miss Apple Snapple EX-94). Aimo has an ET bull calf coming, sired by Lautrust, and she will calve next May to Lautrust.

The family’s happy place

Challenges come to every family and Ysabel says it is always the cows that put them back in their “happy place”. An extended and supportive team, combined with watching their children develop the same love for cattle, has sustained them.

“It’s not easy, because there is sacrifice. But it is a sacrifice my brother, my husband and I don’t mind,” Ysabel said.

Yan Jacobs is swamped by his daughters Elsie and Nellie Jacobs as he leaves the ring after winning Grand Champion at The Royal. Tyler and Ysabel’s daughter Aylson is obscured.

 “Our kids have grown up around that. We have three farms together and we have an amazing team around us, including Mum and Dad, who always support us.

“Yes, it’s hard sometimes and sometimes you want to quit. But there is always something coming and someone slapping your shoulder, or you find a new cow and you get excited again.”

Pressure has been a constant, but they can now put it into perspective.

“I would say that two years ago we could feel there was pressure to back up our performance,” Ysabel said. “But last year, we realised there is so much more important things in life than showing, and this year we just wanted to go and have fun, and to try our best.

“We get nervous at certain points, but always a good nervous. I know there is money involved. But people are so much looking at us right now, that no matter what happens, we should do it for fun.

“We’ve lost before, and we’ll lose again. Let’s be prepared to do it, and if it happens, at least we had fun doing it. Our kids are starting to show and we are trying to teach them the right way, because they don’t always lead winners – they lead both. And, if they don’t practice with their calves at home, we aren’t going to let them show their calf.”

Ultimately, Ferme Jacobs loves good cows and they continue to see the good, and the good people in the industry.

“We have people in our team who come and help us on show day, who don’t want to be paid. They just want to do it with us. Those are special people for us,” Ysabel said.

“We are very lucky to have them around us. To be honest, there are so many good people in our business who have the same passion to try to get the right cow where she needs to be. We love it.”



International Dairy Week 2018 – All Breeds Youth Show

Judge: Brian Behnke (USA)


Photo Crazy Cow In Print

Senior Champion In-Milk Heifer (Senior Leader) was (r-l) Fairvale BC Armani (Cally O’Shannassy, Vic) followed by Reserve Elmar Firstclass Jessica (Brady Hore, Vic) and Honourable Mention Lightning Ridge Archrival Jane 2 (Dylan McDonald, Vic) Photo Crazy Cow In Print

IDW GRAND CHAMPION HEIFER – Fairvale BC Armani Nola, Cally O’Shannessy, Munden Farms, Nilma North, VIC, 15‐04‐2015 Mr Apples Armani‐ET , Fairvale Damion Nola 21 
IDW RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION HEIFER – Elmar Firstclass Jessica‐ET, Brady Hore, Elmar Holsteins, Leitchville, VIC, 04‐08‐2015 Zahbulls AltaFirstClass‐ET, Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 11‐ET
HONOURABLE MENTION – Diamond Hill SSM Victoria, Hayley Braendler, M Mangold, Regentville,NSW, 11‐07‐2015 Select Scott Minister Avonlea Latola Victoria

Grand Champion of the youth show was led by the show’s must successful handler, Cally O’Shannassy. Fairvale BC Armani was a Grand Champion Heifer of the Youth Show. Fairvale BC Armani Nola is the first Holstein Karl Munden, from Warragul, has bought. He secured her in October 2016 at the Big Bang dispersal and she calved in this year with an Awesome heifer. Reserve was Elmar Firstclass Jessica, led by Brady Hore, of Victoria and Honourable Mention was a Jersey who her owner Mark Mangold bought in a package of B-grade embryos from River Valley Jerseys.

SENIOR CHAMPION IN MILK HEIFER – SENIOR LEADER – Fairvale BC Armani Nola, Cally O’Shannessy, Munden Farms, Nilma North, VIC, 15‐04‐2015 Mr Apples Armani‐ET, Fairvale Damion Nola 21
RESERVE SENIOR CHAMPION IN MILK HEIFER – SENIOR LEADER – Elmar Firstclass Jessica‐ET, Brady Hore, Elmar Holsteins, Leitchville, VIC, 04‐08‐2015 Zahbulls AltaFirstClass‐ET, Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 11‐ET
HONOURABLE MENTION – Lightning Ridge Archrival Jane 2‐ET, Dylan McDonald, Munden Farms, Nilma North, VIC, 25‐07‐2015 Eclipse Atwoods Archrival, Pooley Bridge Advent Jane 17‐ET‐RED

In the Senior Champion in-milk heifer (Junior Leader) the Jersey Diamond Hill SSM Victoria (Hayley Braendler, SA) came in first with the Holstein Eclipse Goldchip Paradise (Mia Deenan, Vic) taking second.

Photo IDW

SENIOR CHAMPION IN MILK HEIFER – JUNIOR LEADER – Diamond Hill SSM Victoria, Hayley Braendler, M Mangold, Regentville,NSW, 11‐07‐2015 Select Scott Minister, Avonlea Latola Victoria
RESERVE SENIOR CHAMPION IN MILK HEIFER – JUNIOR LEADER – Eclipse Gold Chip Paradise, Mia Deenen, Zanders Family,Kialla,VIC, 29‐07‐2015 Mr Chassity Gold Chip, Eclipse Atwood Paradise
HONOURABLE MENTION – Foleama Lix Rose 11, Chris Wright, E Cullen, Tatura, VIC, 20/04/2015 DJ Lix, Foleama Shyster Rose 4

Photo Crazy Cow In Print

Photo Crazy Cow In Print

Photo Crazy Cow In Print

JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER – SENIOR – Wyena B Mac Caboose                                        Cally O’Shannassy           D Edge, Carpendeit, VIC                                     12‐07‐2016 Childers Cover Anniedale Mcapple‐I Wyena Brook Caboose‐ET
RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER -SENIOR LEADER – Llandovery Foremans Emma 1906th                   Zoe Hayes                        Hayes Family, Girgarre, VIC                                01‐04‐2017 Llandovery Stellas Foreman 4936 Llandovery Empires Emma
HONOURABLE MENTION – Cedar Vale DH Tequila Crystalyn Imp‐Et             Loren Osborne                 Cedar Vale Jerseys & M Mangold, Moss Val    15‐09‐2015 Tower Vue Prime Tequila                                                              Rock Ella Impressive Crystalite

Finesse Burdette Marcie (Heath Treloar, SA) the reigning Junior Champion from the Adelaide Royal Show was again in the broad ribbin count, winning the Junior Champion (Junior Leader). The story goes that every year at Adelaide Boldview Ayrshires, Geelunga Ayrshires, and Cher-bar Ayrshires give away an Ayrshire calf (by rotation) to the winner of a handler’s class. Several of the young people from different breeds who have won, have continued to exhibit in the Ayrshire show, including Marcie’s owner, Casey Treloar. Casey won the foundation cow behind Marcie, Geelunga Starad Molly.

Photo IDW

One of the meaningful shots of this year’s IDW Youth Show was when US judge Brian Behnke congratulated Indiana Cole and Rivendell Tornado Pretty for winning Honourable Mention in the Junior Champion (Junior Leader) championship. Pretty is the first heifer Hayley and Stewart Menzies have sold and Pretty was very young when the Cole family approached Rivendell to sell two Jersey heifers for their daughters to show. Pictured over the heifer’s topline is Hayley cheering and Indiana’s mother, Bec, capturing the moment on her iphone. Rebecca said they had considering holidaying away from the cows this year, but their daughters had greeted them at the dairy chanting: “Dairy Week, Dairy Week.”

JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER – JUNIOR LEADER – Finesse Burdette Marcie                                     Heath Treloar                  C Treloar, Victor Harbor, SA                               07‐08‐2016 Palmyra Tri‐Star Burdette                                                                                 Roxson Poker Molly
RESERVE JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER – JUNIOR LEADER – Hawova Doorman Tamie                                     Georgia Sieben                SD & JL Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC                     28‐04‐2017 Val Bisson Doorman                                                                                 Hawova R Reginald Tamie
HONOURABLE MENTION – Rivendell Tornado Pretty                                    Indiana Cole                     S & R Cole, Wagga Wagga, NSW                                                                                                                                       01‐09‐2017 Kauri Klen Hg Tornado                              Rivendell Request Prissy

Photo IDW


Photo IDW


Photo IDW


Photo IDW


The youth show this year had 253 entries and 220 young people exhibited. The classes peaked at 45-head in a strong showing of Australia’s next generation.

Heifer, born 01/09/17 to 31/12/17 ‐ Senior Leader






Hightop Niels Okanobie


Sam Fitzsimmons


Hightop Holsteins, Numurkah, VIC


01‐09‐2017 Ever‐Green‐Veiw Edify


Wyena Windbook Valarie

2 5 Leader Solomon Sandalwood‐ET Nathan Smith Hightop Holsteins, Numurkah, VIC 03‐09‐2017 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET Paringa Beemer Opaque
3 1 Wyena Edify Valarie Cally O’Shannassy D Edge, Carpendeit, VIC 09‐09‐2017 Mr DDS Rubi‐Haze 54682‐ET Glensandy Donante 2235
4 1218 Rockstar Fizz Electric‐IMP‐ET Sarah Alderton R Allen, Cobargo, NSW 09‐09‐2017 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET Leader Atwood Sandlewood
5 3 Emu Banks Rubihaze Sandy 9018 Rachel Dickson Emu Banks, Terang, VIC 11‐09‐2017 Hill Valley Niels Hightop Attwood Orbette

Heifer, born 01/09/17 to 31/12/17 ‐ Junior Leader






Rivendell Tornado Pretty


Indiana Cole


S & R Cole, Wagga Wagga, NSW


01‐09‐2017 Kauri Klen Hg Tornado


Rivendell Request Prissy

2 10 Dryfield Solomon Paradise Sienna Ross Dryfield Farms, Numurkah, VIC 01‐09‐2017 WalnutLawn Solomon‐ET Dryfield Goldwood Paradise
3 9 Leader Solomon Sandalwood Ruby Mackie AJ & SD Mackie, Meeniyan, VIC 01‐09‐2017 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET Leader Atwood Sandalwood
4 15 Whyndell Brady Allieu T Jett Easterbrook RK & JL Easterbrook, Tatura, VIC 10‐09‐2017 Butz‐Butler Attwood Brady Whyndell Masterpiece Allieu
5 21 Benlargo Cancun Frosty Shae Tweddle Benlargo Holsteins, Glencoe, SA 18‐09‐2017 Tinber JC Cancun Benlargo Sid Frosty

Heifer born 01/07/17 to 31/08/17 ‐ Senior Leader






Aroona Mario Ester 3406


Joshua Peter


Eloora Pastoral Co, Deniliquin, NSW


02‐07‐2017 Quality Doorman Mario


Aroona Desire Esther

2 27 Cherrylock Rumour Has It Rachel English B & J Gavenlock, Tallygaroopna, VIC 27‐07‐2017 Pleasant Nook Tequila’s Venom Rapid Bay Resurrect Robin
3 23 Lightning Ridge Diamondback Frosty Charlie Lloyd D Patten & Ryanna Holsteins, Sale, VIC 07‐01‐2017 Mr D Apple Diamondback Budgeree Demspey Frosty
4 29 Riversleigh Alston Majedi Rachael Barnes Tuhan Family Trust, Tatura East, VIC 18‐08‐2017 Glencliffe JP Jedi Riversleigh Alston Majeda
5 28 Miami Medalist Fiesta 5493 Emily Stephenson Philmar Dairy Company, Tocumwal, NSW 02‐08‐2017 Sunset Canyon Medalist Miami Vanahlem Fiesta 4693

Heifer born 1/7/17 to 31/8/17 – Junior Leader






Three Creeks Redgum Honeymoon


Henry Hill


JJ & BL Evans, Greta West, VIC


05‐07‐2017 Three Creeks Redgum


Three Creeks Honeymoon 2

2 71 Winganna Velocity Day Dream Kieran Coburn Coburn Family, Bodalla, NSW 20‐08‐2017 Arethusa Jade Velocity Winganna Vanhalem Day Dream
3 34 Eastview Atwood Surprise Sarah Lloyd S Lloyd, Kyabram, VIC 03‐07‐2017 Atwood Eastview Goldchip Surprise
4 37 Eastview Jacoby Bonnie Fletcher Robinson F Robinson, Shepparton, VIC 03‐07‐2017 Cycle Doorman Jacoby Eastview Contender Bonnie
5 1204 Whyndell Velocity Pansy Jett Easterbrook R & J Easterbrook, Tatura, VIC 25‐08‐2017 Arethusa Jade Velocity Whyndell Regal Pansy

Heifer born 1/4/17 to 30/6/17 – Senior Leader






Llandovery Foremans Emma 1906th


Zoe Hayes


Hayes Family, Girgarre, VIC


01‐04‐2017 Llandovery Stellas Foreman 4936


Llandovery Empires Emma

2 1206 Pooley Bridge Mogul Rose 110 Emily Lock Leslie Farms, Kialla, VIC 29‐04‐2017 Mountfield SSI DCY Mogul‐ET Pooley Bridge Goldwyn Rose 87‐ET
3 81 New Hope Solomon Butter Anthony Glennen B Pedretti, Tallygaroopna, VIC 09‐05‐2017 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET Bluechip After Shock Butter
4 78 Diamond Hill Stephanie ‘J’ Ella Goldsmith M Mangold, Regentville, NSW 22‐04‐2017 Guimo Joel Shirlinn Special Stephanie
5 76 Lemon Grove Honeymoon 50 Sophie Chittick S Chittick, Greta West, VIC 07‐04‐2017 Three Creeks Verbenas Viper 4931 Lemon Grove Honeymoon 43

 Heifer born 1/4/17 to 30/6/17 – Junior Leader






Hawova Doorman Tamie


Georgia Sieben


SD & JL Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC


28‐04‐2017 Val Bisson Doorman


Hawova R Reginald Tamie

2 92 Illinga Blushing Handsome Kieran Coburn Coburn Family, Bodalla, NSW 15‐04‐2017 Wallumlands Blushs Savard Illinga Miami Handsome‐RED
3 89 Avonlea Kingboy Amy‐ET Luke Gardiner JH & CJ Gardiner, Cardinia, VIC 08‐04‐2017 Morningview MCC Kingboy Avonlea Sanchez Alana‐IMP‐ET
4 106 Hill Valley Scenario Silk‐ET Alice Guye R & H Perrett, Kongwak, VIC 29‐06‐2017 Sandy‐Valley Scenario Hill Valley High Octane Silk
5 96 Three Creeks Elmo Verbena Thomas Hill JJ & BL Evans, Greta West, VIC 01‐05‐2017 Creighton Park Elmo Llandovery Ja‐Bob Verbena

 Heifer born 1/1/17 to 31/3/17 – Senior Leader






Avonlea Solomon Bettine 2‐ET


Tamara Loughridge


JH & CJ Gardiner, Cardinia, VIC


21‐01‐2017 Walnut Solomon‐ET


Avonlea Braedale Bettine

2 117 Llandovery Royal Queenette 2 Zoe Hayes Hayes Family, Girgarre, VIC 05‐02‐2017 Stormans Royal Standard Llandovery Blushes Queenette
3 123 Hazel Vale Celebrity Benita Kaitlyn Wishart J Hayes, Invergordon, VIC 15‐03‐2017 Galaxies Celebrity Hazel Vale Verbatim Benita 4‐ET
4 111 Eclipse Jacoby Princess Charlie Lloyd D Patten & B Salmon, Sale, VIC 10‐01‐2017 Cycle Doorman Jacoby‐ET Eclipe Atwood Princess 7
5 114 Griffland Beemer Dasher‐ET Connor Griffiths C Griffiths, Katunga, VIC 20‐01‐2017 Pol Butte MC Beemer Bluechip Atwood Dancer

Heifer born 1/1/17 to 31/3/17  – Junior Leader









Brindabella Solomon Sammy



Georgia Sieben



SD & JL Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC



14‐03‐2017 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET



Brindabella Baxter Sambuka

2 133 Kathleigh Goldywn Nanda Lawson Kath Kathleigh Farms & Cherrylock Cattle Co, For 07‐01‐2017 Bo Joy Agenda Goldwyn Kathleigh Wonder Nanda
3 127 Rivendell Principal Tammi Matilda Cole M & I Cole, Wagga Wagga, NSW 01‐01‐2017 Rivendell Cyrus Principal Rivendell Visionary Tammi
4 1210 Whataview Byway Dorinda Cassie Broad D Spokes, Cobden, VIC 04‐02‐2017 Ohc River Byway Avonlea Crackholm Dorinda
5 1211 Arrowstar Doorman Summer‐IMP‐ET Alice Guye ID& EJ Louden,Garfield,VIC 09‐02‐2017 Val‐Bisson Doorman‐ET Misty Springs Lavanguard Sue‐ET

