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Lower Milk Prices Haven’t Stopped Dairy Entries At NZ National Show
January 22, 2016

A low milk payout has failed to dampen entries at the national dairy show, say organizers.  The national Dairy Event at Manfeild in Feilding is being held over three days later this month as the shop window of dairying.  

Event manager Neville Turnbull said the 194 calves and yearlings and 170 cows in milk were coming to Manawatu from as far away as invercargill and Dargaville.

“They are great entries. Our exhibitors have continued to support us in spite of the low milk price. But there are not the trade exhibits. Tradespeople are experiencing tight finances.”  He said fewer stock would be offered at the sale, which was part of the Dairy Event.  “Farmers are worried they won’t get the value from the sale. This year there are 18 lots. We usually have 25 to 30 so they are about 10 down.”

Turnbull said farmers were supporting the Dairy Event by entering stock and numbers had risen, though he wasn’t sure whether entrants were existing owners, had taken over dairy studs or had entered for the first time.

“The Dairy Event is still a very prestigious show. We see the best dairy cows and they all want that ‘supreme champion’ title.”

Turnbull said many A and P Shows struggled to get dairy entries and farmers would come to Feilding to pit themselves against one and other rather than enter a local show.  The good patronage was despite the cost of bringing staff and cattle to the event.

“There are 72 exhibitors, and at a conservative estimate they bring five staff each. That’s 360 [people].”

Some spent each night in the stadium with the cattle, and others stayed in campers or at Manawatu motels and hotels.

He said the event was worth thousands of dollars to the region from people booking accommodation and eating out during the three-day event.  The first South Island cattle were due to arrive this weekend.  Turnbull said the event attracted the best dairy cattle in the country.

“Chairman of the Dairy Event, and long time breeder, Selwyn Donald has just judged at the world’s biggest dairy expo (held in the United States) and he has judged in South Africa and Ireland, and he said there is nothing like Feilding’s Manfeild Stadium.”

He said the cow and calf lineup would include the major breeds of holstein friesian, jersey and ayrshire as well as the smaller breed numbers of brown swiss, shorthorn and guernsey.

Turnbull said the event was not expected to run at a loss.
“We know the industry has had problems. We did the budgets and hopefully the downturn won’t make us run at a loss. But it will be very tough going if it is like this again next year.”  Turnbull said the past seven events had been successful.  Entry was free to the Dairy Event from January 27-29.

By: Jill Galloway
Source: NZ Farmer


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