This is Topaz, our new breeding bull. His breed is mostly milking Devon, but also has some Jersey and New Zealand Friesian in him. He is 11 months old, and comes from Dharma Lea Farm in Sharon Springs, NY. Those of you who have been following our newsletter and facebook posts know that we have been excited about him for months. We made the arrangements to purchase him several months ago, but were waiting until he was weaned from nursing from his mother (just last month) and ready for the big move. He is settling right in here. He is extremely mellow but got right to work breeding a heifer as soon as he arrived.
To top off all the excitement, last week we found out that Animal WelfareApproved awarded a grant that I wrote to help fund the purchase of Topaz. Animal Welfare Approved is an organization that certifies farms who meet high standards of animal welfare, and they also provide grants to farms who have a project for bettering the welfare of their livestock. Topaz isn’t just any old bull, he is one who we have been thinking about since the spring, and comes from a farm that has a very innovative breeding program. His genetics will hopefully bring our entire dairy herd into the direction we want to go, resulting in future cows who are better suited to our grass-based systems.