Organisers of the National Herd Development Victorian Winter Fair are still hoping for a great show despite tough conditions and uncertainty surrounding the dairy industry.
Committee member Stu Modra said the fair provided a great opportunity for people to get off the farm for a couple of days, enjoy good cattle and some great company, and he was quick to add it was still the cheapest show in Australia.
``Given that the committee members are all dairy farmers, we are aware of the hardship the industry is experiencing and it is inevitable our numbers will be down. The prize pool is still one of the best in the country and we have had many new sponsors get on board again this year, so we will still have a great show,’’ Mr Modra said.
The fair will be held on June 29 and 30 at the Bendigo Exhibition Centre, Prince of Wales Showgrounds, Bendigo.
Quickly developing a reputation as a premier show, the Winter Fair has filled a gap in the showing calendar and the committee is always on the look-out for ways to improve the experience, not just for humans, but for the animals too.
This year the committee has done away with judging of supreme udder, instead focusing on an Intermediate Best Udder and Senior Best Udder only.
``We thought this was something we could adjust to make the cows more comfortable, particularly the animals from the early classes,’’ Clare Modra said.
``We wanted to make the event as cow-friendly as possible and we think this change will have a big impact on cow health and animal comfort.’’
The two-day event features dry heifer classes on Wednesday followed by the in-milk classes on Thursday.
The red breeds also get a look-in with the Red Holstein Feature Show another drawcard.
Eddie Bue from Illinois, in the United States, is the judge in charge this year. He was the associate judge at last year’s International Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo in Madison.
Mr Bue will be supported by associate judge Cameron Yarnold from Arrallik Holsteins at Killawarra in NSW.
Mr Yarnold has judged numerous shows across the country and won the NSW state junior judging final in 2013.
The youth of the industry is again a major focus of the show and the fact the fair is held in the school holidays helps with this.
``We are always encouraged by the feedback we get and the support we receive from the young kids, after all they are the future of our industry,’’ Mr Modra said.
A special feature of the show is the Australian Holstein Zoeits Showcase sale which will be held on Wednesday night at 7pm.
Last year the ring size was increased to improve cow flow and this year changes to the layout will be made to accommodate more cows.
``The Winter Fair just started out as an idea to showcase autumn-calving cows, and to be honest we have been surprised by its success. It all comes down to the location, the fantastic venue and keeping the costs as low as possible for exhibitors.’’