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The Magnificent Colors of Golden Oaks Farm

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of Cowsmopolitan. From the golden canopy of trees lining the farm lane to the foundation green and white buildings, the colors are certainly dynamic at Golden Oaks Farm.

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Cleland Advnt Alexia-Red-ET EX-94 EX-96MS HM Senior Champion R&W World Dairy Expo 2015

The silky black of Arethusa Sid Tess, 1st milking yearling at the 2015 International Holstein Show. The striking red of Cleland Advnt Alexia-Red-ET, 1st Aged cow and Honorable Mention Senior Champion of the International R&W Show. The glint and shimmer of class topping trophies, top ten ribbons, and champion honors earned on the 2015 shows shavings all add their spectrum. Plus, the champion purples that Golden Oaks bred fall calf, Golden-Oaks Sid Charlise-ET earned as Junior Champion of the International Holstein Show and Supreme Heifer of the All-American Dairy Show for her new owners.

The multitude of colors is certainly awe-inspiring.

Farm Background

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Team photo Front Row-Kayla Wright, Andrew Hetke, Josh Fairbanks, Patty Patterson, Ethan Heinzmann, Martin Mantoyo, Katharina Leyschulte, Sayra Garcia, Gary Janssen, Tom Patterson Back Row-Jose Salazar, David Bisen, Pablo Garcia, Luis Murillo, Ryne Becker, Jim Stoerp, Tony Ventura, Jorge Lopez, Jorge Gallegos, Addison Brennan, Jesus Santoyo ([email protected] Drendel)

Founded by the Crown family of Chicago, Illinois, in 1948; the passion for dairy is lustrous as John Crown’s love for red and white Holsteins. John would spend his weekends at the farm fueling his passion.

Today, the Crown family relies on a team of 22 full-time employees to make Golden Oaks successful. The farm spans 1,600 acres of cropland and consists of 630 milk cows, which are milked 3x in a double 12 herringbone. At a 95 pound tank average, the RHA is 29,600lbs milk, 3.8% fat and 3.2% protein.

Mission & Focus

The commercial herd in the freestalls eating.

The commercial herd in the freestalls eating.

To keep the farm’s focus streamlined, the team is driven by their mission statement: to efficiently and profitably produce both a quality dairy product and superior cattle genetics while maintaining the integrity of agriculture in a suburban setting. Focusing on the breeding and development of superior Holstein genetics, both black & white and red & white, the genetics side of the business is led by Ethan Heinzmann, Dairy & Genetics Manager, and Josh Fairbanks, Genetics Herdsman. Other key team members are Gary Janssen, Senior Genetics Consultant, and the farm’s president, Tom Patterson.

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One of the heifer buildings.

“We’re similar to other farms. We have an operating crew milking cows, feeding cows, caring for cows day-to-day, just like any other farm. The ownership and the management is quite unique as none of the family members work on the farm,” shares Ethan Heinzmann, Dairy & Genetics Manager. “We love the cows. That’s why we have the people and team that works with them. For us the genetics are also our business, so we always keep that in mind.”

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Gary Jansen, Senior Genetics Consultant and Josh Fairbanks, Genetics Herdsman with Alexia on photo day

“It’s a lot of fun. The farm is a great learning experience for anyone. Everyone that works here, full-time and the interns, you get to do the show thing, but you also get to work with high type cows in a commercial environment. It’s a really good learning experience, fun place to work, and great people,” shares Josh.

Genetics, Marketing, & Merchandising

The herd is approximately 95% registered, with about 20-25% being Red and White Holsteins. Their success in the showring this fall, the development and merchandising of foundation cows like Champ Rae and her maternal sister Perk Rae, along with being able to put bulls into stud, such as Golden-Oaks St Alexander-ET, all exude the Golden Oaks impact.

“We have pens within our freestall that we call our genetic groups. We may have cows within there that we are flushing, may focus on more when we classify, and in some cases have been out to the shows,” shares Ethan. “The genetic side of our business is integrated within the commercial operation quite a bit.”

Within the past year, the original tie stall barn was retrofitted to exclusively work with the high-end show and sale animals, a place for Josh to give the animals the extra care and attention to get ready.  Since starting last winter, Josh got the barn full to prepare the sales and show animals for an exciting 2015.

“When you allow an animal to leave, you have to be proud of what you bred. You can only hope that they do as good for the owner as you hoped they would do for you…Whether it’s their 4-H fair, World Dairy Expo, in their barns – We want them to be successful,” shares Ethan. “We’ve been so fortunate that great cow people have bought into the families we have here.”

Tess

Arethusa Sid Tess the 1st Fall Yearling in Milk at 2015 International Holstein Show

Arethusa Sid Tess the 1st Fall Yearling in Milk at 2015 International Holstein Show

Arethusa Sid Tess joined the herd after being purchased at the Crown Jewel II in 2015. Buying her was a true example of a risk and reward as she had all the right pieces, but one never knows how a heifer will calve in.

