Holstein Australia and STGenetics have just launched the STG Australia Virtual Holstein Spectacular. What is it, how did it come about and why should I enter? Holstein Australia CEO Rohan Butler takes up the story.
The Virtual Holstein Spectacular is back. Wasn’t it meant to be a COVID one-off??
That was the plan, but if the last couple of years have taught us anything, plans change.
Back in 2020 we came up with the Virtual Holsteins concept as a one-off event to replace the Semex-Holstein Australia On-Farm Competition which couldn’t take place due to COVID restrictions. Sub-branches and members really missed the On-Farm competition, while really embracing the Virtual concept too.
It seems a long time ago now, but don’t forget there was not only no On-Farm Competition, but there were also no shows, dairy or community events pretty much nationwide for over a year.
Roll on to late last year and the On-Farm competition was back with Semex running and supporting a really successful Sub-branch competition. While COVID restrictions meant the regional stages couldn’t take place, the comp will be back to full strength this year.
What I think surprised us was the strong Sub-branch and member feedback that the Virtual competition should stay in addition to the On-Farm. We’re hoping this year that more Sub-branches are able to hold in-person events linked to the competition, which South Australia and WA certainly were able to do last time.
COMPETITION CLOSING DATE EXTENDED UNTIL 31 MAY
Will virtual competition work the same as last time?
The concept remains the same, but we also learnt a lot the first time, plus STG Australia have shared their learnings from running the online STG Australia Dairy Youth Expo.
The single biggest request from HA members was ‘can we enter more animals?’. The answer is yes, with members able to enter two animals per class across the five classes.
Changes have also been made to the STG Australia Virtual Holstein Spectacular website to make the entry process easier. The competition timeline has also been shortened, with winner announcements and awards taking place more quickly.
How do members enter?
Like last year all that is required is an owner-filmed video of each cow entered. If you are not sure if your video is up to scratch, check out our example video.
All the information you need, including the Virtual Holstein Spectacular rules, ‘how to film your animals’ guide, sample video, competition timeline and access to the entry website can be found on the competitions page on the HA website.
The entry process is really straightforward:
Record a 30 - 45 second video of your animal on your phone
Enter your member number then use the dropdown menu to select your cow’s ID details, making sure to check that DOB and number of lactations and correct them if necessary.
Upload your video by clicking ‘Choose File’. Once your video has uploaded (the submit button will turn green) hit submit.
It is a really simple process, but if members have any problems they can call Sarah or Adam in the office who will be able to help.
What are the class age ranges?
There are five classes with members able to enter two animals per class from 2 year old’s’ through to 6 years plus. When members select the animals they want to enter on the Holstein Spectacular website each animal will automatically be put into the correct class based on date of birth.
2 year old (Born after 1/7/2019)
3 year old (Born 1/7/2018 to 30/6/2019)
4 year old (Born 1/7/2017 to 30/6/2018)
5 year old (Born 1/7/2016 to 30/6/2017)
6 year old and over (Born on or before 30/6/2016)
Who can enter and when does the competition close?
Entries opened this week and close on 31st May. We’ll be getting lots of reminders out on our Facebook page and to Sub-branches as we get nearer to the closing date.
Entry is open to all HA members and is free, including youth members. You can enter up to 10 cows (2 in each class). Cows entered must be registered at the time of entry.
Each Sub-Branch has the opportunity to hold its own competition, with the top two animals per class going through to the regional competition, and the top two per class from the regional comp going through to the national final.
Sub-branch, Regional and National judging will take place early May, with the National Finals Presentation streamed on Facebook at the end of the month. All Sub-branch and regional competitions will also feature on our Facebook page.
There is a $1,250 per class prize pool at National level, trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each class for the Regionals and Nationals and certificates for Sub-branch winners and placegetters.
Is there anything else?
The competition is a real team effort with many moving parts, not the least of which is the judging. We’ll be announcing 16 Sub-branch, 9 Regional and our National judge over the next few weeks.
It looks set to be a great competition. Like with most things, you’ve got to be in it to win it, so take the time to get your entries in soon.