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Pizza with sauce

E and GGFollowing her exchange visit to the UK, Emma Algie dropped into the Holstein Australia office last week to tell us all about her trip.

Emma’s overriding impression was that breeders in the UK were looking for exactly the same result as breeders in Australia, but the journey undertaken to get there was very different.

From cows in sheds all year round to farm size and the milking process, the impact that geography and climate have on farming in the UK surprised Emma.

MAP

“The whole of the UK fits into Australia 31 times, and while Australia has just over 1.6 million cows, the UK has almost 1.9 million. That’s a lot of cows in not much space!”

The rigourous process of testing for Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), and its impact on farming families also made a striking impression on Emma. Since 2008 over 250,000 cows have been culled in the UK due to bTB, and over 9 million have been tested in the last 12 months alone.

Emma was also really impressed with the sense of community and the camaraderie among Holstein breeders, fostered from a young age through the very active and inclusive Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) group.

Group

“HYB in the UK focus a lot on social events and networking. In some ways it is like your local footy or cricket club in Australian dairy farming communities in the way that it helps provide a real sense of community and belonging.”

Other things that made a real impression on Emma were the widespread move to milking three times a day, the positive broader community attitude towards dairy farmers (with many being the hero of local supermarket campaigns for their own milk brands) and a revelation or two about the use of genetics which looks to have pointed her in a new direction with plans for her own herd.

In fact, the only negative from Emma’s trip was being served (on more than one occasion) dipping sauce with pizza. “I mean, who serves dipping sauce with pizza? Really…”

PizzaThe full report of Emma’s five-week journey visiting Holstein families the length and breadth of the UK will appear in the pre-Christmas issue of Holstein Journal.

Holstein Australia Chief Operations Officer, David Jupp, says: “On behalf of Holstein Australia I’d really like to thank Emma for being such a great ambassador not only for us but for herself and her country. It’s been great to hear what she has learnt during her time away, how she thinks she can apply that knowledge to her own and her family’s dairy business, and about the new friends she has made. She’s certainly made the most of the opportunity.”