Century old dairy stud selling its entire herd
AFTER taking over as a 15-year-old, Kevin Smith believes now is the right time to call it a day.
He runs Hillcrest Ayrshires, established in 1913, where his family has worked since 1950.
Mr Smith, 61, is the third generation of his family to work full-time at the Borallon dairy stud.
That 106 years of selective breeding will go under the hammer tomorrow for a complete dispersal sale with 100 cows and heifers, including one bull and four embryo packages, up for sale.
It has been a difficult few months after his brother Robert, who lived just down the road, recently passed away after a battle with cancer.
Following on from that loss, Mr Smith said it was not an easy decision to sell the entire herd after such a long and successful history but now was the time to start a new chapter.
"I've come to an age where I want to have a bit of time to myself because I've been doing this since I left school at 15," he said.
"I might have missed 50 milkings in that time. It's sad but I'm sort of glad because I've had enough. It's going to be hard to see it go after three generations but it is time."
Interest in the sale at Hillcrest is high as the stud has developed a strong reputation for breeding the dairy breed in its century of operation.
Although they no longer compete, they were a dominate force in the '70s, '80s and '90s as they won champion cow at the Ekka 17 times from 21 attempts.
"Some of these cow families are unique," Mr Smith said.
"Early on, we used Scottish and English genetics but now I'm using American and Canadian more. They're probably about 98 per cent AI (artificially inseminated) bred.
"One particular cow family has been here 100 years this year. We've got members of that family and we're selling them in the sale. Some of these cow families, they're the only ones in the country and I've got a hell of a lot of interest."
He will remain on the property with wife Sharron and plans to grow hay and run beef cattle.
"I'll pick out a good breed and go on with them because I love good cattle," he said.
Mr Smith expects to do his final milking next week as the cattle will depart from his farm on Wednesday at the earliest.
The auction will be held at 45 Hills Rd, Borallon at 11am.
For more information, phone auctioneer Brian Leslie on 0418 365 934.