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Ontario Dairy Youth Award Winners Announced for 2015

The Ontario Holstein Branch is pleased to announce the 2015 winners of the Ontario Dairy Youth Award. Established in 1980, the competition recognizes young people aged 25-35 who are actively involved in the operation of a dairy farm, who have demonstrated leadership and taken an active role in their communities.

This year’s winners are Adam Petherick (Almerson Farms Ltd.), Ted Clarke (Blayjoy Holstein Ltd.), Gary Markus (Markhill Holsteins) and Stefen Robinson (Glenn Acres Farm).  These talented winners will receive an all-expenses paid trip to World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin this fall. The Ontario Dairy Youth Award is funded through the Ontario Dairy Youth Trust Fund, the Ontario Holstein Branch and Gay Lea Foods as a supporting sponsor.

Below is information on each winner:

Ted Clarke – Blayjoy Holsteins

Ted milks 50-55 cows in Grey County, in partnership with his brother Allan and parents Blain and Joyce. The 450 acre tie-stall operation in Dundalk ON is home to a total of 135 head who are milked in a double 4 Herringbone Parlour. The farm has a current classification of 5 ME, 3 EX, 42 VG and 15 GP Holsteins. Blayjoy has bred two All Canadian/All American nominations, Blayjoy Jasper Mallory and Blayjoy Pundit Patrice. Since taking over the breeding program in the fall of 2000, the herd classification average to 85.5 points, they have increased quota holders from 23 to 73 kilograms, dropped age at first calving to 24-25 months, bought two neighbouring farms, added a bigger bulk tank, built a second tower silo and has built an addition on the barn bank with 23 tie-stalls for a total of 50 stalls on farm.

Adam Petherick – Almerson Farms Ltd.

Adam and his wife, Amy, in partnership with his parents, Evan and Marilyn, milk 54 cows in a head to head bank barn in Campbellford Ontario. The 350 acre, 2-time Master Breeder operation in Northumberland County is home to 41 Holsteins and 12 Jerseys, with a current classification of 8 EX, 34 VG, and 18 GP, with a current herd BCA of 253-263-257. The herd averages eight generations of VG or EX dams, with some animals as high as twelve generations. Since returning from university, with the support of his parents, Adam has initiated and overseen many changes to the farm, such as the dairy barn renovation completed in 2009 which saw a 50 X 120 foot tarp barn and an open front heifer barn built. He has also increased the farm’s quota holdings by 50%, adopted herd management software on the farm, switched the herd to a TMR based ration, and has invested in more labour saving automation like an automatic calf feeder.

Gary Markus – Markhill Holsteins

Gary and his wife Hilary moved to their current operation three years ago, and milk 60 Holsteins in a 2-row tunnel ventilated free-stall barn in Oxford County. The 60 head herd are milked in a Double 8 Swing-Over Parlour. Their Management Score is 35th out of 230 producers in Oxford County, and their current classification is 5 ME, 2 EX, 19 VG, 16 GP, 2 G and 5 not classified with a herd composite BCA of 261.7. Markhill Holsteins has been rewarded with 15 Superior Production Awards, and has had the privilege of breeding an All-Ontario Milking Yearling in 2010 (Markridge Goldwyn Emilyne, EX-92-2E), breeding a 2013 member of the Royal Walk of Fame (Markhill Fever Tessie, VG-89-3YR), and has bred 4 Excellents and 15 Very Good two-year-olds in six breeding years. Gary and brother Darryl purchased 30 kilograms of quota off the monthly exchange, starting with 25 cows from 15 different farms and sales as the starting base of the herd seven and a half years ago. The brothers rented a 40 cow tie-stall barn for 5 years and continued buying quota monthly to slowly grow their holdings until they filled the rented facility. In summer 2014, the brothers as intended, were able to sever their partnership and each operate their own farm with their families.

Stefen Robinson – Glenn Acres Farm

Glenn Acres Farm is a 460 acre family run operation, with almost entirely all the work done by the family. Stefen milks 65 cows in a tiestall facility with his parents and two brothers in Renfew County. The 150 head in the herd are 100 per cent Holstein and consist of 2 ME, 1 EX, 25 VG, 32 GP, 2 G, and 4 not classified. They are milked in the 73 stall tie-stall barn in Beachburg Ont. built in 1967 with two major additions built in 1997 and 2007. Since becoming involved in the farm, Stefen has increased quota holdings by 25 per cent, began feeding a customized protein pellet and premix mineral along with BMR corn, which has increased the annual milk kilograms by over 900 per cow, and annual milk value increased by almost $1,200 per cow. The farm has recently expanded the barn to 73 tie-stalls and a new bulk tank has been installed.

Source: Ontario Holstein

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