Kitchen cooks up award for excellence

Zach RelphCountryman
Carenda Holsteins' Ray Kitchen, Mary Kitchen and Doug Kitchen.
Camera IconCarenda Holsteins' Ray Kitchen, Mary Kitchen and Doug Kitchen. Credit: Western Dairy

A leading South West Holstein breeder has claimed another gong for genetic distinction.

Ray Kitchen, the principal of Carenda Holsteins at Boyanup, was bestowed DataGene’s Award for Breeding Excellence at the 20th Dairy Innovation Day at Bannister Downs last Thursday.

The veteran agriculture show exhibitor, who farms with brother Mal, snared the title in recognition of breeding WA’s top Holstein herd according to the balanced performance index.

Mr Kitchen recorded a 155 BPI — the industry indicator measures a cow’s genetic merit and traits influencing financial contribution to a dairy business — to rank his 455-cow herd fourth in Australia.

Mr Kitchen thanked DataGene extension officer Peter Williams for the award, while also recognising his mum Mary’s contribution.

“(Breeding) has been a main focus of our dairy enterprise,” he said.

“Careful selection of bulls and all of the information that is gathered these days is all helpful to breeding a successful herd and breeding very successful individual cattle.”

The Kitchen family’s herd has ranked in the top 10 of DataGene’s ratings every year since the BPI indicator was introduced in 2015.

The victory comes after Mr Kitchen received the Holstein Australia Distinguished Service Award for his breeding excellence in 2016.

Mr Williams said the Kitchen’s consistent breeding represented an ongoing commitment to maintaining a quality Holstein herd.

“Genetic gain is permanent and compounds year-on-year,” he said.

“Dairy cows have to be joined every year so it’s worth making every breeding decision count.”

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