For anyone who has ever met us, it is easy to see the passion we have for our cattle. We are not only advocates for our breed, but also for the younger generation to become involved in agriculture in general. Perhaps that's because when we started, it was a one-girl show who was all of 13 and determined to make her mark on the world.
Growing up on a few acres of land meant we always had some form of livestock - mostly a couple of calves to eat the grass, fatten up and send to market. When Lucy started high school and announced to the family she was joining the agriculture show group, I'm pretty sure we were very skeptical that it would last, but supportive none the less. Lucy didn't have strong memories of bottle rearing poddy calves, so Mum & Dad went and bought two little steers for her to rear . Problem with this - turned out Lucy was too scared to get close to them and as the older sister, I was sent in to get calf to take the bottle. Didn't take Lucy very long to get over her fear and a life long interest in cattle was born.
During her first year of high school, Lucy was introduced to Australian Lowline cattle. At her first show she was handed the leads of a Lowline heifer and told by her teacher to 'get out there and have fun!". That she certainly did. She had caught the show bug, but more importantly had fallen in love with the temperament and size of the Australian Lowline. She begged our parents for some of her own, and was given the go ahead if she could raise the funds for the investment. She sold her bottle calves at market, and when meeting with a Lowline breeder at Mudgee Small Farms Field Days, she began negotiations on her own to purchase a breeding female with calf at foot, and back in calf again. This meeting was with Tammy Breuer of reknown Allambie Lowline Stud. Tammy was instrumental in helping Elle Kay get started, and the relationship built is definitely a story for another day,
When Trangie M458 (nicknamed Marmalade) and her bull calf, Allambie Jack arrived at Londonderry, it was definitely a day of great excitement -a day that won't be forgotten and was the point of no return. Lucy put her everything into those animals and was a little heartbroken when Marmalde delivered another bull calf which meant showing would prove difficult at her age. This led to the aquisition of Allambie Silka who was shown extensively as both heifer and cow over the years. We still have Silka who turned 15 on Valentine's Day, 2020. We have several of her female progeny still retained, all of whom have fabric related names. (Pictured above is Elle Kay Luna (R) and Elle Kay Lacy (L) - the latter being Silka's 2018 calf).
Showing was a whole new world to the Kuipers Family, but one we soon learned to love. It was fascinating to watch everyone prepare their animals for the show ring, and a wealth ofknowledge was to obtained by talk ing to other breeders. The social aspect of it was quite fun, and we would look forward to the next show to do it all again. Ribbons won were just the icing on the cake!
I quickly sold my shetlend ponies and purchased my own heifer to add to the herd. Lucy and I formed a partnership, and while sometimes we would be at each others throats over difference of opinions, we are also very quick to have each others back. We were a sister duo ready to take on the world. We had many successes in the showring - broard ribbons at Canberra Royal Show, Royal Melbourne Show as well as Sydney Royal Easter Show. Our biggest success however was winning Best Exhibit (Supreme) Australian Lowline at the 2013 Sydney Royal Easter Show with our bull - Elle Kay Gunargarang. Lucy and I always joked we would win this award with one of our bulls- purely because in the early days we NEVER got any heifers. ALWAYS bulls. Gunnie (as he was affectionately known as), will always hold a chunk of our heart.
When our parents moved from Londonderry to Tuena, so too did the cattle, our breeding programme and perhaps our sanity. Our operation grew rapidly from the 12 animals we moved with in 2016. We currently have over 60 head of both stud and commercial Australian Lowline cattle. Our parents were officially added to our membership after they moved so it is now officially one big family affair - even though Mum and Dad were ALWAYS part of the heart and soul of Elle Kay Lowlines.
We are no longer teenagers, we've moved out, settled down and starting to have family of our own. We love now that Elle Kay Lowlines is a multi generation operation. Our Miss 13 and Miss 10 have their own stud now whom we help support and it is truly a joy to share this passion with them.
It's been one hell of a 15 year ride to get where we are - joy, heartbreak, setback, losses and a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But can't wait to see where we can take this breed over the next 15!