Starcrest Farms ~ Small Operation – Huge Results! – Cowsmo

Starcrest Farms ~ Small Operation – Huge Results!

A feature article in our 2021 Winter issue, written by Julie Ashton.


Starrcrest Premier Adelaide (VG-89 MAX) was named Grand Champion at the Canadian National Jersey Show and Westerner Championship Show and took home All-West Jersey Cow honors in 2021!

Despite natural disasters and a worldwide pandemic the last two years, dairy producers across the world have still found ways to make the most of it and continue dairying. For Jim and Kirsty McAvoy and their daughters Ashlee and Allyson, they’ve continued to grow their small herd of Jerseys and Holsteins and have reaped some pretty big rewards. And it was at the persistence of Ashlee and Allyson to attend the Westerner Dairy Showcase that proved the greatest reward of all.

Jim and Kirsty each grew up with ag backgrounds and owned cattle here and there in their early years of marriage. In 2014, they were given the opportunity to buy a facility in Armstrong, BC from Jake Konrad, who was retiring. The property was set up as a Jersey tie-stall barn; they began milking a dozen cows with half being Jerseys. Starcrest Farms has now expanded to 30 head with about 60% Jerseys and the remaining Holsteins.

Currently, there are 14 VG, 4 EX and 8 ME with an average BCA of 235-226-242.

Given the small size of the operation, it is completely family run. Jim takes care of all aspects of the farm while also working part-time for ST Genetics. Ashlee (15) and Allyson (14) help with milking, barn clipping and all aspects of showing, from halter breaking to fitting at the shows. Kirsty owns and operates a Wealth Advisory business with BMO Nesbitt Burns and mainly helps at the shows and as needed during busy times around the farm.

Adelaide, Twerk and Weapon made up the Breeder’s Herd for Starrcrest at the Canadian National Show, placing 4th.

As aspiring 4-Hers, the last two years of canceled shows and terrible weather events have been devastating for Ashlee and Allyson, thus they were determined to attend the Westerner Dairy Showcase in Red Deer, AB this past October. And that determination paid off! Barn favorite, Starrcrest Premier Adelaide (VG-89) not only won the Senior 3-Year-Old class, but Judge Blair Weeks named her Intermediate and Grand Champion of the show!

Adelaide has been a barn favorite since she calved as a 2-year-old. “She was always one of those animals that you loved in the barn,” commented Jim. “Her style, balance and femininity have been evident since she was a young cow.” She is also one of two max-scored Jerseys in 2021 that Jim and Kirsty bred.

It was these traits that caught the eye of Pierre Boulet who purchased Adelaide just before her class at the Westerner. And Adelaide’s show season wasn’t over yet. She made the 1500-mile journey to Fond du Lac, WI, and stayed at Crestbrooke Jerseys, owned by the Natzke family, until the All American Jersey Show in Louisville, where she stood 8th in an incredibly strong class of 23. She caught a ride to New York with Oakfield Corners, where she stayed until right before the Jersey Canada National Show the following week. She caught the eye of Judge Richard Landry, who selected Adelaide as his Senior and Grand Champion as well.

Roswitha Furor Ashlee (SUP-EX 93-8E 5*), pictured at 10-years-old in 2016, received a Lifetime Production Award in August 2021 and has 3 EX and 3 VG daughters to date.

Adelaide wasn’t the only Starrcrest-bred animal that was exhibited at the National Show this year. Starrcrest Weapon Of Choice (VG-88) was the 2nd Milking Senior Yearling for Quality Holsteins and Westcoast Holsteins after winning that class in Red Deer. Starrcrest OT Brooklyns Twerk (VG-86), an On Time maternal sister to Adelaide, stood 6th in the Junior 2-Year-Old class after winning in Red Deer. Twerk was purchased by Francrest Farms, ON, after the show. These three combined to be the 4th place Senior Breeder’s Group for Starrcrest. “Our Breeders Group represented a dream come true for us – a group at the National Show standing in the same ring as some iconic Jersey herds,” remarked Jim. These three cows also faired quite well in the All-West competition, with Adelaide claiming the All-West Jersey Cow title, Weapon Of Choice Reserve honors and Twerk being nominated.

Starrcrest Premier Avivva (EX 90) received a Production Award in 2021, the first ever for Starrcrest.

While their herd might be small, the cows they have standing in the barn are backed by deep pedigrees and are passing that along to future generations. Adelaide’s dam, Desdion Tequila Anna ET (EX 90-2E), was the last cow that the late Charlie Thompson helped Jim and Kirsty buy, which made Anna and all her progeny that much more special. Anna was Nominated All Western Jersey Intermediate Cow in 2017 and was 2nd junior 2-year-old at the Calgary Dairy Classic Show in 2016. Anna is due again this winter and will start on a flush program. Excitation Tootsie (EX 90-2E) is the last remaining Anna daughter on the farm. “She has the makings of a great brood cow,” noted Jim. “We have daughters out of her that are following the family pattern of balanced, trouble-free cows.” Adelaide has three daughters on the farm, sired by Barnabas and Webcam, that Jim & Kirsty are also excited about.

