Monday, January 13, 2014

Great Guernseys! Lucius Robinson’s Model Dairy Farm

By Kelli Huggins, Education Coordinator

Lucius Robinson, grandson of the New York State Governor of the same name, had a model dairy farm either in the town of Horseheads or Veteran (I’ve seen both towns listed) in the first couple of decades of the 20th century.  With his model farm, Graymont, Robinson was taking part in a trend that really took off beginning in the early to mid-19th century.  While farmers have always made strides to improve their agricultural output, somewhere along the way, some decided that they would establish experimental, “model” farms that would use the latest science to seek to improve and perfect a certain aspect of farming.  The agricultural press debated the merits of this new “book” farming and printed articles suggesting ways to apply the findings of these practitioners.  Most of these model farmers are also aptly described as “gentleman farmers,” meaning that they were typically wealthy white men who came to farming as a second career or hobby.  They had the time, money, and flexibility to experiment because unlike most farmers, their life and livelihood did not depend the monetary success of their farm.

Part of the scientific process of running a model dairy farm was selecting the cows.  Each farmer chose a breed of cattle that he believed to be superior milk producers (and the breeds that people tried ran the entire spectrum of cows).   Robinson selected Guernseys.  The fawn and white-colored Guernsey hails from the British Channel Island of Guernsey and is renowned for its high milk output.  The article gives wonderful descriptions and images of some of the Robinson’s cows and show how important a cow’s lineage was to its reputation (plus they're adorable).  Let’s meet the herd:
Sir Launcelot

“He is one of the finest specimens of the animal kingdom to be found in this section.  He is large, growthy, vigorous, faultless in color and marking, and possessed of the true dairy conformation.”

Leona of Orange
 “Leona of Orange, is a prize beauty, and would certainly delight the eye of any lover of high grade, thoroughbred cattle . She is kind, gentle and delights to be petted. She is a solid color, rich, reddish brown, neatly built for business at the pail, and Mr. Robinson is banking heavily upon her a s a milk producer.”

Winifred of Orange
“Winifred of Orange, is another choice beauty. She has a rich, yellow skin', and is well balanced throughout, as well as docile and intelligent.”

Deputy's Lady
 “Deputy's Lady is a sister of Elsie of Orange and Jennie of Orange, who are famous butter makers, having a record of 290 pounds of butte r in ten months. She is a persistent milker, and although growing, already outclasses, many that have reached their prime.”

Gertrude of Orange
“She is a sister of Florence of Maplewood, who during the first three months of her milking period gave 1,950 pounds of milk, which is an equivalent of 109 pounds of butter.”

Eleanor Thorne
“She is the granddaughter of the famous cow Beeswax, who gave in twenty-six days 716 pounds of milk, and yielding thirty-eight pounds of butter, an average of eight and one half pounds per week. She is the kind that wins admiration on sight, and perhaps for technical perfection is the gem of the herd.”

Beatrice of Orange
 “She is rich in color and has the true dairy conformation. She comes from a family of great producers and will be up to their records from all the indications.”

Ultimately, I'm not certain how big of a success Robinson's farm was.  He must have done relatively well, though, because his Guernseys appear in the Guernsey breeders' journals through the 1920s.  

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the important points of view with us. It is really very nice blog which describes how to SAP in food industry