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Australian intern sees U.S. Holstein genetics up-close

Progressive Dairyman Writer Michael Cox Published on 30 September 2015
Casey Treloar

Promoting the U.S. dairy industry outside of the U.S. is usually left to industry exporters. But for Butlerview Dairy Farm in Chebanse, Illinois, hiring an Australian intern offered the opportunity of a foreign perspective – for both parties.

Progressive Dairyman recently caught up with Butlerview intern Casey Treloar.



“Coming to the U.S. was a big change, but North America is the hub of Holstein genetics, so there’s no place better to be,” Treloar explains.

Why intern in America?

Having attended the World Dairy Expo last year during a three-week visit to the U.S., Treloar was anxious to return for a longer period of time. “I have a friend who works with Butlerview, and he helped put me in contact with the owners so I could spend more time working with U.S. dairies.”

Treloar was also interested in learning about the technology and genetics used in America, which are more advanced than in Australia. “The utilization of genomics is only beginning to develop in Australia, so I wanted to work with an elite U.S. Holstein farm and learn more about the U.S. system,” Treloar says.

Her internship immediately began at a hectic pace in late July, as Butlerview Farm was hosting the 2015 Holstein International Intrigue Sale.

The sale gave Treloar a crash course on the herd’s genomics as she worked on the photography and social media element of the sale. “It was amazing to see all the interest from buyers, both over the phone and at the farm sale,” she says.


Dairying differences

“It’s been a steep learning curve to adapt to the U.S. system of dairying, as it’s so different to dairying at home,” Treloar says. “In comparison to the confinement TMR-fed U.S. herds, the majority of Australian herds, including my home farm, are on outdoor pasture-based systems.” Treloar says it’s very rare to see a barn full of cows in Australia, as the cost of building investments is often prohibitive.

Australia is often viewed as a desert or beach holiday destination, but Treloar says both the people and the dairy cows live close to the coast. “The center of Australia is mainly desert and some large beef-cow cattle stations, so almost everything lives near the coast, where we get more rain.”

Like all countries, weather plays a huge role in Australian dairying. “We don’t get snow like here in the U.S., so we focus on growing as much hay and silage as possible to feed out during the summer months,” Treloar explains.

Cow type is another area where Treloar sees a difference. She describes the American Holstein cow as “more refined” and “shows more dairy character” as opposed to Australian cows.

Perhaps the most important difference between the two countries is the advancement and use of technology in the U.S. “The entire area of genomics and performance selection is an area we need to embrace and improve at home,” Treloar says. Many of the top Australian A.I. bulls are evaluated through the more advanced U.S. genetic evaluation system.


With more than nine months left of her dairy internship, Treloar hopes to learn as much as possible about the business of U.S. dairying before she returns to Australia to complete her final six months of schooling.


For now at least, Treloar is content to continue her dairy experience in her newfound home away from home. “Working with elite cows in a top-class industry and being able to attend events like World Dairy Expo makes it hard to be homesick,” she says.  PD

PHOTO: “It’s been a steep learning curve to adapt to the U.S. system of dairying, as it’s so different to dairying at home,” says Casey Treloar, an Australian intern. Photo provided by Casey Treloar.