Colin Ekers, who passed away suddenly on Wednesday 17th June 2020, was involved in the dairy industry for almost 60 years. For a large portion of those years he was active in the breeding and promotion of the Holstein breed in South Australia and participated in Association activities and sub branch, state and federal level. Here we look back over Colin’s dairy life and his considerable contribution to Holstein Australia and the wider industry.
June’s proof run sees some familiar breeder names on the top 20 list of new genomic females – Emu Banks, Hindlee, Vala, Rockwella, Dillee and Numeralla. Holstein Australia’s Rohan Butler says while this is not a surprise given their focus on genomics based breeding programs, what is interesting are the new faces emerging amongst the sire group.
Calderbrae Holstein’s Jacqui Suares dedication to advocating for the disability sector has been recognised with Order of Australia medal in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List. Well known to Holstein Australia members for her dairy industry roles, including as Vice-Chair of WestVic Dairy, she has been active in the disability space since the birth of her daughter, Mia, for over 40 years.
With the majority of state and regional shows postponed or cancelled, including the Royal Adelaide and Sydney Shows and Victorian Winter Fair, Holstein Australia’s two big member competitions, Cow of the Year and the Semex Holstein Australia All-Australian Photographic Competition are underway.
World Wide Sires and Select Sires director of global training Joel Mergler says genomics is the best way to keep the dairy industry relevant. Gene editing and genomics are breeding tools that will help the dairy industry adapt and thrive, according to World Wide Sires and Select Sires director of global training.
After being inspired by others documenting COVID-19 Elmar Holstein’s Kelsie Hore, Genetics Australia marketing assistant and photographer, thought the same should be done for Victoria’s dairy farmers.
Holstein Australia welcomed seven new members to the National Holstein All Australian Judges Panel, following a national judging school held at Colac, Victoria, in March, just prior to the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions. Congratulations to Patrick Anderson (Vic); Sarah Chant (Vic); Callum McPhee (NSW); Ricky Nelson (Vic); Declan Patton (Vic); Michael Rood (NSW), and; Nicola Templeton (Vic).
Keep an eye out for the all new Holstein Australia All-Australian People’s Choice competition on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter later this week. Designed as a bit of a trip down memory lane for Holstein aficionados the All-Australian People’s Choice will run over the next six weeks, with a selection of winning cows from the last six years of competition featured each week.
One of the highlights of the Holstein Australia year, the National Awards Dinner, scheduled to take place in Western Australia in the first week of September, has been postponed in the light of government restrictions on mass gatherings and uncertainty around interstate travel for the foreseeable future. The Annual General Meeting will proceed as originally scheduled on Thursday 3 September via video conference from the Holstein office located at Dairy House, with members encouraged to attend online.
Two sales over the last week have underlined strength and value of Holstein genetics and registered animals as well as the way the industry is adapting to a COVID-19 world. Declan Patten and Brad Salmon’s Best of the West sale, conducted from the Dairy Livestock Services office as a live open cry auction utilising the Elite Livestock livestreaming platform while all lots remained on farm, saw Westmuir Awesome Karly VG achieve a sale top of $17,000.Held on-farm with social distancing restrictions in place and with many joining online via the Auctions Plus platform the Vala Autumn Feature Sale saw a top price of $8,000 achieved twice.
Over the last two years the average BPI of the top 10 heifers on Holstein Australia’s monthly list of animals with their first genomic breeding value has increased from 301 BPI to 345 BPI, a factor of 15%. For all genomic tested females (irrespective of age) the gain has been from 357 BPI to 396 BPI, a 39 point increase equating to a 10% gain.
From 1st June Holstein Australia will recommence classification visits throughout Gippsland, North West and North Central Victoria, Riverina NSW and South Australia. This is the first stage of a phased reintroduction of the class tour, with other regions and states to be included as state and territory travel restrictions are eased. Expanding the class tour to further regions will be assessed on an ongoing basis and communicated to members.
The much anticipated dispersal sale of Peter and Wilma Mackay’s top production Master Breeder herd at Warragul Sale Yards earlier this month was the first of three major sales featuring a strong line up of Registered Holsteins to take place during May, with the Best of the West 2020 and Vala Holsteins Autumn Feature Sale up next.
Despite the recent COVID-19 restrictions cancelling Royal and local shows in the back half of the competition year the Semex-Holstein Australia All-Australian Photographic Competition will still go ahead. The competition recognises excellence in conformation and showing and is open to all Holstein Australia Herdbook and Appendix 1,2 and 3 females that have been successfully shown since July 2019.
