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TAS Country : January 26th 2012
ary 27, 2012 13 owing herd of jersey cows on his lush farm in Tasmania's North East. n the moove CLOSE TIES: The proud dairy farmer knows a lot of his stock by name. genetics in their breeding program to ensure they had bulls to suit all different operations. Each year, the family now sell a number of bulls, many of which go to repeat buyers. As with their heifers, the Sykes keep careful records of each bull's bloodline so potential buyers know exactly what they are getting. ''There seems to be more demand for bulls now and I think part of that is because of the dairy heifer export market,'' Mr Sykes said. Usually a beef bull would be brought in to mop up after AI, but now they're using dairy bulls ''because the heifers are actually worth something''. Confirmation of the Sykes's focus on breeding correct cows can easily be seen walking through the herd. The cows are very even in type, and udder quality is excellent. ''We want to breed cows that are going to last us a long time,'' Mrs Sykes said. ''It costs a lot to get them into the herd, so we want them to be productive for quite a few years.'' Showing has also been a big part of the family's business operation for many years. ''Production is our main focus but having so many in the stud we hope to occasionally have one or two that are good enough to show,'' Mr Sykes said. Mr Sykes has been exhibiting at the Scottsdale Show for 50 years and there were only two occasions when he did not show cows there. The family's cows have also enjoyed success at some of the country's prestige shows including the renowned International Dairy Week. There, one of their best cows, Monvale Star Dulcie, took out the Champion Best Udder award and the Reserve Champion Jersey award. ''I like to try a lot of different bloodlines because you just don't know which combinations are going to work well,'' Mr Sykes said. ''Dulcie, who is probably our best cow, was bred by an $8 straw from a progeny test bull, so you just never know and that's why the breeding side of it is so interesting.'' Breeding selections for different cows are made carefully, depending on their strengths and weaknesses. ''I look at them in the dairy and work out which bulls I think will work well,.'
January 13th 2012
February 2nd 2012