Friday, 21 August 2020 09:00

Rare Accolade for 18-yr old cow

Written by  Staff Reporters
Belbrook Dynamic Vanessa EX5. Belbrook Dynamic Vanessa EX5.

An 18-year-old dairy cow in North Canterbury has achieved a rare accolade.

Belbrook Dynamic Vanessa EX5, owned by Belbrook Holsteins in Rangiora, has been classified excellent for a fifth time.

The result propels her into an elite club of bovines who have been recognised for their superior traits and longevity.

Vanessa was the only Holstein Friesian in New Zealand to receive an EX5 classification in 2019.

The achievement has left her owners, brothers Robbie and John Wakelin, elated.

“It’s been two decades since we’ve had a cow classify EX5, that was Belbrook LD Annabel EX5 in 2000,” said John.

“It’s quite rare. Dairy cows work a lot harder these days and don’t often live long enough to meet the required criteria.”

A Holstein Friesian cow is not eligible to receive her first excellent classification until she has calved at least three times.

“Vanessa is a very youthful-looking cow. She looks like a nine-year-old, even though she’s much older,” said John.

Vanessa was born in 2002 and was the oldest cow in the Wakelin’s milking herd in 2019-20. Her production peaked at 513 kilograms of milksolids (kgMS) in 2013. 

“Vanessa is the smallest cow in our herd. She goes back to a different time when our cows weren’t as big,” said John

She classified excellent for the first time in 2009.

The bovine beauty has produced 13 calves. Five of her heifers were reared. Two of her daughters, Belbrook TKO Veronica EX2 and Belbrook Talent Victoria EX2, have both classified excellent twice.

Her youngest daughter, Belbrook Bankroll Viva VG88, who was born in 2016, produced 449 kgMS as a two-year-old heifer.

“Vanessa was the last cow we had in the ‘V’ family for about five or six years,” said John. “We thought we were going to lose the family, then she started having daughters and the family rebuilt.

“The ‘V’ family has never been outstanding for production, but they’ve been easy to work with and live a long time,” said John.

Longevity is a trait found on both sides of Vanessa’s family tree.

Her grand dam Belbrook C E Valerie GP84 lived until she was 12 and her great granddam Pinevale P V Vesta lived until she was 15.

Vanessa was sired by Bellview WM Dynamic, a bull bred by Robbie and John before they took over their parents’ stud name.

“He was an outstanding bull. He produced about 17 daughters who classified excellent,” said John.

The bull’s dam Cresslands Ambition Dalia EX4 was still milking at the age of 15 and was classified excellent four times.

Her production peaked at 636 kgMS. She still produced 520 kgMS as an 11-year-old.

The ‘V’ family at Belbrook Holsteins will continue to expand.

Twin granddaughters sired by Walnutlawn Solomon are set to enter the herd this year.

More like this

Activists delight in demise

Animal activist organisation SAFE, which exposed former 2020 Share Farmer of the Year Nick Bertram’s unsavoury social media history, has responded with glee to his title being revoked.



OSPRI and LIC join forces

OSPRI and the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are urging farmers to play their part in improving animal traceability at a critical time on farm.

Awards help winners fine-tune

Newly-crowned Share Farmers of the Year Sarah and Aidan Stevenson are looking forward to their leadership roles over the next 12 months.


Effluent expo canned

The Effluent & Environment Expo, scheduled for early November in Hamilton, has been cancelled.

Fonterra back in the black

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says 2019/20 was a good year for the co-op, with profit up, debt down and…

Machinery & Products

Mowers get a makeover

Well known throughout New Zealand over the past 18 years, Pottinger has redesigned its rear-mounted Novadisc mowers to incorporate a…

Hardy spotlight

High quality, reliable lighting is essential for anyone involved in agriculture or the great outdoors.

Simmm twin water blasters

Italian made Simmm Power Cleaner 100/11 and Power Gun 100/11 single-phase (230 volt) electric water blasters are proving popular in…

OPD argument raging on

A stoush is brewing with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) heavily criticising Farmsafe Australia’s recent Safer Farm Report.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Eyes have it

OPINION: Painting eyes on the backsides of cows could save their lives, according to new research by Australian scientists.

Walkers versus cows

OPINION: A North Yorkshire teacher has become at least the second member of the public to be trampled to death…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter