Ohio hosts national Brown Swiss convention

The big brown cow brings producers together

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Brown Swiss convention
The National Brown Swiss Convention was held in northeast Ohio, July 5-8. Activities included tours of dairies in Wayne and Holmes Counties, production awards, a heifer show and the national sale.

(Scroll down for photo gallery and top sale results)

CANTON, Ohio — More than 200 dairy farmers from across the nation traveled to Canton, Ohio, for the four-day National Brown Swiss Convention, July 5-8.

“We all have one thing in common — our love for the big brown cow,” said Janel Wailes, of Holyoke, Colorado. Wailes and her husband, Marc, make the trip each year to catch up with friends in the industry and learn from the local dairies.

Along with scenic stops throughout Ohio’s Amish Country, two farm tours showcased the latest dairy technologies and top-of-the-line pedigrees.

Ro-La-Sue Dairy
Rod Scheibe of Ro-La-Sue Dairy, in Wooster, Ohio, explains how the robotic milkers work during a tour of the family farm July 7.

Dairy technology

Ro-La-Sue Dairy Farm in Wooster, Ohio, was the first stop for afternoon farm tours, July 6. Many were interested in seeing the farm’s four robotic milkers in action. The Scheibe family milks 240 cows, 25 of which are Brown Swiss.

Since installing the robotic milkers in 2013, production has increased by over 20 pounds of milk per head per day and the rolling herd average increased by 5,000 pounds.

Leslie Olson, a dairy farmer from Spring Valley, Minnesota, said he was particularly interested in the robotic milking system. Back home, his family milks 250 Brown Swiss and Holstein cows.

Olson said he is nearing retirement, with his son in the process of taking over.

“We’ve had a lot of labor trouble over the years,” said Olson. With milk prices being down and labor challenges, he said this is the first year in 17 years, they are not milking three times a day.

“I like seeing that you can incorporate (robotics) into an existing freestall set-up,” he said.

Jim and Rita Kennedy of Valencia, Pennsylvania, were also interested in learning more about robotics. They have three sons who work on the farm and have been considering incorporating the robotic milkers into their operation.

Along with the milkers, Ro-La-Sue installed a Juno feed pusher and in 2015, installed a Lely Cosmix feeder, which helps train new heifers for the robot.

Top genetics

RNR Swiss
Ron Michalovich, of RNR Swiss, talks with fellow producers at his farm in Lakeville about Brown Swiss genetics and the production quality of his herd.

The final tour stop was RNR Swiss, in Lakeville, Ohio, where Ron and Renee Michalovich, their son, Kevin, and Kevin’s wife, Kari, milk close to 200 head of Brown Swiss cattle. Top genetics were the highlight of this tour.

RNR Swiss has 24 All-American nominations, received the J.P. Eves production award for highest actual milk record, and the H.R. Searles award for highest actual fat record with RNR Supreme Jana in 2014, and RNR Jack Perfection won the H.R. Searles award in 2015.

Their attention to genetics and production did not go unnoticed, as they were honored with the 2017 Active Master Breeder award during the convention.

“Shocked, just shocked,” was all Ron could say after receiving the award. The family has been active with the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders Association. Ron served two terms as a national director and Renee is co-chair of the 2017 convention.

Top awards

Top Brown Swiss production awards:

Active Master Breeder Award: RNR Swiss, Lakeville, Ohio; Ron and Renee Michalovich.

Historical Master Breeder Award: Rex Mort, Mort’s Dairy, Pierceton, Indiana.

2016 Young Breeder Award: Adam and Kaitlin Spierings, Weyauwega, Wisconsin.

2016 Living Lifetime Cow Award: Glad Ray EJ Paris, owned by Henry Farms and Wayne E. Silker, West Liberty, Ohio.

J.P. Eves Trophy, H.R. Searles Trophy, Protein Award and Top ECM: Jonlee Secret Langwathby, owned by Dalton, Dillon and Breanne Freeman, Bremen, Indiana.

