Small is big for a North Canterbury dairy farming family.

The Sherriff family, of Ohoka near Rangiora, won the supreme champion dairy cow award at the New Zealand Agricultural Show this month, making it three in a row.

Their farm, run by Peter Sherriff and his daughter, Olivia, and son-in-law, Jared Cahill, milks just 150 cows on 160ha.

The winning cow, 6-year-old Sherraine Congress Maria, took out the top prize for the second year in a row, while 10-year-old cow Sherraine Fortune Carra, supreme champion in 2016, got an ''honourable mention''.

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Carra's daughter, 2-year-old Sherraine Windbrook Carla, won intermediate champion.

Cahill said the family entered five cows in all last week.

''We usually enter about 10 or 12 cows. There's not as many animals here as last year, but it's still good for the show to have the cattle here and for us it's an opportunity to advertise what we've got.''

He said complying with the new biosecurity protocols, developed to manage the risk of Mycoplasma bovis, had been relatively straightforward.

''It's put a few people off, but hopefully we can show that it can be done with the right measures in place.

''There have been a few changes, but it's quite manageable with the breeders all working in together.''

While many larger dairy farms began retiring cows at 4-years-old, Cahill said 10-year-old Carra produced a whopping 800kg of milk solids last season.

The herd averaged around 700kg of milk solids per cow per season.

Calving was staggered from March to October, with milking all year round.

Young stock were kept on farm, with the only off-farm feed being wheat and some minerals to feed stock in the shed.

- Central Rural Life