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                                                                   24 BC HOLSTEIN NEWS ❁ SPRING 2021
High Quality Determination
Amanda Poelman
Raised on the family dairy, Sunny Vale Farm, Amanda completed her B.A. Communications degree and currently freelances in Ag writing and marketing.
 Meet BC’s 2020 Quality Milk Award Winner
 uality management Anton.
  Dairy producers in British Columbia care about the quality of the product they produce. In a society where consumers demand to know where their food comes from, it is important for farmers to maintain a high level of confidence and trust with those purchasing dairy products.
The BC Dairy Association understands that the commitment to high-quality milk production begins on-farm and recognizes the highest-ranking herd with the ‘Quality Milk’ award each November. In 2020, no herd could top Paul Schmidt of Trinity Holsteins in Deroche.
In his early years, Paul spent a lot of time in Deroche on his grandparents’ dairy, hoping to one day become a producer himself. Unfortunately, his grandparents’ cows and quota were sold while he was still a teenager, requiring an alternative plan to achieve his goal. In 1994, on the morning of his 19th birthday, Paul waited eagerly outside the Milk Board office to get his name on the Graduated Entry Program (GEP) list. “I was there early,” laughs Paul, “I wanted to make sure no one got their name in before me that day!”
While waiting for his name to move to the top of the list, Paul worked for various herds in the area, picking up new skills and techniques and furthering his passion for cows. Eventually he started working for the Kraakman family of Quo Vadis Dairy Farm as the herd manager. “The Kraakmans have been very good to me,” Paul confesses,
“they really put the ‘get more young farmers started’ideaintopracticeandallowedmeto take the reins of their herd.”
That relationship still continues. Paul’s name finally came up on the GEP list in 2011, by which time the Kraakmans had expanded their herd to 180 cows and built a new barn next door, freeing up the older facility for Paul to lease. “It’s a very unique and efficient setup. I buy feed from them and all our young stock is mixed together at their place. I still manage their herd and we share the equipment, land and all the fieldwork,” says Paul.
Building from his initial 13 cows in 2011, Paul has grown his milking herd to 50 cows consisting of 49 Holsteins and one Jersey. “I was able to purchase cows from two well-known herds in Washington state,” he explains, “now my herd is made up of half Ronelee cows and a quarter Mainstream.” The herd is milked twice daily in a double five herringbone parlour with manual takeoffs. The current herd average is 12,021 kgs with a Somatic Cell Count (SCC) of 29,000.
A Recipe for Success
When it comes to quality milk production at Trinity Holsteins, the recipe for success is pretty straight forward. “I don’t like cows with mastitis,” states Paul simply. “I don’t like what it does to cows, and I don’t live right on the farm, so I don’t like to deal with sick cows. I want happy, healthy cows with full udders when I arrive every morning.” This has been achieved by keeping the stalls as
Amanda Poelman photo
The Schmidts are serious about setting a high bar on q and have the awards to prove it. (L-R Back) Paul, Nikki, (Front) Lincoln and Nelson.
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clean as possible and using lime regularly. The stalls, roughly eight and a half feet long, have rubber mats with sawdust that is added fresh once a week.
At milking time, Paul believes that the manual takeoffs are key to udder health. “With manual takeoffs you don’t get any additional friction in the teat,” Paul explains, who is also a stickler for udder cleanliness. “We use both pre and post dip and we are very diligent about making sure the teat ends are clean before the machine goes on.”
Selecting sires who have higher health traits and lower than breed average numbers for SCC has proven beneficial as well, with current sires including: Bardo, Randall, Alligator and Gymnast. “We genomic test everything,” Paul shares. “That has been a useful tool in deciding who stays to provide replacements and who goes.” Quality forages, regular hoof trimming, and the addition of larger water troughs have all played a part in keeping the cows happy at
While winning the 2020 Milk Quality award is a huge honour, it is not the first award that Trinity Holsteins has earned. “I’m pretty competitive,” Paul admits, “I like knowing that my herd is producing in the top tier and I’m striving to keep it there.” Trinity Holsteins earned the highest Lactanet Herd Management Score in Western Canada in 2016 and has also won several awards for the lowest Somatic Cell Score and highest small herd production average in the Deroche area.
Looking Ahead
With the herd at a comfortable size for the current facility, Paul hopes to maintain the status quo of producing quality milk at the highest level. “Eventually we would like to own land and buildings ourselves; it’s a long-term work in progress. But I hope to have started something that can be passed down to the next generation and give them the opportunity to farm as well,” he sums up.
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