South Taranaki Star
Fourteen generations of good breeding paid off for a Mangatoki family when they won the 2012 Taranaki Cow of the Year.
The Johnson partnership has been pure-breeding jersey cattle in Taranaki since 1965.
Originally started by Dick and Nola Johnson, a partnership was formed with their son, Graeme, in 1996 and he has carried on the family tradition ever since.
Hasty-River Lyn Moment is his 5-year-old jersey and proudly holds the Taranaki Purebreeders Jersey Club title for this year, winning by just one point.
Nola Johnson says she had a pretty good idea Hasty-River would win, despite it attending only three of the four shows in Taranaki where the Cow of the Year is judged each year.
She said the rivalry was part of what made purebreeding competitively fun.
"It's the ones that do the winning that get the points," she said. If the animal doesn't do well at one show it can have a big impact on the points.
"Places can really change."
Originally starting out with a few heifer calves, Dick Johnson said they just did not have the same appeal.
"They weren't as good as our grey cows and so away they went," he said.
"The cow families are the main thing to get on to, they have got to produce or you can't afford to keep them."
Mr Johnson Sr said showing cattle would not pay the bills so the animals also had to be good milkers.
He said the benefit of a jersey cow was that a well-bred one would have a strong udder tendon and still be milking at 12 or 13 years old.
They said you never knew if a cow was going to be good for showing until she calved at two years old.
Graeme Johnson shows cattle in most classes each year, and milks about 200 cows on their farm. About 150 of those are from the same bloodlines as Hasty-River Lyn Moment. He has been showing cattle since the 1970s.
The younger Mr Johnson picks his cattle by instinct.
Breeding, a sharp bone, and a near-perfect vessel are all on the list of preferred attributes for show cattle.
- © Fairfax NZ News