Northern Victoria has been recognised for its breeding prowess, achieving number one herds in four of the six breeds calculated under Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) — including a nationwide first.
Katunga’s Daryl Hoey achieved the top Holstein, Jersey and Australian Red breed in the release of the December results in a never-before-achieved feat.
Mr Hoey has previously held the number one Jersey herd and the second-best Holstein herd, but said he was surprised by the latest results.
‘‘It does take years and a certain amount of luck ... I knew I was there or thereabouts but I fully expected not to be the top Jersey herd, so I was a bit surprised to hold onto that one,’’ he said.
Mr Hoey’s 300-strong herd is a mix of about 70 per cent Jersey and 15 per cent each of Holstein and Aussie Reds.
Yet he said it was still the milk cheque that paid the bills and he would rather have an extra three tonnes per hectare of feed.
When it comes to introducing new genetics into his herd, it is a focus on fertility, mastitis resistance and greater emphasis on fat than protein that influences his decision-making.
And, with three breeds making their way through the dairy, Mr Hoey said for his farm management it was key that the Holsteins and Reds were made to compete in a Jersey herd, rather than altering the system to suit the naturally larger breeds.
Rochester’s Restdown Pastoral was again recognised as the top Brown Swiss herd in the ABV release, with Dingee’s Ben Govett’s herd ranked second.
Undera’s Sarah and Ray Parker took out second in the Illawarra herd rankings.
The rankings are based on Balanced Performance Index, a blend of ABVs for the traits that influence a dairy cow’s contribution to the farm business — production, fertility, functional type, survival, cell count, workability and feed saved.