Oakley Henry from Wilara Holsteins in Gippsland Victoria is preparing to head off to the UK for the Holstein Australia Youth UK Exchange in September following the withdrawal of WA’s Tahlia McSwain from the 2019 program.
Holstein Australia CEO, Graeme Gillan, says: “Unfortunately Tahlia has had to withdraw from the exchange for personal reasons, and all at Holstein Australia wish her and her family well.
“In Oakley we have a fantastic replacement, which really underlines the quality, strength and depth of candidates for the 2019 exchange. He is clearly focused on building a future in the dairy industry and is heavily involved with Wilara’s successful breeding program. I’m sure Oakley’s time in the UK, and the experience gained, will be a great next step in his young career.”
Eighteen year old Oakley is a 4th generation dairy farmer. He is completing a Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production) and has worked fulltime on the family farm since November 2017.
“I’m passionate about breeding the best quality cows that we can,” says Oakley. “I’m really keen to look at the different breeding philosophies of UK farmers as well as building my own network with young breeders from overseas.
“The cows we strive to breed at home are profitable cows with high production, fertility, feed efficiency and good type. It will be interesting to see how this compares with the farms I visit in the UK, and what I can learn from the experience to benefit the Wilara breeding program.
“I’m very grateful for what is the opportunity of a lifetime and can’t wait. At the same time, I feel for Tahlia and would like to send both her and her family my best wishes.”
Beginning late September Oakley will spend a month travelling the length and breadth of the United Kingdom staying and working with Holstein UK members, and will also take part in UK’s largest dairy show, the South West Dairy Show in Somerset, and the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show in Cambridgeshire.
The Holstein Youth Exchange program is a joint initiative of Holstein Australia and Holstein UK and is now in its third year. Following Oakley’s visit to the UK this September, a Holstein UK young breeder will spend January next year visiting Holstein Australia members in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, as well as attending International Dairy Week and taking part in the Youth Challenge event.