Pippy marches into spotlight

Pippy marches into spotlight

WHEN Pippy poked her pretty face in front of Kylie Dimmock’s camera lens, no-one had any idea she was about to become a pin-up girl for the dairy industry.

Pippy, a Jersey calf from Kylie and partner Phil Smith’s Ardmona farm, was snapped in a spur of the moment decision in the calf pen.

She now holds pride of place as Miss March on Dairy Australia’s Legendairy on-line calendar.

“I always thought she was a cutie and she was just standing there looking at me like that so I thought, ‘I’ll just take a picture of you’,” Kylie said.

“It was good because she was the only Jersey in the picture. All her little friends were crossies or Friesians, so she stood out.

“We called her Pippy because she was a pipsqueak - she was the smallest of the lot, but she’s turned into a good little girl.”

It’s not hard to tell that Kylie is on good terms with her cows – as are Phil and their two children Madison, 9 and Charlotte, 2.

The family particularly likes the breeding side of dairy farming, which allows animals and owners the chance to bond over a lifetime.

“Yep, we love it. It’s always good to see them born and then growing up,” Kylie said.

“It’s good for the kids to see it all happen as well, watching them grow up. It gives them a sense of responsibility.”

The family moved from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales to Venus Bay in South Gippsland before settling on their current 100 hectare irrigated farm in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, just outside of Shepparton.

While Kylie and Phil would like to expand their business in the future, at the moment they are enjoying running a herd of around 150 cows and reaping the benefits that come with knowing each animal individually.

“Phil knows them more than me, but I still know quite a few of them. Most of them we know by either name or number,” Kylie said.

The small herd of Jerseys (with a handful of crossbreeds and Friesians thrown in) makes identifying health problems easier.  

“Sometimes one is a bit slow coming in and you think, ‘you’re not usually last,’ so you know something’s wrong,” Kylie said.

“In a way, because there’s not so many to keep an eye on, you can focus more on what you do have there.”

Kylie and Phil’s enthusiasm for the cows has spread to their children, with young Charlotte already aware of a very important difference between the farm animals.

“Even the little two-year-old knows the difference between the bulls and the cows. She can pick the bull out from the 150 cows and knows not to go into the yard if he’s there.”

The family, which runs Maraglen Jersey Stud, is committed to the breed, which they consider the perfect animal for a family dairy farm.

“Their temperament has a lot to do with it. They’re calm, small sized, and easy to feed.”