Trish on mission to help dairy youth

By Dairy News

EVERY YEAR International Dairy Week celebrates a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the dairy industry through the Power of Women in Dairy Bette Hall award.

In 2020 Trish McGraw joined former winners Lisa Broad, Pam Malcolm, Jenny Gray and Lyn Boyd.

Trish grew up at Nirranda South in the Western District on her parents Lincrest Jersey and Charmwoods Guernsey Studs.

Her earliest childhood memories involve exhibiting cattle at Melbourne Royal ensuring her love of showing and good cattle was developed from a very young age.

In the late ’70s and early ’80s as a single mother she wanted her children to have the same great experience showing cattle as she had growing up, so she developed a very successful red poll stud which saw her crowned most successful exhibitor at Melbourne Royal nine times.

In 1986 she teamed up with husband Stuart McGraw and settled in Gippsland where together they developed the very successful Glen Afton Ayrshire stud.

The couple milked 100 cows through a walk through. Trish was very hands on and heavily involved in all of the breeding decisions.

She loved studying pedigrees and wasn’t afraid to invest in the best, purchasing Brookfield Belle Star for $7500 at Merv Burgmann’s dispersal, an Australian record at the time.

Trish laughs as she said Stuart’s eyes got bigger and bigger as the price for Belle Star crept up and up.

The Glen Afton Stud soon became the third highest Ayrshire production herd in the country as their success in the show ring continued to rise.

The couple dominated Melbourne Royal’s Ayrshire Show in the late ’80s and early ’90s, with best udder, champion cow, intermediate and junior champion awards.

In the centenary year of the Ayrshire Society (1991) they bred and owned champion cow Glen Afton Lucy Patsy.

In the mid ’90s the world Ayrshire Conference was held in the United States and a call was put out for embryos — Brookfield Belle Star was selected to represent Australia and the McCraws became the first stud to export Ayrshire embryos to America.

Trish has always been involved in her local Ayrshire club and loves to promote the breed.

She has always been passionate about helping youth and has been involved with VASV organising and providing cows for junior judging competitions at local and state level.

In 1993 she drove kids up to Hurlstone Ag School, near Sydney, to participate in an Ayrshire youth camp; she stayed and helped the whole week — the following year she started up her own at Lang Lang which was a huge success.

Now 80-years young she is just as passionate about the Ayrshire Breed as was she was years ago and continues to promote and develop the cows and breed she so very much loves.