NUMBERS have fallen at this year's Royal Melbourne Dairy Show, which kicks off this Monday.
The event will feature 400 entries, compared to 437 the previous year – a drop of about eight per cent.
But organisers say they are still happy with the turn-out, and are expecting 82 exhibitors and 268 exhibits to compete for the major prizes, and the coveted grand champion cow of the show.
There will be eight Ayrshires, 114 Holsteins, 128 Jerseys, 16 Guernseys, 27 Illawarras and 19 Brown Swiss cows competing at this year's Dairy Show, as well as 88 entries in the Youth Classic.
"We are happy and are just looking forward to the event now," dairy cattle committee chair Jim Conroy said.
"We are down on numbers slightly … we've got a few breeders getting out of the industry or changing their operations."
He said the inaugural Victorian Winter Fair in Bendigo also had an impact on the Melbourne event.
"We did expect some competitors to go there," he said.
"But I'm not worried. There are various reasons why people will choose to attend shows."
A visible change in the entries was the fact Jersey numbers were slightly higher than Holsteins (114 to 128).
"The Winter Fair just had Holsteins, so Melbourne is an opportunity for Jerseys to go on show," Mr Conroy said.
The judges for this year's Royal Melbourne Dairy Show include David Stalker from New Zealand judging the Holsteins, Darrin Grevett from Queensland judging the Jerseys; and Keith Dorries, also from Qld, judging the Interbreed.
On Sunday, the Victorian Agricultural Shows (VAS) junior judging and parader's finals will be held, followed by the Dairy Youth Classic and breed judging on Monday, with the interbreed competition on Tuesday.
One of the biggest initiatives of the Royal Melbourne Dairy Show this year had been the advancement of technology.
Last year, 29 per cent of entries were received online, compared to 63pc this year.
The RASV is also planning to increase its usage of tablets, screens and efficiency of collecting results and live scoring.
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