Registered Holsteins performed strongly in the May proof run with representatives of some established and emerging cow families from seven different breeders filling the top 20 new genomic females list. The rate of genetic gain of the Holstein breed in Australia can also be seen by comparing this month’s proof run to the June 2019 run. The average BPI across the top 20 new animals with a genomic breeding value in June 2019 was 315 BPI compared to 334 BPI for the current month.
The Strategic Directions Committee is now embarking on elections for a Non-Regional Representative for a three-year term commencing from 1st July 2020. There currently exist vacancies for two Non-Regional Representatives on the Committee. Holstein Australia is now calling for nominations from eligible members who are fully paid up for the 2019/20 Subscription year (Associate and Junior members are ineligible) for the role of Non-Regional Representative for the Strategic Directions Committee.
With competitions and shows few and far between this year, why not take a look at your herd and see if you have a candidate for the 2020 Australian Cow of the Year? Entries are open now and close on Sunday 31st May.
The dispersal sale of Master Breeder Arnum Holsteins, Peter & Wilma Mackay, takes place Friday 8th May, 11am, at Warragul Sale Yards and live online at www.stocklive.com.au. It will be the end of a 40 year era for Peter and Wilma Mackay, who have dedicated their lives to building their high production herd of Registered Holsteins.
Over the last few weeks as the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit home I’ve heard from many members, Sub-Branch officers and representatives of industry bodies. Reflecting on these conversations I think back to this year’s International Dairy Week where many Holstein Australia members and indeed all the other breed societies came together. Our theme at IDW was the Holstein community, the importance of that social connection and the strength created by the shared passion we have for the breed and our industry.
April’s proof run sees NSW’s Illawambra Holsteins, Trevor & Leah Parrish, with the top ranked new genomic female, Illawambra Lawson Dallas 3914 (397BPI). Illawambra Lawson Dallas 3914 also featured in second spot on the top young genomic females (born after 30-11-2017) and at number five on the overall list of top genomic females.
It is with a heavy heart that Holstein Australia acknowledges the death of Pam Summerville of Fairy Bower Holsteins on 1st April 2020. From the 1960’s until today, the Summerville family, with Pam as its matriarch, have been an important and much loved part of the Holstein community. In a dairying life that stretched from Southern Queensland to Northern Victoria, Pam along with husband Les were Sub-Branch stalwarts.
With many Sub-Branch activities and get togethers curtailed for the duration of the current social distancing restrictions, Holstein Australia can set up online Sub-Branch meetings on your behalf. While Australia continues to make good progress in flattening the COVID-19 curve, face-to-face meetings, local shows and events look like they could be off the agenda for a little while to come. Read more
As we move towards what is quickly becoming the new way of doing business we thought it would help for you to have direct contacts for each of the services we provide to members. Staff are working from home and are set up to help with your enquiries in the usual way, Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. We do ask for your patience and understanding if we sometimes take a little longer to respond.
Two Victorian breeders, Western District’s Jamie (Fred) Loveday, Huntingfield Holsteins and Gippsland’s Stuart McRae, Gallrae Holsteins, had 16 of the top 20 best young females with their first genomic breeding value in the March proof run.
The Master Breeder Munde Park herd of Mark and Debbie Jarrett held their Complete Dispersal Sale on farm at Bolong, Nowra, NSW following the sale of their farm. Sale top of $8,200 was paid for the outstanding 5 year old freshly calved Munde Park Impression Jean, a wonderful uddered cow, she had made over 9,900 litres on last lactation, her dam is VG 88 with over 14,900 litres and her 3rd dam is VG 89 also over 14,000 litres, she was purchased by Shierlaw Dairies of Jamberoo. Next top of $4,100 was Munde Park Savior Lass currently milking 47 litres from a VG Shottle dam, she sold to A & A Crawford of Numbaa.
An extremely successful Complete Dairy Herd Dispersal of the Windy View Holsteins account Brendan, Yolanda and Jason McVilly was conducted at Warrnambool Saleyards Friday 20th March. This sale had been promoted as potentially one of the most outstanding herds to be auctioned in the Western District for many years which proved to be the case.
Nominations for Strategic Directions Committee Regional Representatives from Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Victoria open Friday 13th March and close Wednesday 27th March 2020.The Strategic Directions Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Board on strategy and policy development that helps the Board in decisions on the strategic direction of the Association.
