Holstein Australia has named Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 11 EX93-4E their 2021 Australian Cow of the Year!
Jessica 11 has excelled in all areas, claiming Grand Champion at IDW in 2018 and Reserve Grand in 2015. She also has 14 milking daughters classifying to VG89 MAX!
Article by Jon Holland
The Jessica family of Elmar has again demonstrated why it is among the most potent maternal bloodlines in Australian Holsteins with Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 11-ET EX-93-4E 9* 2xEP crowned Holstein Australia’s 2021 Cow of the Year.
Bred by two-time Master BreedersSteve and Deanne Hore, Jessica 11 is the youngest of four Excellent Braedale Goldwyn daughters out of the remarkable brood cow Elmar Boss Jessica 3rd-ET VG89 31*. The next dam being the famous IDW Champion, three-time All Australian, and Reserve ‘All World’ Holstein, Elmar Leader Jessica EX-3E 16*.
Jessica 11 herself has been an IDW Champion, an All Australian, an OFC Champion and a successful bull dam.
Now her descendants are following the tradition, with her daughter, Elmar Solomon Jessica 5-ET VG87 crowned IDW Intermediate Champion in 2020, and her
granddaughter, Elmar Solomon Jessica 2-ET VG87 in Reserve Intermediate in 2019.
With an established reputation for high production and show winning type, the Jessicas are now setting records at auction – with Jessica 11 and her descendants taking centre stage.
A real Triumph
Elmar Holsteins was founded in 1926 by Steve’s grandparents Martin and Elsie Hore. Steve and Deanne took over the management from Steve’s parents Geoff and Rosa in the 1990s, and are now setting up the business for the next generation, with their youngest son Brady working on the farm full time, while older brother Marty and sister Kelsie are also actively involved.
Based at Leitchville in North West Victoria, the 450-cow Elmar herd is housed in a recently constructed pair of 150 m by 45.5 m compost barns.
Showing Holsteins has been a long tradition at Elmar, with their Jessica family playing a prominent role in building the profile of their business through their
success at local shows, Royals and IDW.
The Hores have been working with their Jessica bloodline for nearly 40 years, founded on the calf Barkly Starbuck Jennie-ET VG87 STP 4* LIFE 1, purchased
at the Northern Lights Sale in 1986. The line can be traced back to the early 1900s to the cow Kelleville Aagie Mooie-IMP NZ Vol. 14 herdbook #1296, imported from
New Zealand by AJ Copping of Tasmania. Arguably one of the most influential cows in the Australian Holstein herdbook, Aagie Mooie’s daughters included Ingolston Black Mooie born in 1929, and the matriarch behind the Jessica branch, Ingolston Mooie Triumph born in 1926.
Consistent high performance combined with extensive flush work has allowed the Jessicas to proliferate at Elmar, with the family now comprising nearly 40% of the
When Jessica 11 entered the ring at IDW in 2018, she was already a crowd favourite.
Her many supporters had followed her career from Intermediate Champion at Kerang’s 2013 Holstein Feature, IDW Honourable Mention Intermediate Champion in 2014, to All Australian and Reserve Senior Champion at IDW in 2015.
After several attempts at the top prize, 2018 was her year, with Japanese judge Kiichi Matsushima awarding her Grand Champion Holstein, making her the third
member of the Jessica family to win the prestigious title.
Of her Excellent maternal sisters, Steve believes Jessica 11 had the greatest allround type and temperament for the show scene. “She loves the shows. She loves
being tied up and was always relaxed and feeding at the shows, which helps get that extra percent out of them,” Steve said.
“I think Jessica 11 is probably the most similar to Leader Jessica in the way she has followed her showring success, and in the way we think she’s going to breed.” Steve rates the IDW of 2015 as one of his greatest achievements with the Jessica family taking Champion with Elmar Ice
Jessica EX-93-2E 1xEP 1xF, Honourable Mention Senior Champion with Elmar Goldwyn Jessica 4-ET EX-93-3E 3* 1xEP 2xM 1xF 2xP LIFE 1, and Jessica 11 featuring as Reserve Champion and Supreme Senior Udder. “To have Champion, Reserve Champion and Honourable Mention all at the one show, all with members of the same family – it’s huge,” Steve said. Despite being beaten for Champion by her stall mate, Steve still hoped Jessica 11’s turn would come. “Getting her back in calf, and calving her ready and set up for the win a few years later was pretty special.”
