State over-judging: Western Australia
Judge: Jenny Grey, Kiama, NSW
Entries: 98 (2015 - 82)
Farms: 18 (2015 - 12) Six more farms were involved in the Western Australian leg of the Semex Holstein Australia On-Farm Competition this year.
It also contributed two Champions from a farm that has not entered the competition for close to seven years.
Moonaralla Tennyson 4484 and Moonaralla Reginald 3892 won the four-year-old and the mature class respectively.
They were entered by Moonaralla Holsteins’ Ken and Bonnie Ravenhill (with the support of Ken’s parents, Graham and Jan).
The couple milk 1200 cows in three herds through a 60-stand rotary dairy near Albany – the port city in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, 418 kilometres south-east of Perth.
Bonnie Ravenhill said they had been working through succession planning in recent years, focusing on setting up their future in dairying.
In addition, they have four young children Heath, 12, Georgina, 10, Thomas, 5, and Lola, 3.
Heath and Georgina are now starting to show interest in showing, and it has also naturally re-ignited their interest in the On-Farm competition.
It took judge Jenny Grey, of The Pines Holsteins, 3.5 hours to reach the Ravenhill family farm. She said the journey was worth every second.
The four-year-old - Moonaralla Reginald 4484 – is a Regancrest Reginald daughter – who was 70 days fresh milking 49.1 litres (production index: 111). Last season on its second lactation, it had a completed production record of 10,739 litres, 435kg fat, 376kg protein with a PI of 130.
“We like big milk and good type cows and to achieve they need to be structurally sound,” Ken Ravenhill said.
Ken said their herd averages 8700 litres with 610kg milk solids on a milking platform of 890 hectares (with another 310ha 10km away for the replacement heifers). They run three herds of about 450-head – split by autumn, spring, and summer calving patterns. They run a staff list of around 10 people.
His mature winner - Moonaralla Tennyson 3892 – is a Burlane Tennyson daughter.
The five-year-old Champion is a back-to-back winner and it needs no introduction.
Nairobi Mercury 15 was sold through Colin Gilbert's second stage dispersal in 2013 for $7500.
The Fry family, from Brunswick Junction, took it home that day and they have continued to develop it within their 140-cow Katandra Park operation.
It recently won Supreme Champion at the Brunswick Royal Show. The VG88 exponent was milking 32 litres at its last herd test.
Katandra Park Holsteins also won the three-year-old title with a Stantons Steady daughter – Katandra Steady Perfection VG85.
Katandra Park Holsteins and Jerseys is today run by two of Don and Lorelle Fry’s three sons, Lachlan, 25, and Corbin, 22.
Don and Lorelle are involved in Professionals Real Estate Business at Bunbury. The herd is an even split between Holstein and Jerseys. They run at a 9500-litre and 6800-litre average (Holsteins and Jerseys respectively).
“It’s good the way it’s working,” Lachlan said. “Corbin and I both have our strengths. I prefer the cows, and he prefers the machinery. When you put it together, it’s a pretty good combination.”
The two-year-old class was won by Ieravale Steva Blackrose. It is owned by Albert and Traci Ieraci.
The couple farm at Cookernup with the support of their family, Jonica, Jamay, and Joseph.
Judge Jenny Grey said the highlights for her included the two-year-old, three-year-olds and the five-year-old classes.
She has judged throughout Australia and she has been heavily used in the on-farm state finals. She is well positioned to judge Western Australia’s strengths.
She said she also enjoyed her visits to the Harvey Agricultural College (Logue Holsteins at Harvey), which won Reserve Champion in the Mature class – and to the state gaol herd, which was also in the mix.
“It was outstanding – incredible really,” Ms Grey said. “Western Australia exceeded my expectations.
"The two-year-olds were outstanding. And in the three-year-old class, I was really impressed – that all bar about two of the 20 that were entered were on their second calf and most were also well through their second lactation.
“It was good to see young cows that had calved two-year-olds and again as three-year-olds, and they were looking really good. I think people are really getting their money’s worth out of their young cows if they can do that.”
Two year old 1st: Ieravale Steva Blackrose, J & GM Ieraci & sons, Ieravale Holsteins, Cookernup, WA.
2nd: Carenda Atley Vissy, Kitchen Farms, Carenda Holsteins, Boyanup, WA.
Three year old 1st: Katandra Park Steady Perfection, DM & LM Fry, Katandra Park Holsteins, Brunswick Junction, WA.
2nd: Carenda Supersire Freaky-ET, Kitchen Farms, Carenda Holsteins, Boyanup, WA.
Four year old 1st: Moonaralla Reginald 4484, GS & JS Ravenhill, Moonaralla Holsteins, Narrikup, WA.
2nd: Angelis Jodie Skinny 244-RED, Angi Bros, Angelis Holsteins, Yarloop, WA.
Five year old 1st: Nairobi Mercury 15, DM & LM Fry, Katandra Park Holsteins, Brunswick Junction, WA.
2nd: Moonaralla Jack 4169, GS & JS Ravenhill, Moonaralla Holsteins, Narrikup, WA.
Mature 1st: Moonaralla Tennyson 3892, GS & JS Ravenhill, Moonaralla Holsteins, Narrikup, WA.
2nd: Logue 8039, Harvey Agricultural College, Logue Holsteins, Harvey, WA.