Desdion Tequila Anna ET (EX 90-2E), top and right, is the dam of Premier Adelaide, and is due this winter and will join the flush program once fresh!

Anna’s dam is Homeridge Furor Annette (SUP EX 92-8E), who has produced numerous show-winning descendants. Interestingly enough, one of the most talked about Jerseys in the U.S. this year, Homeridge T Annette, shares her 5th dam with Adelaide, Homeridge Reliabull Annette (EX-3E 1*), who was Reserve All-Canadian 5-Year-Old in 1994 and Nominated All-Canadian in 1992.

Another family that has been successful at Starcrest traces back to Enniskillen Title Grove (SUP-EX 94-3E 6*). Starrcrest Premier Armadillo (VG 88), the dam of Weapon Of Choice, has a October ’20 Notebook daughter and is due again in late winter to Contour. Roswitha Furor Abby (EX 91), Weapon’s great-grandam, and her sister Roswitha Furor Ashlee (SUP-EX 93-8E 5*), were actually the first two Jerseys that Jim and Kirsty owned.

Allyson, left, and Ashlee, right, were Champion and Reserve Champion Showman, respectively, at the 2021 Armstrong show.

Starrcrest Premier Avivva (EX 90) is from this same family and received a Gold Award in 2020 with a BCA of 292-294-341. This was the first Production Award for Starrcrest. Avivva was HM Intermediate Champion at the 2020 Westerner Showcase. She has Pollen and Webcam heifers on the ground and is currently being flushed. Her dam, Blackstone Aviana (EX 91-4E) is due next summer to Chocochip with her 7th calf!

They’ve also recently invested in the “K” family from Avonlea and have several heifers they are hoping to develop. “We are also looking to add one or two new Jersey family lines to the barn over the next year,” remarked Jim.

While the Jerseys have certainly earned the spotlight of late, their Holstein barnmates deserve recognition as well. Starcrest Lakeside Lola (VG-85) was the first animal Jim and Kirsty registered with their prefix. Her daughter, Starcrest I M Loopey was Reserve All-American Fall Calf in 2010. Lola had two VG daughters, and has one Excellent and one VG granddaughter to date.

Lyba Jordan Ellen (VG-89 2*) was Reserve Intermediate Champion at the 2009 Convention Show and eventually was named All-BC Senior 3-Year-Old and HM All-Canadian. Her 3rd dam is Snow-N Denises Dellia (EX-95 2E). Jim and Kirsty owned her in partnership with Lampada Holsteins and Stanhope Wedgwood.

Unfortunately, Ellen was lost shortly after her 2009 show season, but, she has daughters and granddaughters that have classified and produced well for the partnership: Sanchez Essence (EX-92-4E 3*) has two daughters scored EX-91-3E sired by Fever and Lauthority and a Doorman scored VG-88; Lauthority Exclusive has one daughter, Sid Elsa, scored EX-93, and her first milking daughter classified VG-85. Blitz Edee (EX-92 95-MS) was sold as a young cow to Willswikk Holsteins, BC, and she has three VG daughters and three VG granddaughters.

Starcrest Lakeside Lola (VG-85) was the first registered Holstein for Jim & Kirsty.

Jim and Kirsty partnered with Sunnyhome Farms on Sunnyhome Aftershock Mildred (EX-93-2E 1*) in mid-2015. She produced over 52,000 kgs milk and earned several show recognitions throughout her lifetime. Jim and Kirsty are excited about her daughters Chief Maude (VG-88-3Y) and Unix Marsha, a January ’21 heifer.

Beyond Jim and Kirsty investing in outside families, their daughters are also very involved in growing the herd. “We always encourage our daughters to invest in animals that they would like to develop,” noted Jim. Ashlee and Allyson are working under their own Jersey prefixes, Ashcrest and Alikona, with much success. Both have Excellent cows and Very Good progeny from their deep-pedigreed purchases. More recently, Ashlee bought Wendon Lambda Devastate in the Fall Fantasy Online Sale, a July ’21 heifer who is backed by 8 VG/EX dams.

Lyba Jordan Ellen (VG-89 2*) was All-BC Senior 3-Year-Old and HM All-Canadian in 2009 for Jim and Kirsty. Many of the Holsteins at Starrcrest are from her maternal line.

This spring, Allyson purchased Clanman Beautiful Violet, a December ’20 Beautiful daughter backed by 7 VG/EX dams from the Veronica family.

Because of the small size of the herd, Jim and Kirsty are very selective on the traits they are breeding for. “We are trying to breed cows that classify well, have high components no matter the breed, are trouble-free and long-lasting,” commented Jim. Current Jersey sires include Victorious, VIP, Frank and Webcam and Holstein sires include Chief, Lambda and Sidekick.

Jim and Kirsty plan on increasing their focus on marketing the Jersey genetics they have developed over the years, and hopefully have a Starrcrest-bred bull in A.I. They have also considered expanding into value-added processing on the farm. In terms of showing, exhibiting the winning Breeder’s Herd at the National Show is high on their list as well!

“Adelaide’s story has been a dream come true for the whole family,” commented Jim. “We are incredibly proud of the contributions our daughters make towards our show animals and the farm in general. To be able to share this experience with them has been truly extraordinary.”

 

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