On the morning of the 23rd of April 2021, I raced to get the farm’s undersowing finished for the month so I could travel to the mighty Taranaki region, to attend the three day Ayrshire Youth Seminar which I was kindly sponsored to attend by Jersey NZ Youth Council.
As a new young breeder of Ayrshires myself, I knew this trip would provide me with some valuable connections and more insight into the Ayrshire breed to grow my knowledge and interest.
The first day of the seminar started at the Honeyfields farm where we had lunch and I met the other like-minded youth attending. We were also shown the herd and the youngstock while looking at their farm records. I was interested in their production and breeding focuses. After the herd walk, we headed to our accommodation in Stratford where we again went around the room and introduced ourselves to each other, to learn what we wanted to gain from the seminar and talked about our farming backgrounds. Club dinner was at the Perrett’s farm where we also wandered through their Ayrshire herd and discussed their animals and breeding agenda.
The second day consisted of an interesting and informative TOP workshop at Snowline Ayrshires, where we discussed how to score the cows correctly. The inspector picked apart four different aged cows teaching us the traits they look for and how to score them accurately based on the new scoring system. The group then went to a meeting where we met guest speaker Brian Robinson, he discussed his work in the livestock industry and a lifelong passion for it, encouraging us young cattle breeders to continue our interest in the Ayrshire breed and industry.
We all hopped in the van again and headed to the awesome Tawhiti museum where we learned about the local history of the Taranaki area, we then hopped back into the vans again and headed off to New Plymouth, where go-kart racing awaited the group, by the end of the night we all came away feeling like semi-pro race car drivers with big smiles and battle bruises.
The last day of the seminar started with a herd walk at Sanrosa Ayrshires, where we discussed their farming system and breeding of how they do things and what works for them. It was interesting comparing them to others we had visited prior. The owner stated he had been there for 30 years and only seen one or two bad seasons, comparing this to the Hauraki Plains where I farm, was interesting and an eye-opener for sure. The van loaded up again and we headed into New Plymouth for a free afternoon to explore the city. The seminar concluded with a dinner in Stratford with the group and with the Taranaki Ayrshire club.
I would like to thank Alison Gibb for putting my name forward to attend and Jersey NZ Youth Council for sponsoring me to partake in the seminar, along with the organisers. I learned a great deal about the breed and gained more confidence to ask questions and network with other breeders and people my age. I would highly recommend other youth to take up this opportunity to attend the next seminar regardless of which breed you are into.
Written by Hannah Nicholson
- Hannah attended the Ayrshire Young Breeders Seminar in April sponsored by the Jersey NZ Youth Council and as part of Ayrshire New Zealand’s ongoing collaboration with Jersey NZ and each organizations youth programmes. Ayrshire New Zealand Director and Youth Committee Convenor David Ackermann is also on the Jersey NZ Youth Council.