THE fifth generation of the Mueller family was on-hand at the 2016 Royal Adelaide Show to mark the milestone of Glenhaven Illawarra stud celebrating 70 years in the dairy show ring.
All up, three generations helped out the Murray Bridge stud, including third generation dairyfarmer Neville Mueller, with daughter Kathryn Philbey and her two daughters Rayne and Beth.
They will be showed a team of 10 Illawarras, seven from Glenhaven and three from Kathryns stud Edenvale, which is based on Glenhaven bloodlines.
The first Glenhaven Illawarra was registered in 1937 under AJ Mueller and Nevilles parents Melvyn and Dorothy Mueller started showing them in 1947.
On his mothers side, Nevilles grandfather JR Pfeiffer started showing Illawarras in 1935 under the Kee Rua prefix, and won champion cow in the first year.
Dorothy took Neville to his first show at four-months-old in 1948 he hasnt missed one since, every one of those years with a team of Illawarras.
The closest he came to not attending was in 1966 the year after his father died when Neville was only 17 years old and his brother Ian was only nine.
We were very lucky to have a number of the other exhibitors help us out, he said.
We only took four cattle that year, but it was one of the toughest.
Back then, Neville said some of his fondest memories were from the show, including the football they would play on the first Sunday of the show.
It started out as a kick-to-kick among the dairyfarmers, but then the beef guys wanted to join, that eventually it became a match of dairy versus beef, he said.
Neville said the rivalry ended in the 1970s, when the show began to open and trade on Sundays.
Back in the day, we had to bring portable milking machines to the show with us. Members of the public would bring their milk bottles with them and pester us to fill them.
Another interesting memory Neville had of the show was the public's fascination at milking time.
Back in the day, we had to bring portable milking machines to the show with us, he said.
Members of the public would bring their milk bottles with them and pester us to fill them.
They would also ask a lot of questions and get up close and personal it was a lot more sociable back then but the milking process was a lot more time consuming.
The introduction of the Milking Parlour at the show has made showing cows so much easier.
At its peak, in the early 1980s, Glenhaven was milking 120 cows and showing up to 30 head.
Neville said Glenhavens biggest trophy was champion all breeds cow in 1975, but have also won nearly every interbreed class, plus champion Illawarra cow numerous times, as well as the Stock Journal Trophy (most successful exhibitor over all livestock) twice.
By the late 1980s, Neville and his brother Ian decided they would split the business, so they sold up and each bought separate farms.
Neville took on Glenhaven with wife Marie and five daughters, while Ian established Glenbrook Illawarra stud at Murray Bridge.
Neville grew Glenhaven up to 220 milkers before deciding to quit dairying in 2002.
He didnt retire entirely though, deciding to keep a few cows and heifers for showing, which now totals 25 head.
One bloodline I have kept Little Princess goes back to one of the best cows ever in Qld, which is a unique line, he said.
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The cattle are milked by the Doecke family at nearby Woods Point, who have previously used Glenhaven genetics in their herd.
Neville said his children and grandchildrens enthusiasm to show cattle kept him going.
I probably thought Id be retired by now, he said.
But also reaching that 70-year milestone personally will be a great feat for the family stud.
Neville has also spent the past 40 years judging cattle at shows across the world, including England, France, America and New Zealand, and locally at Brisbane and Sydney each twice, and numerous shows throughout every state in Australia.
He is on the panel that selects the finalists for the All Australian Cow of the Year Photo Competition.
Judging the All American Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was a big highlight, he said, where more than 2000 dairy cattle are exhibited!
Neville says they begin preparing their team straight after the previous show.
They show at Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Mount Pleasant, and occasionally International Dairy Week at Tatura, Vic.
We have to make sure we get the right cows in-calf so the timing is right for the next show, he said.
Then about a month before the show, we start the more intensive preparation, with clipping and feeding.
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Neville said in his time breeding, the improvement in cattle has been incredible, as well as the technology.
The speed of milking now is phenomenal, he said.
Dairies have gone from walk-through to herringbone to rotary to robotic.
Cows are also handled much more commercially these days, than individually.
Neville said it has been difficult to watch the hardships dairyfarmers were going through because of poor milk prices.
I was in England judging two years ago, and they were having these issues there then, with oversupply and low prices, so we knew it would come here eventually, he said.
Its a supply and demand issue, but deregulation hasnt helped, neither is supermarkets selling milk for $1/L when the price of water is more expensive than milk, but cheaper to produce.
You feel sorry for the farmers. Hopefully the pendulum swings back the other way soon.
- This article was originally published in September 2016
Mueller recognised with breed honours
Mr Mueller was presented with his badge at the Royal Adelaide Show, where he has a long association, starting at the age of four months old when he first visited the dairy shed with his parents.
"I led the reserve champion cow when I was nine and have shown every year since," he said.
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