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Lucky Hill: Always ng Forward
87-2y, backed by seven EX dams in the
family, is owned by Lucky Hill
Dairy and Hamming Holsteins,
VG-87-2y, a Jordy-Red from seven EX dams in the LAVENDER RUBY REDROSE line.
Lucky Hill held its first sale in June 2021, ‘Sweet Summertime’ partnered with Hamming Holsteins, Vernon. “We have a lot of animals from so many different pedigrees, we wanted to offer them to other breeders,” says Joanne. The sale averaged $3577 on 39 live lots, with a Chief daughter, LUCKY CHIEF RIBBON VG- 86-2y, commanding the top bid of $14,000.
With their existing cow barn at capacity, the Vanderlindes and Verdoold recently started construction on a new 380 x 115 foot free- stall barn with 320 stalls. Ready next spring, it will feature sand bedding, both 52 and 48-inch wide stalls, and a manure vacuum (no scrapers). There will be an area for cows needing special attention that includes outdoor access. Cows will continue to be milked 3X/day in the farm’s existing double-14 parallel parlour. “We are excited about the new barn and the added cow comfort the cows will enjoy,” says Joanne.
Giving back to the industry is important to the Vanderlindes. Willem, 49, has been Alberta’s Holstein Canada National Director since 2019. He is a Past President of the Alberta Holstein Branch, a Central Alberta Holstein Club Director, and a delegate to Alberta Milk, while Joanne is a 4-H leader. They exhibit animals regularly at Westerner Dairy Showcase, Alberta Dairy Congress and other shows.
The Vanderlindes and Verdoold credit their farm’s success to teamwork, loving their job, trying to stay humble, never wanting to stand still, and listening. As Willem says, “I really like to listen to other breeders and try to learn and take something from everyone I talk to.” It is this commitment and passion that will continue to serve Lucky Hill Dairy well as it moves forward.
        The team at Lucky Hill Dairy (with the girlfriends of three Vanderlinde boys). L-R front: Megan Dykman and Reuben, Willem and Joanne, Owen, Hannah, Cees Verdoold, Simone Huisman and Justin. Back row: Ryan and Kalynn Grosman.
RED-ET EX-91-3E, that put Lucky Hill on the map. Willem and Rien Meinen of Meihaven Holsteins, Red Deer, purchased Ruby as a Valentine’s Day gift for their wives in 2012. That fall, she was second Senior 2-year-old at World Dairy Expo’s R&W Show and first and Best Udder at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair’s R&W Show while on her way to becoming Reserve All-American R&W Senior 2-Year-Old. By Reality-Red and backed by 10 of 11 EX/VG dams and two All-American R&W winners, Ruby is now almost 12 years old and has 86,670 kg of 4.7% milk lifetime. “Ruby is currently dry and in our front pasture,” says Willem. “Whenever I drive out of the yard, she is always there.”
Over the years, Willem has invested in many members of some of the breed’s best cow families. “There are so many good cow families out there that you can buy from, but it is the ones with those ‘famous’ pedigrees like Laurie Sheik, Tony Beauty, Diamond, Renita, Bombi, etc., that will always be in demand and marketable,” he says. Joanne adds, “We are always trying to improve our herd. That is why we are still buying animals to keep up our pedigrees and always have something new to offer buyers.” Many of their purchases are made in “partnership” with other breeders who share similar interests. While these partnerships lessen Lucky Hill’s risk and financial outlay, they have led to some great friendships as well. “I am probably involved in more than 100 partnership animals currently,” says Willem. “I am pretty easy going, and the people I own cattle with are pretty easy going. That is the only way you can make a partnership work.” Indicative of the kind Willem partners and invests in are animals like BLONDIN MVN BROOKLYN-RED-ET, a December 2020 Moovin heifer backed by 20 generations of EX in the AUDREY POSCH family, and OCD JORDY RASPBERRY-RED-ET
 Bonnie Cooper [email protected]
At Lucky Hill Dairy Ltd., the progress and changes never stop. Be it investing in further deep-pedigreed, well-known cow families or building a new barn, Lucky Hill owners Willem and Joanne Vanderlinde and Cees Verdoold are continually improving their Lacombe dairy farm.
Willem and Joanne both grew up on dairy farms in Holland. A trip to Ontario and Manitoba in 1996 spurred the young married couple to think about buying a farm in Canada. When Cees Verdoold, who ran a small mixed farm near Willem’s parents, heard that, he said, “If you guys are going to Canada, I want to come along. Why don’t we go together?”
In the fall of 1997, the Vanderlindes and Verdoold began their new life in Canada as partners in Lucky Hill Dairy. From the original sixty grade cows, they registered and upgraded the grade calves through Holstein Canada’s National Identification Program. The herd progressed quickly with purchased purebreds and embryos followed by flushing of their top females.
Today ’s “Home of the Lucky Cows” encompasses more than 250 purebred Holstein cows, including eight Multiple EX, 10 EX, 125 VG and 119 GP cows, while averaging 12,885 kg milk, 515 kg fat, 403 kg protein (280- 306-280). They farm 1000 acres, growing canola, corn, and hay for haylage. Cows are fed a TMR of corn, haylage, hay, barley and grain. Willem and Joanne’s five children – Ryan, 23, Reuben, 21, Justin, 19, Hannah, 16, and Owen, 11 – have all been a big part of the farm’s development and have been or are involved
in 4-H. Cees, now 71, is edging towards retirement but remains active on the farm. Rounding out the workforce are two full-time and four part-time employees.
“We breed for longevity,” says Willem, a fact bore out by the 22 - 60,000 kg, 15 - 80,000 kg, seven 100,000 kg and four 120,000 kg lifetime production certificates they have earned from Holstein Canada in just the last 18 months. Their cows have made 101 Superior Lactations, with one achieving 10,000 kg lifetime total F + P. In addition, they have 11 cows with 1-Star, ten at 3-Star, one 4-Star, four 5-Star, and one 6-Star. To achieve that longevity, Willem states, “We breed for type and that has served us very well. I like cows with really good udders, rumps, and lots of power and width of chest because cows that are narrow just don’t milk. I also watch the curvature and side view on the rear legs as I don’t want straight legged cows.” Willem uses both proven and young sires in the breeding program. “When selecting bulls, I look at the whole package. I look for a plus on butterfat, but don’t ever look at milk much. By saying I breed for type most people will think I am breeding for a show cow, but I’m not,” he clarifies. “I think you need good type and then the cows will milk.”
As a young boy, Willem showed a Red & White Holstein calf as part of a school project. “I was dead last. The calf was four inches shorter than the rest and I was four inches taller than the other competitors,” says the now six foot, seven inch Willem. “I was so embarrassed. I told my Dad I never wanted to see a Red cow again.”
The Vanderlindes laugh about that experience today as 20% of their herd is now Red & White and it was a R&W, KINGSMILL RUBY REAL-
                                     | Abbotsford, 1160 Riverside Rd., 604-853-2372 | Enderby, 704 Old Vernon Rd., 250-838-0745 | |

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