'Great cattle' recognised in contest

Some of North Otago's finest dairy cattle have been recognised in this year's North Otago A&P Association competition.

Farmers with cattle born in the region from the Waitaki River in the north to Hampden in the south were eligible to enter their in-calf heifers and heifer calves in the annual contest.

Judge David Mair, from Claremont, near Timaru, visited entrants' farms to assess the stock in the paddock.

He said he saw some ''great cattle'' and appreciated the effort the farmers had made to present the stock and have it handy.

The former dairy farmer and Holstein Friesian breeder said he liked seeing not just Friesians and Jerseys entered, but also some ''good crossbreeds''. He allowed for the breed sizes when making his assessments.

Mr Mair said he allocated 35 points out of 100 for the size and condition of the animals, and the remaining 65 points for type.

He defined the latter as width of chest, so the heart could work efficiently, and wide muscle so the animal could take in feed quickly then rest.

A lot of breeders did not pay enough attention to the pin bones at the back, he said. If they were too high, a cow would have trouble giving birth.

Mr Mair said he looked at the conformation of the rear, to see if the animal would walk and track on straight legs.

''For the udder, I like it high and wide. You've got to have width at the pin bones, so the udder can fill out.''

Attention to detail and good type were vital to the industry, he said.

''If you don't get the type right, they won't last for the eight to 10 years that you want.''

Even heifers that were quite small could still have good type, he said.

''They've got to walk long distances these days.''

The in-calf heifer section was won by Bauke and Nadine De Jong, with Rob and Katrina Kelly second and Richard and Andrea Plunket third.

The heifer calf section went to Robert and Katrina Kelly. Runners-up were Clyde and Jan Douglas, followed by Bauke and Nadine De Jong.

Richard Metcalfe was named best grazier.

The De Jongs and Kellys go on to the South Island level.

The Southern Canterbury A&P Association has also held a dairy heifer competition.

Twenty-five entries were received across four categories. Judge John Davies said he was very impressed with the standard of stock he saw.

A prizegiving was held at the Studholme Hotel.

Class One, for rising-1-year-old heifers, was won by Daniel and Penny Burgess with 94 points. Second was the Moffat family with 93 points and Reuben Allan and Kelly McGillen were third with 90.

Class Two, for rising-2-year-old heifers, was also won by Mr and Mrs Burgess, who amassed 96 points. The Moffats were again runners-up, close behind on 95.5 points, with Hamish O'Donnell third on 93 points.

Class Three, graziers' entries for rising-1-year-old heifers, went to Dan Studholme on 88 points. Karl Jensen's 86 points earned him second place and Ben Hart came third with 82.

Class Four, graziers' rising-2-year-old heifers, was won by Lyle Green with 90 points, followed by Nick Donaldson with 88 and Mr Jensen with 87.

- by Sally Brooker