Heifer born 1/7/16 to 31/12/16 – Senior Leader






Wyena B Mac Caboose


Cally O’Shannassy


D Edge, Carpendeit, VIC


12‐07‐2016 Childers Cover Anniedale Mcapple‐I


Wyena Brook Caboose‐ET

2 176 Elmar Solomon Jessica‐ET Brady Hore Elmar Holsteins, Leitchville, VIC 14‐09‐2016 Walnutlawn Solomon‐ET Elmar Aftershock Jessica





Sun Vale Lotus Emerald‐RED


Renee Anderson


Sun Vale Holsteins, Yarroweyah, VIC


02‐10‐2016 Blondin Lotus


Moombra Cnt Emeralnd

4 164 Burn‐Brae Octane Satin 2 Jasmin Mackie AJ & SD Mackie, Meeniyan, VIC 18‐07‐2016 Stantons High Octane Bushlea GS Satin
5 183 Cherrylock Victoria’s Secret Anthony Glennen B Pedretti, Tallygaroopna, VIC 21‐10‐2016 Rock Ella Impression Genesis Online Venus

Heifer born 1/7/16 to 31/12/16 – Junior Leader






Finesse Burdette Marcie


Heath Treloar


C Treloar, Victor Harbor, SA


07‐08‐2016 Palmyra Tri‐Star Burdette


Roxson Poker Molly

2 202 Leader Goldchip Satin Georgia Sieben SD & JL Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC 17‐09‐2016 Mr Chassity Gold Chip Leader LD Satin
3 200 Clydevale Easyboy Imperium Hannah Dee Clydevale Holsteins, Cohuna, NSW 05‐09‐2016 Warramont McCutchen Easyboy Clydevale Proshot Imperial
4 204 Aitken Farms BW Karbala Bonita Olivia Aitken Aitken Farms, Warragul, VIC 25‐11‐2016 BW Karbala Gelbeado Park Black Bonita 2‐ET
5 201 Stoneleigh Park Premier Silvermine Thomas Burnett Burnett Family, Merrigum, VIC 15‐09‐2016 Hawarden Impuls Premier Stoneleigh Park Spirit Silvermine

Class 11

  1. Homelands Tequlia Silvermine 2                         Katie Anderson                Sun Vale Holsteins & P Hentschke, Yarrowe    02‐04‐2016 Tower Vue Prime Tequlia                    Homelands Ringmaster Silvermine
  2. Paschendaele Lovely Blossom‐ET                        Sally Downie                   Eagles Partnership, Gooloogong, NSW              24‐04‐2016 Terrace Bank Free Beer                       Paschendaele Real Blossom‐ET
  3. Wisteria Park Forget‐Me‐Not                             Sarah Ludington              E Ludington, Terang, VIC                                    24‐06‐2016 Terrace Bank Free Beer                       Hurlstone Fabiola Rose

Class 12

  1. Brookbora Love Lies 723                                     Jed Young                        R&S Bacon, D Bacon & S Leppart, Tennyso     04‐04‐2016 Pannoo Abe Vanahlem                        Brookbora Love Lies 652
  2. Exclusive Delta Didie                                           Beth Tivendale                S Livesay, Toolamba West, VIC                         05‐04‐2016 Glenally Pie Delta                                Glenally GNP Didie
  3. Paschendaele Stilmore Klassy‐ET                        Jack Cole                          Eagles Partnership, Gooloogong, NSW              25‐04‐2016  Palmyra Poker Riggins                        Paschendaele Klassy Girl‐IMP‐ET

Class 13

  1. Coleshill Gazza Noelene                                       Ryan Barker                    Coleshill Farms, Riana, TAS                               18‐03‐2016 Coleshill Linx Gazza                             Coleshill GP Noelene
  2. Brookleigh TM Beige                                           Kyella McKenna               LF & JM Cleggett, Glencoe, SA                          13‐02‐2016 Gilbert Trademark                              Brookleigh Geo Brunette

Class 14

  1. Miami Blackice Dahlea 5235                               Rebekah Love                  Philmar Dairy Company, Tocumwal, NSW          06‐03‐2016 Shirlinn Black Ice                                  Miami Cairnbone Dahlea 4545
  2. Wellcoora Colton Veronica                                  Abbie Hanks                    A Hanks, Cobden, VIC                                        19‐01‐2016 Chilli Action Colton                              Southern Star Governor Vegemite
  3. Carell Josuper Milena                                         Harry Moon                     C Moon, Numurkah, VIC                                     08‐03‐2016 Uecker Supersire Josuper‐ET               Wilara Oilslick Milena
  4. Linderlan Richards Tess                                        Bailey Roberts                 Linderlan & Sherbrooke Brown Swiss, Katun    29‐02‐2016 Jo‐Dee Nemo Richard                           Strathlea Zerberus Tess
  5. Wanstead Valentino Junette                              Sheridan Heath               Wanstead Jerseys, Bookar, VIC                         27‐03‐2016 All Lynns Louie Valentino                    Wanstead Eltons Junette

Class 15

  1. Cedar Vale DH Tequila Crystalyn Imp‐Et             Loren Osborne                 Cedar Vale Jerseys & M Mangold, Moss Val    15‐09‐2015 Tower Vue Prime Tequila                    Rock Ella Impressive Crystalite
  2. Murribrook Reginald Victory‐ET                         Jasmin Mackie                 AJ & SD Mackie, Meeniyan, VIC                        16‐08‐2015 Regancrest Reginald                            Strongbark Linjet Victory
  3. Missy Moo Goldwyn Cathy                                 Nathan Smith                  Hightop Holsteins, Numurkah, VIC                      12‐07‐2015 Braedale Goldwyn                               Missy Moo Ladino Cathy
  4. Three Creeks Jango Verbena                              Sophie Chittick                Three Creeks Illawarras & Cotonhall Shortho   12‐08‐2015 Ovensdale Jennys Contender               Llandovery Ja‐Bob Verbena
  5. Boldview Rockstar Jord                                       Brittany Liebich               Boldview Farms, Jervois, SA                              24‐09‐2015 Kamouraska Rockstar                          Boldview Peri Miss Jordan

Class 16

  1. Crookslea ST Doreen                                           Kieran Coburn                  NM Wilkie, Bacchus Marsh, VIC                         03‐10‐2015 Four Winds Showtime                         Crookslea Doreen 5
  2. Enterprise Burgette Rose 2nd                             Jack Cole                          Eagles Partnership,Gooloogong. NSW               15‐08‐2015 Palmyra Tri‐Star Burgette                   Enterprise Ristourn Rose 3rd
  3. Three Creeks Rosarian 10                                    Thomas Hill                      JJ & BL Evans, Greta West, VIC                         12‐07‐2015 Three Creeks Redgum                          Three Creeks Rosarian 4
  4. Boldview Free Aurora                                         Hayley Braendler            Boldview Farms, Jervois, SA                              02‐12‐2015 Terrace Bank Free Beer                       Boldview Raider Atlas

Class 17

  1. Elmar Firstclass Jessica‐ET                                   Brady Hore                      Elmar Holsteins, Leitchville, VIC                        04‐08‐2015 Zahbulls AltaFirstClass‐ET                   Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 11‐ET
  2. Lightning Ridge Archrival Jane 2‐ET                    Dylan McDonald              Munden Farms, Nilma North, VIC                       25‐07‐2015 Eclipse Atwoods Archrival                  Pooley Bridge Advent Jane 17‐ET‐RED
  3. Cairnhill Goldchip Muskie, Zali Deenen, Zanders Family, Kialla, VIC 08‐08‐2015 Mr Chassity Gold Chip, Cairnhill Sid Music
  4. Miami Tequila Girlie 5115‐ET, Emily Stephenson, Philmar Dairy Company, Tocumwal, NSW, 01‐07‐2015 Tower Vue Prime Tequila, Miami Gannon Girlie 4254‐ET
  5. Hazel Vale Celebrity Eve, Celine Pirie, Cedar Vale Jerseys, Moss Vale, NSW, 30‐08‐2015 Galaxies Celebrity Hazel Vale Vanahlem Eve

Class 18 

1 1215 Diamond Hill SSM Victoria Hayley Braendler M Mangold, Regentville,NSW 11‐07‐2015 Select Scott Minister Avonlea Latola Victoria
2 1216 Eclipse Gold Chip Paradise Mia Deenen Zanders Family,Kialla,VIC 29‐07‐2015 Mr Chassity Gold Chip Eclipse Atwood Paradise
3 244 Brookbora Love Lies 717 Ella Young R, S & D Bacon, Tennyson, VIC 01‐09‐2015 All Lynns Louie Valentino Brookbora Love Lies 630
4 242 Whitegold Tequila Strike Twice Ikayla Shaw M & A Rood, Morans Crossing, NSW 01‐07‐2015 Tower Vue Prime Tequila Parrabel Resrected Strike

Class 19

1 248 Fairvale BC Armani Nola Cally O’Shannessy Munden Farms, Nilma North, VIC 15‐04‐2015 Mr Apples Armani‐ET Fairvale Damion Nola 21
2 249 Brindabella Dempsey W Nana Lincoln Sieben SD & JL Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC 16‐04‐2015 Lirr Drew Dempsey Brindabella Windbrook D Nana
3 250 Jugiong Leonie 7260 Charlie Lloyd Nicholson Family, Girgarre, VIC 30‐04‐2015 Jugiong Ras Governor Jugiong Leonie 6824
4 245 Sun Vale Shottle Winnie Katie Anderson Sun Vale Holsteins, Yarroweyah, VIC 13‐01‐2015 Glenbas Liberty Shottle Moombra Juote Winnie
5 247 Kings Ville Cowslip 115 Meg Anderson R & K Anderson, Drouin West, VIC 01‐04‐2015 Dutch Hollow Clearvision Kings Ville Cowslip

Class 19

 1st Place Folema Lix Rose – Chris Wright,

2nd Jugiong Jade 7206 – Sarah Lloyd


Pat “Cowboy” Conroy – Shooting straight and straight shooting

Pat Conroy’s piercing blue eyes are as recognizable as his distinctive Minnesotan-born drawl – punctuated by the spit from some tobacco chew tucked securely inside his bottom lip.

Pat has earned his stripes in the industry at every level. And he’s at the top of his game.

Pat and Jeannie Conroy have two children, Kaiden and Zailey. The family call Angola, Indiana, USA, home.

When Pat’s not picking Champions, he’s usually leading them and/or owning them. He has fought for his position in the industry from nothing, using determination and competitiveness. Yet he carries himself nowadays with a quiet confidence and a certainty about where he fits in the industry. He is respected for his ability, honesty, and straight-shooting personality.

While he says he never wanted to judge – nor liked it initially – Pat allowed himself to be drawn into it for a reason. In August, he judged the Western New York Regional Show on the 18th, before flying to Brazil to judge at Agroleite five days later. Two days after that he landed in Australia to oversee the New South Wales State Holstein Show on August 25 and 26. His three days in Nowra was a long way from home, and his own preparations for WDE and The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Canada.

Pat Conroy about to accept Grand Champion from WDE 2015 Holstein judge Nathan Thomas on behalf of Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha. Pat led Katrysha for her owners MilkSource Genetics of Kaukauna, Wisconsin. That year Pat also judged WDE’s Red & White Holstein show. Photo: The Bullvine.

His 2016 judging résumé alone notably included the Holsteins at WDE, the Swiss Expo Holstein Show and the European National Show. In 2015 he judged WDE’s Red & White Holstein Show, and he was the 2013 WDE’s Junior Holstein Show judge.

Pat has also judged the 2014 All-American Jersey Show in Harrisburg, and the 2015 Brown Swiss Expo in Switzerland.

Boxed and loaded

Pat says when he left home, he had a box of Holstein World magazines, his clothes and little else.

He began cattle fitting aged 16, and by the time he was 19 was working every day of the year in his chosen profession. Pat’s career came at a time when there were a lot of talented fitters available in a busy industry, and he had to be hungry to succeed – let alone to just survive. For the next 16 years, preparing cattle for shows and sales ruled Pat’s life. It took him coast-to-coast in the USA, and into Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia.

The competition and his passion kept him sharp.

“Fitting was something I always wanted to do. I always wanted to be around good cattle, and to have the opportunity to work with them. There was a good competition between us all at that time, and from the start, I always wanted to outdo the next guy.”

Pat owns 50 head of show cattle across North America and Europe. Pictured is one of them, Hallow Atwood Twizzle EX93-Max, the 2016 Grand Champion at Cremona, Italy. Pat owns her with All Nure and Gary Jones. Photo: The Bullvine.

Box cut

He pauses, before adding: “Wanting to win made you think. If you don’t have some competitiveness, you stay in neutral. Young guys today – and some won’t like hearing this, but it is true – all they want to do is clip, and that’s it.

“I’m finding that many young people don’t maybe know what a good one is supposed to look like, and so they cut them all in the same.

“Our industry has promoted a lot of bulls over the years that sired a lot of high-pinned heifers. Yet, I’ve seen a lot of fitters still leave big hair on those heifers’ chines – which just makes it worse. They don’t see that the logical thing is to mow her chine off to make her look a little more balanced.”

Skills clipped

“And, I’ll be honest with you – and probably the generation above me said this about us – hardly any of the current crop of fitters would have survived in our era. They don’t know how to work, and a lot of them aren’t good cow people. So, if a cow is sick, they don’t know what to do – they disappear like a flock of birds when the going gets tough. They’re just clippers, that’s it.

“They’ve been spoiled and spoon-fed because there’s a shortage of fitters. In our day, you had to be good or no-one hired you. Now, they can be busy every week. Everyone wants US$250 a day when they start working, and kids now all seem to need a safe place if someone says something they don’t like. What is that? My wife and I have robust discussions about this all the time – I think it’s important that kids learn how to work hard and take the knocks.”

He says intelligent hard-working fitters remain potential game-changers.

“Good clipping really does make a big difference on heifers – on cows, not so much. You can make a good heifer great by the way she’s prepared and managed – no question. Equally, you can make a great heifer middle of the road if you don’t get her preparation right.”

Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra EX97 wowed the world. The thrice Swiss Expo Grand Champion was one of the few cows Pat Conroy chose stay with for her entire ride. Photos: Wolfhard Schulz.

Fitting into ownership

As he grew into his fitting career, Pat started to focus on building capital. He says it wasn’t hard to become addicted to buying cows – and he fearlessly backed himself. Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra EX97 remains his personal pick.

Born September 4, 2008, O’Kalibra would go on to be the 2013 European Champion, thrice Grand Champion at the Swiss Expo (2012, 2013 and 2015) and the 2015 All-World Champion. She is Europe’s most famous cow, and the vibrations of her influence were also felt in Australia, when her Goldchip daughter sold for an Australasian record price of $112,000 in 2015.

Usually when he buys, Pat intends to sell them on. It’s the reality of a cattle marketer’s life. However, this time he chose to stay with O’Kalibra until the end, which came in May this year when she passed away.

O’Kalibra was bred by Fredy Decrausaz & Sons. Sired by Boss Iron, she was out of an EX90-2E Integrity daughter, followed by a VG89 Milestone. She had the width Pat loved, and a pedigree they could work with.

“O’Kalibra was just such a good doer and so aggressive. We had a lot of fun with her,” he says.

“She was game-changing for me and she was cheap in the end for what she did for us all. And she was special to me because this time I co-owned her all the way through. There’s been a lot I’ve sold through the years – and you love to see them do well for other guys – but once in a while, there’s one you want to keep.”

Throwing a fit…  

He smiles as he remembers the day he first saw her, saying he experienced the feeling cowmen often describe when they see a cow they have to have. It is a moment when the world seems to stand still – when the hairs raise up on the back of their necks. And there’s absolutely no hesitation. They just know they need to be part of her journey.

Pat says if he wasn’t so determined he could have easily missed getting aboard the O’Kalibra train.

“They didn’t want to sell part of her at first,” he laughs. “I honestly threw a fit like a kid, because I was so mad. I did – I threw a fit until I got my way. She was one of those cows I had to have, for sure.”

Win some – lose some

Typically honest, Pat is quick to balance the glory with the risk.   

“I’ve lost a lot of money too on cows too. There was four of us in a partnership and we paid US$160,000 for a cow. I thought she’d be a cow to be Champion at Madison [WDE] and the year I had in my mind she could do it, she died. I didn’t have insurance on her, and I was fairly young at the time so it was a fair kick in the teeth. It took a lot to rebound from that one because it kind of cleaned me out.

“Usually the first loss is the best one.

“I built back up, and I made another dumb decision. Three of us bought a nice cow for US$98,000 and a week later she got on the trailer and split her bag. That hurt too.”

He says buying and selling commercial cattle is a big part of his business today because the work is consistent and busy. The commercial cattle help him enjoy registered cattle. They also help underwrite his “addiction” to show cows.

Judgement day

His journey into judging evolved naturally. While he wasn’t interested, he did have strong opinions that weren’t always in line with popular thought. It is part of the reason he dons a suit more often than he’d perhaps like to.

“Somebody asked me to do a County Fair once and I said I’d do it, but it wasn’t a great experience. I thought to myself: ‘I’m never going to judge again’, but then I got asked again, and I did it and it ended up being a nice show. The biggest reason for me personally to start judging is that I got sick of narrow, high-pinned, bad-footed cows winning because they were black.

