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2013 Ontario Dairy Youth Award Winners Announced
May 17, 2013

The Ontario Dairy Youth Award selection committees are pleased to announce the winners of the Ontario Dairy Youth Award for 2013. Established in 1980, the competition recognizes young people aged 25-35 who are actively involved in the operation of a dairy farm, who have demonstrated leadership and taken an active role in their communities and within their breed has taken place. These four lucky winners will receive all-expenses paid trip to World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin this fall.

NEW this year – The Ontario Dairy Youth Trust Fund is pleased to welcome Gay Lea Foods as a supporting sponsor of the Ontario Dairy Youth Award.

WESTERN – Dan Dykxhoorn, Springfield (519) 808-6848 • [email protected]
Dan and his wife, Janina, and his parents are proud of the modern free-stall operation they run in Springfield, Ontario. They milk between 100 and 110 cows in a double 8 Herringbone parlour and house a total of 372 purebred Holsteins in their home barn and at a few farms close by. Dan and his family strive for good conformation within the herd, with high production and good butter fat. They are involved with several high genomic cattle. They grow all their own crops for their operation of 370 acres. Dan does all the breeding and implanting of embryos at Silverridge and flushes between 40 and 50 head a year. Currently, 52 per cent of the herd is Very Good or better.

This summer, the Dykxhoorns plan to build a new heifer barn to improve efficiency on the farm. Plans are also in the works to tile more acres. The Dykxhoorns show cattle each year at their county show and Dan has been a Director on the Elgin County Holstein Club for the past six years. He is also an EastGen delegate and an active committee member with his church.

WEST-CENTRAL – Kevin Klages, Neustadt (519) 367-2776 • [email protected]
Kevin and his wife, Natalie, along with the occasional help from his father milk a herd of 28 Holsteins (75 total) in a brand new tie-stall barn located in Neustadt, Ontario. The modern facility houses 40 tie-stalls, two box stalls, pens for young calves and a 50 x 48 covered exercise yard. Since taking over the family farm, Kevin has made several changes with regards to Woodbridge`s breeding program. In order to become more self-sufficient, he decided to take an AI course and now breeds all of the farm`s heifers and cows, paying close attention to functional type, Somatic Cell Counts and udders, rumps and strength. Using young heifers and bottom-end cows as recipients, Kevin has made several gains from within as demonstrated by the herd’s current classification of 3 ME, 1 EX, 17 VG, 12 GP and 3 NC.

Kevin’s plans for the future include renovating their old bank barn to house calves and young heifers in one central location. He’d also like to install locking head gates to improve ease of handling and save time with breeding and vaccinating. In his free time, Kevin is involved with his local Holstein Club in Grey County where he has served as President for the past two years.

EAST-CENTRAL – Cameron Graham, Picton (613) 393-2503 • [email protected]
Cameron and his wife, Kim, and father, Hugh, operate a 70 cow (160 total) tie-stall operation in Picton, Ontario. The largely homebred herd – currently ranked 65 per cent Very Good or better – has been enhanced by purchases made in the past 10 years to improve marketability and genetics. Type has always been important to Cameron and his family, but balanced breeding with a focus on milk, components and health traits remains paramount. Since April 2008, Cameron has been part of Venture Genetics, a formalized group of four breeders investing in and selling highly marketable polled genetics. He enjoys researching extended pedigrees and his involvement with other breeders through Venture Genetics has represented an exciting opportunity for Graham Farms.

Since returning to the farm full-time, Cameron has played a lead role in researching, pricing and planning a number of projects including the installation of a new milking system, the construction of a new heifer barn, the renovation of the dairy barn to accommodate 12 new stalls and the building of a new harvestore silo for high-moisture corn. In the future, he plans to continue increasing his quota base and upgrade the farm’s feeding system with permanent silos and TMR for added convenience. Cameron has been involved in the Prince Edward County Holstein Club since 2001.

EASTERN – Amber Kilgour (nee Franklin), Maxville (613) 551-2991 • [email protected]
Amber runs a 105 cow (260 total) tie-stall operation in partnership with her father Mark under her own prefix of Glentop. Since joining the partnership in 2010, Amber has made several changes on the farm, most notably to the way cows are bred. She strives to breed heifers on time and determines her breeding strategy based on a ranking system of low, middle and top cows, using middle cows as embryo recipients and servicing top cows with sexed semen. In addition to implementing a strict breeding regime, Amber has changed the way calves are fed, switched up old milking habits to include washing and post-dipping and introduced livestock guardian dogs to protect cows, calves and cows calving outside from the wolves and coyotes that have been a problem in the past.

Going forward, she has plans to re-do pasture fences and extend it into the forest to allow animals shade in the summer and shelter in the winter. She also plans to renovate her barn stalls as she finds them too small to house her most mature Holsteins comfortably. Amber was a 4-H participant growing up and is part of Glengarry Holstein Club’s Board of Directors

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