“She was a month and a half away from calving when we bought her. We weren’t at the sale, but were working with Nick Raggi there. Nick said ‘If she calves in right, she’ll be a homerun.’ That will stick with me, because he was right,” reflects Ethan.

Tess freshened in July and took the fall by storm. She was the 1st Junior 2 Year Old & Reserve Intermediate Champion at the Illinois State Fair. She went to the national shows and was 1st Milking Yearling and Honorable Mention Intermediate Champion Midwest Fall National 2015 and then 1st Fall Yearling in Milk at the International Holstein Show 2015.

Tess in now scored VG-88 with an EX-MS. Tess is out of Ernest-Anthony Terrific-ET, an EX-92 Alexander who Golden Oaks, Josh Fairbanks, and Samantha Ropp recently purchased. A full sister to Tess was born at the farm this September, Texas Tornado will be one to watch for. After the Alexander is Ernest-Anthony Tyra EX-94-GMD, the 2002 Reserve All-Canadian Senior 3 Year Old, followed by Alanvale Inspiration Tina EX-95-2E-GMD-DOM who was Reserve All-American in 1995 & 1996.

This is a fun family to see come to fruition as a strong maternal line pairs with the Golden Oaks bred bull to create a dynamic line they will develop for future generations.

Alexia

Ethan Heinzmann, Golden Oaks Dairy & Genetics manager with the 2015 Honorable Mention Senior Champion & Nasco Type and Production Winner at World Dairy Expo - Cleland Advnt Alexia-Red-ET EX-94 EX-96 MS

Ethan Heinzmann, Golden Oaks Dairy & Genetics manager with the 2015 Honorable Mention Senior Champion & Nasco Type and Production Winner at World Dairy Expo – Cleland Advnt Alexia-Red-ET EX-94 EX-96 MS

Cleland Advnt Alexia-Red-ET EX-94 EX-96 MS has been with Golden Oaks since the summer of 2012 when she sold at the National Convention Sale. That spring she had been the Intermedia Champion at the Midwest Red & White Spring Show as the 1st place Senior 3-year-old. She went on to be nominated All-American R&W Sr. 3 Year Old that year. In 2015, she really found her stride in the showring earning the honors of Senior, Grand & Best Udder winner at the Midwest National R&W Spring Show 2015 and then the 1st Aged Cow, Honorable Mention Senior Champion & Nasco Type & Production winner at World Dairy Expo in the International Red & White Show.

Alexia’s dam was nominated All-American R&W 125,000lb Cow in 2014, Cleland SS Alexis EX-94 DOM, and her 4th dam is Tri-Day Adeen II-ET EX-91 2E

Charlise

Golden Oaks bred fall calf, Golden-Oaks Sid Charlise-ET earned as Junior Champion of the International Holstein Show and Supreme Heifer of the All-American Dairy Show for her new owners

Golden Oaks bred fall calf, Golden-Oaks Sid Charlise-ET earned as Junior Champion of the International Holstein Show and Supreme Heifer of the All-American Dairy Show for her new owners

Showcasing the breeding of the farm is Golden-Oaks Sid Charlise. She carries the Roxy lineage the farm has thrived working with. Charlise was sold at the Spring Loaded II Tag Sale.

“Sid Charlise was our best fall calf, we thought she was good,” said Ethan. “She has had really good homes since we sold her, which helped her reach her full potential.”

Charlise was the 2nd place fall calf at the New York Spring International Holstein Show and this fall she shined on the tanbark as the Supreme Heifer at the All-American Dairy Show and the Junior Champion at the International Holstein Show. Her dam, Golden-Oaks GC Chalise-ET, is VG-87 Gold Chip and was the 2013 All-Illinois Summer Yearling. The 2nd dam is one of the farm’s matriarchs – Golden-Oaks Champ Rae-ET.

Champ Rae

Golden-Oaks Champ Rae-ET EX-93 3E. 2nd dam of 2015 World Dairy Expo International Holstein Show Junior Champion

Golden-Oaks Champ Rae-ET EX-93 3E. 2nd dam of 2015 World Dairy Expo International Holstein Show Junior Champion

Golden-Oaks Champ Rae-ET EX-93 3E is an 8th generation Excellent Roxy. Her dam is Scientific Beauty Rae-ET *RC EX-90 DOM who was purchased in 2002. Champ Rae had a lifetime production of 134,000lbs milk, 4.4% fat, and 3.2% protein. While no longer here, Champ Rae’s impact is seen every day through her daughters and granddaughters.

The beautifully uddered, Golden-Oaks Dur Champ EX-94 2E is a harmonious cow that pairs the frame and production of Champ Rae with the silky, dairy of Durham. Another exciting daughter of Champ Rae is Golden-Oaks Atwd Charla-ET EX-92.