“For me, that was the biggest push. I thought somebody has got to step up and change this a bit. I think that maybe some guys who milk cows every day come to the show and they see those high-pinned, narrow cows winning and they make fun of the showing business. We’re supposed to have these high-type cattle, and to their eyes, those cattle are not functional.

“That seems to become negative publicity for the show industry. I’m not on Facebook, but I do watch the question of the week on Dairy Agenda, and I read the comments, and they’re always negative about the show industry. I want to do something to help change that for the breeders that don’t necessarily show.”

Playing favourites

Sheeknoll Durham Arrow becoming immortal at last year’s WDE when judge Pat Conroy made her Grand. She is led by her breeder/owner Jeannette Sheeham, from Sheeknoll Farms at Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Photo: The Bullvine.

That brings him to his favourite cow he has made Grand Champion to date: the 2016 WDE Grand Champion, Sheeknoll Durham Arrow. Bearing in mind, there were 2423 animals at Madison in 2016 – including 640 Holsteins (the biggest breed show) and WDE welcomed 74,000 visitors from 102 countries through its gates last year. There is always a massive audience ring-side for the Holstein judging, and the pressure resting on the sole person to award Grand should never be underestimated.

“I think because I grew up at WDE in Madison, it was the show,” Pat says. “Making that cow [Arrow] Grand was fun and a good experience. I didn’t make her Grand because she was a no-name cow before the show and I wanted to find a new Grand Champion, like some – no doubt – thought. She won it because she deserved it. It was just nice that the cow got ready on her own, she looked the part, and she was an easy fit that day.

“Madison was the easiest show to judge because you can find your kind and just go for it. At some of the other shows, you make cows Champion, that perhaps don’t excite you – but they’re the best ones there on the day. You play the cards you’re dealt.”

Heifers need width

He stays true to form on the type of show heifers that he believes will go on and make cows.

“Some people might bust my arse a bit for this, but I’ll take a heifer a little thicker, and I’m okay with that if they’re sound. The Quebec guys – and many of them are my friends – don’t like the style of cows I like. They’ll take them narrow and black.

“I’ve always liked the stronger ones, because if there ever a problem at any of the farms I’d be working at, the one that was sick and off her feed was always the narrow one. Always.

“And then I started taking care of my own heifers when I bought my first little place and I would have heifers in and that included the big black fancy ones I bought, and shouldn’t have. When I’d go to grain them and it was -60 [-15 degrees Celsius], the one standing in the corner sucking their thumb would always be the narrow one.   

“So, personally I can’t stand skinny heifers. It makes their legs look bad and they don’t have any substance. Maybe the next guy could take them skinny, but not for me. Heifers need to have muscle tone – like an athlete.”

Give it a couple of years…

Pat says patience is a virtue in the judging game.

“I always remember what they say if they’re unhappy with how I place them, and then I’ll wait a couple of years and have the conversation again. Not that I’m always right, by any means, but it’s interesting to see which of those animals last, develop and breed back,” he smiles.

The eternal question the industry has wrestled with has been the term “dairy strength”, and because it is subjective, it has proven to be an oft-confusing conversation.

“That’s another thing that pushed me into judging,” Pat says. “People have the assumption that ‘skinny’ is ‘dairy’. It’s not the case.” He says there’s a huge difference between “dairy strength” and being “half starved”.

“I think if the people making those calls had to write a cheque for one, milk them every day and calve them down, they’d learn quite a bit that way – and that includes the AI guys who don’t own or work with cattle, but who have had a role to play in starting this narrow high pins dairy, dairy, dairy crusade.”

Progress going backwards?

The impact of genomics and changing dynamics continues to be a concern when it comes to the future of shows, says Pat.


“I don’t want to be negative, and say there won’t be many shows in 10 to 15 years, but I’m afraid that might be the truth. I know how much it’s changed in the last 20 years, and I wonder where it will be in 20 more years.”

Pat says if he could use a time machine to choose his time to be involved in the industry, he would take the late 1980s and early 1990s.

“I’m certainly grateful for my career so far, but I almost would have loved to have been that earlier era when it was very competitive, and there was lots of investors,” Pat said.

“There were no cell phones, and no internet – it was exciting. Once in a while I grab one of my old Holstein Worlds and look through them, and it’s kinda depressing because we’re never going to have that again. It’s almost like the party’s over a little bit. I don’t know how we’ll ever get it back.”

Madison whispers

Pat confirms that this year’s lead-up to WDE in October is not rife with the usual energy and excitement that comes with cows changing hands for big money. The game has changed, and most marketers’ inventories remained available for sale when CrazyCow went to print.

“Certainly with the milk price we’ve lost a lot of good breeders and I think there’s just a bit of a negative atmosphere because of that,” Pat says. “The top-tier buyers that I would normally be selling to are disappearing. And so, the ones that are left aren’t faced with as much buying competition for animals.

“It used to be that you’d get a lot sold before the show because potential buyers knew if they looked at an animal one day and liked her, they better buy her because there’d be someone else coming to look at her the next day.   

“At Madison, I think the final-tier guys will buy there, but they don’t have to be in a hurry right now because they know that the guys like me that are selling have ultimately got to sell them – that’s our business – and there’s only limited competition, so they’re going to be patient.”

Comical source

It’s a long way from the days when Milk Source, Butlerview, Arethusa, Gene Iager, West Coast, Gerald Todd, Howard Binder Jr and Clark Woodmansee (to name a few) were all competing strongly.

By the time everyone converges on the showgrounds at Madison, Pat says animals will then be compared with others on-ground – everyone will have an opinion – and the white noise will be distracting for buyers trying to make decisions.

“I think it’ll be so cut throat this year, and there’ll be a fair bit of back stabbing. It will be quite comical, I bet,” he smiles.

“And, some of that attitude can also be attributed, I think, to people who are doing a helluva good job at shows and when others know they can’t compete with them, they are starting to say: ‘Why go?’.”

In Wisconsin, that’s getting fairly evident because Milk Source and Budjon – to cite just two – are doing great jobs and it’s expensive to show and if you don’t want to sell an animal it makes it harder to pay for it all.”

Shrinking industry heightens ‘tall poppy’

He says the shrinking industry is heightening the tall poppy syndrome and jealousy within the US registered industry.

And he doesn’t back away from it.

“Shit, I almost feed off it a little bit. It’s like a pack of wolves in a pen. If you throw enough meat in there, it’s fine. If there isn’t enough meat, it gets pretty fierce. And the dairy industry is at that same point in the US, I think. There are a lot of wolves and not a lot of meat.

“Sometimes, I think I wouldn’t care if I never went to another show again, but the truth is I’ll never quit. I get too psyched about it.

“I said I wasn’t going to buy a thing for the rest of the year, and I bought a heifer a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll buy one at Madison too. I know I will.”

For more great articles like this one check out Crazy Cow in Print  CrazyCow In Print, Australia’s favorite dairy magazine is produced by the well-known names behind Bluechip Genetics: Dean and Dianna Malcolm.


Be sure to check full coverage of this week’s Le Supreme Latier where Pat will be serving as the official Holstein show judge.







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Australian dairy has a precious chance to ‘get it right’

The heart of Australia’s dairy industry in Victoria is struggling through one of the toughest winters in living memory – as some milk companies continue to send farmers to the wall with undoable opening milk prices.

Mud sticks and none more so than the mud on Murray Goulburn’s reputation. As some farmers deal with a tough winter – they are also facing milk pricing challenges they never dreamed could happen. Photo: Sheila Sundborg

Mud sticks and none more so than the mud on Murray Goulburn’s reputation. As some farmers deal with a tough winter – they are also facing milk pricing challenges they never dreamed could happen. Photo: Sheila Sundborg

Farmer co-operative Murray Goulburn historically led the industry on pricing, processing more than one-third of Australia’s 9.6 billion milk pool. But the rhetoric has been hot and heavy since the news broke that the co-op would struggle to meet half of its net profit forecast that was outlined in the prospectus for its partial float on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) less than a year ago.

The feedback from other processors is damning – when it comes to the management strategies MG used and has tried to justify.

To recap

MG’s Managing Director, Gary Helou — who was MG’s highest paid CEO in history — resigned April 27, after he massively overestimated sales figures, plunging the company’s 2400 suppliers into a financial tub of iced water.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Fonterra then announced the price it paid its farmer-suppliers would immediately drop from between $6 and $5.60 for every kilogram of milk solids to just $4.75-$5/kg — equivalent to as little as 35c a litre of milk.

And it got worse

Not only would prices be slashed immediately, but they would be backdated or imposed retrospectively to the beginning of the 2015-16 financial year or milk season.

This meant that every litre of milk sold to MG and Fonterra during the past 10 months — for which farmers have already been paid — they are now paying back.

MG and Fonterra have offered low-interest loans, repayable after three years.

Or, the debt can be erased if suppliers accepted 14c a litre for their milk for the two months until July.

Some farmers could see no way out, and sent whole herds to slaughter. Suicides have become an overwhelming concern for the industry.

And opening milk prices (stripping away the confusing layers of smoke and mirrors) from July have been cold comfort – MG at best is $4.45/kgMS or 34c/litre and Fonterra has announced at $4.75/kgMS or 36.5c/litre. Australia’s cost of production is closer to 45c/litre. And one of the MG directors also named in the lawsuits that have followed MG’s fall from grace – Philip Tracy – remains as MG’s current leader.

Where to now

Increasingly, it appears the only way for Murray Goulburn (MG) to pave the road to recovery is to appoint an honest and approachable Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who understands the dairy industry and appreciates its co-operative culture.

Farmer lobby group Farmer Power rose up and has called MG on everything, asking for a 50c levy to be imposed on milk sales. Meanwhile, industry appointed industry watch-dogs (supported by farmer levies) have struggled to find their teeth.

Urban ally

Presenter Waleed Aly from Melbourne television show “The Project” (the 2016 Gold Logie winner) arguably did more for the industry in one newscast than many have ever been able to do. The result? The consumer listened. And sympathised. And bought branded milk. It proved one thing: the urban audience values Australian farmers.

Supported by intelligent and dogged journalism across mainstream media, MG — in particular – had few places left to hide.

Joe Aston, of the Australian Financial Review newspaper, called MG out for allowing Philip Tracy to take MG’s helm, given he was part of the initial board.

“Hasn’t Murray Goulburn’s Philip Tracy picked up right where ousted chief executive Gary Helou left off?” he wrote. “The dairy Chairman had an opinion piece in Melbourne’s Herald Sun on Thursday, which we’re seriously considering framing – so memorable it is for a scarcity of logic.

“Remember that on his watch, Murray Goulburn loaded the balance sheet with debt to lock in a decade of volume growth at paltry margins, failed to penetrate with its relaunched Devondale brand, and repeatedly fell short of profit forecasts, all while unrealistically promising its farmers $6 per kilo for milk solids, then retrospectively yanking it back to $4.75 and diluting 38 per cent of their equity to outside interests.

“Yet now Tracy sheets the blame to falling global dairy commodity prices and the fact that ‘Australia produces 35% more milk than it can possibly consume’.”

Trouser-deal stink

The journo also disagreed with Philip Tracy’s argument that MG’s 10-year contract to supply Coles with private-label milk was a “very good deal for our farmers”.

“Sorry, but the Coles deal is a stinker for Tracy’s farmers. The contract includes a rise-and-fall provision so Coles trousers the greater margin when commodity prices are lower. And if, as Tracy claims, Coles is paying MG a premium above the farm-gate price (and who knows which price he’s talking about – the real price or the one he recently foisted on his suppliers), then why aren’t the farmers seeing any of it flow back to them? Oh and that ‘much-needed investment’ he’s talking about are the factories (built with bank debt) that pump out more milk than anyone can drink, thus creating the oversupply he was earlier blaming for MG’s woes. Go figure.”

No one had to go far to find the bad guys in this story – it lands at MG’s door, and to a lesser degree, Fonterra’s.

It led to May 16, when class action specialist lawyer Mark Elliott launched legal proceedings on behalf of unit-holders in MG, alleging the dairy company and its board misled investors in a product disclosure statement (PDS) issued last May. (Mark Elliot is a former partner of Minter Ellison, but in the past couple of years alone, the now-sole solicitor has launched several shareholder class actions, including against Banksia Securities, Leighton Holdings, Treasury Wine Estates, Downer EDI and WorleyParsons.)

In a statement of claim filed with the Victorian Supreme Court, Mark Elliott alleged MG knew sales forecasts in the PDS were “unlikely to be achieved” on the very day it filed the fundraising document, May 29.

Enter the watchdogs

The action comes on top of investigations by corporate regulator the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and competition watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Mark Elliott, who is acting for lead plaintiff John Webster (as trustee of Elcar Pty Ltd Super Trust Fund) in the class action, alleges every member of the Board at the time — including chairman Philip Tracy and then-CEO Gary Helou — are liable to pay compensation because they “each consented to the inclusion of the misleading PDS representations”.

Mark claims MG breached the Corporations Act by failing to disclose any problems when it listed on July 3, 2015, even re-affirming its forecasts as late as October 26, at its annual general meeting.

MG units plunged on February 26 this year when the company initially downgraded its profit forecast, and again on April 27 when it released a second downgrade.

The Directors who were named in the lawsuit are: Philip Tracy, Gary Helou, Kenneth Jones, Natalie Akers, William Bodman, Peter Hawkins, Michael Ihlen, Edwin Morris, Graham Munzel, John Pye and Martin Van De Wouw.

Damning words of fairness

One of the most damning commentaries came from Bega Cheese’s CEO Barry Irvin later in the proceedings. He resisted saying anything publically for a month, but in the end it became too much for him.

“It’s an emotional thing for me,” Barry said. “Trust is built by your actions, it’s not built by rhetoric. It’s built by actually doing things and understanding the impact of those things on the people that do indeed trust you.

“We’re a very polite industry, the dairy industry. We don’t name people and I actually think the trust is also cultural, and I think if we don’t be public and we don’t address this [MG’s price cuts] in a very direct way, we will see this happen again, and again and again.”

“When MG cut the price — and I want to be fair here — no one was mentioning Fonterra because they were openly saying the price was too high. Not only do they [MG] cut the price, they elect to hold a profit, and that doesn’t feel fair to me. And it doesn’t feel like it builds trust.”

Collective ‘fluff’

“The actual price for May and June is almost impossible to work out because it’s hidden by something that is called a ‘milk supply support programme’. It sounds like a collective loan to me.

“If you give somebody money, and you ask for it back with interest, to me that’s a loan, and that’s what it should be called. And the speaking should be plain.

“Why did we [Bega Cheese] not drop our price? Because it was the wrong thing to do. Bega had to hold its price because that’s the commitment we made. Whether it’s legal or whether it’s moral I don’t actually mind. It’s a moral commitment so I’ll hold and I’ll take the pain and I’ll build trust over a long period of time — by my actions, not by my words, and not by my rhetoric.

“And so for me, this is about actions, demonstrating that you’ve thought very deeply about the lives you affect. I had a 26-year MG supplier who burst into tears while she was begging me to take her milk. That’s not what we should have in this industry. We have a long way to go to build trust back.

Unfair impact

“Sadly, for me I’ve spent my life trying to build trust and I am actually impacted by this. Because suspicion doesn’t stop at a particular company — the damage to the industry goes across the industry.”

Gippsland-based Burra Foods has also been open about its position, with its CEO Grant Crothers not mincing words.

Its website says: “We all know we are in a volatile and cyclical industry, but the selfish disregard that MG has shown to its supply base is culpable (which may well be confirmed by ASIC, ACCC and/or a Class Action).

“The cycle is against us, as has been the case for some time now. Fonterra NZ was honest about the outlook some 12 months ago, enabling the NZ industry to prepare as best as possible for the cyclical low, whereas our ‘industry leader’ decided their new business model could withstand the downward pressure.”

Less honesty, more fallout

“At Burra we were extremely suspicious and gave as many indications as possible that a $6 or even $5.60 milk price was unsustainable. In the end, MG could not defy gravity any longer and the fallout is significantly worse than if they had been more honest with themselves and their stakeholders at a similar time as Fonterra NZ.

“Personally, I am ashamed to be grouped as a processor with MG and recently refused the opportunity to sit on a panel with [Philip] Tracy as I don’t want to be grouped as a processor with the current MG Board and senior management. I have more invested in the industry than most, have been adding more value to it than most for an extended period of time, and I value transparency and communicating the best information possible to stakeholders — our values refer to it as respect.”

Hubris contained at MG

Grant Crothers went on to say that dairy is viable going forward.

“This speed bump is a steep one, made worse by management hubris at the largest processor. Thankfully there is competition in our industry and that some organisations have a stronger set of values than MG, the financial hybrid that continues to refer it itself as a Co-Operative.”

The in-house commentary appears to overwhelmingly support a clean slate for MG with fresh legs, fresh ideas, more transparency and less jargon-loaded press releases.

Co-ops have a place

Paul Kerr, CEO and Executive Director of Australian Dairy Farmers Corporation (ADFC), says he still believes in the co-operative model, and that MG should be the leading co-operative in Australia.

