Schoolgirl's hard work rewarded

18:43, Jul 15 2014
Kate Cummings with her heifer calf Fairview Shadow Rae.
SPECIAL WIN: Kate Cummings with her heifer calf Fairview Shadow Rae, which was presented to her by the Fairview holstein friesian stud.

Wyndham teenager Kate Cummings is more likely to receive a pair of clippers or a halter for her birthday than a piece of jewellery.

But, she doesn't mind.

Kate is dedicated to breeding holstein friesian cattle and spends most of the summer months preparing them for shows.

Her hard work paid off when she was presented with a yearling heifer - Fairview Shadow Rae - after scoring the most points in the Holstein Friesian New Zealand Calf Class Competition.

"I was completely stoked to win her," Kate said.

The calf, which was bred by Lindsay and Alison Trounce from the Fairview holstein friesian stud at Timaru, was presented to her after the Holstein Friesian New Zealand conference in Auckland late last month.


The competition involved Kate competing against other young breeders by exhibiting calves at A&P shows in the 2013-14 season.

She competed at 13 shows and took calves as far as the Canterbury A&P Show in Christchurch and also won an exchange through Holstein Friesian New Zealand to compete at the Royal Show in Feilding.

Unfortunately, the Royal Show clashed with the Wyndham A&P Show which meant she missed out on exhibiting her animals on her home turf.

Kate, who is in year 11 at St Peters College, in Gore, has always been keen on dairy farming and breeding holstein friesian cattle.

"I've been brought up to it - I love it," she said.

Her parents, Jock and Helen Cummings, have a holstein friesian stud where they milk 240 cows on the Mataura-Wyndham back road. Kate enjoys helping out there.

While the winter months are dedicated to playing netball, showing cattle is her summer sport and she has no hesitation in giving up her Saturdays to compete on the show circuit.

Kate has eight in-calf cows and is using sexed semen to guarantee heifer calves and grow her herd.

She started her own Maylea stud at age 10 with the purchase of her first cow from Brian Perkins Fernlea stud and a heifer calf from her parents' stud.

Kate's brothers Darren, 23, and Clint, 21, who also work in the dairy industry, have taught her how to prepare her animals for the show.

The process of washing and clipping an animal can take up to two hours. Every morning before school, Kate is out feeding her animals and spends a lot of time getting them used to being led with a halter.

"I'm really proud of her - she has worked really hard to get where she is," mother Helen said.

Kate knows just what to look for when selecting calves or yearlings to take to the show.

"They must have good structure and spring of rib, walk nicely, be wide through the back, and their pins must be nice and even."

As part of the competition, Kate also had to create a three-minute video promoting the farm and her Maylea stud as well as enter a photo competition where she placed third.

Kate said she hoped to work on a small dairy farm in the future and focus on breeding holstein friesians.

"I don't see myself being on a big commercial farm."

The Southland Times