“Atwood Charla brings something different to the table as she has a little bit of genomics, especially on the type side. We have some daughters out of her that when we test, they creep up there with their numbers to generate some interest,” says Ethan.

Charla has a popping rear udder, which is amazingly high, especially considering she’s produced over 39,000 lbs milk, 4.2% fat, and 3.5% protein in her last lactation. She has a McCutchen daughter who is +3.89 Type and +2298 GTPI.

“There’s a reason we have done well with the Champ Rae bloodline, the Roxy blood is incredible,” shares Ethan. “Champ Rae is brood cow extraordinaire and was quite a special cow. I feel like she made some great daughters, but her impact is going to be even bigger in the next generation, or the generation after that. As Sid Charlise has shown, she can make some great show animals.”

Perk Rae

Red, polled, and type delivered by Golden-Oaks Perk Rae-Red-ET *PO EX-90. Maternal sister to Champ Rae

Red, polled, and type delivered by Golden-Oaks Perk Rae-Red-ET *PO EX-90. Maternal sister to Champ Rae

Golden-Oaks Perk Rae-Red-ET *PO is an EX-90 cow who continued the Roxy heritage with breeding in red, polled, and type.

“Champ Rae and Perk Rae were completely different cows, out of the same momma. They were both really good and wrote pretty good stories, but differently so. Perk has had tremendous influence on the red and white breed, brought some polled influence in before it was really big for marketing, and internationally made quite a splash,” says Ethan.

Perk, her daughters, and her granddaughters have been very marketable across the globe. They include the 2012 World Classic Sale Topper and the high seller at the ALH @ Home sale in 2013. Golden Oaks has Diamondback heifers from Perk Rae coming soon to mix cutting edge genetics on a proven lineage.

Brood Cows

“We have such a diverse group of cattle – Everything from genomics to high type and showring style cattle. It’s a great farm, with a little bit of everything for everyone,” notes Josh. “From a genetics standpoint, with what we have and what we have coming, there’s daughters from many famous cows here at Golden Oaks.”

Other brood cow families include: Lana Rae, Dundee Hezbollah, Gold Barbara, Talent Barbara, Champion Bianca, Roy Frosty, Windsor-Manor Reva-ET, Darling Rae, Damion Camomile, Laurie Sheik and Apple.

“We really believe in cow families. Cow families and pedigrees. From a business standpoint, you have to be able to justify what you are going to do long-term,” shares Ethan.

Future: Growth & Sales

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Golden Oaks Farm hutches, freestalls, and parlor

“What we hope to accomplish in the next year or so, is a newer facility to house the higher end of our genetic herd in a set-up where they can live a pretty normal life, while we operate more efficiently. Hopefully, in a way where we can showcase them more to visitors – An easy way to see the cows from the shows and our advertisements,” shares Ethan.

Considerations are being made on the final plan for this 2016 facility project. Next year will be busy as there is also the potential for a tag sale at the farm in the spring of 2016.

“With our location, the opportunity to market both genetics and product allows us to get a lot of traffic. And hopefully there’s more opportunities for us in the future,” comments Ethan. “We’ve got a great genetic stock that we can offer some really good ones.”

Golden Oaks is certainly ablaze as they make their mark through merchandising the best and acquiring and developing exciting families. As the next seasons unfolds, there’s no doubt that the colors of Golden Oaks will be ones to take in.

Sidebar – Internship Program of Golden Oaks

Internship Program

A wall of interns. Every intern has a photo, which the farm proudly lines their walls with.

A wall of interns. Every intern has a photo, which the farm proudly lines their walls with.

As the farm’s first intern back in 1998, Ethan got his start at Golden Oaks, an experience that has allowed him to reach where he is today.

“I grew quite fond of the farm during my internship years. There was an opportunity for me to come back to the farm after I graduated, and I took it. The opportunities for me to grow have continued, I’ve been here ever since,” Ethan reflects. “We always try to have at least one intern on staff. Our internship program has really grown. It’s really neat. It adds to our work staff, and provides a great learning opportunity for us all.”

Today more than 40 interns have spent time working and learning at the farm. Most of the interns hail from the Midwest, but they have also had students from New York, Columbia, France, Germany and Mexico.

“We hope with their internship that they can leave here more experienced, more skilled as a cow person, a stronger understanding of the business and the industry,” explains Ethan. “We can offer experience in a general commercial setting to be able to do herdsman’s work – they want to be able to breed cows, IV cows, to diagnosis diseases, learn our reproduction program, and do the day-to-day tasks of a larger farm. Some come strictly wanting that experience and we have some that want that, plus they want to know more on the genetic side and how we manage our flush cows, how we prepare for showing, what preparation goes into selling cattle, mating and marketing. We’re diverse enough, we have a lot to offer.”

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