The Brown family – Hec and Judy, and son Andrew – have been milking Jersey cows for many years. They purchased their dairy farm on the edge of the bush on Gunbower Island near Leitchville in 1968, milking a mixed herd, but it wasn’t until 1980 that they were able to convert their herd to full Jersey.
A family history and personal choice were the reasons behind the decision, and years of dedication to the breed has seen them build up a reputable herd that has tasted success over the years through their local Jersey club – Murray Valley Jersey Breeders.
Last year was no exception for the family, with two-year-old Merindah Tee Faiza winning her class and champion heifer, while Merindah Tee Firecracker took out the five-year-old class and best udder.
Breeding a good cow rarely just happens. It often takes years and years of sound breeding decisions, but for the Brown family the stars seem to have aligned with Firecracker. The family firmly believes she is one of the best cows they have ever bred.
Judy takes an active role in the breeding decisions and the family has had particular success with the bulls Valentino and Tee Bone.
``We breed for type, production and temperament and don’t seem to have too many issues with our cows,’’ Hec said.
``The On Farm Challenge is an enjoyable experience. We have formed great relationships with other breeders and it is always great to see where your cows sit compared to others.’’
The 260-cow spring-calving herd is milked off 80ha of permanent pasture. The family also has run-off blocks for cutting hay and agistment of young stock.
``We do milk through but it is usually at low ebb so we can take it easy over the winter months and enjoy a bit of a break,’’ Hec said.