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David Fechner

David Fechner  lives on Onka vale farm, Charleston. He is well-known locally for his community involvement. He is also known internationally for his expertise in cattle.

David's interest in cattle was fuelled by living on the land with his family. During his youth, Kevin Kleeman a well-known Lobethal identity, was the farm hand working with David's father George Fechner. Having the two men on the farm gave David two workers to trail, watch and question endlessly. It was probably no surprise but nevertheless a parental disappointment that when David reached school leaving age, he left school and chose to work on the farm.

On the farm David developed breeding and show judging expertise in Holstein cattle. Holstein cattle are recognised by their black and white colours and are twice as valuable as other breeds. For example, a Jersey cow will give around 7,000 litres of milk a year while a Holstein cow will give 10,000. At the Shepparton Show in Victoria in January 2011, Jersey cows sold for $4,000 compared to Holstein cows at $8,400.

His early interest in breeding paid off. Career opportunities in the cattle industry came. Firstly, four years with Holstein Cattle Association to promote the cattle, identify faults and flaws in cattle, to improve production and extend life as well as the role of classifier. Secondly, 16 years with Semex, a Canadian-based company, that provides artificial insemination of cattle. He was classed as a sire annalist for Australia. A sire bull purchased by Semex in 1996, named Ladino Park Talent, standing at a bull stud at Camperdown, Victoria, was the first Australian bull to provide and sell over one million doses of semen, at an average price of $25 a straw, with a total worth of over $20 million.

David's knowledge of the cattle industry meant he was in demand in North America, Europe, South Africa, Japan and New Zealand as well as throughout Australia and he travelled widely. David retired from this company in October, 2008.


David was born on 10th November, 1948 at Gumeracha Hospital, South Australia, only child of George and Betty Fechner. For his first five years of life, his parents shared a one room cottage with his grandmother.

David attended primary school at Charleston and completed three years at Oakbank Secondary School. He was an active sportman, enjoying cricket, football, table tennis and fishing and waterskiing once a year when the family took two weeks' holiday at a shack at Pernong on the banks of the River Murray.

Commitment to his community is demonstrated by David's life membership of the Lobethal Football Club, Lobethal Recreation Sports Club, Mt Torrens/Charleston Cricket Club, Torrens Valley Cricket Association, and Holstein Association Australia.

He has held positions of president of the Lobethal Football Club, Holstein Cattle Australia and Hills Football League, and secretary of the Lobethal Sports Club and Torrens Valley Cricket Association.

Today David is the chairman of the Royal Adelaide Show Diary and Cattle Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, Royal Adelaide Show, and umpires cricket at association and local levels. He enjoys working and spending time with the young people in the diary industry, passing on valuable information at youth camps and junior judging schools throughout Australia.

A ‘bucket list' includes travel on the Ghan train from Adelaide to Darwin then across to explore the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia and to Canada to renew friendships made over many years of travel to that country.


February 2011

Author: Sue Thiele