Paul spent 27 years at MG, including 11 as its COO. He is a current member of accounting body CPA Australia, and the Governance Institute of Australia.

He says that dairy-farming nations in the western world are dominated by co-operatives and without that model, farmers have “no chance” of a fair price.

“People will say they are only taking the market price in a co-operative. But they are also having a say in the costs up the chain, and what markets they’re going into – not just getting what someone wants to pay them,” Paul says.

Processors must collaborate

Paul also believes the future of the dairy industry lies in the 250-500-cow family farm.

“Because it is the family farm that can manage the market volatility, and it has the heart to manage its cost structure and it can weather the storms. There’s nothing like a family farm. We should be trying to create a lifestyle. That’s what we’ve got to get back in to in the industry. It’s a people game, and farming is about farmers being profitable. It’s not about big corporations and robots.”

He hopes for more collaboration between processors moving forward in a way never before achieved.

“We need this industry to be attractive to our younger people. We have got to make sure farms are profitable. And as milk processors, we should also be collaborating with other companies to take the costs out of the supply chain.”

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Anger will die down…

He said farmer apathy would help no one.

“Dairy farmers are angry today. They’ll be a little less angry tomorrow. It’ll die down. It’ll rain, the grass will grow, the cows will start calving and all of a sudden it’s the peak of the season. You get tied up in your own world. It’s human nature.

“If I’m really positive about all of this, I see it as farmers having a great opportunity right now to move forward in a positive way.”

BREXIT – The Beginning of the End Of The EU?

Bruce Jobson

Bruce Jobson

The whys and wherefores of the UK’s EU referendum

At the end of June, the UK voted on whether or not to stay in the European Union (EU).  CrazyCow’s Dianna Malcolm asked British dairy specialist Bruce Jobson — and CrazyCow’s own Europe correspondent — to explain the reasons for the referendum.

DM “How did the UK’s referendum on the EU come about?”

BJ “Many British people have had longterm concerns with regard to continued EU membership. During the 2015 general election, Prime Minister David Cameron stated that if his ruling Conservative Government was re-elected for a second term, he would hold a referendum — albeit after he had negotiated terms for a reformed agreement with the EU.

The negotiations took place earlier this year and Mr Cameron has recommended that the British electorate vote in favour of remaining in a ‘reformed’ EU.

“However, there is still uncertainty as to whether the EU will fully ratify the negotiations, and many opponents consider the reformed negotiations as ‘worthless’. Hence the campaign to leave — or ‘Brexit’, which is an abbreviation for ‘British exit’.”


DM “Why has this all happened?”

BJ “In 1951, the concept of a free-trade zone and better economic integration was discussed, and, in March 1957, a six-country alliance of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany was established [by signing the “Treaty of Rome”] known as the Common Market. The creation was a rebuilding process in a pretty much bankrupt Europe, resulting in mutual benefits as well as having the aim of preventing any future wars between member states. In 1961, the UK applied to join this exclusive club but the application was rejected by France, fearing US back-door influence, but eventually, the UK joined in 1973, following a ratifying referendum.

“The economies of these northern European countries was similar and the club became a huge success with the Common Agricultural Policy, or CAP, being the most successful policy implementation. Since then, the Common Market has changed from an economic alliance to a more political alliance, resulting in an extended 28-member ‘federal state’ of 500 million, changing the name along the way to the ‘European Community’ to the present, ‘European Union’, or EU. Turkey, with a population of approximately 80 million, is the latest country aiming to become a full member. “Large sections of the British public now consider the ‘new’, extended EU is not the organisation that the country voted to join in 1973. British sovereignty and border control has been eroded, and 60% of all laws applicable to British subjects are created and passed by the EU Parliament in Brussels, which is also the capital of Belgium. Many of the laws are created by faceless and unelected EU bureaucrats, and the UK has little power to influence or change laws that are seen as benefitting other 27 member states and economies.”


DM “Surely, the UK will be better-off by remaining in the EU?”

BJ “That’s the £55 million question [A$109.3m]. The UK pays £55 million every day — or £350m [A$695.5m] per week — as its contribution to being an EU member. The UK receives approximately 60% back as a rebate. The UK does not have any control over how and where the rebate money is spent. This is decided by the EU.

“However, it is the rules and regulation that are seen as restricting our industries. For example, AHDB Dairy is funded by a producer levy on all British dairy farmers — yet the organisation is not allowed to promote British milk. [AHDB Dairy is a subsidiary of AHDB, or the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.]. EU rules prevent AHDB Dairy from promoting its own members’ produce as this is seen as unfair competition against other EU member states.

“The same applied recently to the steel industry, which has been going through a severe downturn in the UK and globally. The UK Government was powerless to step in to support or ‘nationalise’ the steel industry, and two massive steel plants were closed with the loss of thousands of jobs.

“There are tens of thousands of these laws governing our countryside, including the distance that houses are built from heathland [five kilometres] to prevent cats from chasing birds. The EU is viewed by many as being out-dated — and now built to keep power with the EU elites, and not the people.

“The regulations imposed on agriculture are staggering, although it has to be stated that some rules are beneficial, while others are considered to be downright ridiculous. EU farm payments are a concern, as many farmers view the subsidies as a ‘necessary evil’, but the ‘red tape’ and bureaucracy involved is immense, and can only be undertaken by paying professional land agents to complete the necessary paperwork.”


DM “How much does immigration play on the fear-factor of the British public?”

BJ “Immigration is becoming a huge part of the Brexit campaign. Under the Treaty of Rome, free movement is allowed between member states – and that remains a fundamental part of EU membership. The UK is the second-largest economy in Europe, behind Germany, and the sixth largest in the world. People from the other 27 EU countries are free to move to Britain to work under the Treaty of Rome.

“There are two issues here. First: legal immigration; and secondly: illegal immigration. Last year, in the 12 months ending September 2015, more than 530,000 migrants entered the UK — including 256,000 from the EU. Over the same 12-month period, 630,000 migrants received National Insurance registration numbers so they could work, and subsequently receive UK benefits – such as housing, health, social welfare payments, and so on. Net migration into the UK has been regularly running high — last year was 330,000 — for several years.

“The sheer volume of numbers is placing incredible strain on housing, education and the National Health Service, which is a free service. The UK cannot build enough houses, enough schools or enough hospitals to cope with the increases. In London schools, an estimated 60 languages are spoken and education services have to provide interpreters. It is estimated that due to immigration increases, the UK has to build a new house every seven minutes.

“The National Health Service is reported at breaking-point, and in some areas estimates state there are not enough local family doctors, and hospitals are unable to provide the required service owing to spiralling costs. The UK could build a new hospital every week if it did not have to contribute £55m each day to the EU!

“The ongoing EU migrant crisis is a huge concern, with over 1.83 million people illegally entering the EU last year — six times more than the previous year. More than 1.1 million migrants were welcomed by Germany alone last year; additionally, Germany is expecting 2.5 million migrants to arrive in the next five years.

“EU border checkpoints have been over-run, and concerns over terrorist infiltration is immense. Once registered, all will be entitled to an EU passport, and can therefore gain entry to the UK as part of the EU’s free movement of people policy under the Treaty of Rome. On that basis, there is nothing to stop 500,000 or one million people legally entering the UK on an annual basis.”


DM “Will the EU be weakened if Brexit occurs?”

BJ “This is just my personal opinion: yes, I believe the EU will be weakened if the UK leaves. I consider the migrant crisis allied to a Brexit may, and I repeat, may, lead to the collapse of the EU in its present form. There is also the financial concern over the euro currency and Euro-zone. Britain maintained the pound sterling, as is not part of the failing currency union. The euro is in deep trouble and there may be another financial crisis similar to 2008.

“Financially, the euro currency is a potential future disaster area, with countries such as Spain having 55% unemployment in its population who are aged under 25.

“The Brexit campaigners want to be free of undemocratic EU centralist policy, passed by laws in Brussels, and pursue global markets in other countries such as Australia, Canada, China and USA and so one. Trade tariffs will have to be negotiated with these countries as well as within the EU, should the UK leave.

“It may seem confusing to Australians, where a points system determines immigration policy and effectively who can and cannot live and work in Australia. The old Common Market was originally similar to the 12-country Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP — but with the free movement of people. [TPP members are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.]

“It’s not hard to imagine how Australians and Canadians would feel if 60% of their laws were made by unelected bureaucrats in a 12-country TPP parliament residing in another country? Or if the free movement was considered of millions of people to live and work in the USA from Mexico, Peru, Vietnam or Singapore?

“The USA would not allow 11 other countries to make 60% of its laws and overrule its democratically elected administration. Would Australia or the US open its border controls and allow unrestricted freedom of movement from the other 11 TPP countries without the need to produce a passport?

“One final point on security: the EU makes a strong play on the fact there have not been any wars — and is eager to bask in the acclaim. Since 1945, the security of Europe has been the responsibility of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, of which Britain is a member. But in fairness, the United States has backed and guaranteed the security and freedom of Europe for the past 70 years, and this has been underpinned by the US dollar.”

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Friends of Recently Deceased Australian Dairyman Show His Favourite Cow to Victory at the IDW Brown Swiss Show

This year’s Brown Swiss show at International Dairy Week was not only about the cows.

In an oppressively hot day where temperatures peaked at 42 degrees there was also the weight of the knowledge that 30-year-old breeder Jeremy Josefski was not there.

Jeremy was tragically killed in a car accident in October on the final leg of his family’s shift to Victoria.

Jeremy Josefski’s family surround the Intermediate and Reserve Intermediate which was exhibited by Tandara Brown Swiss. Photo: Fleur Ferguson.

Jeremy Josefski’s family surround the Intermediate and Reserve Intermediate which was exhibited by Tandara Brown Swiss. Photo: Fleur Ferguson.

His wife, Leah, daughters Keeva and Cree and Jeremy’s family were at the show to watch friends and colleagues finish off and show Jeremy’s four-year-old Dryfesdale Fantastic Four. She would win her class, Best Udder of class and Honourable Mention Champion Brown Swiss in an emotional result.

Ben Govett with his 2016 Grand Champion Brown Swiss, Tandara Dynasty Fortuna 2.

Ben Govett with his 2016 Grand Champion Brown Swiss, Tandara Dynasty Fortuna 2.

Fantastic Four was the former Junior Champion at the Brisbane Royal under US judge Allen Bassler (Old Mill Brown Swiss) in 2012. Leah also spoke when the Intermediate Champion was presented in memory of Jeremy – to Tandara Brown Swiss. It was a moment few will forget.

Everyone knows how much Ben Govett loves his cows.

Everyone knows how much Ben Govett loves his cows.

Outside of the many memories of Jeremy that surrounded the show ground, the day belonged to Tandara Brown Swiss. Ben Govett brought a team of 10-head. He would go on and win seven classes, Reserve Junior and Honourable Mention Junior Champion, Intermediate and Reserve Intermediate, Senior and Reserve Senior Champion, Best Udder and Grand Champion with Tandara Dynasty Fortuna 2. No-one was surprised when the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banner was handed Tandara’s way too.

Fortuna 2 is six years old with four calves. Judge Paul Trapp from the US (who judged the first Brown Swiss show at IDW when the show ) summed up his thoughts.

“She’s got that dairy strength I’m looking for,” judge Trapp said. “She’s got that width and capacity. She was Best Udder and she represents the Brown Swiss breed really well. We breed for longevity, outstanding feet and legs and beautiful mammary systems – and that’s what this cow has.”

As always, a strong team lies behind the popular Tandara team.

As always, a strong team lies behind the popular Tandara team.

IDW show owner Brian Leslie summed up the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor achievement: “Tandara have certainly won both banners – as they have many times,” he said. “You are great promoters of the Swiss breed. We thank you, Ben, and your family for the effort you put in. Congratulations.”

Ben said Fortuna 2 was a former Reserve Junior Champion at IDW. Yesterday was her first Grand title. She calved in September and she had just been crowned the Victorian On-Farm Competition Champion before IDW. Her dam has also held the IDW Grand title.

“I’m pretty happy with how the day went. Couldn’t have gone better – to win every class we were out in,” Ben said.

Wintergreen Brace Weave.

Wintergreen Brace Weave.

In the Guernsey show there was no getting around Wintergreen Brace Weave, owned by the Joyce family, of Kyabram. Weave won the five-year-old class (with three calves) under judge Murray Sowter, of Murribrook Holsteins in NSW.

Wintergreen Brace Weave (left) joins First Love McKenzie (1st six years) owned by the Shea family and 1st four years, Lawarra Aaron Bracelet (owned by the Joyce family). Photo: Fleur Ferguson.

Wintergreen Brace Weave (left) joins First Love McKenzie (1st six years) owned by the Shea family and 1st four years, Lawarra Aaron Bracelet (owned by the Joyce family). Photo: Fleur Ferguson.

The story becomes more interesting because some of her owners are also involved in the fairy tale story of Florando SD Koala 7th – who is the only cow of any breed to win International Dairy Week (IDW) four times in a row, the only Guernsey in Australia to achieve an EX94 classification and the first cow in the world to be crowned the Guernsey Global Golden Cow of the Year.

The best moment for any exhibitor.

The best moment for any exhibitor.

Steve (and Renee) and Gary (and Nola) Joyce, who were better known in the Holstein breed until Koala, were back in the limelight with another outstanding exhibit that could not be caught.

They bought Weave in a private sale out of the South Australian herd, owned by the Butler family.

“Steve has a passion for cows of any breed,” Renee Joyce said. “And he wants to help get the Guernseys out there to be as good as the Holsteins.”

Weave calved in September 2015 and they plan to calve her down and return next year to defend her title.

Low Milk Prices and High Water Costs Cause Strain on IDW Illawarra Show

An overriding factor came charging to the top on the first day of the breed shows at International Dairy Week (IDW) in Australia.

The toll tough milk prices and high water costs had taken on many was evident in the strain across the faces of competitors no matter the breed or the colour of the ribbons they won.

Once again, Australia’s biggest dairy show was a bright light on many registered breeders’ calendars. And the big guns came out when the results started to unfold in the Illawarra and Ayrshire breeds first up.

Llandovery Ja-Bob Stella, won the aged cow class, Best Udder, Senior and Grand Champion.

Llandovery Ja-Bob Stella, won the aged cow class, Best Udder, Senior and Grand Champion.

The Illawarra show had one subject line – Llandovery Illawarras. Owned by Tony and Elle Hayes, the family effort is put together by sisters Zoe and Taya Hayes. Today they won Junior Champion, Intermediate Champion, Grand Champion, Best Udder, Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor and they bred the Premier Sire, Llandovery Jinnys Empire.

The Champion contenders (l-r) were 1st four-year-old Llandovery JR Joan 982 (C Rapley and RK and JR Gordon), 2nd four-year-old Riversleigh Scarlet Dorris 2 (Tuhan family trust), 1st five-year-old Braelee BP Dairymaid 2-Twin (Glenbrook Illawarras) and 1st aged cow Llandovery Ja-Bob Stella.

The Champion contenders (l-r) were 1st four-year-old Llandovery JR Joan 982 (C Rapley and RK and JR Gordon), 2nd four-year-old Riversleigh Scarlet Dorris 2 (Tuhan family trust), 1st five-year-old Braelee BP Dairymaid 2-Twin (Glenbrook Illawarras) and 1st aged cow Llandovery Ja-Bob Stella.

“We didn’t expect to get all three Champions. We’re just overwhelmed,” Tony said. “It’s fantastic. I hought we had a good chance for Champion, but to win all three is a first for the breed, so pretty special, I guess.”


Intermediate Illawarra (right) was Llandovery Blushes Queenette (owned by the Hayes family) and Reserve was Riversleigh Zeus Stella 20 (owned by the Tuhan family).

Intermediate Illawarra (right) was Llandovery Blushes Queenette (owned by the Hayes family) and Reserve was Riversleigh Zeus Stella 20 (owned by the Tuhan family).

The family is milking 530 cows on 800 acres three times a day. Tony confirmed the pressure of recent expansions and the challenging milk and water prices had contributed to a forgettable season.


Llandovery LB Betty (right) started the day off for the Hayes family when she won Junior Champion. Reserve was Glenbrook Poppy 6 (Glenbrook Illawarras).

Llandovery LB Betty (right) started the day off for the Hayes family when she won Junior Champion. Reserve was Glenbrook Poppy 6 (Glenbrook Illawarras).

The show was competitive throughout and from the four-year-old, judge Ryan Weigel, from the United States, had plenty of worthy options.

For me the dark red cow. I just love her from head to toe. She spells milk. I just love her Love the mammary system. The Reserve Champion is just a little bit different kind of cow. She’s maybe not as big as the other cows, but they don’t have to be big, they have to be good. And in my opinion…she’s pretty darn good.

The Hayes family left no stone unturned creating breed history when they won Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Grand Champion, Premier Sire and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor.

The Hayes family left no stone unturned creating breed history when they won Junior, Intermediate, Senior and Grand Champion, Premier Sire and Premier Breeder and Exhibitor.

