THE JERSEY cow shouldn’t be dismissed as a little brown cow, she should be known as the mighty brown cow.
That’s the message from president Chris MacKenzie after Jersey Australia’s national conference in south-west Victoria on May 21 to 23 was described as one of the most successful in history.
The conference included tours of local Jersey farms and a dinner to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Western District Jersey Breeders.
Mr MacKenzie said the atmosphere was positive.
“We had really good numbers for all farm visits, meetings and dinners which reflects confidence in the breed,” he said.
“People were prepared to come long distances to be part of it and go home uplifted from having attended.”
The AGM was told of plans for a major marketing campaign to grow the Jersey breed.
“It’s not just a little brown cow, it’s a mighty brown cow,” Mr MacKenzie said.
“There’s a strong feeling that we have a wonderful cow for the times and users would like to see more for our product.”
Mr MacKenzie said the Dairy’s Finest marketing campaign would highlight the premium taste and nutritional value of Jersey milk.
“The calcium and potassium levels and nutrient value of a glass of Jersey milk are higher than any other breed,” he said. “We’ve got something good to market.”
The campaign will particularly target baristas and coffee drinkers who see the advantages of creamier Jersey milk.
Jersey Australia aims to get 25 per cent of the Australian dairy market and Mr MacKenzie said the goal was achievable.
“There is strong enthusiasm amongst Jersey breeders,” he said.
“There’s growth in the breed and demands for Jersey products will push that forward. Years ago, Jerseys were only four to five per cent of the national herd. We’re now at 15 per cent and think we can reach 25 per cent over the next few years.”
One of the main attractions of the annual conference is the opportunity to see what other farmers are doing and the cows they breed.
Delegates visited Alan Carson’s farm at Colac, Chris MacKenzie’s farm at Curdievale, Greg and Lisa Bryce’s farm at Nullawarre, Wanstead Jerseys at Boorcan owned by Roger and Amanda Heath, Murray Brook Jerseys run by the Lenehan family at Crossley and Daryl, Sue, Tim and Kate Bryce’s Mt Pleasant Jerseys near Allansford.
“Breeders like to see good cows and they were impressed with what the region has to offer,” Mr MacKenzie said. “The south-west has some green pastures but we have to be realistic and realise that some people are doing it hard, especially in the north of the state.”
The Jersey Australia executive remains the same with Mr MacKenzie returned as president. Two new board members were elected, Wayne Kuhne from south Gippsland and Jamie Drury from Tamworth.
“For the breed’s sake, it’s encouraging that people are prepared to nominate for the board,” Mr MacKenzie said.
About 100 people attended a dinner to celebrate the Western District Jersey Breeders 75th anniversary where several local studs received awards.
Fourth generation Jersey breeders Roger and Amanda Heath from Wanstead Jerseys received a 75-year award, and 50-year stud awards were presented to Greg Bryce from Green Pine Jerseys and Alan and Janine Carson from Cairnbrae Jerseys.
Mr MacKenzie also received a distinguished services award during the conference. He has been a member since 1987 and a key driver of research and development for the Jersey breed and supporter of local and major shows.
Platinum member award was presented to Luke and Melanie Wallace of Wallacedale Jerseys and gold awards went to Alan and Janine Carson — Cairnbrae Jerseys, Lindsay and Jacinta Anderson — Kings Vista Jerseys and Patrick Anderson — Kings Veldt Jerseys.
Tasmania’s Samantha Johns received a member encouragement award.
The winners of the Semex-Jersey Australia 2018 Great Australian Challenge were:
- Great Australian Challenge Supreme Champion: Woolvie 2276, O Barry
- Two-year-old: Darryn Vale Tequila Satin, Darryn Hourigan
- Three-year-old: Araluen Park Vanahlem Beauty 2, T Saunders and A Day
- Four-year-old: Winvarl Plus Diamond, Marks family
- Five-year-old: Mikandan Vanahlems Belle 2259, GC and RG Sprunt
- Mature cow: Woolvie 2276, O Barry