THE 16th Semex and Holstein Australia On-Farm Competition is now well underway involving close to 3000 cows and 500 farms throughout the country.
Its distinctive format brings commercial and registered dairymen together like no other dairy event in the country.
It has involved cows from Holstein Australia’s 29 sub-branches (which involves one judge per sub-branch).
Entries peak at more than 250 animals in some of the sub-branch strongholds.
The first and second place getters from each class at the sub-branch level then graduated to their respective state finals – where they were re-assessed by a fresh over-judge to find the individual state champions for age.
The reality is that many cows – who have worked hard in anonymity – through this competition have the chance to be discovered and to be acknowledged in the farmer-friendly and time-efficient format.
The cows are judged for their conformation on-farm, without preparation.
The Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and New South Wales State Champions have now been decided.
Victoria will be announced today, Tuesday, November 29, at an event at Melton.
“There is no doubt that this competition continues to gain more impetus every year – if that’s possible,” Semex general manager Jim Conroy said.
“It is still the priority of our farmers to breed quality cows that have longevity that they can be proud of, and be happy to work with.
“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.”
It is also acknowledged as a major logistical event. This year’s South Australian judge, Nick Flanagan, said the competition remains vital for the national dairying community.
“I really like the concept, and the way Semex continues to support farmers and the industry with this competition – for no real direct financial benefit for themselves,” Nick Flanagan said.
“When we were driving around, I got to fully understand how much time everyone at Semex puts into the videos, photos and the logistics in general.”
Victorian dairyman Dean Malcolm, who judged the Queensland final over seven days and after covering more than 3000km, agreed with Nick.
“There’s no doubt Semex and the farmer volunteers throughout the country should be commended for making it all happen.
“It’s a massive and expensive operation, but it’s also such an important part of Australia’s dairy event calendar that everyone looks forward to,” Mr Malcolm said.
Mr Conroy said the On-Farm Competition’s role is now imbedded in Australia’s dairying psyche, and many breeders from other countries have been jealous of the initiative.
“You just don’t know where the next great ones are coming from and that’s the beauty of this competition.
“There can be no doubt that the breeding industry remains alive and well and there is always good money to be made in selling high-end livestock,” he said.
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.
Australia’s biggest dairy competition is on