WAS that an earthquake we heard down here from up at Tatura last Thursday?
No, it was a Jersey cow winning the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow award at 2017 International Dairy Week, the first time it has been done by a Gippsland bred cow!
And putting the South Gippsland dairy industry front and centre, in Australia, to the world, was none other than Bushlea Farms and the Kuhne family of Koonwarra.
It’s definitely a ‘wow’ moment in the history of the dairy industry in this area.
They won the coveted title of Australia’s Grand Champion in The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria’s (RASV) prestigious Dairy Interbreed Competition with exhibit Bushlea Van Fernleaf 10, presented as part of International Dairy Week (IDW) last week.
Bushlea Van Fernleaf 10 became eligible for the honour after earlier in the week being awarded the title of Grand Champion Jersey and along with the RASV Interbreed trophy, will also take home a $2000 cash prize, recognised as the highest dairy cow honour on offer in the country.
Kuhnes have won the Grand Champion Jersey award on two occasions before, but up against the powerful Holstein breed, and all the others, they haven’t quite managed to scale the heights of the all-breeds award. Until this year.
“It’s the first time that a Gippsland bred cow has won it. We were delighted to have won the breed championship, because although we’ve done it before a couple of times, never with a Fernleaf cow,” said Wayne Kuhne this week.
“Certainly we thought we had a chance but to trick is getting the cow back up again after the breed judging on the Wednesday.
“Look they’re all good cows when they get to that point. No cow is perfect but in the end it comes down to the cow with the least amount of faults and that was us on the day.
“It’s all a bit surreal really. The ‘best cow in Australia’? That’s what they promote it as, the best in Australasia actually.
“The Melbourne Show used to be the big one but they don’t even have dairy cows there anymore. This is the biggest show in Australia now. We won 10 champion Jersey cows at Melbourne over the years but we never won the champion dairy cow, now this, which is arguably better.
“We’ve always been recognised as producing top Jerseys but it’s nice to have that reinforced, to have that promoted at the highest level.”
Wayne feels sure the recognition will help Bushlea Farm’s stud sales, especially with the Fernleaf breeding front and centre.
The Kuhnes added the top AI sire Van Halen to its own advanced genetics to produce a Jersey that’s so close to perfect, you’d have to be very picky to find any fault.
And the four year old cow does a great job in the shed as well, producing well over 7500 litres in her last 300-day lactation.
Asked whether the IDW Supreme Championship or the Bulldogs’ premiership was better, Wayne said couldn’t choose between them.
“It’s been a big six months,” was all he’d say.
Important award
“The RASV Dairy Interbreed Competition is an important part of our commitment to showcasing quality and celebrating excellence in dairy production and on behalf of RASV I congratulate all of our 2017 Champions,” said Mark O’Sullivan, CEO, RASV.
The Intermediate Champion was awarded to Rockvale Burdette Prim – Bluegum Park, Gippsland, whilst Miami Magnify Dawn 5206 – Philmar Dairy Co, Tocumwal was named Junior Champion, with both receiving $1000 cash prizes.
Mr O’Sullivan said RASV’s commitment to showcasing dairy would continue in September with the Royal Melbourne Show Dairy Competition, consisting of the All Breeds Elite Dairy Heifer Show and Dairy Youth Handlers Classic and Scholarship.
“Alongside our support for key regional events including IDW, RASV is committed to providing and enhancing compelling opportunities for youth development and recognition for future leaders through the Royal Melbourne Show Dairy program,” he said.
“We would like to congratulate RASV’s 2016 Dairy Travel Scholarship recipient, Katie Anderson, who along with a number of outstanding achievements throughout the week, was part of the 2017 IDW Premier Exhibitor team.”
Katie will be using the $10,000 bursary to travel to the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin in October.
Entries for the 2017 Royal Melbourne Show Dairy Competition and Travel Scholarship open in May with details to be available at rasv.com.au.