April 10 2012 08:01 AM

The group includes: a two-time grand champion, a bred-and-owned champion, and a national butterfat record holder.

These cows not only look good . . . 19 of the 20 cows were bred by the five herd owners who provided the classes for the 82nd Hoard's Dairyman Cow Judging Contest. Making this achievement more impressive is the fact that 17 are classified Excellent, and the entire group averages nearly 91 points. Also unique to this year's contest are a pair of classes from Canada. The Ontario-based Guernseys and Quebec-based Ayrshires are the first contest classes from north of the U.S. border since 1989.

In order to get cows photographed when looking their best, contest classes are selected by the editors two years in advance of appearing on the cover. We would like to thank Kathy DeBruin at Agri-Graphics for picturing all five classes.

RNR Swiss Farm

The Brown Swiss are from RNR Swiss Farm of Lakeville, Ohio. It is a first-generation operation that was established in 1979 when Ron and Renee Michalovich purchased two registered Brown Swiss heifers with their wedding money. The farm now includes two generations as it is owned by Ron and Renee and their son, Kevin. There is no full-time hired labor on the farm, but the family does employ some part-time neighbor kids. Today's herd includes 140 cows with a rolling herd average of 23,053 M, 953 F, and 770 P. They also own 137 replacement heifers. The Michalovichs farm 500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and rye.

Ron and Renee were named National Young Breeder award winners by the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders Association in 1995. Four years later, their son Kevin won the National Youth Achievement Contest. In 2006, the RNR herd won the Division III Protein Genetic Herd Award. Ron is currently the District III national director of the Brown Swiss Association. The farm is enrolled in the Brown Swiss Advantage program which bundles registration, classification, and milk record certification.
RNR Swiss Farm production

In the show ring, RNR Swiss is a two-time Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor at the Ohio State Fair. In 2006, they were Premier Breeder at the Southeastern National and the Spring National. Cows A and D are maternal sisters from RNR Formula Peanut, EX 93, 4E. Peanut was the 1999 All American Senior 2-year-old. All totaled, this cow family has produced five All American nominations. Cow B, a fifth-generation Excellent, was the 2011 Reserve Grand Champion at the Ohio Spring Show. She also is a granddaughter of Gentle Breeze Mat Christine, a Superior Brood Cow that influenced the Brown Swiss breed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Cow C stood fourth in a very competitive 4-year-old class at the 2010 World Dairy Expo and was nominated All American that year. In addition, she is a fourth-generation Excellent daughter of RNR Denmark Brooke, EX 94, 2E. Brooke was the farm's first 94-point cow, and she is the dam of RNR Payoff Brookings ET - the breed's top PPR (Progressive Performance Ranking) and Net Merit bull.

Harvue Farm

The Holsteins are from Harvue Farms of Berryville, Va. The farm was founded in 1949 by the late John O. Hardesty and John D. (Jack) Hardesty. It is now operated by David and Debra Hardesty and their sons, Danny and Matt, along with six full-time employees. The youngest son, David, is very active in the show ring. This past show season he had two homebred Junior All American nominations ­- a summer yearling and a junior 2-year-old.

Located in northern Virginia, the Hardesty farm has 360 Holsteins which average 25,015 M, 913 F, and 772 P. There are 75 Excellents, 193 Very Good, and 85 Good Plus. Over the years, Harvue has bred 260 Excellent cows, and the Hardestys have bred or developed 15 cows that have produced over 300,000 pounds of lifetime milk. Many readers will recall that the Hardesty's bred Harvue Roy Frosty, EX-96 is a two-time Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo.
Harvue Farm production

All four contest cows are Excellent with Excellent udders. Cow C is a triplet, hence the suffix "Tri" in her registration name shown in the table. She has an EX 90 dam with over 250,000 lifetime to date. All three triplets are still in the herd; one sister is EX, while the other is VG 87.

