Current Bull Team: King Doc, Sidekick, Persues, Luster and Samite.
Important traits: correct rumps, sound feet and legs, good udders, strong fertility, fat and protein
First EX cow: Kelenmar 672 (Kay-Jay Family)
The Ross family of Kelenmar Holsteins in Western Victoria have achieved their first Master Breeder award.
“It’s been our family’s ultimate goal right from the commencement of the stud. We’ve always looked up to the Master Breeders and wondered if we would ever get to that stage. To finally achieve it is a wonderful feeling” says Kerri.
In 1989, Kerri’s parents Peter and Wendy Ross started dairying in their own right with part of their commercial family herd at Bald Hills, north of Ballarat.
Wendy and Peter always had a strong desire to become a Holstein stud and in 1999, with much encouragement from many industry friends, they formed Kelenmar Holsteins.
In recent years, the Ross family has grown their milking herd from 140 cows. Last year they milked 180 and this year, they will milk approximately 220 cows.
Kerri says “4 years ago we invested in new tracks and fencing which gave us access to new areas of the property including a larger milking area and improved pastures”.
In the beginning, Kelenmar Holsteins made it their number one priority to correct poor type within their herd and both Wendy and Kerri found this both challenging and enjoyable.
“We started with very old style cows that had terrible feet and legs, deep udders and high pins. We knew it was going to be hard to turn it around but as each generation came along, we saw huge improvements and it’s been very rewarding to see the progress” says Kerri.
Kelenmar Holsteins used the original herd and commercial cows they had bought to try and progress cow families through the appendix system as much as possible.
“Only 2 animals in the herd were appendix 2’s. The rest were appendix 3, 4 and grade animals. Many were off-colour and came from a shorthorn background which lead to an extra lengthy process” says Kerri.
In 1999, the family bought stud stock from some foundation cows in Victoria to help them develop the stud quicker.
Kerri says “those that bred incredibly well were the Star’s and Elgadoo’s from Ingoldale Holsteins, the Emily’s from Glomar Holsteins and later on, the Lucky’s from Marion Dale Holsteins. This lead to some of our home bred families; the Sootys, Kay-Jays, Bessies and the list goes on”.
The Ross family were encouraged by many of their dairy friends to start showing and in 2000, Peter Dickson from Semex clipped Kelenmar’s first pair of heifers for Kerri to lead at the Ballarat Show. After having great success, Kerri, Glenn and Dylan all became immersed in showing and achieved great success over many years.
“Showing was important to us because it was a benchmark for our animals. It was helpful to see how they stood up against some of the best in Australia, and it provided us with a network of likeminded people, which was hard to come by in our area” says Mrs Gallagher.
Kerri highlights Kelenmar Holsteins has used embryo transfers over time to capitalise on many bloodlines that were bought in.
“I enjoy the selective mating side of breeding and I pick all the bulls individually for each cow to suit the traits we need to improve. I find the bulls that will be the best fit including fertility and fat and protein” says Mrs Gallagher.
Kelenmar Holsteins have also classified twice a year since the stud began and herd testing has played a vital role in the operation.
“It’s very important to the business when it comes to the marketability of our animals and building strong pedigrees for the future. It keeps us in touch with what the cows are producing and helps us selectively mate” says Kerri.
Peter and Wendy Ross, along with their children Mark, Kerri, Glenn and Dylan, have all played an active role in the success of the stud.
Peter and Wendy decided to exit the industry in 2020 and Kelenmar Holsteins is now operated by Kerri and her brother Glenn, who continue to develop all that has been achieved to date. While Kerri focuses on the breeding, Glenn focuses on growing high quality fodder for the increasing herd in the dryland operation.
“Achieving the Master Breeder on the year Mum and Dad left the industry was the perfect way to conclude their years of hard work and the team effort put in by the whole family” says Kerri.
“We’d like to thank Holstein Australia for the wonderful support and encouragement that their team has shown us. Finally accomplishing the Master Breeder is extremely exciting for the whole family.” says Mrs Gallagher.
Please join us in congratulating the Ross family on their outstanding achievement and contribution to the Holstein breed.