It’s the udder
Glengarry Holstein wins East-West show, boosts farm’s marketing for cow sales
METCALFE — A Glengarry County cow — appropriately named Bonnie — was named grand champion at the 2023 Eastern Ontario-Western Quebec Holstein Show.
“She’s got a really balanced udder, and she’s a balanced-frame cow that put it all together today,” Lochdale Holsteins’ Andrew MacMillan observed as the 5-year-old winner relaxed in the straw after her Oct. 12 win.
Lochdale GC Bonnie was born and bred at Lochdale Holsteins, the Alexandria dairy farm where the MacMillan family — Andrew and his parents David and Ann Marie — milk 70 cows. Bonnie was also recognized for best udder. Her success in Metcalfe was a follow-up to capturing grand champion honours at the Glengarry County Holstein show in August.
Andrew MacMillan lauded the prized cow for her dependability.
“She’s had four calves and it’s very easy to keep her bred and back in calf,” he said, while preparing to milk Bonnie at the end of the show. “She’s a solid producer.” At that point in her lactation, he noted, the cow had produced 13,073 kg — or about 110 lb. daily — at 5.2 % butterfat and 3.2 % protein.
He said that Lochdale typically competes in only two events each year — the Glengarry show at Williamstown Fair and the Eastern Ontario-Western Quebec show. Bonnie was the farm’s sole entry at the latter event. MacMillan said there was still a chance he might take her on another solo ride, to the upcoming Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. It all depended on what she looked like closer to the competition date in Hogtown.
While describing the farm’s limited local showings as a hobby, MacMillan said it’s also a way of keeping the Lochdale name visible to the Holstein breeding community. That’s important because the farm derives about 20 % of its revenue selling top-quality cattle. “It’s all good advertising for the farm,” said the seventh generation farmer.
He said that Lochdale sells about 20 animals per year, some of which have also performed well in the show ring. Recent example is a red-and-white animal, Lochdale Rubles Peaches, sold by the farm this summer. She was a grand champion honourable mention at the 2023 Williamstown show that Bonnie won.
“We sell a lot of replacement animals, mostly to Quebec,” he said. “We have a pretty strong market for our stuff. And every three or four years, we’ll sell a pretty good one.”
The farm also began selling embryos on the export market two years ago, and Peaches’ daughter is being flushed to fulfill embryo contracts, he said. They’ve sold less than 20 embryos so far into the new sideline.
MacMillan said it was his father’s desire for genetic improvement that brought the family’s existing dairy farm into the realm of modern cattle breeding in the early 1980s. The Lochdale prefix was founded at that time. Buyers appreciate their animals’ combination of milking performance and good looks, he said.
Judge Stephanie Warner of Hastings County scrutinized nearly 160 head entered in this year’s Eastern Ontario-Western Quebec Holstein Show.
A fall calf, Glennholme Master Matrix, jointly owned by Glennholme Holsteins of Carp, Kingsway Farms of Hastings and Millen Farms of Omemee, was named junior champion.
Hendercroft Holsteins of Ashton, headed by Herb Henderson, captured the Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banners.