Holstein Australia has announced that Rohan Butler has been appointed as the Association’s new Chief Executive Officer, effective from the new financial year. Rohan, currently Holstein Australia’s Genetic Improvement and Research Manager, succeeds current CEO, Graeme Gillan. Graeme will work with the Association in an advisory capacity during the first half of the 2020 – 2021 financial year and will continue in his roles as NHIA Chairman and as a director of DataGene. “I can think of no one better to lead Holstein Australia into the future," says Graeme. "As a key member of our senior management team Rohan has been instrumental in ensuring that Holstein Australia has developed and evolved its core services, particularly in the genetics space, to better meet the needs of members and the wider dairy industry. He has also taken the lead in the development of our new strategic business plan and is a widely respected figure throughout the herd improvement industry."
Australia’s only National Judging School for 2020 is being held in Colac, Victoria from 10th to 12th March. Hosted by Western Districts Sub-Branch, attendees successfully completing the School will be admitted to the Holstein Australia National Judges Panel.
At the recent Worldwide Sires Evolution Sale the top BPI lot on offer, Cypress Grove V3 Ronimo Tiffany achieved the $12,000 top price, selling to Bryan and Jo Dickson of Emu Banks Holsteins. Sold by the Jones Family from Foster, Victoria, Cypress Grove V3 Ronimo Tiffany is number 15 on Holstein Australia’s February list of top 20 genomic females with a Balanced Performance Index of 367.
Western Australia’s Carenda Holsteins and South Australia’s Rockwella Farm Holsteins dominated February’s best young females with their first genomic breeding value list, with 17 of the top 20 cows between them. Topping the list was Rockwella Farm Jeronimo Pam (362 BPI), followed by Carenda Ardldis Verdello (357 BPI) and Carenda Jeronimo Funky (352 BPI).
A highlight of the Diary Industry Bushfire fund raising efforts at IDW was the pick of the 10,000 strong herd from Australia’s largest dairy operation, the Moxey and Perich families Australian Fresh Milk Holdings (AFMH). Find out more here.
Holstein Australia’s Genomic Services Officer, Miranda Clark, has been recognised by the National Herd Improvement Association of Australia (NHIA) for her role in increasing the acceptance and understanding of genomics among Australian breeders. Miranda received the Young Person Achiever Award at the National Herd Improvement Association dinner held in January.
One of the biggest weeks for the Holstein Community is here! International Dairy Week kicks off today and in shock news you might just need to pack a beanie for Thursday’s early start prior to the National Holstein Show. Read on for a complete rundown of all the Holstein news and events coming up over the next few days, and how to take part in the Dairy Industry Bushfire Appeal silent auction.
How great is the dairy industry. Support for the Dairy Industry Bushfire Appeal has been astronomical. Holstein Australia is contributing to this great initiative, set up by Jersey Australia, International Dairy Week and the Global Impact Sale, with the donation of 50 genomic ABV(g) tests for the silent auction which will run online throughout IDW.
Whether you are a social media sceptic, a true believer or a complete novice, our Social Media for Dairy Farmers and Breeders – doing it right! seminar at IDW is for you. What’s more, if you’re in the audience, you’re in with a chance to walk away with two days free social media strategy development donated by Holstein Australia’s communications and marketing consultant, Adam Sawell.
Our new Services Extension Officer’s name may sound familiar. Why? If you’ve been classifying your cows for a while, you may well recognise Simon’s name from his time as a Holstein Australia classifier in the mid-2000s. Some 13 years later, his passion for the Holstein breed has lured Simon back to HA, this time in our new field role geared around providing on-farm support to members.
Holstein Australia is launching a member services promotion at International Dairy Week, with one lucky member drawn out of the hat on Thursday lunchtime scooping a prize pack of 50 Registrations and 25 Classifications, including herd visit fee.
We have a position available for a motivated person to join our classification team. Holstein Australia, the country’s largest dairy breed association, provides a range of registration, classification and genomic services to dairy farmers all over Australia. The successful applicant will become a member of our classification team, with the position suiting someone with a passion for the outdoors, travelling, working with dairy livestock and helping dairy farmers.
The first proof run of the new year sees last month’s top cow on the list of all genomic females irrespective of age – Ivyhurst Wrangler Mystery 6194 – remain the same, though with an increase from 398 to 424 BPI month-on-month. Emu Banks Holsteins (Bryan and Jo Dickson) feature strongly in the list of best young females with their first genomic breeding value, with eight animals in the top twenty.
Our thoughts are with Holstein Australia members, their fellow dairy farmers and the wider rural communities throughout southern Australia and beyond that have been impacted by the fires over the last few weeks. This article includes information on recovery resources and emergency warning information.
