Farms: Golden J Guernseys, Jens Gold Farms, , Valley Gem Farms, Idle Gold Guernseys
It’s a sunny start to a full day of Jenson family farms. We commence with Golden J Guernseys. Trent & Leann are celebrating 20 years as Golden J, and their daughter Chelsea along with her brother are now both actively farming with their parents. Chelsea has made sure every calf hutch is labelled, and the cows all have their tags complete with sire and DOB details which makes it easier to identify walking through – the tie stall also has signs with show exploits and details of some of their top cows. They currently are milking 85 cows through a 50 space tie-stall barn, with the groups rotating half way through.
The cows are fed a mix of corn silage and protein mix with an RHA of 18,728 lbs Milk, 4.76% 892 Fat and 3.44% 645 P. The group are concerned as in partnership with Jens Gold they farm approximately 900ac of crops, and only 400ac are planted. The alfalfa has died after a tough winter has frozen the plants, which is putting pressure on the entire county to grow enough feed for their cattle.
In the heifer pens it is good to see a mix of Guernsey Gold young sires, and this is also reflected later in the day at Idle Gold. We see some standout young Novak daughters, on their 2nd lactations, some neat Logo daughters and some nice older cows. The consistency throughout the Golden J herd is apparent, and there is a presence of width and strength throughout the majority of the cows. Chelsea’s own animals are also present, including descendants of her Zazoo cow
After enjoying refreshments (chocolate milk of course, matched only by a delicious marshmallow chocolate slice) we drive over to the Jens Gold herd.
Dale & Teressa, along with Lyle farm Jens Gold with the assistance of their herdsman Kirsten and their 2 milkers. The herd is housed in both a tie stall and a freestall with the herd then bein milked through a 10 aside swingover. There are some wonderful older cows here, with a standout being the dam of Copper Coin, Jens Gold Grumpy Cocoa – EX90 and still going strong on her current lactation. We see some extremely balanced Copper daughters – width at front end, great mammaries and open rib.
In the freestall barn there is a neat 2nd lactation Reggie daughter that attract the eye; some Logo daughters with more substance than previous farms and more Copper/Challenge/Caspian daughters who have width of chest, a good amount of rib and solid attachments.
The lunch at the local church is a feast – provided by the Jenson family
We travel to Valley Gem farms – Brandon & the team milk a number of different breeds as well as purebreds and are a great showcase for crossbreeding with Guernseys for crossbred animals so nice they are upgraded to purebred Guernseys. Valley Gem are active in the show ring, and the Guernseys are split out to allow us to observe. Deb has a number of her cows here also, including a fresh young Lonestar who has only calved 5 days. We get to see her cow Heaven and look at quite a few different cows sired by similar bloodlines – 2 bulls from the same cow have been used as a herd bull.
We then head to Neil & Janice Jensens – Idle Gold Guernseys. The Jensons now have 300 animals on farm, with 120 Guernseys. The Holsteins on farm are here to carry Guernsey embryos, and if crossbred to Guernsey are then started on the grading up process. Idle Gold has a RHA of 17,500lb M at 4.7%F 3.5%P, with the Holsteins achieving approximately 3,000lb more milk – this is achieved on 2x day milking. During the summer months the cows are grazed, then supplemented with a TMR. In winter the TMR becomes the bulk of their diet.
Neil uses just about every young sire who comes through, so there is extensive use of young bulls throughout. There are some standout cows – an EX-93 Grumpy, an EX91 Hawk and the now famous bull mother, the EX90-3yr Hera, the dam of Herald-P. Daughters of Lonestar, Jaguar, Winslow, Logo feature. There is also a daughter of Kakadu in milk.
The cows then head into milk, and we check out the heifers – daughters of Prince Charming, Renegade, Toby etc fill the pends. There’s also some great crossbred daughters showcasing the value of the Guernsey breed.
We’re treated to a lovely meal thanks to the Wisconsin Breeders Association – it’s a great chance to catch up with the local breeders and relax for a short while.