Being awarded Reserve Champion Holstein Friesian cow is the closest you come to winning when the winning cow was born on your farm, reckons fourth generation Holstein breeder Dean Geddes.
Dean and his wife Jo own and operate Tahora Holstein stud, milking 350 cows at Tai Tapu.Tahora Holstein was one of five Holstein Friesian exhibitors at the New Zealand Agricultural Show held in Christchurch in November.
Tahora Bolton Legacy was awarded Reserve place behind Clover Lane After Shock Sue, owned by brothers John and Robbie Wakelin and Duncan Pipe.“I did like the cow that won the competition,” says Dean.
“She was actually born on my farm and that makes me feel pretty proud. Tahora Bolton Legacy is fairly well put together with good udders, good legs and feet, good wide muzzle and good depth of ribs, but just lacks a bit of final finish to be as good as we’ve had.”
At the tender age of nine, Tahora Bolton Legacy was also awarded second place in the lifetime production class, having produced 72,000 litres of milk. Dean says Tahora Bolton Legacy’s great grand-mother lived till she was 23 years of age and was in the milking herd till she was 19.
The family tradition of showing stud Holsteins at the Christchurch A&P Show stems back 110 years with Dean’s great grandfather who set the family standard by achieving Champion cow in 1921.Dean took the farm and stud over from his parents, Jim and Judith, 32 years ago as a 21 year old but has continued to work closely with his parents.
“My parents are still living on the farm. Dad was helping me on the farm this morning and mum will help this afternoon.”As you would expect, Dean’s passion for farming – honed over a lifetime with the big Holsteins – is all about breeding cows that last the distance, continually improving the generations and building a good history of cattle.
“There’s a bit of art in breeding and also a bit of luck. The art is getting the genetics right and crossing them the right way – the luck comes down to getting heifer calves as well.”
Dean’s second passion is breeding top quality horses for polo and typically rears two or three a year, which if good enough, are sold abroad to Australia, North America or the United Kingdom.
Dean grew up riding ponies, show jumping and eventing and says his major claim to fame was that he twice beat Charisma – adding that was pre-Mark Todd days.Eventing led to Dean playing polo and representing New Zealand ‘quite a few years back’.
For the last 15 years Dean and Jo have hosted an annual polo tournament between Australia and New Zealand on their farm.For the last three years the event has been used as a fundraiser for Ronald MacDonald House and last year attracted 2500 people, raising $115,000 for the cause.
Looking to the future Dean says his children Sophie 16 and Tom 13, are not showing the same level of interest in the farm which may alter the farm’s direction.“That doesn’t worry me – if they’re not keen I might have to go to beef cattle but the Tahora Stud will still remain.”
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