While other local dairy farmers prepare their cattle for the Kiama Show, Ken Osborne is back from his annual ‘holiday’ showing three of the family’s Brown Swiss cows at the International Dairy Week Show in Victoria.
“The Kiama Show focuses on the traditional breeds for our area, Holsteins, Jerseys and Illawarras,” says Ken. “I have to go further afield to compete.”
Ken’s late uncle Wayne Osborne, and his aunt Margaret, were the first to bring the breed to the South Coast, back in the 80s.
The Brown Swiss suit the hilly terrain at Curramore, near Jamberoo Action Park, as well as producing high protein and high butterfat milk.
It took decades to develop the pure breed animals they have been showing for the last four years.
“It was always my uncle’s intention to show them, so I’m pleased I’ve been able to make it happen,” says Ken, who manages his aunt’s 140 head farm as the 5th generation to do so.
“We’ve brought back ribbons from every show we’ve entered, including the Melbourne Show,” says Ken.
At the latest show, they won a second and a third, with a very young cow coming a promising 8th.
Ken says 2016 was their best year, when all three of of the cows he took down bagged ribbons. He’s planning to enter the Sydney Show for the first time this year.
Margaret has been involved with the Brown Swiss since the start, saying with a laugh that she always insisted they buy ‘pretty ones’. While Ken is responsible for the breeding, she looks after the calf rearing, which gives her a lasting bond with the animals.
Like other local farmers, the Osbornes are waiting for some good rain. “One of our dams is empty. The drought is hitting hard.”