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HYB Derbyshire dairy farmer swaps the snowy peaks for Australian sunshine

The Holstein Young Breeders (HYB) Australian Exchange returns for a fourth year, with a passionate HYB member awarded the trip of a lifetime down under in January.

Boarding a flight to Australia in early January 2020 will be Catherine Bunting, a member of the Derbyshire HYB Club. Her love for the dairy industry and passion for cows developed during her studies in Agriculture at Newton Rigg College in 2015. Since starting a job with the Sterndale and Peak herds, her enthusiasm has grown further over the last year and she has enjoyed learning lots of new skills.

Catherine was announced as the winner of the HYB Australian Exchange at the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show in Peterborough on Sunday 20th October. On finding out that she had won the competition, Catherine said “I didn’t believe it when I heard my name read out. I have only just come down off cloud nine. In January I turn 21 and I couldn't wish for a better birthday present.”

The month-long trip down under will see 20-year-old Catherine gain first-hand experience of its dairy industry. Her visit will include the National Dairy Youth Camp, staying on Holstein Australia member farms in three geographically diverse regions across two states (Victoria and South Australia), participating in the International Dairy Week (IDW) Youth Challenge and working with the Holstein Australia team at IDW. Catherine will also get to spend a day visiting Genetics Australia with a member of Holstein Australia.  The trip is an all-expenses-paid adventure, completely funded by Holstein UK and Holstein Australia, and a once in a lifetime opportunity; a chance to gain knowledge and experience of other cultures. As part of the exchange, an Australian young breeder will come over to the UK in September to coincide with some of the UK’s leading dairy events, such as UK Dairy Day, the Dairy Show and the All Breeds All Britain Calf Show.

Catherine said, “I am looking forward to seeing the differences between UK and Australian dairy farming, although I am mostly looking forward to meeting new people and going to the Youth Camp where everyone has the same interests but in such a vast and differing industry.”

A relative newcomer to HYB events, Catherine has competed at two weekend rallies and has enjoyed making new friends and learning new skills such as linear judging. She has also become part of the Sterndale and Peak showing and prepping team so regularly helps with washing, clipping and halter breaking. Alongside developing these skills in Australia, Catherine is looking forward to learning about new cow families.

Catherine adds, “My particular interest is to find families that have great type and stature, have longevity with a good milk production but not necessarily the highest yield. I am also looking forward to making lifelong friends and contacts within the Australian dairy industry.” 

Hannah Williams, Head of Events & Marketing at Holstein UK, commented, HYB wishes Catherine an amazing trip of a life time down under. The Australian Exchange is a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand how the southern hemisphere dairy farming industry operates and the experience will be hugely beneficial - not only from a social and personal development point of view, but, most importantly, to develop breeding, husbandry, showmanship and dairy management skills. Seeing first-hand how Australian dairy farmers run their businesses and breed productive cattle, with different climates and production methods, is the best way to develop Catherine’s knowledge, skills and experience, which she can apply in practice on her return to the UK.”