There’s a lot of things to love about her – her uphill run, her style and balance and there is just a little more quality in her mammary over our Honourable Mention. Not taking anything away from this Honourable Mention cow – she’s quite the cow in her own right.”

The Ayrshire show was all about Cheryl Liebich (Cher-Bar) and Boldview Ayrshires, who are run at the same farm by a family effort that travelled eight hours from Jervois in South Australia to compete. With a tough season and some personal challenges within the family, deciding to come was in the air until the last minute. But when they decide to do something, there is no going back.


Cher-Bar Rippa Lasselle on the way to the Champion she owned today. She is owned by Cheryl Liebich, Jervois in South Australia.

Cher-Bar Rippa Lasselle on the way to the Champion she owned today. She is owned by Cheryl Liebich, Jervois in South Australia.

Their lead exhibit was Adelaide’s multiple and reigning Grand Champion for her breed, Cher-Bar Rippa Lasselle. Boldview and Cher-Bar have won Grand Champion Ayrshire at Adelaide for eight successive years with just two cows – Lasselle (2012-2015) and Cher-Bar MP Incarnate (2008-2011).

And now, their six-year-old EX92 entry, Lasselle, is the IDW Grand Champion after calving in June.


The aged cow class of Ayrshires made an impressive display

The aged cow class of Ayrshires made an impressive display

“We didn’t know if we were asking too much of her,” Cheryl said. “But she pulled it out in the end and it was just a huge relief and a much needed boost for us all.”

The aged cow class had the attention of the audience.

The aged cow class had the attention of the audience.

Boldview Ayrshires picked up Premier Breeder and Exhibitor. Hayley Braendler picked up the award.

Boldview Ayrshires picked up Premier Breeder and Exhibitor. Hayley Braendler picked up the award.

Junior Champion (right) Regal Park Reality Solax (owned by Stew and Beck Cole of Wagga, NSW), centre is the Reserve Junior, Boldview Dream-A-Rilla (owned by Boldview Farms of Jervois, SA) and Honourable Mention (left) is Paschendaele Vicki Titan (owned by the Eagles Partnership of Gooloogong, NSW).

Junior Champion (right) Regal Park Reality Solax (owned by Stew and Beck Cole of Wagga, NSW), centre is the Reserve Junior, Boldview Dream-A-Rilla (owned by Boldview Farms of Jervois, SA) and Honourable Mention (left) is Paschendaele Vicki Titan (owned by the Eagles Partnership of Gooloogong, NSW).

Young Red and White Holstein takes out IDW Youth Show

Two young people with multiple runs on the board – that credit International Dairy Week’s (IDW) youth show for helping shape their careers – were charged with making the decisions on the first day of action at the Tatura Show Grounds, two hours north of Melbourne, Australia.

All breeds were celebrated in the Youth Show.

All breeds were celebrated in the Youth Show.

Brad Gavenlock judging the Youth Show

Brad Gavenlock judging the Youth Show

Brad Gavenlock recently re-located back to Australia after nine months living and farming in Central Wisconsin.


Hayley Menzies is an integral part of the 600-strong Cairnsdale Holsteins and Rivendell Jersey herd at Nowra (NSW). Notably, she is also the daughter of Lyn and Maurice Boyd – of Brunchilli Jersey fame – who have won Premier Breeder in the Jersey show at IDW for the last 13 years.

Both spoke about their youth experience before placing this year’s champions at the show that welcomes many international visitors – including a strong North American contingent.


“I’ve been fortunate to show a few heifers out here, but at the end of the day we’re a small industry, we’re a tight industry, and I think we all need to respect every breed for what they are because every breed has its place,” Brad said.

“To see these heifers who are representing their breeds today is quite a compliment to the junior show at IDW.”

He said the experience was priceless.

Ella Young was on the same page as her lead, Calthorpe Vanahlem Cream.

Ella Young was on the same page as her lead, Calthorpe Vanahlem Cream.

“It was that and beyond,” Brad said. “IDW has grown immensely and the youth show is as strong as the open show in some respects. I give credit to all those that support it so early in the week. The day I got the email asking about judging IDW, it made a time during a pretty miserable winter (in North America) pretty good. The youth show has also given young people like myself and Hayley a chance to judge in front of international visitors. You never know where that will lead.”

“That’s why we came back to Australia. We missed IDW and we missed showing with our close family and friends. It’s great to be home and it’s great to be settled.”

BV_SeniorChamp_JuniorLeader copy

And it was Sun Vale Holsteins who dominated, winning Junior Champion (senior handler), Honourable Mention Junior Champion (junior handler), and Senior Champion (junior leader). It would take them through to the ultimate title – Grand Champion of the Youth Show with a young Red and White Holstein entry.


“We were hoping to make the top five,” Katie Anderson, of Sun Vale said. “We’re pumped with the day. We never expected it.”

Brad said he couldn’t go past Sun Vale Redliner Wonka-Red. Wonka is a Fradon Redliner from a Reality. Born March 2013, she freshened in October. Katie said her parents bought Wonka’s Advent granddam from Travis and Melissa Deans (Leader Holsteins). They bred the Advent to Reality and it was the Reality that had formed the backbone of the family at Sun Vale. Brad first made her Champion of the in-milk show for the Junior Leaders before taking her all the way.

Sun Vale’s triumphant display.

Sun Vale’s triumphant display.

“She was so well balanced and she showed me the depth of fore and rear rib and more dairyness right through than the Reserve,” Brad said.

He made it clear early on he was looking for balance.

“If you’re going to get sick of listening to me saying ‘balance’, well, it’s probably a good time to leave because I’m going to keep saying it all day long,” Brad said.

“If they’re not balanced, then I’m probably not going to win with them.”

Avonlea Selector Figsie was Honourable Mention

Avonlea Selector Figsie was Honourable Mention

While Brad was impressed by his two young in-milk Champions, a young heifer that gave away three months in her 2015-born class was right up in there with her 14-year-old handler, Ashleigh Van Leeuwen. Avonlea Selector Figsie, sired by a homebred Windbrook son, and owned by the Gardiner family, of Avonlea Holsteins, slid into Honourable Mention Grand beside two in-milk entries.

Elmar Zelgardis Jessica 3 (Brady Hore) was Senior Champion (senior leader) and Mikandan Vanahlems Caramel 2275 (Olivia Hendebo) was Reserve Senior Champion (senior leader)
Elmar Zelgardis Jessica 3 (Brady Hore) was Senior Champion (senior leader) and Mikandan Vanahlems Caramel 2275 (Olivia Hendebo) was Reserve Senior Champion (senior leader)

“For me, that heifer gets me excited,” Brad said. “And for all the ones that think I’m crazy placing her there – when she wins next year – I’ll be the first one to tell you,” Brad said.

John Gardiner said that they were really good friends with Ashleigh’s family and she had asked to take a calf.

“We got one for her last year and she got second and we said we’d try and find one for her this year again,” John said. “We really just wanted to give Ashleigh the chance, even though we liked the calf, but we never expected to do anything like that. Ashleigh did a really nice job on her.”

In the showmanship classes, judge Hayley Menzies was taken back to the first year she competed in the youth show in 1999.

“I went in the paraders classes every year until I won,” Hayley said. “It was a real buzz to be out here today. I guess I’m a picky handler myself, and I’m very hard on myself, so I knew what I was looking for.”

She had a big job in a ring that was quickly heating up at the end of the afternoon. There were 43 handlers in the biggest class of the day – the Junior Handlers.

“As a whole, there was class where I asked every competitor when their animals had been born and everyone told me. Back when I started, hardly anyone would have known that. There is definite progression and to have more than 40 in a class was amazing,” Hayley said.

“Overall, it was wonderful to see so many young people out there today having a go.”

Complete Show Results

Grand Champion Heifer: Sun Vale Redliner Wonka-Red, Leader – Renee Anderson

Reserve Champion Heifer – Elmar Zelgardis Jessica 3, Leader – Brady Hore

Honourable Mention – Avonlea Selector Figsie, Leader – Ashleigh Van Leeuwen

Senior Reserve Champion in Milk Heifer – Junior Leader, Cobrico Shuttle Susette. Leader – Jake Scott

Honourable Mention Carisma Cairnhill Presence-1-ET. Leader – Zali Deenen,

Junior Leader, Sun Vale Redliner Wonka-Red, Leader – Renee Anderson

 Senior Reserve Champion in Milk Heifer – Senior Leader, Strongbark Sid Georgette. Leader – Erika Quinn

Honourable Mention – Wallacedale Topeka Melanie. Leader – Scott Lockeridge

Senior Champion in Milk Heifer – Senior Leader Elmar Zelgardis Jessica 3. Leader Brady Hore

Junior Champion Heifer – Junior Leader, Avonlea Selector Figsie, Leader Ashleigh Van Leeuwen

Reserve Junior Champion Heifer – Junior Leader Avonlea Sanchez Alarna-IMP-ET, Leader – Luke Gardiner

Honourable Mention, Sun Vale Ninja Lady, Leader Renee Anderson

Junior Champion Heifer – Senior Leader, Sun Vale Spectrum Renita – Leader Katie Anderson

Reserve Junior Champion Heifer – Senior Leader, Runway Veronicas Cupid, Leader – Thomas Wade

Honourable Mention  Lightning Ridge Armani Licorice-RED. Leader Sarah Dodd

Class 01 Heifer born 01/07/15 – 31/12/15 – Senior Leader
1. Lightening Ridge Armani Licorice – Sarah Dodd
2. Shirlinn Romney Queen – Jaclyn Lindsay
3. Enterprise Burette Gaiety 4533 – Hayley Maddern
4. Gorbro Atwood D Kassie – Corey Macgillivray
5. Billabong Attorney Dingles – Courtney Afford
Class 02 Heifer born 01/07/15 to 31/12/15 Junior Leader
1. Burn- Brae Baltimor – Isabella Mackie
2. Miami Tequila Girlie 5115 – ET – Abbie Hanks
3. Burn- Brae Max Maize – Scott Mackie
4. Eclipsepierce LR Class Cale IMP-ET – Anna Dickson
Class 03 Heifer born 01/04/15 to 30/06/15 Senior Leader
1. Sun Vale Armani Rommy – Katie Anderson
2. Juggling Babs 7262 – Matt Gregory
3. Riversleigh Pingerly Dorris 4 – Rachael Barnes
4. Kelenmare Liquid Gold Evelina – Rebecca Daley
5. Gorbro Atchez Shimmer – Caleb Quinn
Class 04 Heifer born 01/04/15 to 30/06/15 Junior Leader 
1. Avonlea Sanchez Alarna-IMP-ET – Luke Gardiner
2. Carisma Dreamy paradise 1-ET – Mia Deenen
3. Hillview Park Kaliber Victoria – Tahlia Railton
4. Foleama Lix Rose II – Charlie Lloyd
5. Lloydstar Flawless Vanilla – Sarah Lloyd
Class 05 Heifer born 01/01/15 to 31/03/15 Senior Leader
1. Runway Veronicas Cupid-ET – Thomas Wade
2. Burnside Gun Honey – Olivia Handebo
3. Llandovery LB Betty – Zoe Hayes
4. Southern Star Shadow Pam – Sophia Wright
5. Elmar Guthrie Farley 2 – Brady More
Class 06 Heifer born 01/01/15 to 31/03/15 Junior Leader
1. Avonlea Selector Figsie – Ashleigh Van Leeuwen
2. Sun Vale Ninja Lady – Renee Anderson
3. Woodlawn McCutchen Delight 5657 – Josh Blake
4. Cleveland Dashdawn Butter – Mikaela Daniel
5. Ghinni Creek Hariette – Jess Eagles
Class 7 Heifer born 01/07/14 to 31/12/14 Senior Leader 
1. Glenbrook Poppy 6 – Joanna Owers
2. Ripponlea Davids Duchess 2872 – Alana Schulz
3. Diamond Hill Maddison Bambi Star 2 – Cameron Lindsay
4. Quality Ridge Windbreak Bonnie 3-ET – Sarah Dodd
5. Gorbro Goldendreams Shimmer – Erika Quinn
Class 8 Heifer born 01/07/14 to 31/12/14 Junior Leader 
1. Brunchilli Excitation Belle – Billy Michael
2. Langdale Verbatim Martha – Brianna Weaver
3. Brindabella Goldchip Natalie – Georgia Sieben
4. Diamond Hill CV Tequila Crystalyn – Mali Dillon
5. Wallumlands Ethel 22 – Charlotte Strong
Class 9 Heifer, Dry born 01/04/14 to 30/06/14 Senior Leader 
1. Sun Vale Spectrum Renita – Katie Anderson
2. Camberfield Galaxy – Sam Hackett
3. Glenbrook Venus 30 – Brittany Liebich
4. Dryfesdale Tanbark Pretzel – Rebecca Daley
Class 10 Heifer, Dry born 01/04/14 to 30/06/14 Junior Leader 
1. Calthorpe Vanahlem Cream – Ella Young
2. Three Creeks Rosarian 8 – Sophie Chittick
3. Brunchilli Gator Maquita – Jack Michael
4. Kookaburra Gwab Boondabar – Joseph Clarke
Class 11 Heifer, Dry born 01/01/14 to 31/03/14 Senior Leader 
1. Sun Vale Attitude Jodie-RC – Katie Anderson
2. Shirlinn Tequila Dawn – Jaclyn Lundsay
3. Lemon Grove Honeymoon – Zoe Hayes
4. Wisteria Park Sweet Dreams – Sarah Ludington
5.Paschendaele Vicki Titan – Jamie Why brow
Class 12 Heifer, Dry born 01/01/14 to 31/03/14 Junior Leader 
1. Rowlands Park Brax Shamrock-ET – Kaitlyn Wishart
2. Pooley Bridge -Rover kay 179 – Rachel Lucich
3. Emu Banks Shuttle Shade 7427 – Rachel Dickson
Class 13 Heifer, Dry born 01/07/13 to 31/12/13 Senior Leader 
1. Bolview Dream-A-Rilla – Brittany Liebich
2. Pooley Bridge Fever Blackrose 48 – Sam Hill
3. Bolview Rhythm Atalia – Dylan McDonald
4.Sunshine Farm Fowler 5 – Dylan Morris
5. Inverell Fernleaf 193 – Tracey Millett
Class 14 Heifer, Dry born 01/07/13 to 31/12/13 Junior Leader 
1. Burn Brae Baltimore Jolene – Jasmin Mackie
2. Bruncilli Glory belle 2 – Christopher Wright
3. Segenhoe Park Reginald Patsy – Cally O’Shannassy
4. Boldview Faraway Dreamer – Hayley Brander
Class 15 Heifer, in Milk born 01/07/13 to 30/06/14 Senior Leader
1. Wallacedale Topeka Melaine – Scott Lockeridge (sells Tuesday 11:30am)
2. Lindon deb Fire Kite-RED – Katie Anderson
3. Darrynvale Vans Cheryl – Ellie Hourigan
4. Juggling Hazel 6866 – Matt Gregory (sells Tuesday 11:30am)
5. Pooley Bridge-Aftershock – Sarah Dodd
Class 16 Heifer, in Milk born 01/07/13 to 30/06/14 Junior Leader 
1. Crobico Shuttle Susette – Jake Scott
2. Pooley bridge fever Kay – Rachel Lucich
3. Gower Park tequila Marthas Joy – Allie McDonald
4. Chevron AS Lady – Taya Hayes
Class 17 Heifer, in Milk born 01/01/13 to 30/06/13 Senior Leader
1. Elmar Zelgardis Jessica 3 – Brady Hore
2. Mikandan Vanahlems Caramel 2275 – Olivia Hendebo
3. Strongbark Sid Georgette – Erika Quinn
4. Sensei Atwood Electra – Anthony Glennen
5. Bluechip Windbreak Paradise 2-ET – Rachel Mason
Class 18 Heifer, in Milk born 01/01/13 to 30/06/13 Junior Leader 
1. Sun Vale Redliner Wonka-RED – Renee Anderson
2. Carisma Cairnhill Presence-1-ET – Zali Deenen
3. Hillview Park Brina Eve – Tahlia Railton
4. Rowlands Park Braxton Farlex – Kaitlyn Wishart
5. Hyena PP Caboose – Cally O’Shannassy
Senior Championship Handler – Jaclyn Lindsay
Intermediate Championship Handler – Zoe Hayes
Junior Championship Handler –Sarah Lloyd

Australian genetics in two high profile Canadian barns

Two well-known Canadian barns have opened their doors to a decorated Australian cow family.

The news bubbled up in the lead-up to Australasia’s premier dairy show – International Dairy Week (IDW) – which will be held at Tatura (two hours north of Melbourne) between January 17 and 22.

This year’s Holstein judge is Pierre Boulet, from Montmagny, Québec and he is at the epicentre of the story.

Pierre and his partner, Katie Coates, milk 110 Holsteins. Pierre also deals in thousands of cattle annually for commercial dairies and export. He is the co-owner and auctioneer for Les Encans Boulet.

Pierre’s keen eye to find the good ones and develop them is well documented (particularly) through the achievements of three EX97 global household names in the business – Thrulane James Rose EX-97-2E 3*, Bruynland Storm Kendra EX97 and Loyalyn Goldwyn June EX97.

