It’s been a bittersweet return to the show ring for central Hawke’s Bay farmer Hazel Schroder.
A cow owned by the 51-year-old was named senior champion Holstein Friesian at the Manawatu A&P Show in Feilding.
“I was so stoked. It was such an overwhelming experience. I couldn’t believe it, I just cried,” she said.
It was Hazel’s first time back in the show ring since she and husband Darron sold their 380-cow dairy herd last season.
They kept a handful of cows, including four-year-old Tararua Impression Roxy.
“Roxy is a stunning Holstein Friesian. She’s one of those cows who always looks show-ready,” said Hazel.
Roxy placed first in the four and five-year-old in-milk cow class and took out an award for best udder.
“I’ve been showing cows for 20 years and this is the first time one of our cows has won best udder,” said Hazel.
“I was so grateful, I shook the judge’s hand and said, ‘thank you, you’ve made my day’.”
Hazel and Darron bought Roxy as a calf from a dairy farm in Carterton.
“They used mainly Semex genetics and had a lovely herd. We bought 90 cows off them and five calves,” she said.
“I could tell then that there was something special about Roxy. Her sire Monument Impression-ET produced some outstanding daughters.”
The cow is being milked by close friends Derek Berendt and Michelle Matheson in their Hukaview Holsteins herd at Eketahuna.
“I’d love to have her here with me in Ormondville, but I only milk a few cows once-a-day to feed calves now,” she said.
“She’s being extremely well looked after by Derek and Michelle and she’s with one of her buddies from the show ring.”
Hazel, who’s still a proud member of Holstein Friesian NZ, is grappling with whether she should finally sell Roxy.
“At the moment I’m undecided. I was going to sell her, now I’m not so certain,” she said.
“Roxy deserves to be in a commercial herd where she can be herd tested and reach her full potential.”
“On our Pahiatua farm she was always one of the first cows to come into the milking shed and is a top producer,” she said.
The “quiet and gentle” cow has already produced two daughters, who have also achieved show ring success.
“Tararua Kingboy Rosie took out first place in both the Holstein Friesian and all breeds junior heifer classes in Feilding,” she said.
“This will probably be my last year of showing cattle, so at least I’ve been able to go out on top and with a bang.”
Roxy also picked up the senior reserve champion title in the all breeds section of the Manawatu A&P Show.