Prized cow that wins top award at Katherine Show owned by CDU Technical Officer

A heifer named “Tessa” handled by Charles Darwin University VET Technical Officer Laura Farmer wins first place in heifer-led Class under 15 months at the Katherine Show

Tessa has won First Place in Heifer-led Class under 15 months at the Katherine Show shown here with owner Laura Farmer a Charles Darwin University (CDU) VET Technical Officer

A Katherine educator who is teaching students how to work on rural farms is trying to milk all she can out of a her very successful competitive cow.

But turning an ordinary heifer into a showstopper is not an easy task.

The 10-month-old heifer named “Tessa” handled by Charles Darwin University (CDU) Vocational Education and Training (VET) Technical Officer, Laura Farmer, won First Place in Heifer-led Class under 15 Months and the Junior Reserve Champion Female at the Royal Katherine Show last week.

“Tessa is a real beauty and the staff and students just love working with her on campus,” Laura Farmer said.

Laura teaches rural operations at CDU’s 4,400-hectare Katherine Rural Campus, where more than 700 cattle call home, making it one of the only Universities in Northern Australia to boast a herd.

By working with VET in School students on campus, staff at the Katherine Rural Campus team led by Farm and Stud Manager Jessica Di Pasquale have been able to train them in essential skills to work in the agriculture industry in the Territory.

As part of the six-week VET in School program, students have been practising handling cattle, measuring weight, and learning about water maintenance and feed rations on the farm.

“It’s really exciting as the students have never done anything like it before and the course lets students see what actually gets done on farms in real life,” Laura Farmer said.

“They learn about how much hard work is involved and it gets them out to learn physically instead of sitting in a classroom.”

Six CDU VET staff members and eight students and their cows won awards in various classes at the Katherine Show, taking home top prizes for their expert cattle handling skills, with the University also winning the Most Successful Exhibit and the Best Kept Pen.

CDU VET Lecturer in Agriculture and Rural Operations, Buddy Worrigal, won the Most Professional Groom and four students received handler and judge awards.

Rising-star cow “Sista Girl” handled by the CDU team won Junior Champion Female, Grand Champion Female and Supreme Exhibit.

CDU’s “Quince” and “Roulette” were named champion and reserve champion in the senior female classes.

Young bull “Timmy” wooed the judges and took home the Junior Reserve Champion Bull while “Randy” and “Romeo” charmed as Senior Champion Bull and Senior Reserve Champion Bull.

The same group of students has travelled from Katherine to Darwin with their cattle to compete in the Royal Darwin Show that will run from 21 to 23 July 2022. After completing the VET in School course, the students can now work towards obtaining a Certificate II in Rural Operations at CDU.