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Around the world: Meet this year’s Australian judge, Corey Couch

Progressive Dairyman staff writer Jaclyn Krymowski Published on 29 September 2017
corey Couch

From childhood, Corey Couch always knew he wanted to be a dairy farmer, a dream which has led him further than he could have imagined.

Thus far, he has accepted the nomination for associate judge to Mike Berry at the World Dairy Expo’s International Jersey Show this year, making him the second Australian in WDE history to have this honor.

Couch’s journey began after he left school when he was 15 years old for an apprenticeship on a farm. Six year later, he took a trip with a sponsored focus group through a genetics company to the U.S. It was this trip that sparked his passion for the Jersey breed, introduced him to the right mentors and put his farm plans into motion, and it was a decision that led him to importing over 300 embryos that would be the foundation of his herd.

On a later trip to the U.S., Couch met his partner, Karin Chittenden. Together, they continued to import, purchase and breed Jerseys. Today, they own Riverside Jerseys and operate it with their five children.

Arguably, they have created one of Australia’s top Jersey herds. Since they began competing at cattle shows in 1998, the family has earned several national grand champion titles on his home turf during International Dairy Week.

Most notably, they have succeeded in breeding the country’s first and only Jersey to achieve the triple crown of being named a national junior, intermediate and grand champion in its lifetime, along with being the first and only dam and daughter pair of national grand champions. The dairy also has multiple bulls in A.I. service, three of which are in the breed’s top 10.

Progressive Dairyman spoke with Couch about his thoughts on the Jersey breed worldwide and his exciting opportunity as associate judge for World Dairy Expo.

You are the second Australian to be named associate Jersey judge in the 50-year history of WDE. Which of your accomplishments as both a Jersey breeder and judge do you believe led to your nomination and landing the position?

COUCH: I would have to say my ability and accomplishments in breeding Jersey cattle has had more to do with my getting the call up as associate judge over actual judging experience.

You are in a unique position to be able to compare a wide variety of animals, the best of the best, from far and abroad, all in one place. In that aspect, what are you looking forward to most?

COUCH: I am looking forward to seeing some of the best cows in the world and being able to place them and see them in the flesh.

You’ve been to North America several times and seen many quality animals. What differences have you observed across the international spectrum of the Jersey breed? What’s the common denominator you see?

COUCH: The main differences I have seen between Australia and North America comes down to management. TMR feeding and housing style versus rotational grazing. Strength through the front end is the most variant and most important difference. Regardless of management style, the common factors are feet and legs as well as well-attached high, wide udders.

What influences did you have throughout your dairy career that helped lead you to where you are?

COUCH: The main influences in my life first came from my parents’ strong work ethic. The harder you work, the closer you are to achieving your dreams. Eric Silva of Sunset Canyon Jerseys and Phil Fanelli have also been a strong influence in teaching me the importance of breeding balanced dairy cows with the ability to produce high volumes of milk for many lactations.

How do you believe international displays of the top dairy animals in the world helps to improve and promote a breed?

COUCH: Top international cows create hype and inspire all of us to dream big and try to breed the next great one. They also give everyone the chance to see how bulls and cow families are breeding.

This year, the WDE focuses on discovering the vast world of dairy from all over. With that in mind, what sort of competition do you hope to see brought into the show ring this year?

COUCH: I hope to see super-uddered cows built to last. Ones that can produce plenty of milk, can stand up to every environment worldwide and (who are) not just a fancy flash in the pan. The things that get my motor going are dairy cows with big (rib) cages and faultless udders.  end mark

PHOTO: Corey Couch has been breeding some of Australia’s best Jersey cows for 29 years. This year, he will be serving as associate judge for the 2017 International Jersey Show with judge Mike Berry. Photo provided by Karin Chittenden.

Krymowski was a 2017 editorial intern.

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