Final Report

For those of you who know me, you will not be surprised to hear that I didn’t finished my blog on the tour.

However below is my final report which is also in the annual Red Poll Magazine.

2017 I head to the US for the next Red Poll tour and I promise to finish what I started!

Being selected as the Red Poll Youth Ambassador for the 2014 World Congress was an opportunity of a lifetime. As the scholarship winner I was able at attended the Congress tour from beginning to end, a total of 22 days. Throughout the trip I was paired with various mentors from a number of countries including New Zealand, Unites States, Canada, Jamaica, Kenya and UK. Each of my mentors were more than happy to share their cattle and business knowledge with me.

While I was honoured to be selected for this trip, I thought that the itinerary was not very exciting. My initial disappointment was that the host country was Australia and not being hosted overseas, but my thoughts soon changed once the tour began. The studs I had the opportunity to visit were studs I had grown up hearing about. I was able to look at genetics that are very accessible to me and could potentially help my own herd.

I cannot fault the 2014 World Congress organisers for the tour they put together. We saw such a variety of studs from big established herds that have be operating for generations to the newer studs that have just started out. All the accommodation and food was excellent and more importantly I think; true blue Australian. Along the tour there were also non Red Poll activities such as the caves in Western Australia and the Fairy Penguins in Victoria.

The conference day was made up of three strong speakers and two of which were not Red Poll members. I feel the topics they spoke about were relevant to Red Poll and the Beef Industry in Australia. The topics must have intrigued everyone as there was debates between all right up to the final night. This was the exact type of conference day needed on these World Congress tour, strong speakers pushing their views which in turn got people on the tour talking about their own views.

People have asked me what was the highlight of my trip and I can’t narrow it down to just one thing. In terms of the herds I would have to say the Oakwood Stud in South Australia was a highlight for me personally. I have wanted to see this stud for a long time now and it certainly didn’t disappoint. It may be at bit bias, but I really enjoyed what the Queensland Region did at the Glen Innes Showgrounds, to see the youth kids that I have helped throughout the years get so much out of talking to the international guests really made me feel like a true Ambassador.  I guess another big highlight would be the connections and friendships I have made with other Red Poll breeders around the world.  I look forward to the opportunities these connections provide me in years to come, hopefully soon I will be able to visit all the countries I now have connections in and see a lot of herds I have heard so much about.

To me winning the scholarship was not just about going on a trip around Australia, is was more about being an Ambassador for the breed and on a broader scale the Australian Beef Industry. After talking to the other delegates I realised how many opportunities Australian farmers and the government give youth in agriculture. Programmes like youth camps and Rural Achievers are not available in other countries and are something I strongly encourage all junior members to get involved in.

I would personally like to thank everyone on the World Congress committee for putting together such a great tour. I would also like to make special thank you to Murray Williams, I believe Murray was the main organiser of the Ambassadors and was a great mentor to me throughout the entire tour.

Tourist Days

After the big race day we head off to see the rest of Eurimbla cattle at Talangatta. This property is very different to the one at Gregory. It is much cooler and you could see in the cattle that the season had only just broke. On display he had some bulls and cull females with calves but he also had his heifers. Some of these heifers would be his replacements while the others would hopefully be sold in a January sale as in calf.

We then headed off over the Alpine way towards Canberra. For the next couple of days we won’t see any studs but soak up the tourist sights on our way to Tamworth. the Alpine way is known for being one of the prettiest dives and it certainly was. Murray Williams read out the poem The Man from Snowy River which I am sure bought goose bumps to all on the bus. That night we made it to Canberra.

The next day was like my year 5 Canberra excursion all over again :). in the morning we headed off to see the Australia War Memorial which just blows my mind. I really love looking down the names on the wall and seeing the poppy’s stick into the cracks. we had a guided tour which only just touched the surface on what is on display. After lunch we the bus took us around the sights such as Parliament house, Lake Burley Griffin and Mount Ainslie Lookout.

On Friday we headed out early in order to get to the Dubbo Zoo after lunch. Unfortunately the weather was very hot so most of the animals were not very active; however I certainly got a work out as I decided to head around the park on a push bike.This is by far the best way to see the Dubbo Zoo however I think it would of been much better if it was a bit cooler. This was a bit of a highlight for the international guests as they got to see some Kolas.

Race Day

Well today was Melbourne cup and although I didn’t back a winner I still had a great day at the Eurimbla stud.

I had seen the Eurimbla stud before but it was a long time ago and I was really eager to see the cattle as we have just got calves on the ground by Eurimbla Leopold. Some semen that we purchased last year.

It was great to see cattle with so much thickness and length. Also on display was a group of cows all over 10 years with good udders and still raising great calves.

Seeing Leopold was better than I expected, this sire is just so thick and correct. His father was also on display who is 10 years old and seeing them together you struggled to tell them apart, as you can see from my photos.

During lunch we where given head pieces and flowers to really get into the racing sprit of the Melbourne Cup. After lunch a few sweepstakes were carried out and everyone saw the race that stopped a nation.

After so many cooler days I was so lovely to soak up the warmer weather in the beautiful surroundings at the Eurimbla stud. Thank you Ian and Jill

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Conference Day

Well the conference day has arrived and it was a day that got people talking.

To kick of the conference we had Ian Coghlan, owner of the Eurimbla Red Poll stud. He gave a presentation on marking

The second speaking was the very forceful and out spoken John Buxton. His prevention was called ‘what I am looking for when buying a bull’. He basically told us when he is looking for a bull he will do a search for females on the web using figures. From this he then looks at how many calves she has had and what time of year. If he sees a cow that has had a calf every year and basically at the same time each year, he gets excited and wants a bull from this cow. He then went into how harsh his culling program is, no cow or heifer gets a second chance and if they don’t performed then they are out. I think the amount of pressure he puts on his breeding stock shocked us all.

