4/10/2017 2:19:00 PM Determination pays off Tree-Hayven Holsteins recognized as WHA Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder
Two years ago, Adam Borchardt switched to sand bedding in the tiestall barn. In addition to improved cow comfort and somatic cell count, Adam said he is enjoying a lower instance of hairy warts and better hocks on the cows. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Aaliyah Karl leads her heifer, Tree-Hayven Integral Declan, during a showmanship class at World Dairy Expo. Adam and Chelsey Borchardt said their focus while breeding is on type for competitiveness in the show ring. PHOTO SUBMITTED
AUBURNDALE, Wis. - When Adam Borchardt purchased his dairy farm in 1998, he had a long road and many dreams ahead of him. Now milking 60 cows on his farm, Tree-Hayven Holsteins, near Auburndale, Wis., Adam, his daughter, Aaliyah, 14, and Chelsey Karl are reaching the milestones they once dreamed of. During the Wisconsin Holstein Association banquet on Feb. 25 in Appleton, Wis., the family was recognized for their success in the breed when they were honored as the Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders. It is an honor that Adam said took plenty of determination and hard work to reach. "The barn held 40 cows and had some fairly good registered Holsteins," Adam said. "A lot of updates needed to be made to the barn and herd to get us to where we are now." Much of the property was swampland, with only a house and barn for facilities. Over the years, Adam and Chelsey made many changes and additions to the farm, including an addition to the barn, switching out stanchions for tiestalls, and building a calf barn, loafing barn and cow yard with headlocks. Adam always had an interest in elite Holstein genetics and knew it would take just as much time and patience to get the cows to where he wanted. "We bought a lot of cows at sales and a few cows here and there over the years to update our genetics," Adam said. "But now, nearly all of the animals on our farm carry our prefix." Adam and Chelsey work together to make the breeding decisions on the farm. Their herd of 60 cows has a rolling herd average of 24,659 pounds of milk and the herd BAA is 110.7. However, they agree their breeding focus has consistently been on type, and feet and legs, with hopes of breeding Holsteins that are competitive in the show ring. "We all like to show. We haven't bred the big one yet, but we hope we can one day breed a cow to win in Madison," Adam said. Showing cattle is where the hard work of everyone at Tree-Hayven pays off. In 2016, their winter yearling heifer, Tree- Hayven Moregold Design, was named reserve junior champion of the Wisconsin Championship Show. In her first time exhibiting at the Wisconsin State Fair, Aaliyah's heifer, Tree- Hayven Integral Declan, was named junior champion of the junior show. Declan competed well in the junior show ring throughout 2016, which led to a Junior All-American nomination, as well. Chelsey said they hope to grow upon their show ring success as time goes on. "First, we wanted to win a class at our district show. Then we set our eyes on state and spring show," Chelsey said. "We want to keep moving uphill in the right direction, and hopefully keep people interested in our genetics." Over the years, Adam has bred high-scoring brood cows, including an EX-93 Charles daughter, Tree- Hayven Peppermint Pati. Pati has had a lasting legacy on the herd, with many members of her family being marketed statewide. Breeding impactful cow families is a thrill for Adam and is one of the many reasons he loves breeding registered Holsteins. "We like to see the next generation improve every time we make a breeding decision," Adam said. "I love watching the longevity of the families develop." From early in his career, Adam learned that improvement is essential as a registered breeder. He stays abreast of current trends and advancements in the dairy business and makes adjustments when he sees necessary. Most recently, he made the decision to switch to sand bedding in the tiestall barn two years ago and said it is a decision that has made all the difference. "We were using a lot of bedding on top of mats and still were getting banged up hocks," Adam said. "We ran a PVC pipe in and shot sand over the mats and added onto the curb a bit so sand wouldn't mix in with the feed." The biggest improvement Adam has seen is nearly an elimination of hairy warts in the herd. Somatic cell counts continue to stay low and the cows are comfortable. "Cows are laying down a lot of time; there have been several occasions where we have walked into the barn and every cow has been lying down," Adam said. The couple agrees that being recognized as Wisconsin Holstein Association's Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder was a humbling experience. No strangers to the trials and tribulations of the recent dairy economy, they said it was the pat on the back they needed to keep moving forward. "We are pretty honored. This is a special award to us. It made us feel like people acknowledge our breeding decisions," Chelsey said. Adam agreed. "The last couple years have been a little discouraging with the milk prices low and cost of production so high," Adam said. "This gave us that boost of confidence again that we can, indeed, get through it." The couple appreciates their family, who they said are equally supportive and helpful on the farm. Tree-Hayven Holstein's commitment as young Holstein breeders shows with an outstanding group of females the have developed, which they hope will bring them continued success in the years to come.