Dairy

Classroom is a cattle shed

By Sophie Baldwin

The Northern Victorian Holstein Australia Sub-branch hosted a training day at the Kyabram dairy farm of Graeme and Bev Joiner last week.

The event was organised as a training day for the younger branch members and included mentoring by Janette Falls.

Branch secretary Tania McKenna said it was important to host days like this to teach kids about cows and the importance of preparation, while also providing a day off the farm and some social interaction.

‘‘Days like this are good for mental health because they provide a few hours away from the farm and the kids get to learn a lot about the different parts of a cow and a lot about conformation,’’ Ms McKenna said.

‘‘Showing cattle is also about attitude, co-operation and doing the background work — it’s not just about walking around the show ring.’’

She said the sub-branch would be selecting its International Dairy Week youth team in the future based on attendance at events like this, with showmanship, attitude and co-operation becoming a major part of the selection process.

Teah and Natalie Huon from Kyabram took some time out from their school holidays to attend the day — they both enjoyed it and came away with some new-found cow knowledge.

‘‘It was great to learn about how to judge a cow, what to look for and why it matters,’’ Natalie said.

Ms Falls said she really enjoyed working with the younger generation and she loved getting out and talking about cows.

‘‘I love to share my dairy knowledge. I have spent all my life in the dairy industry and have always bred stud cows,’’ she said.

Ms Falls said days like this provided the perfect opportunity for kids to learn how to work together in a team environment.

‘‘It’s great to see the kids together in a group and watch them learn off each other; it helps give them a confidence in their abilities.

‘‘It is also important to teach the kids showing cattle isn’t always about winning a blue ribbon, but earning respect and how you handle yourself when things don’t go according to plan.’’