The next speaking was Don Lawson who two sons own Lawsons Angus and Paringa Livestock. Don was witty and once again a strong speaker. He mainly spoke about the opportunity for Red Polls to become involved with the composite Stabilizer breed which Paringa Livestock are working on. This composite is made up of four breeds, two British and two Euro, in the north the Euro component is changed to Tropical breeds. Mr Lawson said breeds such as the Stabilizer allowed produces to get the free lunch of hybrid vigour without having to run the four breeds. But unfortunately the lack of data on the Red Polls is not working in our favour. They are interested in cattle with short gestation, low birth weight and not a large mature cow size.

After morning tea it was question and discussion time. The three speakers certainly gave plenty to talk about and the congress attendees had quite a few heated talks with fellow breeders in the coming days.

Shortly after lunch was the delegate talks. Presentations were made from the countries New Zealand, UK, USA, Canada, Jamaica and Kenya. Possibly the most interesting was the Kenya pretension as it included all agriculture which very few of us knew about. The 2017 World Congress was discussed and this will be hosted by the USA in July time.

That night at the dinner Red Poll was on the menu from the Ketlang and Red Cactus Studs which was truly a highlight for the tour.

Whittlesea Show

Who ever told me Whittlesea gets hot is lying to me.

This is one of the best country shows I have seen but man it was cold. Red Poll were the feature breed and 50 odd went before the renewed judge Mr Grame Hoff. I was asked to judge in another ring so I didn’t get the chance to watch all of the Red Poll judging however I was able to look across at some strong heifers classes and an outstanding old cow and calf class. I was able to see all the male classes and the champion cow when she came out for supreme. All I can say is I’m glad the calf at foot will be too old for the feature breed in Sydney next year, hopefully this will give my cow a chance. Champion cow and supreme exhibit went to Stormley Red Polls and champion bull went to Red Cactus Red Polls.

In my ring I was asked to judge the Maine-Anjou, Charolais and Australian Shorthorn. I had a great day judging and I really enjoyed doing the Maine-Anjous as I have never judged them before and their classes were so strong. My first class of junior bulls had seven entered and it was a similar size class for the junior heifers. I skipped the tour bus to stay behind and do the interbreed, this was well worth it as I could talk to the other two judges. I was a bit worried that I might of been looking for different things compared to the other judges however the results came out the same. Champion male of the show went to a Shorthorn and champion female went to the Red Poll.

Congratulation to the Victorian region for putting on such a great couple of days, we got to see some great cattle from members I was not aware of, a line up of cattle for a feature show that you would expect to see at any royal and also some no cattle attractions.

I would also like to thanks the Whittlesea Show Society for giving me the opportunity to judge, it was one of the best I have ever done.

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More on VIC

The second day in Melbourne we headed west along the great ocean road. Such a scenic dive along the rugged coast, we made a short stop at Lorne before heading inland.

During the day we saw the two studs Koallah Park owned by Don Castle and the Turanga stud owned by Greg, Kellie, Brittany and Annalise Abbott. These were two stud I knew very little about but I was presently surprised. Kollah Park had cows and calves on display and were clearly high performing cows judging by the calves at foot. Turanga had a lot of animals on display but one special cow stood out to all the delegates. The 18 year old cow on display is who they base their herd decisions around. She was the last of the cows that Greg’s farther had bred and it was clear as to why this was the type of animal he was trying to produce. She had so much depth and still raising a top calf at 18. Brittany also had two of her cattle on display and it was great to see her so involved, I hope she does well in the up coming show.

That night we made it to Ballarat where we had dinner at Sovereign Hill and watched the Blood on the Southern Cross show. This was a show about the Eureka stockade set in the time that it happened. The show was very well put together and it was great to show the visitors a bit of our Australian history.

The next day we headed back to Melbourne, via Bendigo for lunch and then onto Kilmore to visit the Woodburn stud owned by Doug Payne. I am pretty sure Doug would have us back anytime as we bought some rain. Despite the weather we were able to see the beautiful homestead along with some cows that were both pure and Hereford cross. Unfortunately due to the bad fires, most of the fences were still being replaced so the cattle were not in smaller holding years for us to see, however we did see them from a distance and we were all impressed with what we saw. You really can’t beat the Red Poll cross Hereford cows.

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Back in the East

Well we are back in the east for the Victorian part of the tour and I think our first two nights are in the flashest hotel I have ever been in, the Crown Promenade. Yes Mr Packer I can see where your money went.

We arrived in Melbourne late afternoon and then we were off to our dinner in an African style restaurant, where I once again had one of the best steaks. Over dinner I convinced a few to come check out the casino with me. All I can say is wow, the gaming floor just went on and on. It was a real eye opener.

The next morning we were of to Lardner Park to view the Ketland stud and a steer trial that was taking place. Lardner Pack is an area that is mainly set up for a big field day type of event that runs for about a week. They also conduct a steer trial that is grass only. We saw the steers on the trial that have just a month to go. Most British breeds were entered along with some Red Poll and Red Poll cross animals. Looking at the Reds compared to the other breeds I think they should do alright.

Also at the park, the Ketlang stud owned by Mark and Elke Harris had bought some animals in for us to see. On display he had a nice line up of weaner heifers and some cows with young calves at foot. These cattle were different to to once we had seen on the tour, they perhaps didn’t have the thickness but they were certainly sound on their feet and well put together udders.

That night we traveled to Phillip Island for a lobster dinner and to watch the penguin parade. The Penguins were just the best, we got to watch them come up out of the water and then make there way to the nests in the dunes.

A great end to the first day in Victoria.