2011 SEMEX-JERSEY AUSTRALIA GREAT SOUTHERN CHALLENGE SHOWS WHAT IS POSSIBLE
By Dianna Malcolm
This year’s Semex-Jersey Australia Great Southern Challenge had the perfect example of what is possible. The Great Southern Champions (for age) were unveiled at the annual luncheon at Witchmount Estate Winery at Melton, Victoria in early December.
The day was the culmination of an event, designed to find the best Jersey exponents on-farm without preparation (which limits the farmers’ workload, levels the playing field and finds common ground between commercial producers and breeders who regularly show). It involved an army of volunteers through the preliminary rounds and roughly 1400 cows from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern New South Wales.
A well-known name in Holsteins, Lindsay Marshall (Main Beach, Queensland) re-appraised the regional finalists to find the Great Southern champions.
The winning four-year-old had one of the special stories of the day. Meldan Country Pharos was bought at the Patch family’s commercial dispersal by Brendan and Melissa Scott, who milk 168 cows at Binginwarri, in South Gippsland.
Her breeders knew her background, her sire stack was catalogued (BW Country x Astound x Sooner x a Top Brass son), but she was not registered. Brendan and Melissa subsequently put Meldan Country Pharos through the Genetic Recovery programme.
She was then judged in the early rounds by Jugiong Jerseys’ Pat Nicholson, who couldn’t get the cow out of his head.
He subsequently bought her. Now, she is heading to International Dairy Week (IDW) in January.
Patrick, who also accepted Reserve Champion in the two-year-old class (for the highest pointed PI heifer in their 510-cow herd), said his family was excited to have Pharos to join what described as one of their strongest IDW teams to date.
Brendan Scott said it was a difficult decision to make, letting their highest protein cow (and second highest milk) go to her new home, but he was looking forward to seeing her in the ring. He said she was on-track when she left their farm to complete a 7500-8000-litre lactation, after peaking at 34 litres (3.8% protein).
He was up front that he had paid $4100 when he bought her. He was not so keen to share Pharos’ selling price, joking that some things were better left unsaid. “I’ll let you think about what that might have been,” the delighted dairyman told the audience when he accepted his award.
He commented that they knew she was special, which is why they had named her “Pharos” – after one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Semex’s General Manager Jim Conroy said the story epitomised what the competition stands for – to showcase cows that might otherwise be unappreciated by anyone other than the people who milked them every day.
“To have a cow with no papers be recovered into the system, and then for her to win and be sold on to one of the country’s premier studs is one of the high points for me this year,” Jim said.
The other name to steal the show came from the Broadlin stud of Lynton and Lisa Broad, from Lockington. The couple owned this year’s Champion three-year-old and the Supreme Champion Cow of the competition – Broadlin Constance 2565.
Constance 2565 is classified VG88 Max-2YRS and their highest producing two-year-old last season with 6947 litres, 3.9% 268kg protein, 4.5% 314kg fat in 305 days.
She finished third in the senior two-year-old at last year’s IDW and she is re-entered this year as a senior three-year-old.
“She is a special cow,” Lynton said. “She’s got a few more brains than the others.” He said winning the top honour from the competition was almost the same as winning at IDW.
“I’ve won at IDW and now I’ve won here and the emotions are pretty much the same,” Lynton said. “It’s world-wide recognition for your animals and that’s not easy to do.”
The news came hot on the heels of Jim announcing that a Broadlin-bred young sire, Broadlin Hatman, had just been named No.3 young genomic sire in US.
Three-year-old class a stand-out
Judge Lindsay Marshall said the three-year-old class was one of the most pleasing he had judged in On-Farm competitions.
“My Champion was so long, lean and dairy,” he said. “She had a ‘five-finger’ rib, she was very functional and she had a presence and style about her. From the moment I saw her in the yard, I knew it would take something really special to beat her.
“This class had so many exceptional individuals you would like to take home. My fourth placegetter was fantastic and the fifth finisher (Riverside Country Lollypop, Corey and Karin Couch) was milking 43 litres on her second calf. You just had to admire her will to milk.”
Mature cow exciting
Another cow to capture Lindsay’s imagination was the winning mature entry, Willow Dell Fancy 512 EX92, owned by Ross, Robyn, Carl, Andrew and Ian Griffiths, of Eloora Pastoral Company, at Deniliquin.
The family milk 500 cows (200 Jersey, 400 Holsteins) on 3800 acres (which includes cropping). They bought Willow Dell Fancy 512 over three years ago in a line of animals from the highly decorated Waters family.
Fancy’s 2010 completed lactation was 10,519 litres, 3.8% 401kg protein, 5.0%, 535kg fat in 305 days. The seven-year-old has had four calves and the family has three heifers from her sired by, Comerica (yearling), Governor (March 2011-born) and Tequila (August 2011-born). She was second four-year-old at IDW 2009 and 1st five-year-old (and Honorable Mention Champion in 2010). She has re-calved for the third successive year and is once again IDW bound.
“It’s great to win in another judging format,” Ian said. “To do well in the show ring and in your working clothes is great. It is a bit of a pleasure to get a cow that we think hugely of be appreciated by others.”
Lindsay put the class in perspective. “I’ve judged Victorian and NSW State Finals in the Holsteins, and this is the best class I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across in the on-farm competition,” he said. “All Jersey breeders should be congratulated for where you’re taking this wonderful cow. You’ve improved rumps, legs, udders and milk flow and they are now very, very competitive and wonderful producers for the commercial world.”