Maplehurst Farm

The Guernseys are from Maplehurst Farm of Lynden, Ontario, Canada. Ken and Chris Forster farm 250 acres and milk 50 registered Guernseys. While the farm is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, it wasn't until 1929 that W.D. Forster purchased his first Guernseys from Wisconsin. The herd has flourished since then, selling embryos around the globe including sales to: Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. In addition, they consign to many sales and purchasers have had great success with their cattle. Just this year, Maplehurst Magicman Bathsheba was the unanimous All American Senior 2-year-old for new owner Leroy Kipp of North Prairie, Wis. Just over a decade ago, the farm exhibited the Reserve Grand Champion at the 1998 World Dairy Expo.

Committed to helping others, Maplehurst Farm built a school in India for 1,000 Dalit children, many of whom are orphaned. Chris is currently completing her master's degree in theological studies and makes regular trips to India to teach underprivileged women.

Maplehurst Farm production

The Forster family has bred and exhibited the Canadian Grand Champion on numerous occasions. The most decorated cow in the contest is D who is a two-time national Grand Champion (2009 and 2011) and was named Reserve Grand Champion in 2010. In addition, Cow D won Total Performance honors at the 2011 national show while her classmate, B, took home the same honor in 2010 when she won the 4-year-old class. Meanwhile, Cow C set the all-time butterfat record for Canadian 3-year-olds with 1,517 pounds in 305 days (for the complete record, see the table).

Marbrae Farm

The Ayrshires are from Marbrae Farm of Howick, Quebec, Canada. The MacFarlane's operation became a century farm last year. It was founded in 1911 by Albert MacFarlane and consisted of 40 purebred Ayrshires and 100 acres. In 1943, Marbrae was transferred to Albert's son, Brodie, who continued to expand the herd and improve its genetic potential. That earned him a Master Breeder shield in 1965.

Since 1993, Brian and Holly have operated the farm in a partnership. With the help of their four children, they milk 60 cows and raise 100 head of replacements. The herd averages 19,520 M with 5 EX, 29 VG, 29 GP, and 3 G. The current generation was awarded the highly coveted Master Breeder award in 1999 and 2009. Brian and Holly also own 400 acres and rent an additional 125.
Marbrae Farm production

All four homebred contest cows are classified Excellent. Cow B is from a three-generation homebred Excellent pedigree. Her dam, Marbrae BBBK Peta-ET, EX 94, 3E, was the first-place mature cow at the 2010 Ormstown Show. Meanwhile, Cow C is from a four-generation VG or EX homebred cow family.

Norse Star Farm

The Jerseys are from Norse Star Dairy of Westby, Wis. The Fremstad operation was established in 1917, and it is currently run by Mike and Merna Fremstad. Son Jason is the dairy herd manager, while daughter Jeana is the calf manager, and son Jory is the crops manager. The Fremstads have had two generations (Mike and Jason) serve on the Wisconsin Jersey Breeders board of directors. Mike also has served on two national Jersey boards. The farm ranks first in the nation for fat and protein in the 300 to 749 lactation category at 19,894 M, 1,051 F, and 781 P with their 491 cows. Norse Star Dairy has placed 15 bulls into A.I., and the herd has had two cows achieve world production records. The most recent is Norse Star Hallmark Bootie, EX 90 with 39,239 M, 2,827 F, and 1,500 P as a 3-year-old.

The Fremstads also have developed a successful show string which they

take to the All American Show, World Dairy Expo, the Wisconsin State Show, and the Wisconsin Spring Show. They have earned several grand champions, including the 2009 Grand Champion at the Wisconsin State Show and several All American and Reserve All American honors.
Norse Star Jersey production

Among the contest cows, Cow A is part of a three-generation Excellent pedigree. Cow B was the second-place Senior 3-year-old at the Wisconsin Spring Show and stood third at the Wisconsin State Show that same year. She has an EX 93 dam. For those who attended the 2011 All American Show in Louisville, Cow C may be quite familiar. She was the Champion Bred and Owned female of the entire show, second-place 4-year-old, and honorable mention Senior Champion. That same year, she stood third at World Dairy Expo and was Grand Champion of the Wisconsin State Show and was Reserve Grand Champion of the Wisconsin Spring Show. She has an EX 91 dam.

This Cow Judging Contest herd summary is printed on pages 234 and 235 of the April 10, 2012 issue of Hoard's Dairyman.