You wouldn’t guess that Gregg and Pat (Patricia) Borchardt grew-up in town. Their passion was ingrained as family members got them interested in Ayrshires. Now with their kids and grandkids on the farm helping, it’s exciting to see the next generation’s excitement as this family continues to fan the flame and instill a passion that will burn bright.
The showring has always been an exciting part of Family Af-Ayr. At the 2015 World Dairy Expo, the Borchardt family had Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor, their first time winning the coveted banners. Their prefix has earned two Grand Champion titles at World Dairy Expo, in 2007 with Family Af-Ayr Cornelius Daisy and in 1995 with Family-Af-Ay A.J. Julia (both of these cows also earned Intermediate Champion honors at World Dairy Expo as well).
Gregg, Patricia and their oldest son Luke currently own family Af-Ayr, but all the Borchardt children (Heidi, Daniel, Sarah and Matthew) do their part to help.
All the kids were involved with the farm growing up. Now Luke focuses on putting the crops up right, he does a great job getting the crops made right for feed. Sarah is fitting and does the brunt of the work to get ready for the shows. Heidi, Daniel and Matthew are only a phone call away to come help with a milking or to haul hay, Gregg recognizes.
On a daily basis, Gregg, Pat, Luke and Sarah handle the milking and chores at the family farm in Caledonia, Illinois.
Family truly is the foundation that built Family Af-Ayr. The Borchardt family’s focus on Ayrshires has been brewing since Gregg was young. Growing up, his uncle’s farm was where his passion for the Ayrshire breed was realized. His uncle and aunt, Dave and Vera Kamholz of Juda, Wis., owned a grade Holstein herd, but started purchasing Ayrshires and adding them into their herd.
He bought some registered Ayrshires when I was a kid, and I was really interested in them. I saved up and bought a calf when I was a junior in high school. Every time I saved up enough money, I’d try to buy another one, shares Gregg. We’re both city kids, so we had to learn along the way. My uncles and grandpa farmed, so we had experience to turn to, which helped.
After housing their animals at his uncle’s farm, in 1981 Gregg and Pat set out on their own, moving to a small farm where they had 19 wooden stanchions, but no milkhouse, silos or barn cleaner. After a few years they were able to work with the owner to build a milkhouse and in 1984 they were first able to sell milk from their Ayrshire cows, their first test was just five cows.
Path to Progress
In 1988, their purchase of 136 acres became the home farm. With a 34 stanchion barn, the homestead has grown with their family. Today the Borchardts milk 135 cows, with it being a mixed herd that in addition to the Ayrshires has Holsteins, Jersey, Milking Shorthorns and Brown Swiss. With one compost barn and one straw pack barn built in 2005, they bed with sawdust and aerate twice a day. Between the barns and access to a turn out pasture, cow comfort is high. The former tiestall barn is still where milking happens, but instead of a barn full there are 2.5 barns full as they move cows through twice a day. The majority of the herd is Ayrshire, with the Ayrshire herd test average at 20,270 pounds milk, 769 pounds fat, 637 pounds protein.
Ayrshires is the breed we concentrate on. We do all our flushing and showing with them, shares Gregg. We’re always looking for new genetics, a new cow family.
All milk cows and yearlings are fed TMR with snaplage, baleage, corn silage and a protein mix. Additionally they feed food waste, currently breadcrumbs, as a corn substitute in their ration when it’s available from the local manufacturer. Younger heifers and calves are fed a grain and protein mix and free choice hay. The newborn to weaning age calves are housed in calf condos, which are on skids making them easy to move and clean. The calves are on whole milk and are brought up to 3 quarts a feeding, twice a day, by a week of age. This fall the Borchardts are hoping to have a newly completed heifer barn up to make the transition after weaning to about 600 pounds even smoother.
It’ll have 10 pens 20 feet wide, with everything under one roof with fence line feeding, shares Gregg. We’re hoping to keep the pens small. We’re hoping in the new set-up we can get them to breeding age faster. Keep them growing and moving forward.
Production, Type, & Longevity
We try to pay attention to the bulls and the families we use. We breed for production, type, and longevity. We try to find cow families that transmit – That have a history of good production, lasted a long time and still exhibit good type, shares Gregg.
This focus for the trifecta has allowed the Borchardts to market from their key cow families. In fact, Family Af-Ayr genetics through semen and embryos have been sent to Canada, South Africa, Scotland, Finland and New Zealand, with inquiries coming from other countries around the globe.
I’m excited about the breed. We’ve been putting more emphasis on production, used to be a lot of type. I think some of the bulls are going to be really progressive and bring that focus on milk and families that milk and make components, shares Gregg. We’re always trying to raise our production level. We want to have the cows that will make that big record, last a long time, but that you can still take to the shows.
