Martin Dairy LLC, a Registered Jersey™ dairy farm located in Tillamook, Ore., will be one of eight U.S. operations featured as a Virtual Farm Tour at the 2012 World Dairy Expo. The program, which will be presented by Norman H. Martin, will start at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3 in Mendota 1 meeting room in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis. The American Jersey Cattle Association is the program sponsor.
The storyline of Martin Dairy LLC winds its way from the Azores and Brazil to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the date when Norm Martin’s grandfather arrived with his new wife on their way to the Holstein dairy he had already established near Oakland. Within two decades, the herd was moved south and increased to 300 cows, requiring 10 milkers. Norm grew up on the dairy as it modernized and continued to grow, into a management role in 1971, then complete ownership in 1975.
In 1995, Norm, his wife Gwen and their family moved to Tillamook to become producers for Tillamook County Creamery Association. In the beginning, the herd was set up to be 50% Holstein cows and 50% Jerseys. For almost four years, the herd was evenly split: “two separate pens of Jerseys, two pens of Holsteins, same milkers, same feed rations, everything exactly the same.” Norm determined that while gross sales were higher for the Holsteins, the net returns from the Jerseys were greater.
In early 1998, the decision was made to convert the herd to all-Jersey and it has increased to over 1,100 cows in milk. The 2011 lactation average was 18,331 pounds milk, averaging 5.0% fat and 3.7% protein, with 13 cows scored Excellent, 509 Very Good and 386 Desirable.
Genetic improvement is Norm’s lifelong passion, as demonstrated by the fact that he served 30 years on the All-West/Select Sires Board. For him, the conversion to Jerseys after 30 years of breeding Holsteins presented a steep learning curve, but using the services available from the American Jersey Cattle Association made it much easier to achieve his breeding goals.
“We register everything. We score every cow. Inbreeding is a real concern. I use the JerseyMate™ mating service and select for cheese yield. The program figures out what bulls we are going to use so that I don’t have to worry about it. The neat thing about JerseyMate™ is that you get three choices, and I still get to make my own decisions.”
With the introduction of cost-effective genotyping services, Norm quickly put this tool to work in his breeding program. As of August 2012, 614 females have been genotyped at Martin Dairy and have an average Cheese Merit of $440. Today Martin Dairy ranks sixth in the country for herd average Jersey Performance Index™.
Martin Dairy LLC is run with clockwork precision, uncompromising attention to detail, and total dedication to cow care and comfort. Any day of the week, any hour of the day—the Martin Dairy is visitor-ready. Because of that, the Martin family hosts dozens of tours each year, by people from across the world who have come to Tillamook to see the Tillamook County Creamery Association operation. What they see is a great herd of highly productive, profitable Jersey cows that is increasingly becoming a source of superior genetics for A.I.
Other Virtual Farm Tours feature dairy businesses located in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Minnesota, Kansas, and Michigan. All presentations will be recorded and available for viewing on World Dairy Expo’s website after the show.
World Dairy Expo opens Tuesday, October 2 with the International Jersey Show starting at a new time of 2:00 p.m. in the Coliseum. The cow show continues on Wednesday morning and concludes with selection of the Grand Champion by judge Mark Reuth, Oxford, Wis.
The Top of the World Jersey Sale kicks off at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday evening in the sale pavilion. Jersey Marketing Service, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, is the sale manager. The American Jersey Cattle Association and National All-Jersey Inc. will have an exhibit throughout Expo. It will be located in the Coliseum at Arena Level 101 and 102. For the complete schedule of Jersey-specific activities during the week of World Dairy Expo, visit the USJersey website.
The American Jersey Cattle Association, organized in 1868, compiles and maintains animal identification and performance data on Jersey cattle and provides services that support genetic improvement and greater profitability through increasing the value of and demand for Registered Jersey™ cattle and genetics, and Jersey milk and milk products. For more information on the association’s complete line of services for dairy business owners, visit the website at www.USJersey.com or follow the Facebook and Twitter news feeds of USJersey.