SOUTH Gippsland has cemented its reputation as a centre for dairying excellence, after being crowned home of the best cow in Australia and a calf owned by a former local sold for an Australian record price.
Bushlea Jerseys of Leongatha and Koonwarra took out the prize for best cow in the country at last week’s International Dairy Week at Tatura, northern Victoria.
At the same event, a two month old calf owned by Callum Moscript, formerly of Leongatha South, sold for $251,000.
The Bushlea Jersey cow, Bushlea Van Fernleaf 10, owned and bred by Keith and Pat Kuhne and Wayne and Lisa Kuhne, took out the Supreme Champion Dairy Cow.
It is the first time a Gippsland bred cow has won the top prize in what is recognised as the biggest cow exhibition in Australasia and probably is among the top six exhibitions in the world.
The cow is a four year old but was having its first outing in the show ring. It won many awards along the way, taking out the senior four years and over class, the Senior Champion Jersey, and Grand Champion Jersey. The cow was then up against the other top cows in their breeds, including the best Ayrshire, Illawarra, Brown Swiss and Holstein.
Wayne Kuhne travelled to Tatura with his daughter Ruby and was helped in preparations by Zach Redpath and Matt Templeton, who led the winning cow in the parade ring.
Mr Kuhne described the win as “massive” and an endorsement of the stud for the family and everyone who works for Bushlea.
He said he fielded a number of offers both before and after the exhibition but declined to part with the cow.
“It certainly gives the business a lift and no doubt will add more value onto the whole herd,” he said.
“The Fernleaf cow is the foundation cow in our stud since it was established in 1945 and the most well known of our cow family.”
The calf sale set a new national record price, more than doubling the previous record.
Owned by Mr Moscript and Declan Patten, Lightning Ridge-CMD Jedi Gigi sold to American company ST Genetics at the World Wide Series Evolution sale, as part of International Dairy Week.
Mr Moscript and Mr Patten also sold a full sister to the record breaking calf for $37,000 to Hill Valley Holsteins in Kongwak.
Mr Moscript said on the day of the sale, he and Mr Patten were anxious.
“There was a lot of hype around the calf, a lot of talk and a lot of figures were being thrown around,” he said.
“She started slow at $30,000, which made me nervous. Then she got up to $120,000 and she kept going.”
Messrs Moscript and Patten invested around $30,000 to $40,000 in the bloodline to get it on the ground and then develop it.
“We buy a lot of embryos from North America. We aim to buy good genomics, high DNA value cattle,” Mr Moscript said.
“The opportunity came up to buy and we took it. We DNA tested the resulting calf and she was the fourth highest genomic total performance index calf in the world.”
The calf was the highest genetically ranked dairy cow to ever be sold.
“It effectively makes the animal attractive for investors or AI companies, to put into their breeding programs to breed the next generation of high quality males and females for the industry,” Mr Moscript said.
The calf will head into quarantine, before being exported to Canada and then on to Texas.
Mr Moscript, who now lives in Launceston, Tasmania, said the calf exceeded his previous sale record, by nearly $200,000.
“We are always buying and selling. I think it is like any business; if you have a product, you have to put the best out in the market place,” he said.
“It is important to give everyone in the world an opportunity to buy the best genetics.”
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