Top friesian is approaching 13
Levin farmers have won the 2014 Valden Cow of the Year.
Holstein friesian breeders Robin and Sheryl Faulkner of Levin won with their 12-year-old cow Melan Leduc Rowena EX2.
"Her [Rowena's] achievements are way past my expectations. She is definitely one of my favourite cows," Robin Faulkner said.
The Cow of the Year aims to identify the cow that is deemed to have, or have the potential to, contribute to the holstein friesian breed.
Rowena's strength has been in the show ring as well as being a top producer in the Faulkners' herd. She has won the holstein friesian New Zealand North Island Championships for an unequalled three times and was named the Supreme All Breeds Champion at the inaugural NZ Dairy Event (Feilding) in 2009.
The cow completed her latest lactation (2013/14 season) producing 823 kilograms of milk-solids in 298 days. She finished the season with a Production Worth of 593 and a Lactation Worth of 690.
With Rowena approaching 13 years old, Faulkner was undecided on her future. He has talked of retiring her, but is also keen to continue breeding from her.
"She still looks like she is 7 years old," he said.
Rowena was one of six finalists for the award, including three from the Muritai stud of Wayne and Leeanne Taylor of Waitara and two from the Puketawa stud of Jim and Carolyn McBride of Okato.
"She was up against some very good cows," Faulkner said of the finalists. This is the third year in a row that Rowena has reached the finals. "I expected to be bridesmaid again this year," he said.
Faulkner acknowledged that it was a great achievement to get into the top six three years in a row.
The Cow of the Year is automatically calculated every year and includes any pedigree holstein friesian cow that has completed at least four lactations.