Heads Recognized as Holstein Retired Master Breeders

DeWitt and Diane Head of Brookfield were honored as New York State Holstein Retired Master Breeders for 2013. They are sitting in front of their five children Randy, Tim, Mike, Michele and Shannon.

(Brookfield, NYHead family – Feb. 2013) DeWitt and Diane Head of Headline Farm in Brookfield were recently recognized as New York Holstein’s Retired Master Breeders for 2013. The following was written by a member of the Head family and submitted to the Madison County Courier for publication. It has been edited for space.

DeWitt grew up on the family farm originally purchased by his great-grandfather in 1904, located in an area many call the swamps of Brookfield. When his father bought the farm in the 1930s, he built a brand new barn and filled it with registered Guernsey cattle, but that lasted only a short time. You see, the monthly Earlville sales were held nearby and he was soon adding registered Holsteins to the herd.

When Head graduated from high school in 1958, he took over the breeding of the herd. A short time later, he attended the Curtiss Candy Breeding School in Illinois. Returning to Brookfield, he began using the very best Curtiss bulls available. He had big dreams and they started to materialize as these matings resulted in several cows that classified Very Good and Excellent for young dairyman.

Now matings of the bovine sort weren’t the only thing on the young dairyman’s mind in the early 1960s. He met a young lady from the Utica area when they went to the State Fair one year with mutual friends. They married on Halloween of 1964.

When you approach the farm, you cannot miss the painted farm sign which features Headson Admiral Panda Wanda. This EX-94 4E cow had more than 200,000 pounds of lifetime production; a level that was hard to achieve in that era – and she was the second generation to accomplish it.

Wanda was one of Admiral’s featured daughters and brought many visitors to the young couple’s farm. She had a Citation R daughter who scored Very Good and made 33,000 pounds of milk as a junior 3-yr-old.

In 1974, her son Headline Telstar Skyking, sold as a 3-month-old calf in the Wintercrest Sale. He topped the sale at $13,500.

The Heads sold more than $30,000 worth of bulls from Wanda and also used her VG-87 son by Astronaut in their own herd. He sired another group of Excellent and Very Good cows in the building of their herd.

Now the “swamps of Brookfield” had always been best known for the excellent deer hunting they offered. But then all of that changed. On Friday Nov. 13, 1992they purchased a Tora Matt Lancer daughter they hoped would become a terrific brood cow. C Madawaska Novah came to Brookfield, made record after record of 25, 26, as high as 29,000 pounds of milk, testing 4.0 percent butterfat or higher. She scored 2E-92. And in June 1994, she delivered a white heifer calf by Hanoverhill Starbuck.

Word spread and that fall folks were coming to Brookfield, not for the deer hunting, but to see “the calf.”

The Heads youngest daughter would spend the summer and fall of 1995 on the halter of MS Headline Starbuck Neva. Harrisburg, Madison, The Royal Winter Fair, which she won. She was Junior All-American, Reserve All-American and Unanimous All-Canadian Summer Yearling that year. It was what our honorees had dreamed about all those years before…their love of good cows, their hard work had paid off – she was their All-American dream come true. Neva calved out, scored VG-86 as a 2-year-old, made 26,000 pounds of milk and went about joining her dam in the brood cow division at Headline Farms. Four generations of her family were featured in the catalog when the herd dispersed in December 2000.

Neva had an older Ex-90 maternal sister by Prelude, who would do her share of transmitting good genes as well. Her VG Exranco Thor daughter sold in the dispersal, along with her springing Counselor daughter. The Counselor would go to Massachusetts. Her Eland daughter would be named Junior Champion of the Big E in 2003 and then develop into a 94 point cow – every bit the image of the Novah family.

There were several matings that were a recurring theme on the primary cow families in the herd – the Abbys who trace back to the Wanda cow, the Novahs, and the Jenny family.

The Heads often crossed Carnation Counselors, Boulet Charles and KED Juror back and forth. And it was one of those very matings that made more of the Heads’ dreams come true;  Charles from an EX-90 Counselor with the granddam an EX daughter of the Astronaut Willie bull – another summer yearling, again with their youngest daughter on the halter, the year of 1997.

Headline Charles Anna Mary would be the Unanimous Jr. All-American Summer Yearling that year and eventually go on to score EX-91. Her 91 point maternal sister by Astre and a younger full sister would be features in the dispersal. Today, the Heads still own one animal – an Erbacres Damion great-granddaughter of Anna Mary.

The Heads loved their life working with cows, but their deepest love is saved for their five children – Randy, Tim, Mike, Michele and Shannon, and their 15 grandchildren.

DeWitt and Diane are passionate Phillies baseball and SU basketball fans.

They are members of the Madison County Holstein Club and consistently supported NY Holstein activities, including donating the Scholarship Calf in 1998, consigning to state sales, advertising in the NY News, and DeWitt served as a State Director for several years.

They are co-chairs of the North Brookfield Town Park Committee. More recently they have been volunteering time to organize and rejuvenate the dairy cattle show at the local Brookfield Fair.

 

 

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