Countryman - - IGA PERTH ROYAL SHOW - Rueben Hale

The Raven­hill fam­ily’s “strong and pow­er­ful” Hol­stein dairy cow was cho­sen as this year’s dairy in­ter­breed supreme se­nior cham­pion.

The cow, raised on the plush pas­tures of the fam­ily’s Nar­rakine di­ary farm near Albany, was con­firmed as the win­ner by Tas­ma­nian judge Josh Smith, af­ter he com­mended not only her strength and power, but her ma­ter­nal at­tributes.

“Her dairy­ness, her open­ness and the way her ud­ders are at­tached to her dairy wall make her the clear win­ner against the qual­ity Guernsey cow, which I have se­lected for re­serve cham­pion,” he said.

Bon­nie Raven­hill said the cham­pion cow was an ex­am­ple of what the cou­pled strove for with their herd of 1200 milk­ing cows.

“We try to fo­cus on the cow’s feet, legs and mak­ing sure the ud­der hangs in there for longevity in her life,” she said.

“These are im­por­tant fac­tors which can in­di­cate a cow’s fu­ture po­ten­tial to pro­duce milk.”

Mrs Raven­hill said Albany was per­fect coun­try for dairy cows and

to breed cham­pi­ons. “We are on coun­try which grows lots of grass, which our cows love,” she said.

“It is not known as a con­ven­tional dairy area, (but) we be­lieve it is pre­mium lands to be able to main­tain a qual­ity herd of cows pro­duc­ing pre­mium qual­ity milk.”

Mrs Raven­hill said high-yield­ing pas­ture was one fac­tor for their dairy busi­ness, which fo­cused on pro­duc­ing qual­ity milk in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

“It’s also about iden­ti­fy­ing strengths and weak­nesses in the busi­ness,” she said. “We’ve got to flat­ten out our milk sup­ply for (the) year by chang­ing our calv­ing pat­tern. Con­sumers don’t nec­es­sar­ily use more milk in win­ter than sum­mer, so you can see why it would be ben­e­fi­cial.”

Mrs Raven­hill said the dairy cri­sis had curbed their in­ter­est in adding to the size of their herd.

“Our herd has not grown, but the up­side of that is we’ve re­moved cows which weren’t pro­duc­ing well enough,” she said. “We would grow given the op­por­tu­nity.”

Mrs Raven­shill said the cou­ple re­mained con­fi­dent about the fu­ture of the WA dairy in­dus­try.

“Ide­ally, if we could get peo­ple in this State eat­ing WA dairy prod­ucts in pref­er­ence to brands from else­where that could have an im­mensely pos­i­tive im­pact on the in­dus­try,” she said.

“How­ever, in the short term, our in­dus­try needs to find new mar­kets to cre­ate more com­pe­ti­tion and in­crease the farm-gate price.”

Dairy farm­ers Bon­nie and Ken Raven­hill, who milk 1200 cat­tle at their Nar­rikup farm near Albany, with their Hol­stein heifer judged supreme dairy in­ter­breed cham­pion at this year's IGA Perth Royal Show.

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