Ploeckelman recognized by national association
Joseph Ploeckelman of Athens was recently honored by the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association as the recipient of a National Award for his Brown Swiss dairy herd. Ploeckelman got his start with Brown Swiss when he was 9 years old with the purchase of his first heifer. His parents had always had grade Holsteins on their family farm in northwestern Wisconsin. “As a kid, I was always drawn to them. There was no basis behind it other than I just really wanted one,” admits Ploeckelman. Currently he has more than 20 registered Brown Swiss.
The Progressive Genetic Herd Award was given to Joseph Ploeckelman. This award is for the most increase (compared to the previous year) in PTA protein of all cows within the same herd. This award has four divisions based on herd size. Ploeckelman’s herd falls into Group 1, milking 10-29 registered Brown Swiss cows.
Ploeckelman attributes the overall healthiness and durability of the Brown Swiss as a main reason he considers them to be profitable. “They end up being a lower-cost cow to own and work with,” he said. And he sees it first-hand with his herd — the number treated for infection as well as the somatic cell counts are lower in the Brown Swiss compared to the Holsteins on the family’s farm. Feet and legs are also very strong with Brown Swiss compared to other dairy breeds, therefore, Ploeckelman tries to focus his attention on breeding for udders, “I want them to look like a dairy cow, not a beef cow,” he explains. “Cows that are bred well make good milk — and they last,” adds Ploeckelman.
The Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association, established in 1880, registers 9,000 animals per year and serves about 1,800 combined adult and junior members. All cattle in the registry descend from the initial importations of 25 bulls and 140 females from Switzerland, where the breed was developed around 4000 B.C. The world population of Brown Swiss is reported to be about four million, which ranks in the top two in world-wide population of dairy cattle. For more information about the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association, visit www.brownswissusa. com.