On Tuesday morning, a bus full of people ranging from Central Valley locals to East Coast visitors pulled up in front of Ahlem Farms Partnership in Hilmar, CA. This marked the beginning of the first tour for the National Jersey Convention, which is being held from June 29th to July 2nd in San Diego. This pre-convention tour was hosted by All West/Select Sires’ partner Jerseyland Sires and had multiple stops, including Ahlem Farms Partnership, Yosemite Jersey Dairy, and Wickstrom Jersey Farms.
At the first stop of the day, the tour group was presented with five heifers destined for the 59th Annual National Heifer Sale. This was followed up with a daughter tour, where cows were grouped by sire for viewing and three different companies were represented. The three 7JE1274 AXIS daughters definitely stood out in the lockups!
After Jonathan Merriam, the Genetic Specialist at AFP, answered questions for the group about the herd, the tour then moved along to Yosemite Jersey Dairy. Visitors were first taken in the rotary milk barn to witness the animals being milked and then hopped on a flat trailer full of hay bales to be towed behind a tractor to get a quick tour of the facilities. We learned about their crop fields, which included growing up to 40,000 plants per acre, along with listening to their philosophy on calf raising. Starting back in 2011, all calves are now raised on site until they reach six months of age. By this time, they have seen an increase in body weight by almost double what they were seeing when the animals were being raised at a calf ranch. Yosemite Jersey Dairy definitely has mastered the art of calf management and many members of the tour group were impressed with their methods. We also spotted a VG-86 Junior 2 year old out of 7JE1163 Irwin, pictured below!
At the third stop of the day, Wickstrom Jersey Farms showed the tour group some of the notable animals they have been working with. TransOva then demonstrated the IVF procedures they have been performing on the herd’s Jerseys, which was a process many of the tour members got to see for the first time. Yosemite Farm Credit generously barbequed lunch for the group afterwards.
Jerseyland Sires presented the pre-convention tour with a great opportunity to see their quality animals. Owned by twelve member-owners with herds located in California and Texas, Jerseyland Sires milk around 60,000 cows and all members use bulls owned by the group in their breeding programs. This week they ship their first load of bulls to Ohio, so keep a lookout for their upcoming genetics to be marketed through All West in the coming months!