In November, Pierre bought milking yearling Fraeland After Bash VG87 for $24,500 from Fraeland Holsteins, in Ontario, through the Sale of the Stars at The Royal.

Fraeland After Bash VG87-2YRS-Can sold by Fraeland Farms to Ferme Pierre Boulet.

Fraeland After Bash VG87-2YRS-Can sold by Fraeland Farms to Ferme Pierre Boulet.

After Bash’s granddam was Australia’s two-time IDW Grand Champion Holstein (2005 and 2007) – Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E.

Fraeland Goldwyn Bonnie EX95 is owned by Fraeland Farms who imported her as an embryo to Canada. She has established the Australian family in North America.

Fraeland Goldwyn Bonnie EX95 is owned by Fraeland Farms who imported her as an embryo to Canada. She has established the Australian family in North America.

The Aftershock daughter is out of an EX95 Goldwyn, which Ontario dairyman Steve Fraser (Fraeland Farms), imported in a package of embryos from Jed Bonnie. Steve came into the embryos because he is the co-owner of Jed Bonnie with Leslie Farms – his good friends and colleagues in Australia – who managed Jed Bonnie on behalf of the partnership during the height of her career from their northern Victorian base.

Australia’s two-time IDW Grand Champion Holstein in 2005 and 2007 – Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E. Photo: CrazyCow In Print.

Australia’s two-time IDW Grand Champion Holstein in 2005 and 2007 – Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E. Photo: CrazyCow In Print.

Steve, who last saw Jed Bonnie aged 15 when he visited Australia in 2014, says her Goldwyn daughter is a head-turner and a favourite at Fraeland.

Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E

Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E

“Even this fall, when she was milking about 19 months, visitors were amazed at the cow for her dairy length, udder and her mobility for an eight-year-old cow,” Steve said.

“We don’t fit her into our program, we try to work with hers. She is quite the cow to work with. She is the boss around here. She is an extremely dairy cow with an awesome udder. She may not have had the stature to run with some of the cows at the Royal or WDE in her prime. But she is fast becoming a great brood cow.

“I have sold heifers locally for people to show that are now developing them into VG two-year-olds. I have exported embryos from her to Europe, New Zealand, Australia and even sold some locally. She is due early March to Doorman and she will be flushed heavily again next year.

“With the few daughters she has, and how they have developed, we would really like work with her reproductively and not worry about how much we show her now.”

Although showing is no longer a priority, the Goldwyn held her own, winning Reserve All Ontario Junior two-year-old in 2009, 1st Jr 2yr and Res Int. Champ Autumn Opportunity 2009 and 2nd 4yr Dufferin Wellington show 2011. She was also 2nd 5yr and Res Grand Dufferin Wellington 2012, 2nd 5yr Autumn Opportunity show 2012 and 1st aged cow and Hon. Men Champ Dufferin Wellington 2014.

“I do rate the Aftershock as a tremendous young heifer with an extremely high-ceiling future. She has an incredible udder. She is so very correct through her loin, rump and rear leg. Currently she lacks a bit of balance. She is very tall with an open rib but you would like to deepen her rib and give her some more width of chest. To be honest, she is made quite a bit like her granddam, Jed Bonnie, as a first lactation animal. If all goes well, she could be quite a cow in a year or two.”

Pierre confirmed he had big plans for the young cow.

“I noticed her before the sale and kept my eye on her in the ring in hopes of buying her,” Pierre said. “She has an exceptional bone quality, she’s very dairy and has a great udder. When cows have feet and legs like hers, you know they’ll be around for a long time. To top it off she has a great pedigree behind her, and she comes from a good family.

“She’s due back in the fall so we will be working with her to get her in top shape to hopefully bring to the fall shows,” he said. “I really like bringing that kind of pedigree into the barn with a good sire stack and strong family because it’s the type of families that you want to breed from and develop.”

The root of the family comes from Master Breeders Fairvale Holsteins, owned by Ross and Leanne Dobson, in Tasmania.

Fairvale is Australia’s most successful prefix when it comes to breeding Grand Champion Holsteins at IDW – despite being separated from the mainland by 240km of ocean and expensive transit costs.

Still, three cows – bred and reared at Fairvale – have collectively won five IDW Champion Holstein titles (for three different exhibitors) between 2005 and 2014.

The anchors for the Bonnie family internationally is the EX95 Goldwyn at Fraeland and an EX94 Derry daughter at Bluechip Genetics in Australia (Fairvale’s longtime partner in marketing its profile animals).

The Derry, now 10, was the lucky result of the single C-grade embryo Fairvale and Bluechip retained after they sold Jed Bonnie to Leslie Farms and Fraeland in 2004 soon after she had won Reserve Champion Holstein at IDW milking over 300 days, set for IDW 2005.

Fairvale and Bluechip have since sold 40 embryos from the Derry, and 30 live animals. Ten Bonnies remain at Bluechip – including the 2015 IDW Junior Champion, Bluechip Goldchip Bonnie (x VG87 Shottle x EX94 Derry x EX-1E Jed Bonnie). The Goldchip will return to IDW this year as a milking senior two-year-old.

“Over the years, Bluechip have developed and shown many Bonnie family members from their branch of the family,” Steve said. “Our Goldwyn Bonnie does not have as many daughters as the Derry, but they all have been showable and marketable and I am starting to admire and like the consistency in which this family breeds for show type,” he added.

Fraeland has an 88-point second calved Sid and two October 2015-born Bradnick daughters. Goldwyn Bonnie is carrying a Doorman heifer and two more Doorman heifers will be born in the spring.

Pierre has never visited Australia before. Now, he has a vested interest in seeing what the country has to offer – including seeing the full sister to After Bash sell at IDW (she will be offered by Windy Vale Holsteins).

He also has Australian partners in Goldwyn June (Diamond Genetics – Justin Walsh, Phil Duncan and Matt Warnes) in addition to Kevin Doeberiener, of Ohio. The final piece to the jigsaw puzzle will be landing on Australian soil and seeing what the top cows in the southern hemisphere look like lined up in the ring together.

“I’ve always heard of the quality of the Australian genetics and wanted to make it to the show for several years,” Pierre said. “I guess the opportunity just never presented itself, and it all seems to be happening around the same time. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to visit a bit and check the cow families out.”

This is a journey that begs the question – could it signal a subtle shift as North American breeders widen their net looking for fresh genetics in a market, saturated with core families?

The Bullvine will be at IDW capturing pictures, interviews and results with CrazyCow In Print12469421_799074293536778_5170522758805005227_o – the publications known the world over for bringing the complete story.

Melbourne 2015 Royal – Working their way to the top

Two years ago Katie, 17, and Renee Anderson, 15, stood last in almost every class at the Royal Melbourne Dairy Show.

They made a decision that day to change those results, and late last month the teenagers dominated the new-look all breeds youth show under Canadian judge Brian Carscadden – taking home $4200 in prize money.

Katie and Renee Anderson with their Senior Champion and Supreme Champion heifer, Bluechip Toffees Apple-RC.

Katie and Renee Anderson with their Senior Champion and Supreme Champion heifer, Bluechip Toffees Apple-RC.


They won Champion, Reserve Champion and Honourable Mention in the senior heifer show, Supreme Champion of the show, and Champion and Reserve Champion handler.


It finished off a spring show programme that also notably included them winning Grand and Reserve Grand Champion handler at the Adelaide Royal two weeks earlier.

Their Supreme Champion heifer, Bluechip Toffees Apple-RC, headed off the winner of the junior heifer show, Quality Ridge Windbrook Bonnie-3-ET, owned by Jayke and Bec Fisher.

Judge Carscadden said Toffees Apple was “striking” with very few faults and she was “very easily” his champion. Sired by Aftershock, she was purchased at the start of this year from Bluechip Genetics and the 18-month-old Holstein heifer still boards at Bluechip. Her grand-dam is the $US1 million cow, KHW Regiment Apple EX96.

“It’s pretty overwhelming, I guess,” Katie Anderson said. “We weren’t expecting it at all. We were shocked how well we went – in everything.”

Katie and Renee’s father, Greg, said he was as happy for his daughters as “a dog with two tails”.

“They’re doing all the work themselves and they’ve taken all the information that has been shared with them, and they are working with it,” he said. “It makes them grow up quicker, but I think it’s better for them in the long run.”

Judge Carscadden had watched the two sisters throughout the day, so he knew what to expect once they hit the ring for the handlers’ competition. Brian is no stranger to leading high profile animals – he was booked three months ahead of World Dairy Expo to lead in every Holstein class for some of the biggest names in the global business.

“For me, the most important thing is: ‘who leads that animal the best they can at all times’,” Brian told the audience.

“Sometimes when I get to the senior handlers class, I ask myself: ‘If I owned a really good one and I was heading to International Dairy Week, for example, who would I choose to show that animal for me? And, there is one person out here that I would hire [his champion, Katie Anderson], because she never gives up.

“She has a big heifer. A difficult heifer. You’ll notice she came into line and she could have settled, but she kept working until she got her in the perfect position. When I came back around the end she had her heifer set up perfectly and I appreciate that effort, and I appreciate that she recognised the heifer wasn’t at her best and she got her to where she needed to be.”


For 18-year-old Keeley Warren, her first Melbourne Show has given her the chance to visit emerging dairy regions in South East Asia – courtesy of a $10,000 Dairy Youth Handlers’ Travel Scholarship. The award was announced at the end of judging and the first-year university student said she was excited and overwhelmed. She works part-time for well-known Holstein and Jersey breeders Stewart and Hayley Menzies, at Nowra, New South Wales.


The show had its detractors in the lead-up to the event, because it is a long way from the heady days when it was one of Australia’s most prestigious dairy shows.

Less than 50 dairy animals were on the ground, and there were no in-milk classes offered. There was also genuine confusion in the lead up to the event, about whether the show was for open exhibitors or for juniors. In the end, open exhibitors worked it out for themselves. Most spectators felt the show had a future with a junior focus.

Judge Carscadden agreed: “I think there’s something to build on from here and it’s up to the people if they want to make it work or not,” he said.

“It’s a really beautiful facility, even though it’s not easy to get in or out of. The quality of the show was good. They weren’t deep classes. They weren’t big classes, but the ones at the top were quite good and I was able to find the type that I like, which is nice. I hope they continue to make some good money available to these young people, because without the youth, where do we go?”


Judge: Brian Carscadden, Canada

All Breeds

JUNIOR CHAMPION HEIFER – Quality Ridge Windbrook Bonnie-3-ET – sire: Quality Ridge (Jayke and Bec Fisher, Girgarre)

RESERVE – Brindabella McCutchen Nan – sire: BKM McCutchen (SD and JL Sieben, Torrumbarry)

HONOURABLE MENTION – Brindabella Woody Kay – sire: Pine Shelter Clay Wood (SD and JL Sieben, Torrumbarry)

SENIOR CHAMPION – Bluechip Toffees Apple-RC – sire: MS Atlees Sth Aftershock (GB and MM Anderson, Yarroweyah)

RESERVE – Sun Vale Attitude Sara – sire: Damartini Attitude-Red-ET (GB and MM Anderson, Yarroweyah)

HONOURABLE MENTION – Sun Vale Spectrum Renita – sire: Charpentier LFG Spectrum RC (GB and MM Anderson, Yarroweyah)

MOST SUCCESSFUL GUERNSEY HEIFER – Riverton Lewis May – sire: Riverton Wonder Lewis (EST HWR Troutbeck, Yuroke)

MOST SUCCESSFUL JERSEY HEIFER – Brunchilli Glory Belle 2 – sire: Rivendell Nates Glory IMP (owned by Brunchilli Jerseys – shown by Deniliquin High School)



8 – 10 years

1st – Jet Easterbrook (Tatura)

2nd – Catherine Michael (Deniliquin)


10 – 12 years

1st – Bailey Roberts (Katunga)

2nd – Henry Michael (Deniliquin)

3rd – Charlie Waters (Deniliquin)

12-14 years

1st – Christopher Wright (Finley High School)

2nd – Billy Michael (Deniliquin High School)

3rd – Georgia Sieben (Torrumbarry)



Christopher Wright (Finley High School)



14 – 16 years

1st – Renee Anderson (Yarroweyah)

2nd – Lincoln Sieben (Torrumbarry)

3rd – Rosie Archer (Finley High School)

16 – 18 years

1st – Katie Anderson (Yarroweyah)

2nd – Lora Schulz (Cobden)

3rd – Alana Schulz (Cobden)

18 – 21 years

1st – Rachael Barnes (Finley High School)

2nd – Keeley Warren (Wagga Wagga)

3rd – Daniel Charlton (Deniliquin High School)



Katie Anderson (Yarroweyah)

RESERVE – Renee Anderson (Yarroweyah)


For full class results –


This article first appeared in the latest edition of Crazy Cow in Print.  Click here to learn more.

New lightweight rotary design firing international interest

A revolutionary rotary dairy platform that is 80% lighter than concrete and five times stronger will be operating in Australia within months.

The design has been patented by Waikato Milking Systems from Hamilton, New Zealand, and incorporates a product usually found in bullet-proof vests and aircraft.

Demand for the Centrus platform contributed to 40% growth in Waikato’s international business last year — principally driven from demand in the USA, the UK, China, South Africa and Australia. 

Growth is expected to jump by a similar margin again this year — despite the reality that Waikato is operating in a dairying landscape struggling with disappointing milk prices.

The Centrus platforms have been the icing on the cake for Waikato’s most recent success story, but it is far from the only story. It has taken Waikato just three decades to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rotary dairy platforms and technology. 

The Centrus platform is the latest hero in Waikato Milking Systems’ business.

The platform is made using a multi-layer laminate process that includes Kevlar®, a synthetic fibre used in a host of applications from bike tyres and racing sails to probably its best-known use: body armour. Because of its high tensile strength, Kevlar is one of the strongest man-made fibres on the market. Waikato infuses it with resin in a multi-layer design, which gives it extreme impact resistance. High profile rubber mats, that are water jet-cut in Germany, are fitted and secured into the recessed moulded platform at installation.

Kevlar’s lightness and strength has been a game changer for big dairies, says Waikato’s Chief Executive Officer, Dean Bell.

“The platform is more power-efficient, because it is so much lighter,” Dean says, “but the real gain on these systems is that a rotary platform is very much like a great, big bearing. And the more stress and load you can take out of it, the longer you can go between service intervals. It just makes a lot of sense to use modern materials that are strong and also very, very light.”

Dean says candidly that Centrus has fuelled recent international inquiry, but ultimately it has been Waikato’s ability to control design, manufacture at high quality and complete full dairy installations in house, that has completed the big picture.

The new Centrus dairy platform is 80% lighter and five times stronger than concrete. Photo supplied.

The new Centrus dairy platform is 80% lighter and five times stronger than concrete. Photo supplied.

Turnkey ability a strength

The fully New Zealand-owned company is housed under one roof on 1.6 hectares in the heart of dairying country in the North Island. From there, Waikato designs, manufactures and installs everything used in the dairy – right down to the receival vessels.

Dean has been with the company 25 years, and says when it comes to milking componentry, Waikato has produced some of the most technologically advanced innovations on the market today.

“We are one of the only companies in the world that can do everything from start to finish. I actually can’t think of anyone else. With all of our divisions together under the one roof, it means we can share the common designs right down to the smallest details. There is nothing we can’t build. It’s just a matter of getting the guys together and making sure it fits.

“We have lots of pretty interesting technology and componentry that historically we’ve sold to various parts of the world. But over the last handful of years we’ve really started to get focused on our rotary expertise. And as we’ve got bigger, we started exporting complete rotary solutions.”

Big targets

He says interest in the Centrus has mainly come from big dairies – many of which are milking more than twice a day.

“The one we’ve just finished the design on is for an 84-bail dairy and, to be honest, the target audience is almost exclusively international, and it’s almost exclusively for 24-hour dairies that milk big, North American-bred Holsteins.

“The Centrus also includes the new automatic aligning pivot roller, so it’s designed for high-use dairies that never shut down. For the big international dairies, we also use steelwork that is almost three times the weight of what we use typically here in NZ or in countries that are more grazing based.”

Waikato Milking Systems had a big presence in the trade exhibits at last year’s World Dairy Expo at Madison, in the USA. The event draws 70,000 visitors from 90 countries annually. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.

Waikato Milking Systems had a big presence in the trade exhibits at last year’s World Dairy Expo at Madison, in the USA. The event draws 70,000 visitors from 90 countries annually. Photo: Dianna Malcolm.

Staff at the ready

For the first Centrus installation, not only did Waikato ship the ready-to-assemble dairy in four containers, it also sent its development team. So, if any tweaks were needed, they had the qualified staff on the ground to make it happen. It takes two weeks to install the platform and another two to three weeks to install the milking system.

“It’s a bit different doing it that way, but we wanted to have the designers seeing how things worked in practice,” Dean says. “Then it can be more of an engineering assembly.”

Waikato also produces conventional concrete rotary platforms, one of which – the Orbit – has an extra-wide (2.7m) deck, providing protection for the milking machine and a larger standing area for the cows. Its range of herringbone systems includes one that has a single 100mm milk pipe, which drains into a receiver at the end of the pit, making milking fast and uninterrupted.

