One of Australia's foremost dairy breeders Murray Sowter was recognised with the Lex Bunn Memorial Award at International Dairy Week.
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LEX BUNN AWARD: Murray Sowter receives the 2022 Lex Bunn Award from the 2020 award recipient Andrew Chittick.

Mr Sowter, who judged the Holstein competition at the 2022 event, owns and operates Murribrook Holsteins at Moss Vale, NSW.

The stud has owned and exhibited multiple champions at IDW, as well as being three-time premier breeder and premier exhibitor.

Murribrook has won multiple championships at the Sydney Royal Show, as well as being premier breeder and exhibitor at that event 11 times.

Brian Leslie instituted the Lex Bunn award at IDW in 2002 to recognise someone in the industry who is a major contributor but who does not seek recognition.

The award is voted on by previous recipients.

Mr Leslie said Mr Sowter had devoted his life to better dairy cattle.

“I don’t know if I can think of anybody in the industry who has been more passionate about this business,” he said.

“He first started showing registered cows at a young age, he received his first royal show champion at a very young age some 50 years ago.

“He has travelled the world in search of better animals to bring better genetics to Australia.”

Mr Leslie said Mr Sowter had imported almost as many embryos into Australia as anyone and had imported live cattle when it was hard to do.

The Murribrook herd had been the highest production herd in NSW.

“So his contribution to this industry has been enormous,” Mr Leslie said.

Mr Sowter said the award was an honour.

Murray Sowter (centre) with some of the previous recipients of the Lex Bunn award.

Previous winners of the award are:

  • 2002 – Jim Conroy.
  • 2003 – Frank Sorraghan.
  • 2004 – Dave Orchard.
  • 2005 – Daryl Brown.
  • 2006 – Keith Kuhne.
  • 2007 – Laurie Chittick.
  • 2008 – Brian Leslie.
  • 2009 – Allan Clyne.
  • 2010 – David Fechner.
  • 2011 – Lyndon Cleggett.
  • 2012 – John Gardiner.
  • 2013 – Graeme Gillan.
  • 2014 – Jim Salway.
  • 2015 – Tony Hogan.
  • 2016 – Neville Wilkie.
  • 2017 – Lynton Broad.
  • 2018 – Lyndsay Wilson.
  • 2019 – David Mayo.
  • 2020 – Andrew Chittick.

    Leanne Dobson receives Bette Hall Award

    Renowned Tasmanian Holstein breeder Leanne Dobson was recognised with the 2022 Bette Hall Award at IDW.

    The award celebrates the strong, passionate and successful women involved in dairy.

    Fairvale Holsteins closed its doors in 2018.

    “The legacy that Fairvale Holsteins has left on the industry will take some time to be surpassed if ever,” ring announcer Stuart Lockhart said at IDW on Thursday.

    Mrs Dobson was the main driver in all the breeding decisions made at Fairvale.

    She assessed and correctively mated every cow, despite milking more than 300 head.

    Being Tasmanian based prevented Fairvale from showing its own string of cows at IDW.

    But it still produced champions, who were prepared and presented for showing by Victorian-based operations.

    This included six IDW Holstein champion cows.

    It has also exhibited three Australian Grand Champions since it was introduced at IDW in 2008.

    Fairvale embryos were the first in Australia to be exported to Canada and its genetics have found their way into show rings across North America.

    Fairvale also dominated in on-farm challenges in Tasmania for years and bred the first EX97-5E cow with Fairvale Morty Lady 51.

    “Nobody could doubt Leanne’s love of cows and the industry and what is impressive is how humble she is about her breeding achievements,” Mr Lockhart said.

    Previous winners of the Bette Hall award are:

    • 2016 – Lyn Boyd.
    • 2017 – Jenny Grey.
    • 2018 – Palm Malcolm.
    • 2019 – Lisa Broad.
    • 2020 – Tricia Mc McCraw

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