State over-judging: New South Wales
Judge: Jade Sieben, Torrumbarry, VIC
Entries: 677 (2015 – 703)
Farms: 114 (2015 -– 108)
The NSW state final in the Semex-Holstein Australia On-Farm Competition started with the cows – but judge Jade Sieben said much of her trip was also about breeder solidarity and hope.
She covered 3500km in eight days – from Wagga Wagga to Tamworth and everywhere in between – as she searched out her NSW State Champions.
“At the presentation, I did say that this competition is not just about the cows – it’s also about bringing people together,” Mrs Sieben said.
For two of the finalists, Mrs Sieben's words resonated strongly, the On-Farm competition has rewarded them at pivotal times in their career when farming was really testing them.
The winning mature cow was Oxley Vale Regancrest Fussy, owned by the Polson family at Oxley Island, NSW.
Fussy is a newbie in the mature class. It calved in the winter and while its had been shown as a youngster, it had never won anything big before.
However, its now has two things in common with its granddam – Oxley Vale Jed Fussy EX92-3E – who won the same class in 2009 under judge John Gardiner.
They have won when the family – who are supplying beleaguered processor Murray Goulburn – sorely needed a boost.
“Back when the Jed won we were in a bad milk contract and producing milk at a loss for three years,” Murray Polson said.
“Selling cows was what kept us going…100 per cent. Every time we got stuck, we sold 20 to 30 cows, and we even tried doing it privately to save money.
“When the Jed won that year that was what gave us the will to keep going.
"Because when there is no inspiration and all you can see are the bills – it’s great to see some long-term light in the picture and to have some distraction for a moment, and remember why we do this.
“This year’s win came when we needed it again and it was amazing really that it came from the Jed’s granddaughter.”
The Polson family are milking 320 cows and the team includes Murray (and wife Jane when she’s not working), two of Murray’s sisters, Sue and Julie, and Julie’s husband, Brad Barlin.
Mrs Sieben paid tribute to the mature class.
“The overwhelming comment for me in the mature class, is that it’s a great effort to get a mature cow these days because it’s so hard to get cows back in-calf,” she said.
“Oxley Vale’s entry was an easy winner because she’s so well balanced.”
Mrs Sieben said the five-year-old really got her motor running.
“She would have been my highest pointed cow, if I’d been asked to acknowledge one,” she said.
“She was a standout in a strong class, and Reserve was Murray and Jane Polson’s Mario Park Sid Alicia.”
The three-year-old was described as the “hottest class” by Mrs Sieben.
It was won by the Hassett family, at Singleton, NSW.
Glenorleigh Sid Lavender was on its second calf. Classified GP84, the Pine-Tree Sid daughter is from a VG86 Comestar Outside x EX91-5E Maughlin Storm.
Michael Hassett and his family sold their Denman farm just over a year ago, because there wasn’t room to grow on it.
They tendered for a farm, owned by the mines at Singleton, and secured their current 650-hectare property with a 20 a-side rapid exit herringbone dairy.
Michael and his wife, Melinda, are milking 260 cows with support from Michael’s parents Louis and Sharyn.
They supply Parmalat and they are expecting their first baby in January.
They run a grass-based regime and they are poised to flush Lavender to Braedale Goldwyn or Walnutlawn Solomon.
The four-year-old Champion, Cowarol Lirrdrew Cordie VG88 (one point off max), was owned by Terry and Valda Tout at Cowarol Holsteins Tamworth, NSW.
It is a Lirr Drew Dempsey daughter (more commonly known in the industry as Dempsey) out of a VG87 Jasper x VG88 Lystel Leduc x VG87 To Mar Blackstar x VG87 Hanoverhill Starbuck.
Cordie comes from the couple’s favourite family – the Cecilias.
It was fifth senior three-year-old at International Dairy Week (IDW) in January 2016.
It has re-calved and two judges backed it in – even though she was very fresh.
Todd Wilson placed its first in the sub-branch, just 10 to 12 days fresh.
Three weeks later Mrs Sieben saw her and agreed she was too good not to elevate.
“I used some forward thinking with my winner, because she was only a month fresh when I saw her," she said.
"But come IDW I think that cow could be quite nice. She had a distinct advantage through her rear udder and in her strength of ligament, but I did grant that the cow in second had more depth and spring of rib.”
Terry Tout, who milks 260 cows on 130ha, said Cordie was one of their special ones and she was on-track for IDW 2017, before it sees the classifier again next March.
The two-year-old class was won by Coolea Deuce Dolly, owned by the Crawford family, who milk 1000 cows at Numbaa, NSW.
This is a busy operation where it’s hard to stand out. But when they do, brothers Andrew and Darren notice.
The family farms 485ha on the home farm and 810ha at Cootamunda (three-and-a-half hours away).
Andrew and Abbey Crawford’s morning alarm goes off at 2.30am, and six staff help get them through their daily workload.
While this is an exceptionally well-run commercial dairy – showing cows is a passion the family also shares and enjoys.
Two year old 1st: Coolea Deuce Dolly, Crawford family, Coolea Holsteins, Numbaa, NSW.
2nd: Wyoming Darylrae Pontiac, ASR Shearer & son, Wyoming Holsteins, Singleton, NSW.
Three year old 1st: Glenorleigh Sid Lavender, Hassett family, Halewood Holsteins, Singleton, NSW.
2nd: Arrallik Bolton Meg, C Yarnold, Arrallik Holsteins, Killawarra, NSW.
Four year old 1st: Cowarol Lirrdrew Cordie, TJ & VM Tout, Cowarol Holsteins, Tamworth, NSW.
2nd: Belmont Promis Tricia 4, SG & EG Chesworth, Tomago Recluse Holstein, Dubbo, NSW.
Five year old 1st: Fraser Goldwyn Meg, Leeanne Fraser, Fraserlee Holsteins, Miranda, NSW.
2nd: Mario Park Sid Alicia, Murray Polson, Mario Park Holsteins, Taree, NSW.
Mature 1st: Oxley Vale Regancrest Fussy, AD & ZR Polson, Oxley Vale Holsteins, Oxley Island, NSW.
2nd: Austral Eden Alexander Wilga, MC & RJ Jeffery, Austral Eden Holsteins, Gladstone, NSW.