Couple's heifers steal the Royal A&P show

South Otago couple Darrell and Julie Wendelgeist must be doing something right.

The dairy farmers, who own a 175 hectare farm with 450 cows, have the best rising 1-year-old heifers in the South Island, after winning the Royal A&P Society's South Island dairy on-farm heifer competition.

While the Wendelgeists usually entered the regional competition every year, this was the first time they had achieved so well, Mrs Wendelgeist said.

''I guess it means we are probably doing something right. As a calf rearer, you sort of every year look at your calves and think, `can I do better?' Something must be working, and it's that old adage of 'if it's not broken, don't fix it'.''

The couple ensured their focus was on genetics of the animals and keeping calves well-fed, with the help of automatic calf feeders.

''The calves don't go out of the shed until they are 100kg and then we continue feeding them grain until they are 6 weeks old.

''They need food to grow and if you look after them, they'll look after you.''

They have just started showing their calves at A&P shows this year, winning the South Otago A&P Society's calf class on their first showing.

''My son really got into it when we were at the show - it's good fun.

''It's nice seeing your animals out there with everyone else's.

''It's great to talk to like-minded people at the shows and listen to other people's opinions on things.''

- by Leeana Tamati