Two northern Victorian cattle breeders took home the chocolates at the recently announced 2016 Great Australian Challenge Champion awards, part of the Jersey Australia Formal Awards Dinner.
The dinner, held on May 25, saw Milawa’s Darren Hourigan’s cow Darrynvale Vanahlem Joan 2 win the three-year-old class, while Tallygaroopna’s Akers family’s cow Loxleigh Badger Iris 4 went home the mature cow class winner as well as the Supreme Champion Cow, making it the first cow to win the best mature jersey cow in Australia two years in a row.
Loxleigh Badger Iris 4 breeder Geoff Akers said his cow suited the family’s pasture system.
‘‘She lasts a long time and has plenty of strength which suits our pasture system,’’ Mr Akers said.
Mr Hourigan’s cow is one of the best three-year-old jerseys around, hence its victory in that class.
‘‘She’s an excellent 91 points. That’s the maximum for three-year-olds and high as she can go,’’ he said.
To reach the Australian Challenge, all Jersey breeder clubs around Australia run an On-Farm Challenge, usually in October, where club members put up their best two-year-old heifer, three-year-old cow, four-year-old, five-year-old and mature cow (5+).
At the end of the judging, the club has a winner in each of the five classes who then enter into the Great Southern Challenge if they are in Tasmania, South Australia or Victoria or the Great Northern Challenge if they are in Queensland or NSW and the five winners from the Southern Challenge then compete with the five from the Northern Challenge for the coveted Great Australian Challenge title.
‘‘The Great Southern and Northern Competitions are judged on farm and a video is taken. From there the Australian Challenge is judged off video,’’ Mr Akers said.
‘‘It’s a great competition. You get to compare your cows (with others) right across Australia and you don’t have to leave the farm.’’
Mr Hourigan agreed that the competition was worthwhile regardless of the result.
‘‘It’s a great thing Jersey Australia has done with the Great Australian Challenge. It’s a privilege to be involved, let alone win.
It’s a great way to showcase cattle and it’s a good advertising tool.’’