Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, June 12, 1993, Image 26

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    A26-Lancaster Farming, Saturday, June 12, 1993
Focuses On Merchandising
(Continued from Pago A 1)
Brook Sally Cleitus and her fami
ly members. Dr. Larry Kennel of
Cornerstone Genetics comes to
the farm twice a week to do the
The previous Sally, a Ned-Boy,
died last November. She peaked at
160 pounds as a 3-year-old. Eight
of her daughters are milking; all
have exceptional records. She is
the dam of Sonja and Tidy-Brook
Sally Cleitus, who has been the fo
cal point of their flushing program
for the past two years.
She is the top cow of the Hol
stein breed for milk in the nation
and seventh in the breed for pro
Marketing Program
Alan has exported 31 of Sally
Cleitus’s eggs to Europe, and se
ven of her bull calves are in AI. He
has contracts for six more bulls
domestically, and one to Japan.
"It’s always been my goal to put
a bull in AI,” Alan said. He has
sent 12, and has 23 more con
Alan started his marketing pro
gram three years ago, using the in
ternational issue of “Holstein
World” to obtain names and ad
dresses of embryo buyers and bull
studs. He sent pedigrees to sever
al, then followed up with phone
“It’s like a full-time job,” Alan
said of the work involved with
marketing embryos. “It takes up
most of the evenings.”
“He’s constantly on the phone,”
Kendra added.
When Alan is putting a calf on a
sale, he calls contacts who have
shown interest in the family.
When visitors arrive at Tidy-
Brook a frequent occurrence
someone has to show them
around, even if it’s milking time
or there is hay drying in the fields.
Some visitors are buyers, some
are just curious, Alan said, but all
are treated as potential buyers.
They are given pictures, produc
tion updates, and pedigrees. In an
ticipation of visitors, Alan and
Mark keep the cows clipped and
the area scraped and clean.
Alan said one of his biggest
hassles of merchandising is ob
taining, on short notice, semen
that qualifies for sending embryos
He will refuse a contract if he
thinks the mating won’t work.
Tidy-Brook Sally Cleßus is the top cow of the Holstein breed for milk In the nation.
She Is scored a Very Good 87 with an Excellent mammary. Her USDA cow index Is
+3,370 pounds of milk, +lO5 pounds fat, and +lO7 pounds protein. Her CTPI is +1,513,
placing her seventh In the breed.
“Usually theyTl work with you,”
he said.
Management Changes
Because of strict rules concern
ing the exporting of embryos,
Alan and Mark have made some
changes in farm management
They always use a fresh, sterile
needle for each cow. and calves
get colostrum only from leukosis
clean cows. When a top calf is
bom, it is not permitted to nurse
its mother.
Sally is dry now, but when she
is milking she is kept in a separate
box stall and fed individually.
“It’s an extreme amount of extra
work,” Alan said.
Tidy-Brook’s RHA is 19,300
pounds of milk. “That has suffered
severely from flushing,” Alan
said. “We ignore it to concentrate
on getting the maximum bottom
All of his cows, except two, are
used to incubate embryos. Alan
explained that a calf out of an Ex
cellent cow might be worth about
$500; a calf out of the Sally family
is worth much more. If a cull cow
happens to come in heat before
she’s shipped, she will remain in
the herd to carry an embryo.
Division of Labor
Alan makes all the decisions on
the cows and Mark is responsible
for the field work.
Mark and Kendra milk in the
morning; Mark and employee Joel
Mills, 17, milk in the afternoon.
Alan feeds the cows and Ashley
and Whitney feed the calves.
They milk 80 cows in a
double-S herringbone parlor with
10 units. It takes them an hour and
a half.
Kendra, 29, was not raised on a
farm. “She’s adjusted well; she
does a good job,” her father-in-
law said.
Kendra does the farm’s finan
cial accounts on the computer.
Alan keeps the books on the cows,
doing the registrations and con
tracts, and keeping abreast of the
changes in the current popularity
of bulls.
Joel, a student at Chambersburg
Area Senior High School, lived in
the other half of the farmhouse as
a child and liked to watch the
farming operation.
“We sent him to feed calves,”
Alan said, “and now we trust him
with anything with the cows.”
