A joyful return

Lawrence Satherley’s mother Joy was an incredible woman, by anyone’s reckoning.

She had only been married to her husband, Arthur, for three months before he was called to serve in World War II.

She expected him to be gone for around 12 months; instead, he was gone for five years. Peace was declared while he was making his way home.

But Joy Satherley didn’t dwell on the adversities of life while he was away; she took her earnings from her work in a milkbar and by hosting dances for returned troops and saved enough to buy a herd of 25 cows.

“We have always been very proud of her for that,” Lawrence says.

When Arthur returned, he was balloted a settlement farm for his service and Joyclas Friesians was born.

Today, Arthur’s granddaughter Anna and husband Robbie are at the helm, steering the stud to success once more with a number of notable cows taking the spotlight.

Arthur purchased his first pedigree Holstein Friesians from Glenview and Glencroft, in calf to British sire Terling Brabazon in 1960.

They went on to purchase Manganui Achilles Gail EX and Knapdale T K L Quince, which laid the foundation of Joyclas’ high achieving herd.

Joyclas, (named for Joy, Christopher, Lawrence, Arthur, and Satherley) has an impressive show record, winning the 1978 Royal Show Champion female with Manganui Achilles Gail EX, and the 1993 Royal Champion female with Joyclas Star Quantas, amongst many other prizes over the years.


At 17-years-old, Lawrence purchased his first farm for $24,000. His parents bought a second farm and the two properties were joined together.

“I went straight into farming, and I still love cows as much as I did then,” Lawrence says.

He bought five pedigree cows and supplied the local town milk supply. Although his milk had a very respectable 3.5% fat content, farmers were remunerated on volume – and Holstein Friesian cows delivered the volume.

Lawrence says the breed has many advantages.

“Once you get into Holstein Friesians, that’s it,” he says. “There is something special about them. And socially, too… we have met so many Holstein Friesian breeders in New Zealand and overseas that would gladly offer us a bed for the night. They are very hospitable.”

Lawrence and Judi went on to have three children – Anna, Rick and Kerry.

When the children were young, Lawrence and Judi were avid showers of cattle.

“We would attend eight shows a year in our area,” Lawrence says. “We won every prize there was to be won, I think.”

Once Lawrence stepped back from the farm, Rick and Kerry stepped forward. But over time both left to develop their own sheep and beef farms.

During this time, Anna’s husband Robbie – a builder by trade – had been considering whether he might want to become a dairy farmer.

Lawrence suggested Robbie go farming for two years and if he wanted to continue, they would look at the couple coming home to farm.

“After two years they were keener than ever,” Lawrence says. “They love it, the kids love it, and I’m so proud of what they have achieved.”


Robbie wasn’t all new to farming – he’d had school holiday farm jobs, and had been pretty keen on the idea all his life.

“My Dad was actually a dairy farmer, although they sold before I was born,” he says.

Robbie and Anna attended their first NZ Dairy Event together in 2009 and were blown away by the animals and the camaraderie between farmers.

“That was really the catalyst for us,” Robbie says. “I didn’t want to get to 40 and have regrets.

“I worked at Lucky Hollow Stud for two years, just to make sure that was really what I wanted – and it was.”

The couple, who have three children – Ella, Isabel and Charlie – moved home in 2014, getting stuck into cow records and registering a few cattle.

“We managed to find a few cows that linked back to Manganui Achilles Gail EX,” Robbie says.

“We went to sales each year to build a good base to breed from. We’ve done some ET work as well, to help speed along genetic gain.”

Today, Robbie and Anna milk 300 cows on 150ha, plus lease blocks. Around 60 cows are registered Holstein Friesians, and around 60-80 heifer calves are born annually.

“We like a decent-sized cow with open rib, nice bone, and good udders – a better than average cow that milks really well,” Robbie says.

In the 2020/21 year, Joyclas had an average of 205kg protein at 3.6% and 242kg fat at 4.3% fat (5,686L milk).