Innovation award

Dairy componentry remains an important part of the business.

“Earlier this year we introduced an electronic milk meter which won the Supreme Award at the Plastics Industry Design Awards. It’s the most accurate meter on the market, giving farmers real-time information on the production of each cow.”

Dean adds that the company’s SmartD-TECT mastitis identification technology continues to be one the simplest and most accurate ways to find mastitis in individual quarters early, with the system alerting the operator. More company innovations were expected to be unveiled at the New Zealand Fieldays, in Hamilton, in June.

“We understand farmers don’t want to invest in large capital items which become outdated, so future-proofing is factored into everything we do.”

Confidence builds quality

Dean says Waikato’s focus continues to be on customer satisfaction.

“We have grown in confidence over the years. We’re building very high quality products that are very innovative, in a space where no one has operated before.

“And so, to a certain extent, I think we are pretty good at this and we’re very, very fussy. We find when we bring customers from around the world to our office – and they go through the factories and meet with us – they almost always buy.

“So, we’re not really selling in that sense. Typically they have seen a lot of our competitors already, and if they are buying from us then we’re not doing too badly. And they are making an informed decision. If we’re not the right decision, then we’re not the right decision. We want people to get to the end of any major project and feel that we were decent to deal with.

“Ideally, it makes sense for our clients to make a quick trip to New Zealand – and, it’s not the worst place in the world to visit.”

andrew crazy cow cover

This article first appeared in the June – August 2015 Edition of Crazy Cow in Print.  Click here to check out there Facebook group.

Australia misses its quota prices

Much has been written about what goes on in the market free-zone of the southern hemisphere.

The truth in 2015 is that unless the farms have no mortgage, private price contracts with niche companies or no paid staff, Australian producers are as exposed as any other nation’s to low milk prices.

It is hard to generalise on the producer’s position in the world’s third-biggest milk exporting country, because of its size and diversity. The state of Victoria produces 66% of the country’s total milk production (and 86% of the country’s export milk). So it is Victoria that gives the most complete focus to what the bulk of Australia’s dairy farmers face up to every day.

Most Australian dairy herds are challenged by extreme heat at some point of the season. Photo: Sheila Sundborg.

Most Australian dairy herds are challenged by extreme heat at some point of the season. Photo: Sheila Sundborg.

Australia is the driest continent in the world. Its farmers deal with extreme heat in the summer, and water is expensive and often restricted by the government. With heat also comes the risk of fire — and critical management decisions for animal safety and welfare. Floods are also more common that many would expect — both in the tropical parts of the nation and in other areas.

Most herds stand under sprinklers before and after milkings to ease summer temperatures that can reach regularly reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Photo: Sheila Sundborg.

Most herds stand under sprinklers before and after milkings to ease summer temperatures that can reach regularly reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Photo: Sheila Sundborg.

In short, it’s an extreme climate that is home to volatile milk pricing.

And Australia has become a target for foreign investments hunting milk — encouraged by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board regulations (FIRB), which are only triggered by the sale of Australian companies whose assets exceed A$231 million (US$176.67).

Canadian milk processor Saputo, spent more than half a billion Aussie dollars (US$382) early last year, to acquire 87.92% of Australia’s oldest surviving dairy company, Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Co Ltd (WCB).

Cynics could argue they were not necessarily buying access to the Asian market (given that Vancouver is closer to Beijing than Warrnambool) and that they were, in fact, perhaps buying access to the world’s cheapest milk.

Australia’s genetics are competitive on the world stage, with North American embryo sales now well established. And the world’s best families are represented throughout the country. Here are two Golden Dreams from the Sid daughter of O’Kalibra.

Australia’s genetics are competitive on the world stage, with North American embryo sales now well established. And the world’s best families are represented throughout the country. Here are two Golden Dreams from the Sid daughter of O’Kalibra.

Most processors paying 40-45c/litre

LAND MASS: 7.7 million sq km
POPULATION: 22 million
IN PERSPECTIVE: Australia is the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the USA and Brazil. It is the world’s largest island and the only one of the largest six nations that is completely surrounded by water. Roughly 20% is desert so it’s hardly surprising that it’s the world’s driest continent.
MILK PRODUCTION: 9.2 billion litres of milk

Most of the major milk processors in Victoria are currently paying around 40-45 Aussie cents a litre (0.31-0.34 US cents), which is the cost of production per litre on most farms — without factoring in a return on investment.

Players pulling the strings include the milk processors and two supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, who between them have a 72.5% market share of Australia’s grocery sector. None seem too interested in the farmers’ financial struggles.

A milk processor can change the game in the blink of an eye – as Parmalat did at the start of February.

Without warning, it sent an email stripping 23 cents/kgMS (kilogram of milk solids), that’s 18 US cents, off some of its suppliers, leaving mid-season prices at A$6.09, or 47c/litre (US$4.66, US$0.36). And it closed its door to step-ups — which are price rise opportunities — for the rest of the year.

However, it didn’t touch the price for many of its New South Wales suppliers. The price inequality between states and regions (at the discretion of the processers) has long been a bone of contention for producers, regardless of whether milk is being used for manufacturing (export) or for the fresh milk market.

And sadly, sudden price cuts have become routine.

One of Parmalat’s producers, Lloyd and Cathy Chesworth, of Willette Holsteins, said the decision would cost them A$90,000 (US$68,830) this season on a 700-cow herd producing seven million litres.

Lloyd, 66, said, “We had all but ordered an activity system for the cows [to monitor heat and herd health]. As soon as we read that email, we changed our mind.

“When you lose $90,000 in a season without doing anything wrong, it knocks the system. The Australia dollar is down 30% compared to last year and world milk prices are down too. It’s doesn’t make sense, and I think they’re being opportunistic at our expense.”

= In summer, much of Australia has no pasture in the wake of tougher water restrictions.

In summer, much of Australia has no pasture in the wake of tougher water restrictions.

Numbers horrify 

Nutritionist and dairy farmer Andrew “Ange” Angelino, of the Dairy Business Centre, agrees. He has been heavily involved in the industry for more than two decades. He advises many of the best operators in the country, and has deep and credible knowledge of the costs and the margins in both Australia and New Zealand.

“The supermarkets are screwing us without any doubt, and the government is not stepping up to stop it.” – Andrew “Ange” Angelino.

He also operates Kentgrove South, a dairy farm at Mt Schank in South Australia, which this season will milk 700 cows — down from 850 because of low milk prices. In addition, he also owns shares in other dairy farms that milk, in total, about 2200 cows.

He paints an ugly picture of Australia’s future dairy industry unless things change. He says rising core costs on-farm — coupled with milk prices that can drop harder and faster than aeroplanes in heavy turbulence — are taking their toll on this generation, and scarring the next.

Ange says producers need higher and more reliable margins against what nature throws at them, and, more importantly, to encourage their children to get involved.

Tasmania is Australia’s most natural milk-making climate; it’s separated from mainland Australia by 240km of sea.

Tasmania is Australia’s most natural milk-making climate; it’s separated from mainland Australia by 240km of sea.

No happy farmers

SIZE: 268,680 sq km
POPULATION: 4 million
IN PERSPECTIVE: New Zealand is the size of Colorado. New Zealand’s two main components are the North Island and the South Island, separated by Cook Strait. For a small country, it packs a punch. It’s the world’s biggest producer of dairy products, aided by its near-perfect climate for dairy farming.
MILK PRODUCTION: 20.7 billion litres of milk

I can’t sit here and say I know a happy farmer in Australia at the moment,” he said. “Why is it food around the world is a similar price, if not cheaper than in Australia, but the gap between the price of food in Australia and its farmers is bigger? What is happening to our margin.

“The supermarkets are screwing us without any doubt, and the government is not stepping up to stop it. We were supposed to be flying high when more than 50% of our milk production was being used domestically. It’s now at 60% and we’re still done over.”

“Australians have to feed 3.5kg of grain a day, just to get the same value out of their grass as a Kiwi [New Zealand] farmer feeding no grain.” – Andrew “Ange” Angelino

Ange said in the past five years, his farm’s power bill had lifted from A$70,000 (US$53,535) a year to A$220,000 (US$168,255) — backed down to A$160,000 (US$122,370) after a forthright “chat” with the power company. The hourly rate of contractors used for specialist repairs and maintenance had lifted from A$50/hour (US$38) to A$120/hour (US$92/hr) in some cases.

“They charge like doctors, and may as well arrive in an ambulance when you factor in their travelling,” he quipped.

He said staff costs were also debilitating.

“In Australia we battle to get anyone to work for less than A$50,000 to A$60,000 [US$38,240-$45,890], and you often have to follow them around all day because they don’t know what they’re doing,” Ange said.

“We hear about all these seminars about how to farm more efficiently or how to cut costs. We’ve done all that for years. We are among the most efficient producers in the world now — how about we have a conference about revenue raising?”

Australia’s National Holstein Show (International Dairy Week) held each January is the largest dairy show in the Southern Hemisphere. (See 2015 Results here)

Australia and NZ trail the world on payday

Ange said he wasn’t surprised that Australian and NZ producers are also at the wrong end of the deal when he lined up global farm-gate milk prices on an independent website.

Australia is routinely 30-40% behind its EU and US counterparts. Farmers in China are paid 2.5 times more, and Canadians receive almost double Australia’s price for their milk.

“And what really annoyed me about that, was that the prices were factored last year when NZ was paid the highest prices it had ever seen,” Ange said. “And they were still three Euro cents a litre behind the EU. And once you convert that through the exchange rate, they were six to seven cents a litre behind the EU. Again, that’s on the back of the best price New Zealand had ever seen.”

Ange says generally Australia has the world’s cheapest milk and the core (daily) running costs of pasture-based farmers he assessed eight years ago were A$1250 (US$956) a cow. It meant that they were covering their costs once the cows produced 4000 litres/cow (on a 32c/litre payment, which is US$0.24).

A re-assessment of those numbers in today’s market reveals that core costs have risen to $1800-$2000 (US$1375-$1530) a cow. So, to cover the costs (on pasture) at 4000 litres per cow, producers now needed 46 cents a litre (US$0.35), just to achieve par.

“And in the last eight years, farmers have seen 46 cents a litre just once. How do you think everyone went at 36 cents [US$0.28] two years ago?” he asked rhetorically.

Australian farmers have access to much cheaper land than in NZ. But NZ’s dairy producers do not have to compete against mining for its government’s attention. Consequently, it also enjoys markedly more respect as an industry. It also has the power to slow the country if its farmers are not spending.

Searching for the positives, Ange dug deep. The best he could find was that Australia was “a nice spot to live”, and that milk was mostly produced from pasture, and therefore the protein in the ration for the southern hemisphere was relatively cheap.

“If cows can get most of their protein from grass, their producers are a long way ahead of the game. And one day the world will wake up and realise that pasture-based farming does produce a better product … but that’s another story for another day.

“NZ can do that even better because their climate and grass quality is also better. In the TMR [total mixed ration] world, high-production herd rations are generally corn based, which has no protein. So there is subsequently a high requirement for protein and usually they have to feed 7-8kg soya bean meal to keep the ration in balance.

“Imagine if soya bean meal when to $600-$700/tonne [US$460-$535]. It is almost undoable financially. We [Australia] have to be careful not to over-complicate our ration to the point we are that reliant on buying protein.”

China buying up

Ange said increasing sales of Australia’s agricultural land to Chinese buyers did not bother him.

“I hope they [China] buy it all. Many Australians don’t care. The government doesn’t care — why should we? It would be good if the gap between domestic and export was swallowed up, because then we would have more power against the supermarkets, as they do in NZ, and they would have to negotiate with us.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to tell Mr Supermarket, ‘you can go and buy milk powder from China and bring it back here [Australia] and add chlorinated water to it and try and sell it as fresh milk’, because that’s all generic $1/litre [US$0.76] of milk should be. Ask British farmers how they feel at the moment?”

Some of Australia’s top show cattle could easily compete at the worlds largest shows like World Dairy Expo in the US or The Royal in Canada.

World needs quota

Ange’s summation cuts to the core of what Canada faces right now.

“The whole world needs some sort of quota in my opinion,” he said.

“The world needs more milk, we can do it, but we need to get paid for it. I believe we need more control over supply and demand for this type of industry.

“I look at Canada and at 82 cents [A$0.86] a litre (to the farmer) the Canadian consumer doesn’t complain. They know they have a farmer making money and the town he supports is making money. I’m not sure if Coles and Woolworths have taken over every town in Canada, but weren’t regional centres good when everyone went to the butcher for their meat, the baker for their bread and the pub for their beer?

“That’s when towns were vibrant. I drove through Girgarre and Stanhope on the way to Rochester [in northern Victoria] recently and it was a wake-up call to see the buildings that were shut and the general lack of energy in the community.

“These towns are all located in the heart of Australia’s dairying country and they are struggling. These towns were hit hard by prolonged drought and water restrictions, but there’s more going on now.”



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The Bullvine – Comfortable making others Uncomfortable

andrew crazy cow cover‘We have made people uncomfortable … and we are comfortable with that’

No one saw it coming.

The Bullvine arrived like a speeding freight train.

It also knocked the media outlets off their axes. It challenged everyone. Its early online stories rampaged through the industry like a bull in a china shop. 

It wrote the calls people thought, but never said.

People were shocked, even horrified … and they starting talking.

And that was exactly what founder Andrew Hunt wanted. Conversation and dialogue. Because this dramatic entry almost three years ago was no fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants’ decision. This was a strategic start to a fresh age of media coverage in the dairy industry.

And as everything starts to shake down and settle in, The Bullvine has rapidly become a power player with purpose and 30,000 readers. Its reach and impact is now unquestioned.

The publication is heading into 2015 with big plans that have yet to be revealed, but in an exclusive interview at World Dairy Expo (WDE), Andrew briefly stopped and allowed a tour of the frenetic and clever brain that is poised to dominate this industry’s media…

Andrew Hunt, 37, is a man of many layers. He comes from a powerful, tight well-connected family within the Canadian industry, who all had something to lose when their son/brother made the decision to initiate the outwardly controversial, online media outlet, The Bullvine.

He appeared — to many — to come from nowhere. The opposite is true.

His parents, Murray and Karen, are not only Master Breeders (Huntsdale Holsteins) but also integral industry leaders at the highest levels in the Canadian Holstein industry.

His brother, Paul, is the Chief Operating Officer for Alta Genetics (based in The Netherlands) and his sister, Heather, is a nutritionist for ANC (Agri-Nutrition Consulting, based in Ohio, USA). All are strong personalities with responsible roles. They are also potentially visible targets for any Bullvine detractors.

Strong connections

However, that is not how this close family works. Andrew has his parents’ and siblings’ support. They often disagree, but they are always in each others’ corners. And they were all sitting ringside together at WDE.

Andrew says, “If you know Paul, you know him as Paul Hunt and respect him for who he is. He’s not Andrew, Murray, Karen or Heather Hunt. If you judge any of my family because of what I do on The Bullvine, then you are discrediting yourself, not my family.

“We are all A-type personalities and we have all charted our own courses. But it doesn’t mean we’re not close. We’re family. We just had to learn to separate our work from our family time, and I have to say that kids have been amazing for changing that Christmas dinner-time conversation!”

Andrew’s mother, Karen Hunt, muses, “The first discussions about The Bullvine were colourful. You might say we were as surprised as anybody. However, with a lifetime of experience with Andrew’s somewhat unorthodox approach to technology and communication, we were ready to trust his instincts.”

Dad Murray adds, “And there was only two weeks between the time Andrew first ran the idea of The Bullvine up the flag poll, and the day the first article went up on February 24, 2012.”

Murray and Karen are the only additional official team members working for The Bullvine today, although staff from his two other companies play roles when they’re needed.

Murray says, “We both love it!  Every day brings new ideas, challenges and contacts. It has taken the discussions that we’ve always had around our kitchen table and expanded them more than a little … to around the world.”

Driven back to dairy

Andrew went to the University of Guelph in their Bachelor of Commerce, Agricultural Business and Management programme, and earned his stripes on a six-figure income in the Fortune 500 consulting services world.

He was always a ballsy, driven and restless personality.

So it did not surprise the people who knew him well when he left the security of his former employment with the full support of his new wife, Dr Zosia Hunt (who was still a student then). They also had a two-year-old and a newborn child at the time.

He established his own marketing agency from the ground up, Inbound Sales Network (which would also later include Inbound Accelerator, for tech start-ups). Today it has over 100 team members. The company has been incredibly successful and, for many, that would have been plenty.

Not for Andrew.

“I love the dairy industry. That’s why I left and came back. It’s a drug that I’m hooked on. And it’s what I’m most excited and passionate about,” he says.

The Bullvine is the result of Andrew’s ongoing passion to work within the dairy industry, blended with a skill set and history that brings new dynamics to a sometimes-predictable news medium.

Real and edgy

He did not launch The Bullvine to make money. He launched it to create energy and a strong message for the industry.

