Northern Victorian Jerseys winners in Great Australian Challenge

By Jamie Salter

Northern Victorian cows have won three of the five classes in the Jersey Australia Semex Great Australian Challenge, including the top honour.

Tallygaroopna's Ben Pedretti of Froglands Jerseys won Supreme Champion and Mature Class with Meldan Vanahlem Violet.

Since the judging, Mr Pedretti sold Meldan Vanahlem Violet at International Dairy Week to Ian Anderson from King’s View Jerseys at Nar Nar Goon, but said he did not regret the sale.

“Deciding to sell her was a tough decision because she was a pretty good cow, but the people who bought her really love her and were so excited about the win, which makes it special,” he said.

“It’s nice to have found a cow that developed to the same level as previous winners who have gone on to great things.”

Mr Pedretti said he fell in love with Meldan Vanahlem Violet when he saw her.

“We got her for a pretty good price and she kept getting better as she got older,” he said.

“She’s very balanced and a real powerhouse cow.

“She has a real youthful mammary system for her age and she’s a very fertile cow.”

The Two-Year-Old Class was won by Numurkah's John and Margaret Cockerell with Warrain Valentino Empress 1 and the Three-Year-Old Class winner was Loxleigh Valentino Empress 5940 owned by Tallygaroopna's Geoff and Natalie Akers, from the Goulburn Murray Jersey Club.

The champions first won local club on-farm challenges in the Great Southern Challenge and Great Northern Challenge, held last December.

The winners were judged via video by a panel of three judges: Hayley Menzies, David Anderson and Darren Gravett.

Ms Menzies said the quality of cows was very high.

“The classes were very close, it wasn’t a walk in the park for any of the winners,” she said.

Ms Menzies described the Supreme Champion as a flat-boned, youthful-appearing, mature cow, with depth of body and a great udder that attached very well.

The Four-Year-Old Class was won by western Victoria's Chris and Pam MacKenzie with Jireh Ares Sunbeam and the Five-Year-Old Class was won by south Gippsland's Darien and Alex Mathews with Langdale Valentino Madge.

The Great Australian Challenge awards were presented on July 15 via Zoom.