Jonlee Secret Langwathby also won the Vernon C. Hull Total Performance Trophy and the Cow for all Seasons NASCO Type And Production Trophy.

Other top awards presented to Ohio and Pennsylvania producers included the 2016 Living Lifetime cow award, presented to Glad Ray EJ Paris, owned by Henry Farms and Wayne E. Silker, of West Liberty, Ohio.

Glad Ray EJ Paris produced 459,091 pounds of milk, 19,751 pounds of fat, 15,508 protein, and had an ECM of 517,556 in her lifetime; 5,315 days.

2016 continuous test awards were presented to Fox Trail Farm, William K. Watkins Jr., of Belmont, Ohio — receiving a 75-year plaque — and Marshy Meadow Farm, David A. Heine, of Corry, Pennsylvania, received a 35-year bar.

Youth auction

For some producers, the yearly convention is the only time they get to see each other. This year, the story of two friends was the highlight of the youth fun auction.

Marlene Lammers, of New Knoxville, Ohio, decided it was time to part with her 14-carat gold Brown Swiss pendant that her husband had made special for her.

“He took a picture of a Brown Swiss into the jeweler and had it made for me,” said Lammers. For years, Lammers would wear the pendant on a small gold chain to Brown Swiss events and functions. Her husband died in August of 2012.

Having retired from the dairy business, Lammers felt it was time to pass on the pendant and earn some money for the youth in the in the dairy industry. She put the gold charm in the youth fun action during the convention and was surprised to see the bidding reach $2,000.

Even more surprising was seeing a longtime friend in the industry doing the bidding. Rita Kennedy is the new owner of the golden Brown Swiss pendant.

“Our father-in-laws were good friends, we go way back,” said Kennedy. “We’ve spent lots of conventions together.” Lammers said her husband had gotten to know a lot of breeders over the years and having the convention back in her home state of Ohio, she just felt it was the right time to pass it on.

The youth fun auction brought in $12,000 to go toward youth programming and scholarships within the Brown Swiss Association.

RNR Swiss

Ron Michalovich, of RNR Swiss, talks with fellow producers at his farm in Lakeville about Brown Swiss genetics and the production quality of his herd.
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RNR Swiss

Ron Michalovich, of RNR Swiss, talks with fellow producers at his farm in Lakeville about Brown Swiss genetics and the production quality of his herd.
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RNR Swiss Tour

Kevin Michalovich talks with farmers from across the nation about his herd of Brown Swiss cattle during a tour of his family's farm, RNR Swiss, in Lakeville, Ohio. RNR Swiss was a part of the National Brown Swiss Convention tour July 6.
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National Brown Swiss Convention farm tours

During tour day of the National Brown Swiss Convention, dairy farmers from across the nation toured two Ohio brown swiss dairy farms: Ro-La-Sue Dairy and RNR Swiss. Highlights were the robotic milkers at Ro-La-Sue and top genetics featured at RNR Swiss.
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Robotic milkers

Rod Scheibe of Ro-La-Sue Dairy, in Wooster, Ohio, explains how the robotic milkers work during a tour of the family farm July 6.
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Brown Swiss junior showmanship

During National Brown Swiss sale preview day at the Stark County Fairgrounds, youth showers had an opportunity to participate in the junior showmanship class, part of the Palmer Hoffman Memorial Heifer Show July 7.
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National Brown Swiss sale preview

Farmers had an opportunity to preview the heifers going in the Ohio National Hall of Fame at the Stark County Fairgrounds, July 7.
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brown swiss show prep

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Active Master Breeder

Ron and Renee Michalovich, of RNR Swiss, in Lakeville, Ohio, were honored with the Active Master Breeder award during the National Brown Swiss Convention in Canton, Ohio, July 7. They are pictured with their son Kevin.
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RNR Swiss Brown Swiss heifers

