We continue traveling through Europe on the way to the Championship Show in Switzerland with our guest blogger and good friend Terri Packard. Today’s journey also includes Quim & James Serrabassa, Ernie Kueffner, Shannon Dwyer and David Dyment.
We traveled through the southern range of the Pyrenees and into the fertile valley between the ranges.
Cal Marquet – Quim Serrabassa & his brother James keep some good cattle at the farm of Miguel Eroles, called Cal Marquet in the Pyrenees. Mijaqui Dorita Jasper is pictured above less than 30 days fresh. She was Intermediate Champion & Reserve Grand Champion as a 2-year-old at the Spanish National Show last September. Cows live in an open freestall environment with high quality forages.
Ponderosa Holsteins – After lunch with Agustin Celis Romero and Pepe Ahedo, owners of Ponderosa Holsteins, we arrived at Ponderosa Holsteins. An old village in the Pyrenees Mountains was purchased as the location for the farm. Two of the original homes and the chapel were restored beautifully
This was originally a commercial farm milking 900 cows, then the focus changed to quality registered cows for show and genetics. The long-range plan involves great cattle, education and research with the possibility of developing their own dairy product line. The cattle facilities are completely finished and everything is immaculate. The whole complex was built with accessibility in mind – a large viewing area at the parlor, barn entrance paths flat for wheelchair access, paving between barns, etc.
Barns have great ventilation with walls made of screens that can open.
The 32-cow rotary parlor is spotless. They are using technology that mixes specific feed for each individual cow as she enters the parlor from 6 different concentrates.
Most heifers live in group pens with a few special heifers living in their own pens. The heifer pictured below is an Atwood fall yearling that was Junior Champion at the Swiss Expo in Lausanne in January. All cows live in freestalls bedded deeply with straw, including the show herd.
Our final stop at Ponderosa was an impressive viewing room in the ‘show cow’ barn. They assembled their best young cows in 9 well-lit tie stalls and 2 pens. The cow in the center is Negundo Dali (sire is Negundo, a French bull), a 4-year-old that will compete at the All-European Show. The cow to her right is a Duplex that competes in the same class. And the second cow from the right is an Atlas who will compete in the 4-year-old class as well.
Stay tuned for more as the group gets closer to the show!