Australia’s biggest annual dairy livestock competition, involving close to 3000 cows and 500 farms, has never had more relevance for dairy farmers bowing under the pressure of low milk prices, says Semex’s Jim Conroy.
The Semex/Holstein Australia On-Farm Competition enters its 12th year this month, and the nationwide spectacle is now widely accepted as offering producers a key additional income stream from the associated exposure of winning regional and state championships.
Semex initiated the competition to acknowledge quality, functional dairy cows – often the unsung heroes of Australia’s dairy industry. It now includes a special application because cows that may not have enjoyed a profile before have a chance to shine and/or be discovered in the farmer-friendly format.
“This competition has a lot of momentum and is held in high regard – very high regard – both here in Australia and overseas,” Jim said. He said the On-Farm Competition’s role was now clear for the industry.
“I’ve said this 100 times in the last six to eight months, that the breeding industry is alive and well,” Jim said. “Milk prices are (in the main) poor, but there is good money to be made in selling high-end livestock, quality heifers to export and bull sales for breeders who are making decent bulls.
“This competition is all about helping our producers gain exposure and marketability for their animals without the workload and costs usually associated with showing, picturing and/or marketing cattle.”
Each of Holstein Australia’s 29 sub-branches involved are now kicking off their local competitions (which involves one judge per sub-branch). Entries peak at 270-head in some of the sub-branch strongholds. All the cows are judged for their conformation on-farm without preparation.
The first and second placegetters in each class at the sub-branch level then move forward to the state finals where they will be re-assessed by a fresh over-judge in early November to find the state champions.
The state lines are divided into Northern Queensland, Southern Queensland, New South Wales, South-Eastern Australia (incorporating Victoria, New South Wales Riverina and South East South Australia), Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia.
The Victorian and South Australia’s South Eastern’s presentation date and venue, which involves over half the total numbers involved in the competition, has been confirmed. It will be held at the Witchmount Estate Winery, near Melton, on December 7.
This year’s Semex-Jersey Australia Great Southern Challenge is also underway.
The competition includes approximately 1400 cows from 11 different sub-branches in four states. The presentation day will also be held at the Mitchmount Estate Winery on December 12.