Guernsey Cow named 2014 Wisconsin Cow of the Year - Cowsmo

Guernsey Cow named 2014 Wisconsin Cow of the Year

Kurt and Scot Peterson have always known that their Guernsey cow, Coulee Crest Nick Lorilyn, was something special.

Now, the rest of the dairy world will know it too.

The Wisconsin Guernsey Breeders Association has picked Lorilyn as the 2014 Wisconsin Cow of the Year. She will be honored Oct. 3 during the International Guernsey Show at World Dairy Expo in Madison.

Wisconsin Agriculture Secretary Ben Brancel and the 67th Alice in Dairyland, Zoey Brooks, will present the award.

Deb Lakey, WGBA executive secretary, said the organization is proud of the Petersons and their accomplishments breeding an outstanding cow.

“The genetics of the Lorilyn family have and will continue to make a distinct influence on the future advancement of the Guernsey breed,” Lakey said.

Brancel called Lorilyn “an outstanding selection, exemplifying fine genetics and quality milk produced by Wisconsin cows.”

“We’re extremely excited,” said Scot, who, with Kurt and their dad, Don, milk about 210 registered Guernsey and Holstein cows near Cashton.

Six-year-old Lorilyn, scored at 91 points, has made a name for herself at home, where she made 42,437 pounds of milk in 365 days as a 3-year-old on three-times-a-day milking.

In the same lactation, her milk tested at 5.3 percent butterfat and 3.1 percent protein.

But Lorilyn’s impact has extended beyond the farm gate: She and her dam, Lori, defied the odds to become the first mother-daughter pair in the Guernsey breed to each produce more than 40,000 pounds of milk per year.

Proving that high production runs in the genes, Lorilyn’s offspring have not only done well at Coulee Crest but also at other farms.

One of her daughters, which the Petersons sold last year, made 40,000 pounds of milk at a Pennsylvania farm. Lorilee was the first Guernsey in history to be the third generation to reach that level.

To put things in perspective, the average Guernsey on the Peterson farm produces about 21,000 pounds of milk a year, according to Kurt. The state average for Guernseys is about 17,000 pounds.

Looking at Lorilyn’s long legacy of prolific progeny, Scot said they got kind of lucky when they bought her dam as an embryo years ago.

The Peterson milking string now includes two of Lorilyn’s daughters.

“Her whole family is doing quite well,” Scot said. “We have a bunch of heifers coming from her that, within the next few years, will be in the milking herd.”

As of August, three of Lorilyn’s lactating daughters ranked first, second and fifth in the Guernsey breed based on Cow Performance Index, with Lorilee holding the top spot. Both Lorilyn and her dam are former No. 1 CPI cows, Scot said.

Twenty of Lorilyn’s younger daughters recently were ranked among the top 25 Guernsey heifers in the U.S. for CPI.

“It’s not just production with her; she has some good show calves too,” Scot said.

One of Lorilyn’s daughters, Lexi, won her class at Expo last year as a spring calf and was a breed All-American. The Petersons sold Lexi in the national Guernsey sale this summer, where she brought the top bid.

Currently dry, Lorilyn is serving as a donor cow. She has had only two lactations, Scot said, and they’ve had trouble getting her bred back.

But the Petersons are eager to see what her offspring can do. Scot said they’ve got 20 Lorilyn daughters yet to enter production, and “we’re more than excited to get those heifers into the milking herd.”

The Peterson family has a long-held affection for the Guernsey breed, going back to when Don and his wife, Dorothy, started farming.

About 85 of the Petersons’ 210 cows are registered Guernseys, while the rest are Holsteins, said Scot, a former computer programmer who came back to the family farm six years ago.

Scot handles the farm accounting and manages the farm’s 410 crop acres, which includes 340 owned acres and 70 rented acres. Kurt focuses on the dairy herd.

“He has a lot of knowledge about the breed,” Scot said of his brother.

Along with Lorilyn, the Petersons will bring a few animals to show at Expo. Scot said they also enjoy seeing how animals they’ve bred and sold to other exhibitors stack up on the Coliseum’s colored shavings.

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