Sunday, July 31, 2016
Jersey show girls [Dairy Star Column]
Five years ago, Glen and I stood with Dan and Monika outside our baby calf pen. Dan and Monika were picking calves to show at the fair. We tried to guide their decision by explaining which calves the judges might like best. Monika, who was three years old at the time, didn't care what the judges might think. She wanted to show the little brown calves – our first two grade-up Jerseys.
Glen grew up on a farm with both Holsteins and Jerseys. So when we ended up with a couple of Ho-Jos in our herd, Glen decided to keep breeding them to Jersey. Glen has been breeding our herd for higher component milk since we started farming; Jerseys contribute nicely to his goal for more butterfat and protein.
At first, I tolerated the Jerseys in exchange for Glen tolerating my Milking Shorthorns. But then I began to see how beneficial it is to have petite calves for the kids to show and petite cows for them to practice milking in the barn.
We now have a number of Jersey (or mostly-Jersey) cows and heifers in our herd, but two little brown calves named Star and Sandy were the ones who started it all. And that day, picking out calves for the fair, Monika started something none of us could have guessed.
Monika took Sandy to the youth show in June and then showed Star at our county fair in July. It turned out that the judge liked Star as much as Monika did, so our little girl went home her first purple ribbons.
Two years later, there was another little brown heifer calf in the newborn pen. Monika named Star's first calf Sparkle. Sparkle followed in her mother's footsteps – on the show halter, walking next to Monika.
Last year, Star gave birth to her second heifer calf. Monika named this calf Stephanie. Stephanie went to the fair, too, as Monika's Cloverbud 4-H project calf.
And this year, Monika will parade another little brown calf around the ring in the Open Show.
[Read the rest of this column at DairyStar.com.]