David and Trudy Fiebig with grandson Mikey and 5 month old granddaughter Ella
Member: D J & T A Fiebig
Location: Mt Gambier, South Eastern SA
How long have you been in the industry: 40 years
Farming generation: 2nd Generation
Land size: 515 acres
Cows milked: 300
Important cow families: Winluke Frosty family, Pen-Col family, Darlene family
Favourite bull used: Ked Juror
Current Bull Team: Dreambig, Mr Super Contender, A2 P2, Proceed and River
Important traits: udders, feet and legs, capacity and good temperament
First EX cow: Warramont Winluke Frosti
South Australian farmers David and Trudy Fiebig from North West Mount Gambier have been dairying for 40 years and are among the latest named as Master Breeders.
Mr Fiebig says the Master Breeder is not something Warramont Holsteins has been actively seeking but says they are ‘delighted to win the award and thanks Holstein Australia for making the award possible’.
He explains it is an important award to win because not everyone participates in showing or gets involved in other competitions.
“It’s an award where you don’t have to pick up a set of clippers or a camera but it rewards us for breeding all-round good cattle” says Mr Fiebig.
Both David and Trudy are second generation dairy farmers who began share-farming in the early 1980s.
They started dairying with 160 cows on David’s parents’ Ron and Mary’s property in Meningie, 300 KMs from Mount Gambier.
After 12 years of share-farming, David and Trudy reached milking up to 250 cows which was more than double the average herd size at that time.
By 1993, David and Trudy started their stud Warramont and 2 years later purchased a herd of 90 cows along with 100 acres North West of Mount Gambier.
Additionally, they brought with them another 10 cows, as well as a few others from his parents’ stud in which David had flushed for embryos.
“I used embryo transfers enormously over my 25 years” says David.
He pinpoints the mid-80s as the period when embryo technology started to take off and mentions his father Ron had suggested to ‘put all the embryos from the best cows in the cross bred cows and build a herd that way’.
He highlights ET as an important breeding tool due to its accuracy of identifying good cows and says ‘it is as important as classifying and herd testing’.
“You can stick your best 10% of cows in your worst 10%, so that those bottom end cows don’t have heifers and your very best cows do” says Mr Fiebig.
Additionally, David lists classifying and herd testing as important instruments in Warramont Holstein’s success and mentions they were crucial to their stud.
He explains “sometimes you can look at your herd with rose-coloured glasses and you don’t want to do that. You want to identify all of the little things that need to be picked up”.
The first cow registered under the Warramont prefix was Warramont Aerostar Darlene who came from a New Zealand stud and milked 114,000 litres. She went on to breed a 3 generation pedigree achieving over 100,000 litres per animal, with the highest milking 135,000 litres.
Another cow family noted in the Warramont herd is the Frosti family who derived from the American Plushanski Chief Faith family imported by David’s father in the 1990s. They produced a daughter who went on to deliver Warramont’s first excellent cow Warramont Winluke Frosti.
In 2006, David’s son Brett took her showing and won both champion titles in the Melbourne and Adelaide shows and five weeks later went on to win the Mount Gambier Fair.
He says “she’s produced a 4 generation excellent Warramont line which is an achievement I’m very proud of”.
Mr Fiebig marks the Pen-Col Dream family as another important family and says he would have had at least 100 descendants from the cow who produced 4 generations down, including Australia’s 2019 top genomic bull Warramont Superhero Dave.
“That was achievement in itself” says Mr Fiebig.
Over the last 28 years, David and Trudy have grown their business and now own 515 acres of land with a herd of approximately 300 cows.
Mr Fiebig says “we’ve really enjoyed it and we wouldn’t have stayed in dairying as long as we have if it wasn’t for breeding. It’s made dairying interesting and enjoyable”.
Warramont Holsteins plan to sell 130 of their autumn calving herd on 15th March and downsize to half their acreage in preparation to free up some time.
David says “you reflect on generations passing and think of how much they’ve done for you and the opportunities they’ve given to you.”
He explains his parents were extremely supportive and his son Brett has done a fantastic job which gives him high hopes for generations to come.
His son Brett has made a substantial contribution to the farm over the last 2 decades and share-farmed with David and Trudy from 2010 to 2016.
“Trudy and I are very proud of the work we’ve done and we are very proud of our family, where we come from, where we are at and what is yet to come” says Mr Fiebig.
Please join us in congratulating the Fiebig family on their outstanding achievement and contribution to the Holstein breed.