INTERNATIONAL Dairy Week (IDW) in January each year at Tatura, Vic, has evolved as the largest and obvious place in Australia for exhibiting dairy cattle, for their owners and handlers, young and old, to display the best the breeds have to offer.
Many young people have gotten good starts in the industry via showing and handling, as well as selling or purchasing cattle at this event.
There is the added benefit of the prestige of a win or a good placing in larger line ups compared to regional shows.
Three such young ladies are featured this month, specifically from North West Victoria.
IDW as it is known provides many opportunities for young people
Erika Quinn, 20, is from a dairy farm at Macorna where the family milk 550 cows.
She attended Yanco Agricultural College for nearly three years because this college provided good grounding for equine pastimes.
Erika has since continued in this field and is part way through an Equine Podiatry Therapist course with her studies continuing at Yea.
"I prepare horses' feet for not wearing shoes. The animals run on the natural pads," Erika said.
The family has 20 odd quarter horses of their own with Erika having two in work at present.
She is one of those young people that display a natural affinity with animals.
Erika works with Michelle and Pat (Mum and Dad) and brother Greg on the irrigated dairy farm.
She assists with joining and inseminating their cows plus maiden heifers with a range of bulls chosen.
Erika achieved the senior cattle handler award at Sydney Royal in 2015 with a cow from the Brad Snowdon Kamilaroi Holstein team from Mittagong.
She is an AI inseminator and works for National Herd Development based in Cohuna in the off season.
Erika will be at IDW 2018 with Mitch Flemming's team and has just completed a two-week working tour of Semex facilities at Toronto Fair, sponsored by Semex with eight of their animals on display.
Erika was enthusiastic "the Canadian cattle on show were excellent and beautifully presented".
When asked what was the best part of the trip, she said "meeting new people and learning more about what they do with and for their cattle in Canada".
The first week of the Toronto fair was an exhibition of beef cattle with dairy in the second week.
Emmalea Wishart, 18, lives at Mead with Mum and Dad, Tina and Rick Wishart about 10km out of Cohuna and has had a busy year in 2017 attending Cohuna Secondary College and just completed her VCE year.
She has also just competed in the Victorian Schools State athletic titles in Melbourne achieving 2nd in long jump, 3rd in 200 metres and 4th in 100 metres.
She played A grade netball with the Cohuna Kangas Club.
She is taking a role with the Rowland Park family dairy herd and has some younger animals set aside for grooming and handling.
She will do the fitting preparations of the Rowlands Park animals for IDW in January.
It is another one of those families where everyone is involved in the dairy business. The entire family loves the dairy cattle.
They milk 360 cows and Emmalea is another one of those ladies, with her two younger sisters Kaitlyn and April that has a good understanding of and association with dairy animals.
A lovely feature of the kitchen table is a Lazy Susan that the girls' paternal Grandmother has made. It consists of photos of the girls' journey and gives a great overall picture of their lives.
Kaitlyn and April assisted the Gordon family in the Gorbro Invitational sale in November, which was a first for the North West of Victoria. However Emmalea couldn't be there as she was sitting two VCE exams that day.
Emmalea started as a five year old showing Rowlands Park Outside Lucky in the Cohuna Agricultural show.
This was a daughter of a Mariondale cow that the family bought. She has since bred from Lucky and owns about 20 progeny via flushing and AI.
The family will take six Rowland Park heifers and a possible three milkers to IDW in January.
"Due to time restrictions we generally do not take in-milk cows," Emmalea said.
"Kaitlyn and April are doing the handling and leading preparations, and I will be doing the fitting closer to IDW."
This year has been extremely busy for Emmalea as she has studied hard to qualify for an ATAR score at Latrobe in Bendigo to do sport physiotherapy studies.
Her preferred sports are netball and athletics. She would like to pursue and continue both of these at a higher level next year while attending University.
The third young lady is Georgia Sieben, 15, from Torrumbarry, between Cohuna and Echuca, where the family run the Brindabella Holstein stud of 250 milking cows, with whole year round calving.
Georgia took out the title of Supreme Champion Parader at the Melbourne Royal Show last September.
One feature of the herd, which were all sheltering under the trees, was their temperament and placid nature.
It is a very picturesque setting with the irrigation water for the pastures pumped from a lagoon connected to the Murray River pondage created above the Torrumbarry weir.
Georgia attends Assumption College in Kilmore and had just returned from a tour of parts of Canada.
Quite a bit of her time was spent at dairy studs and kindled her interests further.
Her base was the Sterling Park Holstein stud in Lacombe, Alberta. With her host family, which incidentally is Georgia's Aunt and Uncle, Rebekah and Pete Mathers, they showed cattle at the Westerner Championship Show, which Georgia thought was about equivalent to the Bendigo Winter Fair.
Rebekah and Georgia also visited Quebec Show some 3000km away.
Georgia took part in the youth handler class in the Westerner Championship Show and was placed third.
"The Canadian cattle were all housed in barns and the cattle quality was very high," she said.
"It was very cold there and the difference on landing back home on a 36-degree day was pretty tough."
She enjoys netball and softball as school sports and takes part in cross country running as well.
Georgia owns Leader Solomon Sharni, a 15-month-old heifer, which was a gift from her Mum and Dad, Jade and Scott Sieben. Georgia is sure she will retain a strong interest in the Holstein cattle and showing as she completes further studies.
She is keen to pursue studies to qualify as a large animal veterinarian.
At the moment she has Agriculture as a subject but considers it may be better to split into two subjects like Biology and Chemistry.
The family will take about 12 head to IDW ranging from mature to young cattle. Georgia is enthusiastic about taking part although Jade warned that due to her slight stature she may be limited to leading younger animals.
IDW will be another interesting week for these three ladies.
As well as competing, handling, getting the animals ready and all that this encompasses, on top of schooling and other facets of busy lives, they have to take a week off from normality in January to attend.
Without exception all youngsters in the dairying business look forward to doing this.
It's an exciting time and allows young and old people to partake and put on their best displays, both in terms of cattle and the handling of same.
With the growth and increasing interest in dairying, North West Victoria will be well represented again.
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