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Touring Ro-La-Sue Dairy

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RNR Swiss Brown Swiss cow

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RNR Swiss Brown Swiss cow

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Junior showmanship

During National Brown Swiss sale preview day at the Stark County Fairgrounds, youth showers had an opportunity to participate in the junior showmanship class, part of the Palmer Hoffman Memorial Heifer Show July 7.
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Junior Showmanship

Elaina Lahmers won her junior showmanship class during the Palmer Hoffman Memorial Heifer Show, part of the National Brown Swiss Convention, July 7.
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Historical Master Breeder

Rex Mort, of Mort’s Dairy, Pierceton, Indiana, was awarded the Historical Master Breeder award during the National Brown Swiss Convention in Canton, Ohio, July 7. He is pictured with grandson, Dillon Mort (front); and Mark, Mary and Tim Mort.
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Robotic milkers

Dairy farmers checked out the robotic milking system installed at Ro-La-Sue Dairy in Wooster, Ohio, during tour day of the National Brown Swiss Convention July 6.
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RNR Swiss tour

Kevin Michalovich talks with farmers from across the nation about his herd of Brown Swiss cattle during a tour of his family's farm, RNR Swiss, in Lakeville, Ohio. RNR Swiss was a part of the National Brown Swiss Convention tour July 6.

National sale

The convention ended with the Ohio National Hall of Fame Sale July 8. A total of 67 lots sold averaging $4,510 per head. Topping the sale was Fairdale-Renegade CP Julip ET, a summer yearling that sold for $17,000 to Elite Dairy, Copake, New York. The breeders and consignors on this heifer were Fairdale Farm and Renegade Swiss, Owenton, Kentucky.

The national sale was directed by Modern Associates, of Saint Paris, Ohio. Wayne E. Slicker handled the pedigrees with assistance from auctioneers Darrell Worden and Tim Eiting. Working the ring and phones during the sale were Lee Barber, Brian Garrison and David Wallace. Jenna Hoffman, Kathi Brown-Meir, Keaton Topp, Kenley Topp, Madelyn Topp, and Will Hughes presented the cattle.

Top sellers

Fairdale-Renegade CP Julip ET sold for $17,000 to Elite Dairy, Copake, New York. Consignors: Fairdale Farm and Renegade Swiss, of Owenton, Kentucky.

New View S Encore sold for $11,000 to Elite Dairy. Consignor: New View Swiss, Mechanicsburg, Ohio.

Lakeview Pepper Ransom sold for $11,000 to Elite Dairy. Consignor: Top Acres, Saint Paris, Ohio.

Shen-Val Supreme Satin ET sold for $8,500 to Elite Dairy. Consignor: Top Acres.

RNR Pierce Primrose sold for $8,000 to Patrick Rupp, of Loudonville, Ohio. Consignor: RNR Swiss, Lakeville, Ohio.

Ourway Seaman Fancy sold for $7,750 to Maddy Mahlum, Mindora, Wisconsin. Consignors: Ourway Holsteins and Nathan and Daisy Johnson, Parker, South Dakota.

Top Acres C Wizzie Show ET sold for $7,400 to Elise and Elisabeth Regusci, Modesto, California. Consignor: Wayne E. Silker, Saint Paris, Ohio.

Dublin Hills Sawyer ET sold for $7,000 to John Ayars, Mechanicsburg, Ohio. Consignor: Dublin Hills Farm, Woodsboro, Maryland.

La Rainbow Bfly Delight sold for $6,300 to Richard Dotterer, Rittman, Ohio. Consignor: Brian Lammers, New Knoxville, Ohio.

Cutting Edge T Daphne ET sold for $6,100 to Mauricio Moreno, Bucaramanga, Colombia, SA. Consignor: Kyle Barton, Acramdale, New York.

Cutting Edge T Kaylee ET sold for $6,000 to Rick Heslinga, Duvall, Washington. Consignor: Elite Dairy.

 

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Catie Noyes lives in Ashland County and earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture communications from The Ohio State University. She enjoys photography, softball and sharing stories about agriculture. Formerly a reporter for the Farm and Dairy, Catie is now pursuing her master's degree in education.

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