One of Central Taranaki's youngest breeders, Midhirst's Liam Newton, hopes to further make his mark at the Stratford A&P Show this weekend, adding more ribbons and trophies to his already-full chest of awards won at calf and pet days and rural shows.
As soon as he could walk Liam took to leading and rearing calves, says his mother Cheryl.
After registering as a breeder at age four he grew his stud from his first show calf, Cutie Pie, to 36 pure Ayrshires including calves.
The breeding is based on names, says Cheryl, with she and Liam choosing the bulls from the Ayrshire unproven sires (due to a low budget) based on whether they like their names or not. "People laugh, but it works."
Placing with Lonestar Byways I'mcool (Sam) as grand champion light breed at the South Taranaki Boys and Girls Calf Day in Kaponga was quite a coup for Liam, says Cheryl, as he was competing against the heavier Friesians .
Liam loves helping his dad Wayne around the farm, preferring to be busy outside than spending time in front of the television or computer.
"He helps with everything. He always has been into it boots-and-all."
Cheryl says he also has a real knack with the animals. "Cutie Pie would not feed. He walked in, she sucked on his hand and then took the feed he gave her."
She says his previous show calves, Bessieboo and Lady Holly, still come to "talk" to him, even when among other cows.
At the Stratford show Liam will also compete in the pedigree ring with in-milk cows for the first time. "He has done yearlings and calves, but this is his first show with in-milk cows," says Cheryl. He will show Bessieboo as a six-year-old and Lady Holly as a two-year-old.
His older sister Jessie (21) will lend a hand and show him some of the ropes caring for an in-milk cow during the show. She and sister Sarah (16) are champion Friesian showers, but Liam has not considered another breed since, when kneehigh, choosing Ayrshires.