In 1933, when Caleb Burns became manager of Lihue Plantation, he began building up the plantation’s dairy to an exceptionally high standard.
One of Burns’ first acts was to purchase a pedigree Holstein bull with the moniker of Carnation Masterpiece Rag Apple from Carnation Farms, Washington.
Carnation Masterpiece Rag Apple’s sire was Carnation Matador Masterpiece, who in 1935 was the grand champion of the National Dairy Show, and his dame was Carnation Superior Laura, a champion high milk producer that in 305 days of 1931 produced 14,013 pounds of milk containing 630.7 pounds of butter.
Burns also acquired 11 pedigree heifers from Parker Ranch on the Big Island to become, along with Carnation Masterpiece Rag Apple, the foundation of the plantation’s improved dairy herd.
By 1936, the Lihue Plantation Dairy possessed a herd of 90 cows and calves, comprised of the 11 aforementioned heifers and their offspring sired by Carnation Masterpiece Rag Apple, as well as 70 cows that had been the pick of the original dairy herd.
Among the other improvements initiated by Burns was quarterly veterinary tests for tuberculosis and the bacillus that causes chronic miscarriages.
Also, dairy cattle were not allowed to mingle with beef cattle, nor were they allowed to pasture on any but their own exclusive land. Their water, pumped from a spring, was regularly tested for purity.
Furthermore, a pasteurizing plant and a cold-storage plant for cooling the milk after pasteurizing was installed in 1935.
Bottles were washed by machine and sterilized with steam, and milk was delivered promptly, so that Kapaa and Kealia purchasers received the morning’s milk in the early afternoon, while Lihue purchasers got the evening milking the next morning.
William Akerman, superintendent of the dairy, noted in 1936 that milk sales had doubled from an average of 4,000 to 5,000 quarts a day to 10,000, since the new pasteurizing plant had been installed.
And milk previously sold to Lihue Plantation employees at 20 cents a quart was reduced to 12 cents per quart.