Small Farms

Jersey winner stands out in a black and white herd

In a herd dominated by Holsteins, Whiskey the Jersey is a standout cow on the Romano family dairy farm at Tatura.

She’s just been named Miss August in the 2016 online Legendairy calendar, part of the dairy industry’s celebration of the special bond Australia’s Legendairy farmers have with their animals.

The honour has given owner Josh Romano more ammunition in a fun family feud about the best dairy breed.

“I’ve always loved Jerseys, but my dad Rocky hasn’t,” Josh said.

Nine-year-old Whiskey is one of about 20 Jerseys in the mainly Holstein herd of 220. “I started buying Jerseys about three years ago and they’re slowly over-running the herd,” Josh said.

“Now we’ve got Miss August I’ll have to tell Dad to buy more Jerseys!”

Josh, 19, works as a herd manager on another farm but also helps out on the home farm and often goes out into the paddocks to take photos of his favourite cows.

“I take heaps of photos; I just happened to get a good one,” he said. “It’s kind of weird seeing her as Miss August but it’s also exciting that she’s now a famous cow.”

Josh grew up on the farm and loves the lifestyle and connection with nature and the cows.

Whiskey has a special place in his heart as she’s the first stud Jersey he bought about three years ago.

Josh said he and his mother Rosa love Whiskey’s quiet personality. “I bought her after I went into the paddock at a dispersal sale and patted her. I said to Dad she has to go home with me. You form a bond with them.”

Although now a pin-up girl, Whiskey isn’t a show cow and has had to overcome serious health problems this year.

“She’s got good type but hasn’t got the right udder to show,” Josh said. “But I’m buying more and breeding to the right bull to get the right traits for showing.”

Whiskey nearly died a couple of times in the past six months after suffering problems with her stomach and from an ovarian cyst. “The vets didn’t hold much hope for her but we persevered and managed to save her with treatments and doing what we could to help her along,” Josh said. Whiskey calved a month ago and she’s back with the herd and healthy again.

Josh is proud to be part of the Legendairy communications initiative to raise the profile and reputation of the dairy industry.

“Legendairy is doing a lot to promote the positive side of the dairy industry,” he said. “It’s great that anyone can get on the Facebook page and Legendairy website and find out about different animals and people.”

He admits it’s been a tough year on the farm but remains resilient. “The rain we’re getting gives us hope for a good spring,” Josh said. “Eventually it will turn. We survived the drought; this is no different. We’ll push through it and it will make us stronger.”

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