New judges to decide Australia's best Jersey cows

New judges to decide Australias best Jersey cows for 2019

Dairy
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Judging for the 2019 Jersey Australia/Semex Great Southern and Great Northern Challenges will start on November 17.

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Two new judges are expecting to face tough decisions as they assess Australia's best Jersey cows for 2019.

Pat Nicholson, from Girgarre, near Kyabram in northern Victoria has been appointed Great Southern Challenge judge and Pat Buckley from The Oaks, near Camden in NSW will decide the Great Northern Challenge.

Judging for the 2019 Jersey Australia/Semex Great Southern and Great Northern Challenges will start on November 17 and winners will be announced on December 6. Winners of these two competitions will then be judged for the Great Australian Challenge and announced at the Jersey Australia AGM in June 2020.

Mr Nicholson has previously judged at International Dairy Week and says judging the Great Southern Challenge is "right up there" in prestige.

"I've judged a lot of on-farm challenges over the years from all breeds and it's an honour to be able to judge a competition like the Great Southern," he said.

"You're judging the best of the best."

Mr Nicholson's Jugiong Stud has had great success over many years, including supreme champions Jugiong Daydream 5744 in 2013 and Jugiong Ilagay 142 in 2003, along with several age category winners.

A former classifier, Mr Nicholson said he would be looking for "a good dairy cow with good, high wide rear udders and strong ligaments.

"There's no doubt competitions like this are getting stronger and stronger," he said. "As you get more people entering at the grass roots level and more herds involved, you're identifying a lot of top cows that go through to the final."

The Great Southern Challenge is being presented for the 21st time.

At 33, Mr Buckley has become the youngest person to judge both Southern and Northern challenges.

Mr Buckley has been a Jersey classifier for seven years and has judged many competitions, including the Great Southern Challenge in 2016.

"The Great Southern was a massive highlight and having the opportunity to judge the Northern is just as prestigious," he said.

Mr Buckley runs Killarney Grove Jerseys, while his parents David and Linda Buckley have their stud Nimerald at The Oaks, near Camden in NSW.

He will travel from Far North Queensland to Bega and other NSW locations to judge cows in their natural settings.

Mr Buckley won the three-year-old championship in the Great Northern Challenge in 2011 with Transit Park Hattie 5746.

He said he would look for the type of cows he'd like to milk and breed on his farm.

"Like all dairymen, I look for cows with high, wide rear udders that are balanced right throughout and have that dairy strength we all look for," he said.

He expects a tough judging assignment.

"It's like the grand final so often there's not much between the top five. Ultimately you look for the cow that's most correct, with the least faults."

Jersey Australia president Chris MacKenzie said Mr Buckley and Mr Nicholson have the experience needed for the job.

"We look for judges with experience, a good knowledge of cows and who knows how to mark the scoresheet," Mr MacKenzie said.

The judges will score entries over 22 categories in Australia's premier On Farm Challenge competition with awards for two-year-old, three-year-old, four-year-old, five-year-old and mature cows and a supreme champion.

The competition starts with club on-farm challenges. The Great Southern Challenge covers Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia and the Great Northern Challenge includes clubs from NSW and Queensland.

Winners are then judged by a panel of three judges via video to determine the Great Australian Challenge winners.

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