Lesson learned – never promise a second day of blogging when a 100+ page issue of HolsteinWorld needs to get to the printer! For those of you following my late July visit to Maine for their New England “Christmas in July Sale” (see http://www.allbreedsblog.com/2012/07/30/touring-in-maine-part-1-of-2/), this is Day 2 of my travels throughout Maine. Sorry for the delay!
Benson Farm LLC, Gorham, Maine
Diversification rules the roost at this family owned & operated farm just outside of Portland. Eddie & Becky Benson and their three children have not only developed a tremendous herd of Registered Holsteins, but have capitalized on the close proximity to the ocean and a metropolitan area, and their seafood compost business is literally cooking right along!
First things first – the cows! Wow, what a barn full of good animals, including a 12-year-old Durham (one of three, 12-year-old cows in the barn), some nice young Shaquille daughters and a fresh Atwood among others. The Bensons all agree that the longer you can keep a cow productive, the longer she’s paying you back on your investment in her.
What a lineup – 24 EX cows among the group!
Kay-Ben Durham Lara (EX-94 3E)
Kay-Ben Goldwyn Dolly (EX-94) – has Windbrook and Sid daughters
Crasdale Goldwyn Lynette (EX-93)
Kay-Ben Atwood Kassie (just fresh!)
Still flushing quite extensively, Eddie and Becky list their top flush bulls as Goldwyn, Stanley Cup, Windhammer, Topside and Hero.
After a tornado tore down some of the facilities in 2010, the Bensons have slowly rebuilt newer and more functional barns. Last year a new calf shed and heifer barn were built. Here you see calves eating Becky’s Christmas present….unbelieveably good oat hay!
A new compost barn was constructed as well.
It may not look like much, but that’s 80 ton of lobster waste cooking to 130 degrees. The final product is ready to bag and sell in about six months time, which accounts for cooking and curing.
Becky & Eddie with their daughter Kati. If you ever get to Portland, Kay-Ben Holsteins is a must-stop, for cows, good seafood (not just the compost), motorcycle discussions and moose! Check out their website for additional information.
Silver Valley Farm, New Sharon, Maine
Home of Silver Shade Holsteins
Going Organic! That’s the big news at Silver Valley these days, and while Jim Davis says there were some readjustments, it’s a switch they are very happy with!
“We started shipping to Horizon Organic a few years ago and it’s been really good. It’s hard to go to sales anymore because you really can’t buy anything that’s not certified organic. So we do miss that, and we are also very limited on our flush work. But these days we’re concerned more with making the most milk we can.” Organic milk can go as high as $35/100, but Jim quickly reminded me that organic feed costs were higher than traditional as well.
They currently have five cows (of the 48 milking) that are making 30,000+ records, sired by Champion, Allen and Mr Sam.
When I arrived, Jim (at left) was helping two of his kids, Kristin & Matt, load the trucks for a local show. Jim and his wife have two other boys, Jim Jr. & Jeffrey. Jim’s brother Rick and his family are also a vital part of the farm, focusing on the equipment and fieldwork.
A pair of really nice L’authority heifers
When you get an award like this…
…you can stack mounds of hay like this!
A recently fresh Earnit daughter
A great big EX Kite daughter bred to Redburst
There are a few Brown Swiss in the herd, as Jim’s wife, Carol, was a “Prime” and grew up with strong Swiss New England roots!
Another Kite just fresh who’s waiting to be scored.
A Bo-Fran Lucky Star whose tests are running 5.0% and 5.3%!
A VG-86 Shottle from an O-Man, then a BW Marshall from 10 GMD dams. The Shottle is bred to Dempsey.
One of the herd’s best-known brood cows is Carrousel Win Blanche-ET (EX-90 2E GMD-DOM). Jim said she made over 400 fertile embryos in her life, and had a best record of 2-03 2 365 34,660 3.8 1321 3.1 1088.
Note to self – GPS doesn’t necessarily lead you down paved roads, but…
…I’ll take the risk when this is the scenery at the end of the woods!
Juniper Farm, Inc. – Gray, Maine
Take a visit to the brand new website of Juniper Farms, or better yet, stop by and see George Liberty (owner and manager) and his two herdsmen, brothers Dan & Tim Putnam. The Juniper “of old” was founded on such greats as Juniper Rotate Jed, Juniper Outside Wish and even…
…Eric Dew Conductor Peggy (EX-95 GMD). There’s a lot of history in this knotty-pine tiestall barn, but the “three amigos” that are running the ship today are determined to make their own path.
Juniper is located just north of Portland, and hosted the convention sale when New England hosted the National Holstein Convention in 2005.
The inside of the barn is still in exceptional condition and houses not only Juniper animals, but some partnership and boarding animals as well.
Second cow from the right is Cee Whit Shot Strawberry, a VG Shottle from a VG-88 Goldwyn dam and then Rummage SKB Strawberry (EX-94).
The end stall cow for a reason…Pineland Sovereign Tribute is a Stanhope Sovereign daughter owned by Juniper and Tim Putnam. Her dam is a VG-87 Rampage maternal sister to Pineland Goldwyn Tidbit. There are nine more EX dams behind that to the Trina family.
A deep-bodied Jasper from the Roxys, Liddleholme Jasper 6283.
A pair of maternal sisters (VG-88 Astronomical and an EX Champion) from Comco Lee Graci (EX-91).
Keep watching the Juniper website for more new cow photos to be added, as well as news from the 2012 Maine State Show that’s coming up in late August! You can also check them out on Facebook, and read about their story in the 2012 New England Holstein Annual.
To keep track of ALL New England Holstein events, be sure to put www.nesholsteins.com on your “favorites” list.