Holstein Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon Adams in the role of Services Extension Officer. Simon brings a passion for the Holstein breed and a diverse dairy industry background to the role. Previously a dairy farm owner and Holstein Australia classifier for a number of years, Simon is relishing his return to working with breeders on improving their herds.
The December proof release sees Ivyhurst Wrangler Mystery 6194 join Coomboona Rambo Bliss-IMP-ET and Vala Bandares Boliana-ET at the top of the list for all genomic females irrespective of age on 398 BPI, with Purnim Moneyman Shasnah CS4524-ET (393 BPI) now at number four despite a 7 point increase in BPI month-on-month.
In January 2020 Holstein Australia will welcome Catherine Bunting, from the UK, the fourth recipient of the Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) Exchange. The month-long trip down under will see her gain first-hand experience of its dairy industry. Her visit will include the Western Districts Youth Camp, staying on Holstein Australia member farms in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, participating in the Holstein Australia Youth Challenge and working with the Holstein Australia team at IDW.
Dairy farmers and industry people are being encouraged to have their say about the industry’s National Breeding Objective (NBO), by filling in a survey before the end of January 2020. Some of the themes being explored include: Fat to Protein ratio, longevity, fertility, feed efficiency, new traits, multiple indices and updating the base.
Less than 48 hours after his Aussie rules football team, Maffra, won the Gippsland League Reserves Grand Final, Wilara Holsteins’ Oakley Henry was on farm 16,893 km from home with Holstein UK classifier Iwan Thomas at the beginning of his Holstein UK exchange. Here he reflects on a busy month and some subtle and not so subtle differences in Holstein breeding between Australia and the UK.
The Holstein office will close on Friday 20th December at 4.30pm and re-open at 8.30am on Thursday 2nd January. On behalf of the Board and everyone in the office we wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. To all our members, thank you for your support throughout 2019.
Apply by 7th February for a place on the Australian team that will compete at the European Young Breeders School in Battice, Belgium, in September 2020 with young dairy men and women representing all breeds encouraged to apply. “We are a truly global industry, and this program presents a unique opportunity to experience that first hand and start building international relationships early on in one’s career. You have to be in it to win it, so if you are setting out on a dairy career, apply today," says Holstein Australia CEO, Graeme Gillan.
Entries are now open for the Holstein Australia Youth Challenge which takes place at International Dairy Week on Sunday 19th January 2020. A highlight of the dairy youth calendar, entries are open to dairy youth groups, breed societies (national teams) Sub-Branch areas or state-based teams. Open to all breeds, participation of youth representing all Australian dairy breeds is actively encouraged.
Featuring some of the world’s leading maternal lines the heifers on offer at the Vala Holsteins Spring Feature 2019 include daughters of cows classified to EX with dams that complete up to 13 generations of EX & VG, direct daughters from dams to 42 SBC and dams that have produced to 19,107 litres, 645 kg protein and 913 kg fat. The sale takes place on-farm at Vala Holsteins, 1350 River Road, Toolamba, Victoria, 3614 at 11am Thursday 31st October 2019.
Holstein Australia has announced the appointment of new Director, Philip Hall, to the Holstein Australia Board for a three year term. Patrick Glass of Kerrick Park Holsteins, Gundowring, Victoria, returns as Federal President reappointed for a third 12-month term. Toria Patten of Ryanna Holsteins, Maffra, Victoria, takes up one of the three Non-regional representative positions on the Association’s Strategic Directions Committee.
We're looking for Services Extension Officer. If you are a cow person as well as a people person, like spending time with breeders and farmers and have an interest in making all things dairy just that little bit better, easier and straightforward, then Holstein Australia would like to hear from you.
A National Dairy Youth Camp for 16 to 20 year olds, to be held at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, is being planned for January 2020. The camp will have a focus on assisting young dairy men and women to identify and explore career pathways in the industry in addition to working with animals in preparation for a show on the final day.
It’s back! For the fifth year running the Western Districts Sub-Branch is hosting a dairy youth camp in January for 10 to 16 year olds at the Noorat Showgrounds. Last year’s camp, the biggest yet, had 54 participants and concentrated on building the skills of the next generation of young dairy enthusiasts.
Orchard Vale Informer Tiffany-ET(g) EX91-1E, a fourteen year old Black & White Holstein owned by Master Breeder Gorbro Holsteins of Cohuna, Victoria, has been named the 2019 Holstein Australia Cow of the Year. She is a past On-Farm Challenge Victorian State Champion and has 25 daughters in milk with a best lactation average PI of 120.4. She has 33 direct daughters including two at EX91; five at VG88; 24 VG daughters and three GP daughters.