With their focus on production, type and longevity, the Borchardts are striving for family lines that transmit. With a keen eye, they are breeding to correct traits for the next generation to produce quality cattle that can make milk, look good doing it, and do it for a long time.
The Borchardts continue to market their animals, allowing other breeders and dairy farmers the chance to work with their very best. In fact, lots at sales this fall will include four Mapleburn Remington x Family Af-Ayr Dominique-ET EX-91 embryos at the Ayrshire World Conference Sale, and four Duo Star Gentlemen x Family Af-Ayr
Loto Daily EX-91 embryos at the World Ayrshire Event held at World Dairy Expo.
Desiree & Daisy
The majority of the Ayrshires at Family Af-Ayr go back to Desiree. Gregg didn’t know that the purchase of South-Slope Dutchess, Desiree’s granddam, at the 1988 Wisconsin Ayrshire Spring Sale would be such a lasting impact to their farm.
Family Af-Ayr DK Desiree EX-95 4E
Desiree is a Kellogg from New-Dawn-Ayr J.P. Dana. She graced the colored shavings at World Dairy Expo a number of times and was 1st Aged Cow in the 2003 & 2004 Central National Junior Show, 1st 5-year-old and Grand Champion of the 2002 Central National Junior Show, All-American and Jr All-American 5-year-old in 2002, and 1st 4-year-old at the 2001 Central National Junior Show.
Family-Af-Ayr Cornelius Daisy EX-94 5E
Daisy just turned 16 and is a Cornelius from Desiree. The impact of Daisy started as a yearling when she topped her class at the 2001 Central National Show at World Dairy Expo. In 2002 she was Res. All-American Sr 2-year-old, 2003 All-American Sr 3-year-old, Reserve Grand Champion of the Junior Show at World Dairy Expo in 2004 & 2005, and then unanimous All-American Aged Cows in 2007 with Grand Champion honors at World Dairy Expo that year.
This family also has a number of bulls available, including:
Family Af-Ayr Doublwhammy-ET EX-92, Calimero x Desiree
Family Af-Ayr Reno Dozer-ET EX-94, Reno x Desiree
Family-Af-Ayr Rem Dbl Barrel, Remington x Family-AF-AYR Calimero Dynamo EX-94 3E x Desiree
Family AF-Ayr Distinction EX-91, Remington x Daisy
Family-Af-Ayr Poker Duncan-ET, Poker x Daisy
Family-Af-Ayr Reality Dazzle-ET, Reality x Daisy
Family Af-Ayr R. Deacon, Ristourn x Family Af-Ayr Soldier Dainty EX-90 x Daisy
We have the bull Distinction, we are marketing him privately now, and we are really impressed with his daughters. Probably the best uddered young cows we have in the barn right now by far, notes Gregg.
Family Af-Ayr Poker Damage-ET EX-92, is a full sister to Duncan, a Poker from Daisy that the Borchardts are currently flushing. Family Af-Ayr Soldier Dainty EX-90 is a Soldier daughter from Daisy.
These are the next up and coming generation. If their daughters can be excellent, they’d be 5th generation excellent cattle, says Gregg.
For this fall’s embryo sale consignments, Family Af-Ayr Cal Dominique-ET EX-91 is a great granddaughter of Daisy and was the 10th 4-year-old at the 2015 International Ayrshire Show. Family Af-Ayr Loto Daily EX-90 is a Faucher Loto x Family Af-Ayr Ice Dazzle-ET EX-90, who is a granddaughter of Desiree.
Lacey & Lulu
Family-Af-Ayr Kellogg Lacey-ET EX-93 3E is the milk tanker for the Borchardts. This past summer she was awarded the Living Lifetime Production Award by the Ayrshire Breeders Association. Her lifetime record is 285,476M 3.3% 9,476F 2.9% 8,258P. Lacey is currently EX-94 and has had more than 40,000 lbs. for both of her past two lactations. She is due again this fall with a heifer that will be combining the two key families, as the sire is Family-Af-Ayr Poker Duncan-ET.
We have a few Duncans milking already and we really like them – Very dairy, really good udders, shares Gregg.
Another great milker in this family was Family-Af-Ayr Reno Lulu EX-91. Lulu made an impressive 33,380M at 6-06 in 365 days with 3.8% 1,258F and 3.0% 1,004P. Her lifetime production was 120,570 pounds of milk 1,674 days.
Tour Stop of Ayrshire World Conference
As the 2016 Ayrshire World Conference makes its way across the United States this fall, they’ll be stopping in to see this fabulous family and herd on September 28th. To say they will be impressed, will be an understatement.
The Borchardts will hopefully be unveiling their new heifer shed and attendees will even be able to see Daisy and some of the lovely ladies that have come from the standout cows at Family Af-Ayr.