Nancy best in Australia

Chris and Luke Russell, Neerim South dairy farmers with their 14 year-old cow, Tallelms Meadow Nancy who has been classified as Australia’s only excellent-96 Holstein female.GIPPSLAND dairy farmers Chris, Sue and Luke Russell knew they had an outstanding cow in their herd, but when their 14 year-old Holstein, Tallelms Meadow Nancy was classified as excellent-96 (EX-96-6E), they knew they had something special.

Classified in early October, Nancy now lays claim to being the highest scoring cow in Australia, ahead of one other on 95 points and just behind two Canadian cows which sit on 97.

“It’s a once in a lifetime occurrence,” Chris Russell said. “We’ve always known she’s a really good cow, and she knows she’s good.”

Always a favourite with visitors, Nancy holds a special place with her owners, having produced 100,000 litres of milk.

The Russell’s herd is 95 per cent registered with 11 EX cows and 18 VG-89 cows including Nancy’s progeny – a very good (VG) Gibson daughter, a VG 89 Outside daughter who is producing 60L a day and a two year-old Damion daughter due to calve in March.

“She has two Shottle heifer calves, one we’ll sell at International Dairy Week next year,” Mr Russell said.

And as for Nancy’s future, the Russell’s plan to flush Nancy at the end of the month to Winbrook.

The family moved back to their Gippsland roots after selling their Northern Victorian property 10 years ago.

“I was sick of irrigating and wanted to spend more time on the cattle,” Mr Russell said. “And the family wanted to move back.”

The family now leases 188 hectares at Neerim South and milk 200 cows with a split March-May and mid July-mid October calving.

The Russell’s are among a handful of suppliers to Alba Cheese in Tullamarine who produce pizza cheese for the Melbourne market.

Mr Russell said the wet conditions have testing him out.

“The last two winters have been very difficult,” he said. “But the split calving eased the burden and we have several groups of dry cows, but we were never below 140 milkers.”

Mr Russell said he is amazed how some paddocks have recovered and intends to plante turnips in the worst affected paddocks for summer crops.

“But we wont need it the way the season is going,” he said.

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