Beautiful jersey herd is a family affair

SUE O'DOWD
Last updated 05:00 09/03/2014
Judith and Malcolm Muggeridge and their prize-winning Truday jersey herd.
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ

PRIZE-WINNERS: Judith and Malcolm Muggeridge and their prize-winning Truday jersey herd.

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A shared interest in jersey cows brought together a Taranaki couple who can trace the breeding of their herd back to 1914.

Prize-winning jersey cow Truday Lens Kola, owned by Ngaere's Malcolm and Judith Muggeridge, is a descendant of Homebush Wall Flower bred by Malcolm's grandfather, Frank Muggeridge, at his Homebush stud at Oeo.

Judith and Malcolm Muggeridge, who milk 140 cows on their 52-hectare Ngaere farm in Central Taranaki, have both been exhibiting cattle for more than 50 years.

The couple have bred many top show cows and have competed at the Auckland Easter Show, A&P shows around the lower North Island and the 1983 Royal Show where their cows won the champion jersey and all-breeds champion titles. More than 50 of their cows have been champions or reserve champions at A&P shows in Taranaki.

"We've had lots of good cows. Every year you have good cows. If we lined them all up, you'd have a beautiful herd," he said.

The 2010 Stratford A&P Show was particularly successful for the family. Lynden Muggeridge beat his parents by one point to win the New Zealand Premier Cow award with his champion friesian cow, Mokoia Railing Rae. Judith and Malcolm Muggeridge's champion jersey cow and supreme jersey champion, Truday Quest's Floral VHC 96, was runner-up.

"I had to take it," Malcolm said. "We're still milking Floral. The family couldn't do anything wrong at that show. You don't always agree with the judge - but the judge's decision is final."

The Muggeridges are the first husband and wife jersey judges in New Zealand.

Judith said they enjoyed preparing animals for a show and the anticipation and excitement of winning.

Training animals before a show required time. At the venue all the animals - up to 25 - had to be fed, watered and cleaned ahead of the event.

"As a judge, I want to see a cow that's as good as mine," Malcolm said. "The initial impression counts, then you inspect the cow more closely. Like a pretty girl catching your eye, the best cow will usually stand out."

Judith said jersey cows were quiet and easy to handle and didn't need as much feed as friesians and ayrshires.

"Jersey cows are in our blood. Our parents had them, so we grew up with them."

Jersey cows all had different temperaments and their own little ways, she said.

Malcolm said they knew each cow in their herd and the herd's pecking order.

"You always have a lead cow and the other cows will stand there until she goes through, bringing the herd with her."

He joined the NZ Jersey Breeders Association in 1965, registering the prefix Homelea- View. He changed it to Truday in 1970 when he married Judith Rowe, whose mother coined the name. Her parents, Doug and Bertha Rowe, bred pedigree jersey cows at their Rolanvale stud. Malcolm and Judith's sons, Kelvin and Lynden, also successfully breed and show cattle and Lynden is a qualified judge and classifier.

Grandson Mathias is following the family tradition, becoming the fifth generation jersey breeder after registering Kohinoor as a stud name in partnership with his wife, Jayne.

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Malcolm's grandfather, Frank, was farming at Oeo when he joined the New Zealand Jersey Cattle Breeders Association in 1914. After registering his first animals with the prefix Oeo, he changed it to Homebush. His five sons all had pedigree jersey studs in Taranaki.

Malcolm's father, Jim Muggeridge, bred prize-winning cows at his Homelea Stud at Oeo. The stud was based on Homebush lines and included stock from the Merriland jersey stud in the Bay of Plenty and the Tippett family's Lamorna stud in South Taranaki.

Taranaki Purebred Jersey Association publicity officer Allan Jenkins, of Hawera, said Truday cattle were well-known in Taranaki and throughout New Zealand for their outstanding conformation and production. The champion and supreme awards for Truday Lees Carleen at this year's Taranaki Purebred Jersey Show and Taranaki and Horowhenua A&P Shows were fitting tributes for the family's century of association with the jersey breed.

- Taranaki Daily News

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