An “invisible” but structurally correct cow has impressed judge Bill Thompson, Allendale East, to claim the top prize in the Illawarra Cattle Society SA on-farm challenge.
This is made even more impressive because the champion is actually an Australian Red.
Breeder Graeme Hamilton, Hamilton’s Run, Mount Gambier, is a former Illawarra breeder and has kept in contact with many in the breed, who invited him to compete in the on-farm challenge.
He said Cluain 3641 Helen, which won the four-year-old class before going on to be overall champion, went back to a long-established SA cow family.
It can get busy and you don’t take the time to study cows in the yard and analyse them critically.
“It’s from a family that we’ve had here for many generations,” he said.
He said Helen stood out, particularly with its udder shape, but was also a cow that did not attract any fuss.
“The cows we think are special are almost invisible – they come and do the job and never give any trouble,” he said. “This is a cow that attracted attention but also qualifies as an invisible cow.”
Hamilton’s Run does not usually compete in shows with the Royal Adelaide Show clashing with calving, but Mr Hamilton likes the chance to take part in on-farm challenges.
He says the competition has a number of benefits including social, promotion of their own cattle, providing a yardstick against other herds and a chance to review their own breeding.
“It makes you take the time to look at your cows,” he said.
“It can get busy and you don’t take the time to study cows in the yard and analyse them critically.”
On top in the two-year-old category was Braelee Scarlet 21, exhibited by David and Michelle Kuhl, Braelee, Mount Gambier, as was five-year-old winner Braelee Princess 175.
Blackwood Park Beauty 90, from the Altmann family, Toora, was the winner of the three-year-old class. Reserve champion and winner of the six-year-old class, also from the Altmanns, was Blackwood Park Laurel 90, which had previously won the competition in 2014 and 2016.