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February 22, 2024

Urrbrae Agricultural High School student wins national dairy competition - Stock Journal

An Urrbrae Agricultural High School year 12 student has received the heifer calf she won at the ST Genetics Australia Dairy Youth Expo last year and decided to pass the heifer on to her classmates as a way to help them get a head start in the industry.

Isabelle Rawley entered the ST Genetics virtual all breeds show under judge Lachlan Fry, WA, along with seven other classmates after learning about the expo at the Royal Adelaide Show.

The competition entailed submitting a 30 second video, which showed all sides of a lead heifer, walking and standing correctly.

Isabelle said she learnt the best way to showcase dairy and what to look for in the ring through school and helping studs through the show period.

"My teacher, (Ashlee) McEvoy, said the competition would be a great way to improve my handling skills," she said.

"It was such a surprise that I won, I wasn't expecting it so it was great."

But Isabelle was not keeping the heifer as she was keen to support her classmates' endeavours of starting a dairy stud.

"My friends Chris and Toby are interested in setting up their own stud and I thought they'd probably get a lot more use out of her than I would," she said.

Fellow students Chris Thompson and Toby Zilm have started a stud, registered as Toris Holsteins, and thought the heifer would add valuable genetics to their program.

"Cosmopolitan is her maternal name and they came from America so it's a pretty good name and good genetics," Chris said.

"We hope to show her and use her to get some show heifers or bulls out of her."

Toby is from a dairy farm at Birdwood and said the bloodlines the heifer carried would make a good addition to the Toris Holsteins operation.

"The competition encourages youth and the dairy industry would be a lot smaller if they didn't get the youth involved," he said.

School dairy programs encourage youth to consider the industry

The ST Genetics Australia Dairy Youth Expo is one of many programs on offer to young dairying enthusiasts with an increase in programs in recent years.

Urrbrae Agricultural High School agriculture teacher Ashlee McEvoy said the school had submitted eight entries and it was their first year participating.

"It just lets them really practice and showcase what they've been learning," she said.

"And it also gets them out there making more industry connections, I think that's been the biggest thing for them.

"Chris, for example, had no background whatsoever in cattle or dairy and now has found his passion and his people just by connecting and work experience, working for people at the shows."

ST Genetics Marty Glennen said the youth show started in covid as a way to keep children involved.

"The kids present a 15 to 30 second video for their calf either at home or at a show, being led," he said.

"Then we get an overjudge to judge all the entrants, last year we had 257 entries.

"We are proud to keep encouraging dairy youth to exhibit and hopefully choose dairy as a career."

SA Dairyfarmers Association chief executive officer Andrew Curtis said Cows Create Careers was a program they supported in SA which was ran nationally.

"The critical thing to recognise is both the breadth of opportunities in the dairy industry for careers, but also the amount of technology and innovation that is there," he said.

"If people learn by using dairy as a base, then they'll get better exposure to the dairy industry and consider careers in it."