Representing Victoria: Zoe Hayes (23)
Zoe is the Victorian state finalist at the 2021 Agricultural Shows Australia National Young Judges finals held at the Royal Queensland Show. Agricultural Shows of Australia sat down with Zoe to learn a bit about her devotion to dairy judging. Zoe is studying a Bachelor of Agribusiness and hails from a small country town dairying community called Girgarre in Northern Victoria. Oh, and she used to be a dancer!
Dairy farming has been in my family for generations, where I have lived and grown up on a dairy farm my whole life. This is how I have developed my passion for dairy cows and still continues today. Our family farm currently runs a 500 cow herd, where we are known for our Illawarra stud ‘Llandovery’.
Through three generations our family has shown stud Illawarras.
In ten years time, I would like to be running a small dairy farm and still continuing ‘Llandovery’ stud Illawarras. The goal would to run a self sufficient dairy farm to hopefully eliminate financial pressures that unfortunately in the dairy industry is all too common and also to get back to enjoying farming.
The first judging competition I competed in was at Toowoomba Show when I was 15 where I was helping good friends Matt Henry, who encourage me to go in the judging competition.
I ended up winning that competition and I caught the bug.
Entering the dairy judging competition was something I always wanted to do when growing up, however it’s something that takes a lot of confidence. My dad is someone I grew up watching, where we’ve travelled to New Zealand and England where he was invited to judge. Being around my dad (Tony Hayes) and nan (Gloria Hayes) seeing and listening to their passion for breeding and looking at good cows is something that I have also developed a passion for, and why we show cows as a family today.
My favourite show is the Sydney Royal because of the great facilities, awesome people and the cattleman’s bar!
My best family success at a show would be winning Junior, Intermediate and Senior Champion Illawarra at International Dairy Week in 2015. My individual best success at a show for me would be finishing seventh overall out of 163 competitors from 15 countries in Belgium at the European Young Breeders Championship judged on clipping, leading and judging.
The most embarrassing moment for me when showing cows would be in my teenage years I was leading a cow called Llandovery Redliners Pride, a cow that never loved to be shown but a cow we thought deserved to be there. We were lining up for supreme intermediate champion at Melbourne Royal, she didn’t like standing still where she ended up standing on the back of my foot where I face-planted right in the middle of the ring for everyone to see. Yeah it was pretty embarrassing!

Agricultural Shows Australia wishes Zoe all the best at the Ekka.