Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pepsi or Coke?

It's a timeless battle. Which is better: Pepsi or Coke? Each has pros and cons. In their favor, Pepsi has a cooler label, while Coke puts happiness into each beverage. On the negative flip-side, Pepsi had the disturbing commercial with the boy getting sucked into the bottle, while Coke can corrode a penny. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference.

This blog really has nothing to do with caffeinated sodas, but it does have to do with a heifer named Pepsi. Here she is:

Greg and Jason headed down to Columbus on Friday to the Buckeye Classic Sale at the Spring Dairy Expo with the intention of dropping a few bucks to improve our herd genetics. Before they went to the sale, they perused the sale catalog with data about each cow, so they could be sure they were picking out the best addition to our herd. The data in the catalog can tell you just about everything you need to know about a cow. It lists her pedigree; if she's in production (meaning she's been milked), it lists her milk records; it lists her registration number; it even includes her birthdate. With 53 head of cattle in the sale, it was a lot of reading material!

So what were the boys looking for when they set their sights on a cow? Milk has two main components: protein and butterfat. Dairy farmers are paid based upon the amount of each component in their milk. Greg and Jason wanted to make sure that they selected cows that would help the herd average in those two areas. They also wanted to pick cows that had high production (made a lot of milk.) A lot of this is done based on speculation. Remember how I said the sale catalog lists pedigree information? You can tell a lot about how a cow will milk based on her lineage. If her dam (mom) produced a lot of milk, then it is likely that she will also.

Once Greg and Jason selected a few head of cattle that they were interested in based off of their paper records, it was time for them to look at them in person. Before the sale started, they were able to look at each cow and heifer they were considering. Just like anything, it might look good on paper, but in front of your eyes, it's a different story. As they looked at the cattle, they examined their confirmation (how their legs are set up), their frame size, and their overall appearance. Based on what they saw on paper and what they saw in person, they narrowed down their wish list.

When it was all said and done, Greg and Jason came home with Pepsi, not Coke. (Ok, that's a bad joke. I doubt there was even a cow named Coke in the sale.) Pepsi is a two-year old registered Holstein, set to calve on April 18. They also picked up two heifers (young females that haven't had calves yet), Divine and Daurel. The barns are a little fuller, but we're looking forward to seeing how these ladies contribute to the herd.

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