Dairy teams show their skills and knowledge

Youth challenge sparks passion for next generation of dairy

Sydney Royal
Hunter Belle Cheese took first prize with the winning crew consisting of siblings Mitchell and Kaitlyn Atkins, Marie and Cody Wilson, Jess and Tyler Eagles, James Bush, Lachlan Moore and Hayden Cochrane. Also pictured are judges Simon Tognola and Mal Nikora, with Semex general manager David Mayor and perpetual trophy sponsor Bruce Moxey, whose family were involved in the team challenge from its earliest days.

Hunter Belle Cheese took first prize with the winning crew consisting of siblings Mitchell and Kaitlyn Atkins, Marie and Cody Wilson, Jess and Tyler Eagles, James Bush, Lachlan Moore and Hayden Cochrane. Also pictured are judges Simon Tognola and Mal Nikora, with Semex general manager David Mayor and perpetual trophy sponsor Bruce Moxey, whose family were involved in the team challenge from its earliest days.

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Young dairy producers show off skills at Sydney Royal.

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The next generation of dairy producers went head to head on Easter Sunday in a bid to claim the title of best team in an all around test of skills and knowledge, otherwise called the Semex Dairy youth Challenge.

Judges Mal Nikora, Warragul, Vic, and Simon Tognola, Finlay, have toured the world as dairy fitters - Mr Nikora heads to Brazil in August - and were best equipped to decide which team did the best job of clipping a heifer.

Parading of dairy cattle came next followed by judging and in the end the team sponsored by Hunter Belle Cheese took first prize with the winning crew consisting of siblings Mitchell and Kaitlyn Atkins, Marie and Cody Wilson, Jess and Tyler Eagles, James Bush, Lachlan Moore and Hayden Cochrane.

All participants were assessed for teamwork and safety.

"Working with animals as a team takes practice," said Mr Nikora. "It's one thing clipping an animal by yourself over a couple hours but when you have half an hour to do the same as a team it can quickly become a mess. But what I have seen here today the industry is looking good for the future."

The parading part of the competition required teams to emphasise uniformity, with cattle stepping out evenly and handlers all in a line, with smallest closest to the centre of the ring and the tall team members on the outside.

"What I saw here today was fantastic," said co-judge Mr Tognola.

The event's master of ceremonies David Ninness, Semex area manager for the South Coast, Hunter, New England and mid North Coast, explained to the assembled crowd that the current price of milk was directly responsible for the loss of dairying families in NSW, falling from 3601 registered farms in 1980 to 626 last year.

"It is sad to see the next generation of dairy farmers not able to go on because their family farms are not viable," he said, urging the public to buy branded milk products not the cheap stuff from the major supermarkets, because the extra money goes back to the farmer.

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