Pioneering Holstein breeders were acknowledged at the 60th anniversary of the northern Victorian sub-branch of Holstein Australia.
The anniversary dinner in May heard a presentation by dairy breeder and auctioneer Brian Leslie, who pointed to the large number of top-flight cattle which had been bred by members of the sub-branch.
Drawing on his encyclopaedic knowledge of blood lines, Mr Leslie produced photographs as far back as the 1960s showing the top performers at royal shows, and tracing their development by prominent breeders, some of whom were at the dinner.
He followed the presentation of the on-farm challenge winners and said he agreed with the judges that the breed was going ahead in leaps and bounds.
Mr Leslie pointed out that 50 years ago, the ‘‘black and whites’’ were nowhere near as popular as they are today and he paid tribute to the foresight of those who recognised where the breed could go.
Mr Leslie referred to breeder Frank Sorraghan, who showed the record-breaking Rockwood Park Achilles Felicity for three successive all-breed wins at Royal Melbourne in the 1960s.
“The Holstein-Friesian has ousted the Jersey in America. If these heifers produce as these have done in America, they will set records for Australia,’’ an 18-year-old Frank Sorraghan told The Age newspaper in 1958 after importing two Holsteins for the fantastic amount of 2100 pounds.
Mr Leslie took the sub-branch members on a journey through time as he recalled the farmers like Tony Few, through to the Somerville family who bred the recently named cow of the year, Somerville Leader Laisco, and Pam Malcolm’s successful Paringa stud.
Ms Malcolm’s Paringa Holsteins dominated the on-farm challenge awards presented at the dinner.
Her cattle excelled in the intermediate and senior categories, and she took out both the junior and senior sections of the group awards.
First place was awarded to the Invergordon stud in the senior three-year-old, four-year-old, five- and six-year-old and seven-year-old sections. She also took out seconds in two junior classes.
Charles and Carolyn Smith of St Germains placed first in the junior two-year-old class with Andes Pontiac Princes and first in the junior three-year-old section with Andes Artest Kizzie.
Paul Allott’s Waltopso Lambert Lilly was first in the senior two-year-old section. The Merrigum breeder also held the veteran cow winner, 10-year-old Waltopso Conrad Ding.