Robbie says they have some nice Delaberge Salt and Gen-I-Beq Sammy daughters in the herd, one of which is Joyclas Sammy Moo S3F EX – winner of the 2022 Holstein Friesian North Island Supreme Champion Cow and 2022 NZDE Holstein Friesian Supreme Champion Cow.


Despite Joyclas’ excellent show record, the last time the stud won a Champion Holstein title was in 1993.

At the 2022 NZ Dairy Event, Joyclas showed three in-milk cows and one entry in partnership with Semex’s Isaac Kelsen.

“Isaac has been a really big part of our success,” Robbie says. “His support to get back into showing has been awesome.”

They hoped Moo would continue her success of 2021, having won the four-year-old class – but she far exceeded those expectations.

She won the titles of 2022 NZDE Supreme All Breeds Champion Cow, 2022 NZDE Holstein Friesian Supreme Champion Cow, 2022 Holstein Friesian North Island Supreme Champion Cow, and all the classes that preceded these titles.

Moo’s success belies her humble beginnings: she was chosen by Robbie in 2016 as a calf for then 18-month-old Charlie.

“Our two older girls had Calf Club calves, and Charlie didn’t want to miss out,” Robbie says.

“I chose what I thought was a nice calf for him to look after and jump all over. When asked what he wanted to call the calf, all he could say was ‘Moo’ – so ‘Moo’ it was.”

Robbie says to their surprise, Moo kept getting better and better each year.

“She classified VG86 in 2018, VG89 in 2019, and EX in 2020, and did well in the HFNZ-Semex Ltd On-Farm competition,” he says.

“Luke Gilbert encouraged us to show her, so we showed her as a four-year-old. She did well at Stratford and came second in the 2021 HFNZ-De Laval All NZ Photo Competition, coming second in Class 2 – All NZ Intermediate Cow.”

Robbie says Moo is not a big cow, but has good width, clean bone and open rib.

“She was the second top cow in the herd last year,” he says. “We’re not big feeders – we sit on about 420kgMS – but Moo did over 600kgMS, and the top cow did 650kgMS. She’s also pretty easy to get back in calf.”

Moo’s dam is eight-year-old Joyclas Taylormad Moo-RR S2F VG85.


Over the next few years, Robbie and Anna would like to focus on efficient growth in the farm business.

“We’d like to make some feed and infrastructure improvements to put some scale in the business, without increasing our footprint too much,” Robbie says. “Essentially, getting more milk out of what we’ve got.”

In terms of the stud, they would like to start getting a few prominent families in the herd with the view to selling some offspring.

“We have flushed a daughter of Sammy Moo’s this year, so it will be interesting to see how she turns out,” Robbie says.

Robbie says he is thankful for the opportunity Lawrence and Judi gave he and Anna.

“Having Lawrence to learn from has been a huge advantage for me,” Robbie says. “He and Judi are incredibly supportive. They are wonderful employers, parents, grandparents – just wonderful people, really.

“The phone calls and messages we received after NZ Dairy Event were incredible. The industry is full of passionate people, and everyone is more than happy to share their time and expertise for the benefit of other


Lawrence Satherley has a long history of serving the Holstein Friesian breed. He was elected to Council in 1984, became chairman of the Classification Committee and President of the NZ Dairy Breeds Federation. He was a member of the Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society and also chaired the NZ Animal Evaluation herd testing review.

He was President of the Manawatu A&P Society during the negotiation with the Palmerston North City Council and the Manawatu District Council with the building of the Manfeild Park Agriculture Centre at Feilding.

Lawrence was elected President of the Holstein Friesian Association from 1992-1994 and was given an Honorary Life Membership in 2001. He was a long-time member of the National NZ Animal Evaluation Unit and he was presented with an illuminated award from the committee.

Lawrence is currently the co-chair of the NZ Dairy Event.

Robbie and Anna James and their children


OwnersLawrence & Judi Satherley
SharemilkersRobbie & Anna James
LocationPalmerston North
Farm size150 hectares effective
Cows300 cows (60 registered Holstein Friesian)
Stud nameJoyclas

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