We revisit Ayrshire herd, De La Paline, who was featured in our Winter 2014 edition. A name recognized locally, nationally and internationally through their consistent top standings at local and major shows. In 2015, the Ayrshire herd De La Plaine will celebrate its 50th anniversary and three generations in dairy farming.
This longstanding herd consisting of 110 animals, with 60 lactating cows and is now operated by the Neault-Lemay families. In 1965 Roger Neault & Louissette Demers registered the prefix De La Plaine with the Association of Ayrshire Farmers of Canada. . In 1981 their daughter Aline and her husband Dominque Neault bought the family farm becoming the third generation to operate the dairy farm. In 2007 Aline and Dominique’s daughter Carine and husband Jonathan Lemay formed a four way partnership continuing remarkable history and promising a prosperous future.
On the farm De La Plaine, everyone works hard to provide success at the end of the day and the future is secure with Jonathan and Carine’s children Logan (9 years), Joliane (7 years), Derek (5 years) and Lexie (3 years). While focused on being parents and grandparents all members of the team contribute equally to the farm.
Dominique’s main focus is feeding the cows and is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the machinery. He also performs a lot of the fieldwork.. Aline is in charge of milking as well as the company’s accounting. In addition to being on Ayrshire Canada Board of Directors, Jonathan also has a responsibility milking cows, feeding the cows and heifers, and the preparation of animals for exhibition.
Care of the calves are under the tutelage of Carine, who like the other three, also has a say in the governance of the herd, and field work when the time comes. All owners are involved in the company’s management. Everyone is versatile and tasks can be performed by all the owners. This is what allows Jonathan to be absent for exhibitions, says Aline.
The shows have an important place for them and they constantly are noticed for their top quality animals. Since 2006, there are 62 banners hanging proudly in their office; 17 Junior Breeder, 13 Junior Exhibitor, 15 and 17 Breeder and Exhibitor banners; among them are two banners from World Dairy Expo in Madison. The titles of All-Canadian, All-American and All-Québec accumulate too, demonstrating
their extraordinary results on both sides of the border.
Recently their success at the Supreme Dairy Show resulted in 4 class winners and 7 others in the top 5. Names like De La Plaine Rhythm Romi EX 4E 3 *, De La Plaine Wilton Pixou EX-93 4E, De La Plaine Calimero Kiss EX-92 and Forever Schoon Ping EX-94 are easily recognized for their top placings in recent years. Romi was the cow that started it all for the herd and made the prefix more recognized. In 2007 she brought a lot of pride to her owners when she was named Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Now an important brood cow along with daughters De La Plaine Starter Sissi EX-91 3E, 2nd 4 Year Old SIL 2011 and De La Plaine Calimero Roxi-ET VG-89. Roxi was the 1st Junior 3 Year Old, Intermediate and Honorable Mention Grand Champion at SIL in 2013. Romi also has a daughter by Faucher Lotto that is classified VG-87 and was 3rd place Junior 3 Yr old at the Royal in 2011.
Both Pixou and Kiss All-Canadian nominees in their own right are just starting to produce top daughters. A feat that is not seen every year, Forever Schoon Ping EX-94 and her daughter De La Plaine Reality Sting VG-88 were both nominated All-Canadian in 2013. Acquired as a September calf, Ping was Intermediate
Champion and Honorable Mention Grand Champion at the Royal in 2011 and Reserve Grand Champion in 2013. A winner numerous times at various local shows she has several daughters in the herd that are following in her footsteps. Already starting and illustrious career daughter, De La Plaine Reality Sting-ET
VG-88 was 1st Senior Yearling and Honorable Mention Junior Champion at the 2013 Royal Winter Fair.
This spring she claimed 1st Senior 2 Year Old and Reserve Intermediate Champion at SIL and Reserve Intermediate Champion at the Supreme Dairy show this fall. A daughter Burdette, De La Plaine Burdette Bling is classified VG-87 2yr. She was Junior Champion at SIL in 2013 and Reserve Junior Champion at World Dairy Expo in 2013. The momentum continued into 2014 when she 1st Junior 2 Year Old Supreme Dairy Show and 1st, Intermediate Champion and Honorable Mention Grand Champion during the Royal Winter Fair. The future is bright for De La Plaine Dreamer Shilling the 1st Junior Yearling at Supreme Dairy Show and 2nd at the Royal and World Dairy Expo. Ping’s success also carries over on the male side
with bulls at Semex in particular, including Prime, Megatron and Viking!
Tremendous show results do not overshadow their 2012 Master Breeder award recognizing top breeding, classification and production in Canada. Also producing quality milk has allowed them to be among the five regional finalists for six years with a win in 2009. In a region where Holstein herds dominate it is with honor that they also won the contest; Company of the Year at the Livestock improvement Board; A contest in which they appear top of the list for many years and Ayrshire herd
among many Holstein herds.
With these results it is not surprising they have 9 Multiple Excellent (ME) cows, 6 Excellent (EX), 31 Very Good (VG), 8 Good Plus (GP) and yes black does come into the colored mix with 1 ME, 1 EX and 2 VG Holsteins.. The production of the two breeds combined is 8636 kg of milk with 4% fat and 3.5% protein, which leads to a BCA of 241-234- 256.
In their vision of the future, the family plans to consolidate all animals on the same site. Their plans include having a cold barn for heifers and for dry cows. Today calves 0-6 months are kept in the main barn with cows in milk while the rest of the animals are kept in a barn close by. Both buildings are equipped with a ceiling rail for easy handling of round bales. Cows receive free choice round bale hay and between 10-15 kilograms of corn silage. A supplement and complete ration provides the remainder
of the diet. Show cows receive the round bale first semi-dry cut.
For these passionate people, exposure and livestock quality are important. Developing a bigger market for the Ayrshire breed and selling more of their show animals is their vision for the future of their business. Improvement in their crops to get better forage rotation is also in their plan for the coming years. This work and this success cannot be accomplished without their team at home, their friends who
help and support them or the buyers who trust in their breeding. A long road has been travelled at De La Plaine in a very short period of time and it is evident the best is yet to come!