He said his Champion excelled in her functional traits. “She had a wonderful set to her leg. Her udder was so high and so wide and she had beautiful teat placement,” he said. “She was a very, very easy winner and she had an advantage in her length of neck, and that she was more correct in her shoulder than the cow in second.”
The two-year-old Champion, Jubilee Park Ida, came from the Armistead family, at Bungador, 30km south west of Colac. Kevin and Faye Armistead, together with their son, Glen, milk 160 cows. Ida is sired by Action and she is the family’s first Great Southern Champion.
“To win Champion was very surprising,” Glen said. “In saying that, I thought she’d do well by what the judge said about her. But it’s a big competition and there are a lot of cows involved, so you never know.”
Glen said she came from one of their strong maternal lines and their plans for her were simple.
“We’ll keep enjoying her, keep showing her in this format and keep trying for a heifer calf,” he said, adding that the On-Farm contest suited them.
“This competition is a great way of showing off your cattle and letting you know how you are going compared to everyone else. I rear all our calves and I put a lot of work into them. It’s very rewarding to get acknowledged.”
Semex says value of competition clear
And, as Jim Conroy wrote the final cheque that underpins this logistical giant, he said the On-Farm concept would continue to be a major force on Australia’s dairying calendar.
“It’s now massive. It’s grown in size and recognition beyond anything I ever imagined when we started it, and I would go so far to say that it rivals – in terms of value and recognition for breeders – International Dairy Week [IDW] or the Royal Show events. And I’m not criticising those events, it’s just that it’s up there when it comes to promotion, recognition and value-adding of livestock. That is what this competition is about.
“It is a significant commitment for us, but I’m not thinking that it’s costing too much – you can’t put a figure on what it does for this industry.”
Great Southern Over-Judging: Great Southern Challenge
TWO-YEAR-OLD – 1st: Jubilee Park Ida (K and F and G Armistead, Jubilee Park Jerseys, Bungador) – 2nd: Jugiong Leonie 5996 (Nicholson family, Jugiong Jerseys, Girgarre) – 3rd: Wallacedale Tbone Melys (C and M and L and M Wallace, Wallacedale Jerseys, Poowong North) – 4th: Wallacedale Actions Belle 3 (C and M and L and M Wallace, Wallacedale Jerseys, Poowong North).
THREE-YEAR-OLD – 1st: Broadlin Constance 2565 (L and L Broad, Broadlin Jerseys, Lockington) – 2nd: Camo Ruth 2 (D and R Hallyburton, Camo Jerseys, Cobden) – 3rd: Kaarmona Parade Marie 67 (M Perrett, Mytee Jerseys, Kongwak) – 4th: Miami Country Eileen 4070 (Philmar Dairying Company, Miami Jerseys, Tocumwal).
FOUR-YEAR-OLD – 1st: Meldan Country Pharos (B and M Scott, Meldan Jerseys, Binginwarri) – 2nd: Merseybank Eltons Claire (G and A Heazlewood, Merseybank Jerseys, Latrobe) – 3rd: Mikandan Action 989 (T and B Edwards, Mikandan Jerseys, Thowgla Valley) – 4th: Pasadena Joker Olive (J Falls, Pasadena Jerseys, Finley).
MATURE COW – 1st: Willow Dell Fancy 512 (Eloora Pastoral Company, Aroona Jerseys, Deniliquin) – 2nd: Jugiong Molly 5482 (Nicholson family, Jugiong Jerseys, Girgarre) – 3rd: Wallacedale Jace Melaine 4 (C and M and L and M Wallace, Wallacedale Jerseys, Poowong North – 4th: Rockvale Jill 4604 (D and W Parker, Rockyvale Jerseys, Beeac.
SUPREME CHAMPION – Broadlin Constance 2565 (L and L Broad, Broadlin Jerseys, Lockington).
MOST SUCCESSFUL JERSEY CLUB – Northern Jersey Breeders Club
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS WILL BE NAMED IN 2012
Jerseys are the first breed to move towards crowning national champions (for age) in what will be called the Great National Challenge.
The announcement was made by Jersey Australia’s President Trevor Saunders, during the annual gathering where the Champions from this year’s Semex-Jersey Australia Great Southern Challenge were announced at the Witchmount Winery, at Melton, Victoria.
Historically, all the regions across the country conduct their own competitions. To this point, the logistics of co-coordinating and judging a national final have made the move a challenge. A challenge Jersey Australia has been eager to solve.
While some details are still to be finalised, Trevor confirmed the national judging will be conducted using video footage and a panel of three judges. Semex’s Jim Conroy said if the concept works, it will be extended to include the Holsteins.
Jim went on to tell the audience that the world is watching Australia’s competition with a keen interest.
“I was stopped when I got to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto [Canada] recently to chat about the competition, because they were watching it unfold on the internet,” Jim said.
“There’s no question we’re being watched closely by many countries, and that our international friends are envious that we’ve made it work.”
Brendan Scott’s (second from left) winning entry in the Semex-Jersey Australia Great Southern Challenge has since been sold to Jugiong Jerseys and entered for International Dairy Week. Brendan is pictured with (from left) Stu Mackie and Jim Conroy (Semex) and Jersey Australia’s president, Trevor Saunders.
Great Southern judge Lindsay Marshall enjoys the moment with owner of the Great Southern Challenge’s Supreme Champion, Lynton Broad.