WESTMINSTER, Md. — Holstein cows may have started out polled and may eventually return to their polled status, according to well-known Holstein breeder Dave Burket.
“We’ve always been rebels. We did it our way, and that’s what made the difference,” said Dave’s son, John Burket of Burket Falls Farm in East Freedom, Pa.
Featured speaker John Burket shared how his family found success a different way, through polled and red genetics, with attendees at the Maryland Holstein Convention Friday, March 8, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center.
Of the 110 registered cows on the Burkets’ farm, 80 percent are naturally polled, and 75 percent are red or red carriers. The first polled calf was born on the farm in 1960.
Dave Burket bought a group of registered cattle from Wisconsin, which included a cow they did not realize was polled, named Princess. She was the first polled cow on the farm and traced 21 generations back to Holland.
Princess’ son, Burket Falls ABC-P, was the first bull in the artificial insemination industry from the Burket farm that was polled and possibly the first in A.I. in the early 1970s. His son, Burket Falls Grandee-P-RC, was probably the family’s best bull in A.I.
“For us, he put it all together,” John Burket said.
He shared the history of a number of other cows from the herd, including one cow that moved up from 19th place to first place at a show in a matter of days after a professional clipping by Billy Heath and another that was voted favorite cow by members of the Pennsylvania Holstein Association.
John Burket said some confusion exists about the genetic inheritance of polled.
“It is a dominant trait; it’s easy to breed for,” he said, adding that a theory exists that Holsteins were polled before they had horns. His father predicts Holsteins will eventually all be polled.
“With every sire summary, there are more polled bulls coming on,” John Burket said, especially with more emphasis placed on animal care practices.
During the daytime Maryland Holstein Association business meeting, new officers elected to serve for three years were Gary Brauning, Carole Doody, Matt Fry and Wayne Mast.
Lyndsey Worden of Holstein USA recognized special award winners. Progressive Breeders Registry Award winners were Brauning, Savage-Leigh Farm and Ladys Manor LLC. Progressive Genetics Herd Award winners were Jason and Donna Myers, Glen-Toctin Farm, Charles and Anne Lethhbridge, My Ladys Manor Farm, F. Kevin Leaverton, D. Richard Flickinger, MD-Locust Crest, Palmyra Farm, Lester Jones and Sons, and AH Dairy Cattle Research Branch.
About 200 Holstein breeders and friends gathered for the evening awards banquet at Martin’s Caterers in Westminster to share in the awards presentation to outstanding breeders, supporters and youth. They exemplified the convention theme, “Rich Friendships, Real Holsteins.”
The Outstanding Maryland Dairyman’s Award went to Chip Savage of Savage-Leigh Holsteins in Union Bridge. Savage is well known for breeding Savage-Leigh Leona, the first EX-96 cow with the Savage-Leigh prefix. She is a third-generation All-American nominee.
Savage, along with his wife, Isha, and sons, Connor and Chase, purchased a 105-acre farm and boards cattle for other people while breeding and marketing his own cattle. His current BAA is 113.6 percent.
Donna Reese of Westminster was the recipient of the Maryland Holstein Distinguished Service Award. She served the association as secretary-treasurer for 14 years. She is active in her church and also serves as treasurer of her home grain operation, Broadview Farms Inc. Reese and her husband, Jack, have two sons, Josh and Eric, who work full-time on the farm and one daughter, Nicki, who is pursuing a career in nursing. She also has one granddaughter, McKenzie.
Carissa Doody of Frederick County was named the overall recordbook trophy recipient. Other recordbook award winners were Tessa Wiles, Washington County, honorable mention senior; Atley Miller, Carroll County, first, first-year girl; and James Savage, Montgomery County, first, first-year boy.
Results of the junior girls recordbook category were as follows: Trinity Miller, Carroll County, first; Jordyn Griffin, Carroll County, second; Ashley Davis, Washington County, third; Jill Allen, Frederick County, fourth; and Katelyn Iager, Frederick County, fifth. Winners of the junior boy category were Ryan Allen, Frederick County, first; Noah Iager, Washington County, second; and Ryan Snyder, Washington County, third.
Intermediate girl results were Katelyn Allen, Frederick County, first; Shelby Iager, Frederick County, second; Catherine Savage, Montgomery County, third; Kayla Umbel, Frederick County, fourth; and Sydney Davis, Washington County, fifth. Todd Allen of Frederick County was the first-place intermediate boy.
Katelyn Allen and Todd Allen were named the Young Distinguished Junior Member winners.
Scholarships were presented to Elizabeth Davis of Carroll County, Austin Schwartzbeck of Carroll County and Clayborne Zimmerman of Frederick County, all students at Virginia Tech.
Junior Progressive Breeder Award winners were Katelyn Allen, Annie Dell, Carissa Doody and Jordyn Griffin. Annie Dell was also recognized with a Junior Breeder of an Excellent Cow Award.
The Maryland Holstein Convention Sale held the following day averaged $3,639 on 90 lots.