A commitment to genetics and dairy cattle breeding has rewarded the owners of the 2018 Victorian Winter Fair junior champion.
Jane and Murray Polson's yearling heifer Mario Park Solomon Midas was named the supreme junior champion at the fair at Bendigo on Wednesday.
The winning heifer, which is owned by the couple's eight-year-old son Lachy, is from Mario Park Atwood Midas, which is also being shown at Bendigo.
Check out the Australian Dairyfarmer Facebook page for galleries and videos from each class at the Victorian Winter Fair
Atwood Midas's dam is Diamond Sid Midas, a daughter of the famous Coral Hill Roy Midas, and was bought by the Polsons for $7500 at the Globull Fusions sale at Berry, NSW, in 2013.
"I was worried we paid too much for the heifer - she was the second top priced at the sale," Mrs Polson said.
"She's a prolific breeder, a beautiful cow to work with, goes in calf every year, great to milk, and we've just recently flushed her."
Mrs Polson said the stud side of their farm business had been a key factor that had allowed the couple to buy their Oxley Island, NSW, farm from Murray's parents.
The cashflow from the sale of embryos, bulls and heifers from a cow the couple imported had been important in allowing them to get the loans to buy the multi-generational property.
The breeding side of the business also brings other rewards.
"We are very passionate about breeding and genes," Mrs Polson said.
"It is something that pays bills but it is also a real love for us - it gets us through dark times when milk price drops.
"So its great to see rewards for the hard work."
It's been a tough few years for the Polsons.
Three consecutive dry seasons has meant they have depleted all their fodder stocks and have been forced to buy in hay from Victoria and NSW and cottonseed from Queensland for their 320-cow herd.
And the milk price for their farm, which supplies Saputo's Sydney factory, has not been great.
Mrs Polson said they need a better milk price.
"I'd like to see confidence back in the industry, just from a sustainability point of view," she said.
"We've paid a lot for the farm, we've got three children ... we want to be profitable to keep the younger generation in our business."
The Polsons bred for type and longevity - good feet and legs were essential on their farm, where cows sometimes had to walk 3-4 kilometres a day to pastures.
Mrs Polson said cows also needed good udders.
"Murray is just a natural cow man, he just loves it and has since he was a boy, and our son is the same," she said.
Judge Justin Burdette, from the United States, said the champion was a lovely balanced heifer.
"A no-holds heifer, a heifer that's got a beautiful head and neck, she's got a tremendous midsection," he said.
"She's a heifer that's extremely comfortable on her feet and legs, as you watch her move around the ring today."
The reserve was Paringa Solomon Applepie, exhibited by Pam Malcolm, Invergordon, Vic.