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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”