The opening salvo on The Bullvine’s webpage remains as a reminder that things were going to be shaken up:

“Let’s start with what we are not. We’re not just an event reporting magazine. We’re not a billboard or promoter of whoever will pay us the most money. We are something different, something real.”

Andrew says, “When we first looked at the publications in the marketplace, we knew we were up against well-established, traditional family-around-the table reads. If we did the same thing, we were never going to be successful. We had to use the power of community and conversation to really drive our growth.

“We also needed to be edgier — especially in the first year. We have made people uncomfortable, and we’re comfortable with that. Over time, some would say we have softened our stance. But I think the industry has also adjusted and there is greater acceptance of what we do. I think the industry has come to us somewhat.”

Shock and relief

There was no question that the opening stories shocked some. Others were relieved someone had finally put a voice to what they were thinking.

In the beginning, 2000 people read The Bullvine’s email and online messages a day.

Today, it reaches that number within an hour of an article being posted. In a week, 30,000 dairy people are reading what The Bullvine shares. In any given day it has between 7000 and 10,000 visitors. It’s a bustling outlet that publishes five feature articles a week and 10 news releases daily on anything from show time and profiles, to genomics, sire breakdowns, politics, innovation and education.

Andrew says it’s not so much the shock value that drives him, as the desire for transparency.

“Yes, we wanted to get people’s attention and knock people off their centre and be as far from the norm as we could be. But we have always been about clarity and transparency. In my industry, those are your staples. In the dairy industry everyone has been too worried about being friends with everyone else. It is a small community, so there is pressure to not offend anyone.

“But because of our monetisation strategy, I don’t depend on income from the typical sources, so I can say what I want to say and take it for what it is. What I don’t think a lot of people understand is that because we had planned our strategy for the first three years, we didn’t take the initial feedback personally.

“We knew it would be coming. The interesting thing for us was because we weren’t connected to the industry as a financial driver, it gave us the freedom to express ourselves honestly.”

Honesty achieves

And honest they have been.

They have called out many people from many parts of the industry, and entertained stories few dare to write. They have tackled taboo topics such as Photoshop and show previews.

The Photoshop editorial prompted Andrew to introduce the Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct, designed to make photographers, AI centres, breeders and graphic designers accountable for any changes to cattle photographs.

“I discovered many new issues with current photography practices. The biggest one is just plain old laziness,” Andrew says. “They are too lazy to do it right. ‘Photoshop saved careers’, they told me. I say, ‘Photoshop has made many photographers lazy.’”

Advertising pressure

Yes, today The Bullvine carries advertising. But that has not changed who or what they write about.

“I’ve always written what I’ve wanted to write. There’s been some people we’ve written about that most would argue that we shouldn’t have because of their backgrounds and/or industry perception.

“But if I think they are interesting and I’d like to know more about them, then we’re going to write about it. And if I’m the only person that reads it, cool. We have done those stories. But I say to the people who challenge me on that, that the decision’s on me since I’m paying for it. So I guess I can have that opinion. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.”

God or data

Andrew has also called opposing media outlets to account for making claims on readership. The most notable and recent being readership demographics.

“You need data to back what you say with regard to that. Here’s my analysis: in God we trust, everyone else better bring data.

“When you have a number of Facebook followers from India and Pakistan — that have an average herd size of three cows — those readers are not showing cattle or selling genetics. The top four cities that register on The Bullvine are Quebec, Madison, Toronto and Montreal. We’re Canadian. It’s self-explanatory who has the most useful readers.”

Hefty research into ringside photography

One of the strongest evolutions of The Bullvine has been the initiation of ringside online show coverage and extensive ring photography.

“When we started I wasn’t going to do it because everyone else was,” Andrew says. “I’d never done photography, but soon realised that I needed photographs, and, being a techno guy, I thought, ‘let’s rock’ n’ roll’.

“I was a huge fan of Han Hopman [Holstein International photographer] and I used my technical skills to study his photos and assess his camera settings. I have also spent close to $50,000 on camera equipment since we started, and received training from photographers outside the industry and drove everywhere in North America to get better. I also bored my kids senseless picturing them. But we do have some insane family memories because of it.

“I still think Han is the best composition photographer there is in the world and he does an amazing job of telling a story with a photograph. This journey for me has turned out to be very rewarding and helped the growth of the company.”

It has also added to the workload, because, while many outlets have several staff ringside, Andrew is mostly either on his own or accompanied by his parents as back-up. He uses his technical skills to overcome running a smaller team, and makes it look more effortless than it probably is.

Coffee-table book + picturing for free

Picturing led Andrew to producing a coffee-table book of photographs post WDE and he has many showman ask for photographs for their marketing campaigns. It is something he does for free.

“They work so hard to get those animals out there, how can I have the right to charge them and reap the benefit of ‘snapping a photo’ of a cow that looks amazing?

“It’s an honour to have that opportunity and that’s why I put every photograph on Facebook. All I ask of the breeders and owners of the cows I picture is that they don’t remove my logo. Other than that, they can go nuts with them.”

Last year, over 14 photographs taken by The Bullvine were used for industry magazine covers.

Next steps: education and mentoring

Taking on the photography pushed Andrew to embrace the next step — something he likes to do.

“If you stay in your comfort zone, you are not progressing and if you don’t challenge yourself every day by either improving your strengths or working on your weaknesses, then you’re not developing as a person. The day that happens, I will quit.”

The business has evolved from its base as a genetics, show and genomic-based commentary, through to also being an educational tool. It now has as much focus on dairy industry issues as it does on the subjects it began with — genetics and shows.

The Bullvine recently initiated The Milk House — the World Wide Dairy Breeding and Dairy Genetics Group on Facebook. It is a closed chat room for producers from all around the world to share ideas. Already, all manner of things have been covered, connecting the industry in a new way at the grassroots level. There are more than 2000 posts a week.

Andrew has also established a network where dairymen can be part of conference calls with a “board of advisors”. Andrew is not involved, other than to facilitate. It is purely actioned to help dairy farmers. “The quality of discussion on these calls is very informative and helps us understand our industry better and how we can better serve it.”

It’s learning from others that first got Andrew started in the dairy marketing industry.

“When I was in university, I was approached by Albert Cormier and Dave Eastman to do the marketing for their soon-to-be-released sire Champion and their new company GenerVations.  Albert is legendary for his ability to market dairy cattle and David’s one of the smartest guys in the industry and at the forefront of breeding circles.” Andrew says they were a “great breeding ground for what he has become”.

Running a responsible line

Day to day, The Bullvine is growing and Andrew Hunt is growing with it — including his presence in the dairy industry.

With that comes greater responsibility — and that’s something he does not take for granted.

Of his direct approach, Andrew says, “I am more apt to run you over than stab you in the back.”

But helping the industry share ideas and progress is what drives him and makes him happy.

“I’m the luckiest man there is in the world,” he says. “I have a wife who ‘gets me’, who supports me and who is out of my league. She is the biggest stabilising factor in my life outside of my parents, who taught me to always believe in myself.

“When you are doing what you love and you can pay your bills, what else is there? The Bullvine can go on forever if I still have passion for it. How do you get bored with something that at your core is who you believe you are?”

This article first appear in the December 2014-February 2015 Edition of Crazy Cow in Print.  Click here to check out there Facebook group and watch for their new website soon.

IDW Preview

As Australia rounds the corner of 2014 to see in 2015, the first thing that the registered industry zeros in on is International Dairy Week (IDW).

The Tatura venue in Northern Victoria (two hours from Melbourne) will welcome all breeds from throughout the country between January 18 and 22.

The biggest breed show is the Holsteins, and 2015 judge Ken Proctor will be a first-time visitor to Australia. The UK dairyman, his wife Rebecca, and sons Robert, 33, and Ralph, 28, milk 500 cows on an intensive system on a 405-hectare (1000-acre) holding in Norfolk under the Airfield prefix.

Ken says he was “honoured and excited” when Brian Leslie approached him.

“I love other cultures, I love visiting other dairy industries and seeing what other farmers face in terms of various challenges and how they go about producing their milk.”

Ken says he loves type and longevity in his herd, and they breed for no-nonsense cows giving a lot of milk. While Ken hasn’t visited Australia before, oldest son Robert had previously worked in Australia for nine months, so he wasn’t flying blind.

Ken says he will judge with complete honesty and integrity.

“Obviously in terms of the cows, it will be a little bit of suck it and see. But I’m really looking forward to it, and we are prepared for the heat and the flies!”

Ken has served thrice on the Holstein UK board — having been Non-executive Director of Research & Development, Breed Development & Classification, and National Show Director, and was the UK Holstein President in 2009. Ken is also the Chairman of East of England National Farmers Union (NFU) Dairy Board and a member of the NFU Dairy Board. He believes in serving to be in a position to effect change.

Other judges include:

Matt Templeton – Australia
ABS Australia/Ridley All Breeds National Youth Show

Matt was raised on a registered Holstein farm in Victoria, Australia. He worked as a professional cattle fitter for 13 years, travelling throughout Australia and into New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Germany. He has had the privilege of helping prepare some of the best cows in the world, including 2012 World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, RF Goldwyn Hailey. He has also worked with the Budjon Show String at Madison, USA, for seven years. Matt is now working with Coomboona Holsteins (Toolamba, Victoria) as its Show Herd Manager. Matt also operates his own 50-head herd under the View Fort prefix.

Glen Gordon – Australia
Sheri Martin Memorial Youth Showmanship Classes

Glen works on the family farm in Cohuna, Northern Victoria, where his family milks 600 cows — predominantly registered Holsteins, with a limited number of Jerseys and Illawarras. Glen and his brother Drew manage the farm, with their father Ross in support. They have a 50/50 split with registered and commercial cows on 486ha (1200ac). Glen has been showing cows since he was nine years old, starting with Elmar Holsteins and then Corra Lea Holsteins.

Duncan Hunter – England
National Ayrshire Show

Duncan Hunter is from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, just outside the famous M25, London’s orbital motorway in England. He is married to Sarah and they have four children. Glen bred Ayrshire cattle all of his life under the Haresfoot prefix. He sold his herd in 2011 for a record-breaking UK average after selling Haresfoot Farm, which has since been developed into a new horse livery business with commercial lettings at the farm. Duncan is still is involved in breeding through his syndicate partnership under the prefix Smartmove. He has judged most of the UK’s major shows, including the National All Breeds Calf Show, Royal Highland, South West Dairy Show, Great Yorkshire, the new UK Dairy Day and Balmoral among others. He has also judged in Finland. Duncan works for the UK Ayrshire Cattle Society as its breed manager for Ayrshires UK.

Laurie Chittick – Australia
National Illawarra Show

Laurie was the fourth generation to own and operate the Lemon Grove herd until its final dispersal in October 2014. Born at Kiama, NSW, in the heartland of Illawarras, the family ran stud Illawarras until 1989, when Laurie, his wife Sandra and children Andrew, Murray and Nicole, moved south to Victoria’s Goulburn Valley to continue dairying. Laurie has served 40 years on the Breed Classification Committee, with more than 20 years as Chairman, and was on the Board of Directors for 17 years, with three as Federal President. He holds Life Membership of both the federal and state bodies.

Allan Clark – Australia
National Guernsey Show

Allan Clark owns and operates Sunny Valley Guernseys at Lismore, NSW. Together with his wife Julie and daughter Shannon, Allan also operate Clarkdale Holstein.  They run a pasture-based dairy, milking around 200 cows, calving all year round in Australia’s sub-tropical region. Allan is the current Guernsey NSW State President and Federal President. Sunny Valley Guernseys has been breeding and showing Guernseys for four generations since 1938. One of the most distinguished Guernseys that Sunny Valley has bred was Sunny Valley Lorry Maretta who scored 94 points as a six-year-old.

Rebekah Mast – USA
National Brown Swiss Show

Rebekah grew up on the family dairy, Calori-D Holsteins, in Denair, California. She has enjoyed significant success in the show-ring at the state and national levels with both Holsteins and Brown Swiss. Some of her most recognised animals include the 2004 All-American senior two-year-old, Lylehaven Durham Marriet-ET, the 2012 California Grand Champion, Calori-D Jasper Marigold-ET, and the 2012 Western National Reserve Senior Champion, Bekah-Jo Vanguard Sandy. In 2005, Rebekah was the National Youth Ambassador for the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders Association. Rebekah graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she majored in Dairy Science and minored in Agriculture Business. While at Cal Poly, she was a member of the Cal Poly Dairy Judging Team that was high team at the 2004 National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. She was second-highest individual overall at the same contest. Rebekah has served as an official for the Collegiate and Post-Secondary Dairy judging contests at the World Dairy Expo for the past seven years. She was approved for the Holstein Association USA Qualified Judges List.

Hank Van Exel – USA
National Jersey Show

Hank and Carolyn Van Exel have a family farm in Lodi, California, USA. They have three children and seven grandchildren, who are all involved in the dairy business with their son still on the farm. The Van Exels farm 972ha (2400ac), milking 2000 cows, of which 1600 are Holstein with the rest Jerseys. Their prefix is Exels and their herd average is 32,830 on the Holstein and 22,500 on the Jerseys. The Van Exels have more than 130 EX Holsteins and 72 EX Jerseys. In the show-ring they have had over 30 All American nominations and Reserve Grand with both Holsteins and Jerseys at WDE as well as winning the Jersey Jug in Louisville, USA. Hank has judged in 11 different countries, including at Louisville Jersey Show (USA), WDE Jersey and Holsteins and the Royal and IDW Holstein Shows.

Stephen McCarthy – Australia
Jersey Futurity

Stephen and his wife Jenny own and operate Ascot Jersey Stud at Budgee in Queensland. They exhibit their cattle at the Toowoomba Royal and Royal Brisbane Shows each year.

Ken Proctor – England
National Holstein Show

Born on a dairy farm in Norfolk, UK, Ken has milked cows all his life. He farms in partnership with his wife Rebecca, and two sons Robert and Ralph (their daughter is a self-employed physiotherapist). The Proctors milk 500 cows on an intensive system, producing all forage on their 405-hectare (1000-acre) holding in Norfolk under the Airfield prefix. They like to produce trouble-free cows that perform well to help maintain the 10,000kg herd average. They have more than 90 EX cows in the herd.

Ken believes in the importance of good cows, so has served for three terms on the Board of Holstein UK, been Non-executive Director of Research & Development, Breed Development & Classification, and National Show Director, as well as breed president in 2009 — its centenary year. Ken is also the Chairman of East of England National Farmers Union (NFU) Dairy Board and a member of the National NFU dairy Board. He is a great believer in serving on these bodies so if something is amiss he is in a position to do something about it.

Be sure to check back daily for complete results and joint coverage by The Bullvine and Crazy Cow In Print


SUNDAY January 18

9.30am – Non-denominational Church Service – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

1pm – Youth Clinic – Blackmore & Leslie Complex 

MONDAY January 19

8am – ABS Australia/Ridley All Breeds National Youth Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

2.30pm – The IDW Youth Showmanship Classes – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

4pm – Holstein Australia Victoria Youth Challenge Trials – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

6.30pm – Holstein Youth BBQ and Presentation of Awards – Wilson Hall

TUESDAY January 20

8am – National Illawarra Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

8am – National Ayrshire Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

8.30am LIC ‘Genetics for Profit’ Half Day Farm Tour – call Liz on 03 5480 3377 for information

9am – IDW seminars begin – Tennis Club Rooms

12pm – Machinery & Farm Field Days, supported by Dairy News Australia – Main Oval

12pm – IDW Elite Ayrshire Sale – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

1.30pm – National Guernsey Feature Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

1.30pm – National Brown Swiss Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

5pm – NAB Agribusiness Cocktail Hour – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

7pm – IDW Jersey Showcase Sale – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

7pm – NHIA 2015 International Dairy Dinner – Cellar 47 Restaurant, Shepparton

8pm – Virtual Farm Tours – Grange Farm & Van Exel Dairy – Wilson Hall

WEDNESDAY January 21

8am – National Jersey Show – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

8am – Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) Industry Leaders’ Breakfast – Ballantyne Centre

8.30am – Semex Holstein Daughter Inspection Tour

9am – Machinery & Farm Field Days, supported by Dairy News Australia – Main Oval

9am – IDW seminars begin – Tennis Club Rooms

12.30pm – Jersey Australia Futurity Class – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

1.30pm – National Jersey Show Continues – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

5.30pm – NAB Agribusiness Cocktail Party – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

6.00pm – Genetics Australia Happy Hour – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

7.30pm – IDW World Wide Sires Evolution Sale – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

THURSDAY January 22

8am – IDW seminars begin – Tennis Club Rooms

8am – National Holstein Show – Class 1 to 8 – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

9am – Machinery & Farm Field Days, supported by Dairy News Australia – Main Oval

12.30pm – MaxCare Challenge – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

1.30pm – National Holstein Show Continues – Class 9

4pm – Grand Champion Presentations – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

4.30pm – Presentation of Lex Bunn Memorial Award – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

5.30pm – Presentation of Australia’s Grand Champion – Blackmore & Leslie Complex

Be sure to check back daily for complete results and joint coverage by The Bullvine and Crazy Cow In Print

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