Australia's first team of young dairy men and women to compete at the European Young Breeders School in Battice, Belgium, has returned home having scored a great team result.
The five strong team - Brady Hore, Leitchville, Vic; Julia Paulger, Kenilworth Qld; Ricky Nelson, Irrewillipe, Vic; Sam Hall, Australind, WA, and Zoe Hayes, Girgarre, Vic - competed against 163 youth from 15 countries in the five-day event, which included workshops, judging and clipping competitions and conformation and showmanship classes.
Team Australia had a strong showing with all members placing in the top third of the results.
Standout results included Zoe Hayes (7th overall), Ricky Nelson (11th overall) and Julia Paulger (14th overall).
Each team was judged on their participation, teamwork and how they cared for their animals.
"I'm really happy for the entire team," team leader Justin Johnston said.
"This really is a fantastic result in our first year of competing against top teams from around the world.
"There were also some great individual results Ricky won the leading class in his age group, Zoe was awarded third in clipping and second in leading, Julia fourth in leading.
"It was great to see our guys come together and really support each other.
"They worked hard for the team result, and the support and commitment they gave each other contributed to the individual results.
"They also made the most of every opportunity provided by the trip.
"We'll definitely be back next year."
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The five individuals were chosen for the Australian team following a rigorous selection process earlier this year.
Participation in the European Young Breeders School provides young dairy men and women from Australia with a practical hands-on learning experience on the international stage and provides valuable insight into cattle preparation and showmanship best practice from around the world.
The Australian team stayed on after the five-day event for an educational tour that included a visit to KI Samen, the Netherlands largest private AI station, and Holland's largest dairy farm with 2500 cows on an 80-stand rotary.
They also visited the new floating dairy farm trial site in Rotterdam, which opened earlier this year to demonstrate how food production can become less vulnerable to climate change.
The 2019 Australian European Young Breeders School team was supported by supported by Holstein Australia, the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Jersey Australia, Genetics Australia, Dairy Australia, GippsDairy, Gippsland Dairy Youth, Gardiner Dairy Foundation, Fonterra, STgenetics Australia, Ridley AgriProducts, WFI Insurance, Dick Smith, Smyth Seeds, B. Braun Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Football League.
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