The extended Allen clan gathered for a photo after hosting Saturday’s State Jersey Sale at their Reedsburg area farm. David and Karen Allen (center) bought this farm 42 years ago and have built a reputation in the Jersey breed after converting from Holsteins.
(Photo by Jan Shepel)
Photo By Jan Shepel
State Jersey Sale declared a success
Wisconsin Jersey enthusiasts gathered Saturday (May 12) to bid on registered cows, heifers and embryos from some of the state’s top breeders and organizers called it a success.
For the first time, the Wisconsin State Jersey sale wasn’t held in conjunction with their cattle show at Viroqua.
This year’s sale, managed and clerked by Jersey Marketing Service, was held at the David and Karen Allen farm near Reedsburg, who volunteered to host the event.
Dave, who is vice president of the state organization, explained that they looked into a venue like the Sauk County Fairgrounds, but decided it would work just fine at their place.
The sale brought a total of $153,500; the average for 108 lots stood at $1,421.30, which included the sale of a number of embryos.
The average for just the live animals stood at $1,392.86 according to JMS clerks for the sale.
The top-selling animal was All Lynns Eclipse Vendela-P-ET, consigned by David Allen. She sold for $8,900 to Zeinstra Farms in Shelbyville, MI. Vendela, a genetically polled daughter of Eclipse, sold with contracts for her sons already in place.
The next highest-selling animal was Heinz Uppercut Favor 7587, consigned by Lloyd Heinz in Shawano. That animal sold for $4,000 and was also purchased by Zeinstra Farms. The summer yearling sold with contracts in place with several breeding companies.
The third highest-selling animal was UHT Canaan Tequila Annabelle, consigned by UHT Enterprises in Evansville. The summer yearling that was recently shown at the Wisconsin Spring Show sold for $3,100 to Tony and Melissa Herr, Twin Lakes, MN.
Donna Phillips, the state Jersey association president, said she was pretty happy with the turnout for the sale at its new time and place.
“Even with warmer weather when a lot of people could be out doing fieldwork, they came to the sale,” the Newton dairy farmer said.
There were 51 bidders who registered to bid that day and JMS representatives had a number of other buyers on the phone.
Phillips said the sale featured good quality animals. “We had some very good consignments, including some from out of state.” Those came from Sunbow Farms in Cottage Grove, TN.
Buyers from Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa took cattle home from the auction.
The Jersey group is alive and growing in Wisconsin, Phillips said, having hosted the national convention last year.
Phillips’ farm at Newton includes 76 milking cows that are all registered. They consigned some animals and bought some as well.
Wade Schoneck, an auctioneer and Jersey breeder from the Marion area donated his services to the state sale.
He and his family milk 75 registered Jerseys on the farm he took over from his dad. Though his dad milked cows, he was never interested in pursuing a goal of having registered cattle.
But Wade was. He started buying registered Jerseys when he was 16 and when he took over the family herd he got those animals entered in the Jersey breed’s genetic recovery program. Since that time he’s become more and more involved in the breed.
An auctioneer for 15 years, his farming operation now includes about 150 head, with all the young stock.
ALLENS SWITCHED TO JERSEYS
David Allen and his family consigned three lots of embryos and 10 live animals to the auction. He explained how they got involved in Jerseys after having a herd of Holsteins.
When he and his wife bought their Reedsburg areas farm 42 years ago, they had a really good herd of grade Holsteins, he said. But when their daughter Raquel Lynn was a junior, he wanted something she could show and they ended up buying some purebred Jerseys from out East at an auction at Great Northern.
Their farm prefix includes Raquel’s middle name, but also sounds like Allen. They’ve used it ever since on their own animals.
In the 1980s, they bought Hi-Land Fascinator Fern in Louisville and embarked on embryo transfer work.
“The cow flushed so many embryos we didn’t have enough recipients ready,” he recalls. “It was a heck of a flush.”
It was so early in the practice of embryo transfer work that they weren’t even freezing surplus embryos, so the extras were just thrown away. Still, Fern’s first flush produced nine pregnancies and a marketing plan was born for the Allens.
The Allens have worked with River Valley Vet Clinic in Plain ever since to take care of herd health and embryo work.
At about that time the Holsteins on their farm began to get phased out. “But we had to buy really good Jerseys to replace them.” Dave’s plan was to buy the highest indexing females he could find.
He feels like he hit the jackpot with D&E Paramount Violet, an Excellent 90-point cow with milking records as high as 27,600 pounds in a 305-day lactation (on 3x milking.) It was her granddaughter that was the highest-selling animal in Saturday’s sale.
That Violet cow has produced the number-one genomic bull in the breed for three years — all with different sons — and Dave is proud of that fact.
“We bought Violet in California and it’s the best investment we ever made.”
Today the Allen milking herd stands at 90 cows, which are housed and milked with Tim and Ann Ryan in Plain. The Allens own 400 head of cattle all told.
The Allens keep a number of Holstein heifers around to use as recipients for their Jersey embryo transfers — “it’s the ultimate in calving ease,” he said.
The Allens have exported females, bulls and embryos overseas through the Jersey association. “If you have really good cows, they find you.”
Their grandson, Tommy Allen, has taken a keen interest in the Jersey breed as well and owns a number of animals in the herd. He has earned the state FFA dairy proficiency award this year, something his grandfather is extremely proud of.
The farming operation also includes Sammy, who is Tommy’s sister and Chad Allen, Dave and Karen’s youngest son.
Their farm includes 500 acres where they raise all the Jersey calves and heifers. The calves come home to the Allens’ farm to be raised and are returned to the Ryans about a month before calving.