Five of the New Zealand dairy industry’s brightest young people have proudly represented New Zealand at the 2023 European Young Breeders School, held in Battice, Belgium from August 30-September 3.
The school, the international reference point for training and show preparation, hosted 152 passionate young breeders from 16 countries who dove into the world of competition animal preparation techniques.
New Zealand team members Zoe Botha, Kate Cummings, Annie Gill, Holly Powell, and Brad Seager did New Zealand proud, gaining a number of placings in several competitions held throughout the five-day school: Brad placed third in the July 2022-born heifer conformation class, with Holly and Kate placing second and third in their respective conformation classes. Kate also placed sixth in the 24–25-year-old Handlers class.
Each member was allocated a Holstein Friesian heifer for the duration of the school and throughout the week, workshops and modules were held covering washing, bedding, feeding, clipping, braiding, marketing, and showmanship, culminating in a show judged on the final day.
The team stayed with host families for the duration of the school.
The trip has been a long time coming; organisation to send a team started back in 2019, but Covid interfered with any plans coming to fruition.
“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this amazing opportunity, witnessing different dairy farming practices in the Netherlands, along with meeting and forming friendships with like-minded people from around the globe,” New Zealand Team Facilitator Rachel Stewart says.
Rachel says the team members chosen were already very skilled people, able to withstand the competitive nature of the school.
“This trip played a pivotal role in developing and broadening the horizons of emerging leaders in New Zealand’s dairy industry,” she says. “You can’t beat overseas travel and experience to achieve that goal. It also has direct benefits for our breeders out there who no longer have the time to fit and show their best cattle anymore. The skills these young people bring back will help keep those breeders in the game.”
The New Zealand team would like to thank their sponsors: Dairy Business Centre, Westell Properties, Semex NZ Ltd, World Wide Sires, Rivendell Farms Ltd, Canterbury Westland HFNZ Branch, BOP HFNZ Branch, Vet Club Opotiki, Milk Map, FMG Insurance, PGG Wrightson, Rural Livestock Ltd, Read Industrial Ltd, Pirie Farms Ltd, Mangahana Farm, P & M Anstis Trust, Eastern Bay Community Foundation, Lake View Partnership, Vetsouth, and Elanco.