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Jerseys please sellers and buyers
Clover Patch Cornucopia Classic highest single herd sale of year for JMS

Alan and Sharon Kozak are thankful to the buyers who filled the tent and helped make their first Clover Patch Cornucopia Classic a real success: 189 females from calves to milking cows averaged $1733 and six bull calves averaged $462. Photo by Sherry Bunting


By SHERRY BUNTING
Special for Farmshine

MILLERSBURG, Ohio -- A dreary all-day drizzle failed to dampen demand last Friday, November 22, at Alan and Sharon Kozak’s Clover Patch Dairy near here in Holmes County, Ohio. During four hours of brisk bidding, Jersey Marketing Service (JMS) managed what proved to be their highest single herd sale of the year -- the Clover Patch Cornucopia Classic.

“There’s a pulse back in the dairy industry,” said auctioneer Lyn Lee after 195 lots of home-bred Clover Patch Jerseys grossed $330,350, yielding an average $1694 per head for everything from bull and heifer calves, to fresh milking cows. The 189 females averaged $1733 and the six bull calves averaged $462.

Milk cows, including many fresh two-year-olds, averaged $1989. Bred heifers in third trimester averaged $1957, second trimester $1650, and first trimester $1163. Youngstock were strong through the end of the sale with open yearlings averaging $1275, seven to nine month old heifers $1153 and four to six month old heifers $1050.

The highest lot of the day was Clover Patch Zuma Ella (lot 1), a nine-month-old P9 heifer with a GTPA in the top 500 of the breed and interest from bull studs. She sold to Sexing Technologies for $10,100. Second high seller was Clover Patch High Chart Chatter (lot 6), a bred heifer due in February to Irwin purchased by Vantress Jerseys of Xenia, Ohio for $3600; and the third highest sale was Clover Patch Fastrack Jelly (lot 4), a six month old heifer bringing $3000 to Leroy Miller of Fredericksburg, Ohio.

The activity of 73 registered buyers on-site, was augmented by 124 people watching live via the worldwide web. While Jason Robinson managed the sale under the tent, Erica Davis coordinated the internet marketing and bidding on-line.

Two of the day’s lots were sold to internet bidders, but in the end, local interest prevailed as 153 of the 195 lots were purchased by Ohio dairy producers; 35 went to Pennsylvania. The remaining lots sold to new homes in Kansas, Nebraska, New York and Wisconsin.

“These were really nice, good quality animals, but they cost me more than I expected. Folks have feed, the milk price is still good,” said volume buyer Stan Harper of Edison, Ohio. Farm manager Ramiro Martinez did most of the bidding to pick up 77 new milking Jerseys for Harper Crest Dairy.

Holstein breeders Cliff and Andrea Sensenig of Kirkwood Hill Farm drove out to the sale from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, seeking cattle to fill a barn they are renting just down the road from the family’s 100-cow Holstein dairy.

It was their first foray into Jersey cattle – ever, and they were pleased with the 35 animals they purchased -- 14 milking cows and an assortment of heifers, including a set of twins the Kozaks named Cookies and Cream.

“The kids will be thrilled with that purchase,” said Andrea about Mallory, 9, Westin, 6, and Carmen, 4.

The Sensenigs rent a neighboring farm for crops, and decided to fill the barn there, which has been vacant since 2006. “The stalls are shorter, so we thought Jerseys would be best,” said Cliff. “Honestly, we saw the ad in Farmshine. I mentioned it to a friend, Tom Arrowsmith, and he had good things to say about this herd, so here we are.”

Cliff said the cattle offered for sale from the Clover Patch herd got him over his longheld impression of low-uddered Jerseys.

“We paid more than we expected, so didn’t get as many cattle as we wanted, but we’re happy to be starting out with some really good quality animals with nice high udders and good numbers,” he said.

In fact, great udders were as much the focus of discussion from the auctioneer’s box -- where Brad Barham read pedigrees and talked about each animal -- as out in the barns where prospective buyers looked them over.

The Kozaks estimate they’ve sold 600 cattle for dairy purposes over the past four years, but Friday’s sale was the largest one-time offering and the first auction held at the farm. Sharon was all-smiles when clerk Sally Stine tallied up the day. JMS executive secretary Neal Smith congratulated the couple on the high herd sale of the year.

“I’m proud of them,” echoed herd veterinarian Eric Shaver of East Holmes Veterinary Clinic. “They have done a great job with their animals.” A closed herd today, Clover Patch Dairy has tested Johnes-fecal-negative for five straight years.

“We are thankful to have surplus cattle to sell and strong interest from many buyers,” said Alan after the sale. “Much of the credit for the current interest in the Jersey cow and the high component milk she efficiently produces should go to the leadership of the American Jersey Cattle Association. They had the foresight to aggressively increase the breed’s milk production and to invest two cents per hundredweight to promote the value of Jersey milk, especially when used to make cheese and other cultured dairy products.”

“I respect what Alan and Sharon have built here from nothing, and this kind of buyer response was good to see,” said Patty (Marchezak) McMurray of Twin Brook Farm, Bentleyville, Pennsylvania. “The buyers can appreciate good, honest cattle.”

That was important to Tad Lantz of Roseville, Ohio, who drove two hours to buy at an auction where he could see where the cattle came from. He brought home seven head, including Clover Patch Logan Margarita -- an August calf and potential show project that had his young daughter Emily grinning ear-to-ear.