Important traits: Functional type, high udders, good feet and legs, good teat length, capacity, rump structure and composition.
First EX cow: Boscawen Aaron Lillie 1780
Boscawen Holsteins is the latest to be awarded two-time Master Breeder.
This comes off the backs of 8 generations of farmers who obtained their land as early as 1826 and since then, the property has always remained within the family.
Master Breeder Tracey Russell says “Dad was the 5th generation and winning this award has been an incredibly hard time for us because our parents both missed it”.
Regretfully, Tracey and her brother Bob lost their mother Elaine before they received their first Master Breeder award and sadly their father Geoffrey passed away a few months short of receiving their second.
She reflects that the Master Breeder was always an accolade her father held highly and it was always a goal to strive for and something to give him hope on the days that were really tough.
“Dad, I’m sorry you missed it. I’m sorry you didn’t get it in time” she says. “He would have been so proud and I know he would have replied I’m proud of you all too” says Mrs Russell.
The late Geoffrey Herne inherited the Boscawen property from his Uncle in 1949 when he was only 11 years old.
He started farming full time at the age of 15 and registered cows as early as the 1970s.
“It was his life. He was born into it and he simply loved it” says Tracey.
Mr Herne was heavily involved in the Dairy Farmers Association and was a life member of the Nowra Show Society as well as being a founding member of the Junior Farmers in which he served in all executive positions during his term as a member.
“Dad was a prominent member of the dairy industry; vocal but not pushy. He had his opinion but he never argued with people. He believed everyone was entitled to have their say” remarks Mrs Russell.
The Herne family have also won awards for more than 100 years including the 1919 Grand Champion Cow at the Nowra Show which was dubbed the “Victory Show’ as it was the first following the end of World War I.
The award was won by Tracey and Bob’s great grandfather, Thomas Freeman Herne, with Maud of Boscawen; a roan milking shorthorn.
Mrs Russell recalls “Dad took a cow to the Nowra show in 1953 and won 1st prize but he immediately declared he was not a showman”.
Mr Herne had professed that although his cattle had been to shows, type and production had always been his true benchmark.
Tracey says Boscawen has always strived to breed big, strong, captious cows that are functional and long-lasting.
“Breeding good cows for milk production and longevity has always been key” says Mrs Russell.
She reveals Boscawen has paid particular attention to cow families and pedigrees and has focused on improving conformation in their home bred herd.
“We’ve been selectively breeding for many years before all the technology was available and we’ve done this as a family” says Mrs Russell.
She states the Master Breeder can be attributed to the family efforts of breeding good, high-production cows with longevity for more than 40 years.
Meticulous and consistent herd recording is another element which has contributed to the success of Boscawen Holsteins.
Many of the Herne and Russell families have branched out over the years starting their own stud such as Brunellen, Brunellen Park and Boscawen Park.
“We’ve had lots of little studs but we ended up coming back together because my brother and I felt it was more important to be one” says Tracey.
Today, the farm is operated by Bob and Tracey, along with the many helping hands of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Over the next five years, Boscawen Holsteins plan to build a compost barn with a feed pad down the centre to keep the cows out of the extreme weather and ‘enjoy the luxury of living like the queens they are’.
Mrs Russell says “we are a multigenerational farm with 3 lots of age groups working on the property. There are generations within generations on our farm that have contributed to this award and our family will continue dairying”.
She says “Dad, you did it. We got there but we wish you could have been here to see it”.