Mark’s wife Lyndell is no long
er actively involved with the farm
ing operation.
Getting Started
When Alan first wanted to
flush, Mark was not enthusiastic,
but he went along with it He re
luctantly agreed the second time.
Mark explained that he was
hesitant because of the cost in
volved and because, Tm just the
old school.”
Now he says, “Financially, it’s
been good to us.”
At first, Alan sold a lot of em
bryos by sending photos and mak
ing phone calls to potential buy
ers. Soon, people started coming
to the farm. “It came too easy to
start with,” Alan said.
Alan’s advice for someone
wanting to get into merchandising
is straightforward: “Don’t call
people unless you have something
they might be interested in. Watch
the sales, see what the bull studs
are taking in. What is creating val
Tidy-Brook Elton Sonja-ET, daughter of Sally Cleitus, may become the highest pro
tein cow of the breed In the July run. She was milking 111 pounds per day early May.
ue and interest? If you have some- bryo, Alan said. sale in the Virgin Islands. “You
thing comparable, advertise and There is some risk involved, no get to meet a lot of people and go
go for it” matter how you get started. The places that you wouldn’t if you
In the absence of an Excellent overhead is high, and, “You have were just milking cows,” Alan
homebred cow, the only way to to be prepared to wait for your said.
get into merchandising is to buy in
with a superior calf, cow or em-
Franklin Co. Correspondent
money,” Alan said.
The merchandising business is
cut-throat, he added. “It’s fast
paced to say the least. We started
flushing virgin heifers at eight
months of age to get the maximum
genetic advancement.
“I try to keep up,” he said, “but
I don’t try to take advantage of
For Alan, the best reward is
when people call for information
and say they have talked with peo
ple who have visited Tidy-Brook
and who say the Sally family is a
good honest cow family.
“That means a lot,” he said.
High-Selling Calves
“The nice thing about this is
that you can take a calf to a sale
and wind up on top or near the
top,” Mark said.
This has happened to Tidy-
Brook four times.
At the Pennsylvania Showcase
Sale in 1992, they had the second
highest selling calf. At the Eastern
National Sale, they had the high
est-selling live animal. At the ET
Extravaganza in St Thomas, Vir
gin Islands, they had the highest
choice. They tied for highest-sell
ing animal at the 1993 Pennsylva
nia Holstein Convention Sale.
Alan and Kendra were the only
couple from Pennsylvania at the
Bonnie Brechbill lives on a
105-acre dairy farm in Edenville
with her husband and 9-year-old
Originally from Long Island,
N.Y., she received her bachelor of
arts degree in English from Frank
lin and Marshall College, Lancas
ter, in 1979.
Bonnie is on the board of direc
tors, and a member of, the Hall of
Fame of the St. Davids Christian
Writer’s Conference. She has won
three honorable mention awards
from Writer’s Digest magazine
and a special honorable mention
from Byline magazine.
Her publication credits include,
Child Life, Grit, Farm & Ranch
Living, Pennsylvania, The War
Cry, Pennsylvania Farmer, Dairy
men News, Christian Herald, Live,
The Christian Communicator,
Country Extra, HiCall, Evangel,
Women Alive!, Agway Coopera
tor, and the Harrisburg Patriot
Tidy-Brook will be selling a
first choice female out of Sally
Cleitus at the National Holstein
Association Convention Sale in
Rochester, N.Y. in June.
New Technique
The Meyerses recently started
using ultrasound to confirm the
sex of 60-75 day-old embryos.
Dr. Ron Kling of Accident,
Md., did it for Tidy-Brook for the
first time in April. Alan said that
since the calves haven’t been bom
“. . . we don’t know if it works.”
But he has enough faith in the
technique to make selling deci
sions based on it
He has five pregnancies from a
flush cow; normally he would
have solicited two or three bull
contracts. This time though, be
cause Dr. Kling told him that four
of the pregnancies are bulls, Alan
went ahead and sold four bulls.
“I don’t like to sell them if
there’s not a good chance I can fill
the contract,” he said.
Farm History
Mark’s grandfather bought the
farm in 1910. While the family
does not know exactly how old the
stone part of the house is, they
know it pre-dates the Civil War.
The Hades family, who had se
veral daughters, lived there during
(Turn to Pago A3O)