17 year old Tayla is the New Zealand finalist at the 2021 Agricultural Shows Australia National Young Judges finals held at the Royal Queensland Show. She hails from the small, predominantly dairy farming community of Orini, in the North Waikato and currently attends St. Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton. Her real love is Speckle Parks but she’s also skilled in judging meat sheep! We caught up with her for a chat before the national finals.

I have always been involved and passionate about agriculture. Growing up I was always busy raising calves, lambs and all sorts of other animals we brought home. Today, I work on local dairy farms over milking and calving.

I did calf club when I was young and that started my interest in doing more shows. From here I started attending local shows and I met some Speckle Park breeders who sold me my first pedigree bull. I started doing more shows and have one plenty of classes with my few Speckles. I have had the privilege of working for Hanging Rock Speckle Park stud in Newham, Victoria.

I also work on local dairy farms over milking and calving season, and hope to complete a Bachelor of Animal Science majoring in Genetics and Breeding. My goal is to be a large animal embryologist and also have grown my Speckle Park stud.

I started doing the RAS handlers class in 2016 to help develop my parading skills and to learn the fundamentals of leading livestock. The youth parts of the show are so important so that young people entering have as many opportunities to learn and succeed as possible. Encouragement is the only way to have people keep coming back to shows so I have definitely had more confidence to give different things like meat breeds sheep judging a go.

My parents have been the biggest influence on my link to agriculture, they always support my interests and are what got me started in my passion for livestock. Paul Hourn and the Hanging Rock team have helped me so much to keep me competing especially when there were times I wanted to give up. Lucy Collins and Cara Dogget definitely helped to encourage me to give this particular class a crack.

I had never judged sheep before the Hawkes Bay Show in 2019. Even I was surprised that I placed.

My favourite show is the Royal Melbourne show, it was the first Australian show I ever attended. The people are so encouraging and willing to help out!

A personal highlight in my showing career would be winning my first Supreme Exhibit at the Auckland Easter Show with my young bull. It was a really proud moment as all my hard work paid off and it was a milestone that every breeder wants to achieve. This incredible bull went on to win many more broad ribbons and is one of my most special animals to date.

The second highlight would have to be winning Reserve Champion Herdsperson at the Scone Speckle Park Youth Show. I was competing against some of the most incredible young people from all over Australia and to win that was a really successful moment.

I want to say a huge thank you for providing these competitions for the youth. It is such an appreciated opportunity.

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