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From the Farm: Beauty before intelligence

August 16, 2013
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

I always tell Steve and our boys that I do some of my best work around three in the morning.

Apparently, I also do some of my worst work early in the morning as well.

That was made blatantly obvious in last week's column regarding Russell preparing his cow for the Brown County Fair.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

I have done some really bizarre things in my writing career and have had people call me and chew my ears off over the phone for what seems like forever. Thankfully, this time, all I received was a bit of ribbing from several fair goers - namely my husband and sons!

I guess I kept calling Silky by her mother's name, Speedy.

Why I did that, I don't have a clue.

I mean, I like Speedy and all, but Russell has never taken her to the fair. She's just not that much of a show cow.

She got the short end of the stick when it comes to show-cow genetics. There always seems to be a genetic hog in everyone's family. Silky is the genetic hog in this cow family. She earned a trip the the beauty pageant at the Minnesota State Fair, for the second year in a row.

Speaking of show-cow genetics, this year, we took one of our Holstein calves to the fair.

Elka is the daughter of Patty, who lived with us for more than six years. Each time Patty calved, she had a daughter, so at this time I believe we have three Patty daughters in our herd.

We all think Elka is the genetic hog in her family. She's got a massive frame, a straight back and what we thought were good legs. The judge thought she was fat, so she didn't do all that well.

The significance is that Patty, the mother, was a cow for the production record books. plus she has a massive, strong body. Apparently instead of beauty pageants, we should enter Patty and Elka in body-building competitions.

Patty milked like crazy! Putting out more than 100 pounds of milk, per day, during the peak time of her lactation. She gave birth to nothing but heifer calves, which are very valuable to dairy farmers.

Patty was long-lived and was a kind, gently soul. I believe she was at least eight before she had to be sold. Eventually, Patty was no longer able to conceive, therefore she could not stay in our herd. We need cows that are able to have babies.

Elka, in my opinion, is one of the best looking heifers out of Patty. Number 420, also known as Pothead, milks like crazy, but isn't as nice looking as Elka.

Elka's attitude needs a little adjusting. She has run away from home several times. One time she ventured across the river, which resulted in Joey having to jump into the river after her - better jumping into a river for a cow, than a coon like I did.

Apparently, Elka didn't inherit any of Patty's kind-gentle-soul genetics.

Well, apparently, when you show a cow you don't need to be too concerned with attitude and what's on the inside. During a dairy show, it's very important to have what's on the outside to be dynamic.

If Elka stood up and gave the most unintelligent answer in a beauty pageant, She could respond like a recent Miss Phillipines who had this to say when asked about choosing between being smart or beautiful, "Well, I'd rather choose to be beautiful, um because, to be beautiful it's natural. But being smart you can learn... you can learn, um a lot of things... a lot of things from the experience... you can learn from a lot of things being smart."

So Elka would have to choose productive or beautiful, "I would rather be beautiful, um because, beautiful is natural. I am beautiful. Being productive is important, because without that I would be unproductive. But being beautiful is natural, yes, it's natural. I have to work on being productive."

For questions or comments, e-mail me at kahoffman@newulmtel.net.

 
 

 

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