Driven by their dominance in the show circuit, the Hores have received constant demand for their genetics. However, Steve has resisted the temptation to sell, and maintained somewhat exclusive access to his Jessica bloodline, with only a few select females ever offered outside of Elmar. That was until 22 April 2021, when they hosted their Elmar Extravaganza Sale. With Jessica 11 gracing the front cover of the catalogue, Elmar set a new Australian record for an on-farm single vendor sale, averaging $10,356 across 59 female lots. The opportunity to buy a ‘Jessica’ attracted breeders from across Australia and overseas, with 32 members of the Jessica family selling for an average of $12,500. Descendants of Jessica 11 were in hot demand, with her eight direct daughters averaging a whopping $18,833, including the top price of $46,500 for her Waltnutlawn Solomon daughter, Elmar Solomon Jessica 7-ET VG89. The 4-year-old sold to Calderlea Holsteins in Gippsland, managed by Master Breeders Les, Louise, Tim and Amanda Calder.
Steve said Solomon Jessica 7 looked really well on sale day and was pretty appealing having classified maximum for her age with an EX-91 mammary, and being a
direct daughter of Jessica 11 carrying a sexed pregnancy to DG NH Arrow. “There was a lot of interest in her on the day,”
Steve said. “She was probably the most complete animal we offered at the sale.”
Jessica 7 was one of five Solomon daughters of Jessica 11 from a flush which also resulted in the IDW 2019 Intermediate Champion, Elmar Solomon Jessica 5-ET VG87, and the popular young sire at Genetics Australia, Elmar Salon (J11Salon) BPI+283.
“We have had a lot of really good Solomons here,” Steve said. “He’s a bull that has worked really well for us.” Another successful flush was to the US milk and udder specialist, Delta Lambda.
Of the eight Lambda daughters produced from Jessica 11, four were offered at the sale. The Jones family of Cypress Grove Holsteins in South Gippsland paid $21,000 for Elmar Lambda Jessica 4404-ET , while Brian and Jo Dickson of Emu Banks Holsteins in Terang purchased the sisters Elmar Lambda Jessica 4483-ET for $22,500
and Elmar Lambda Jessica 4488-ET for $14,000. The fourth sister, Elmar Lambda Jessica 4404-ET, travelled to Carters Ridge in Queensland, bought by Rob Lindsay
of Waraba Holsteins and Illawarras for $17,000.
Elmar put a great deal of effort into preparing their cows in the lead up to any flush programs, but Steve admits that doesn’t always guarantee a great flush result. “That’s one thing about Jessica 11,” he said. “She usually responds pretty well, and that’s given us the chance to get a good number of her progeny to sell, yet still hang on to some of our own and hopefully still get a few more.”
Looking for something new
The appeal of owning a Jessica has spread beyond local boarders, with breeders from across the globe looking to establish their own branch of this remarkable
bloodline. Among them are Steven and Jacqueline Fraser, of Guelph, Canada. The Master Breeder herd, Fraeland Holsteins, is recognised throughout Canada as a source of elite Holsteins, with the sale of genetics playing a major role within the business. Bidding online, the Frasers purchased a package of six sexed embyros by Stanton Chief out of Jessica 11’s daughter, Elmar Aftershock Jessica VG85. Steven said he always admired Jessica 11’s grand dam Leader Jessica, and really took notice when the three Jessicas stood in the final Championship line at IDW in 2015. “We’re always looking for something new and this family has already had a long history of success in Australia,” he said. The Frasers said IDW is a highly regarded throughout the world, and that many North Americans recognise the Jessica family through their IDW success. “To be able to have animals that trace to IDW champions with reliable bulls like Chief, Goldwyn and Comestar Leader in the pedigree makes it a very intriguing investment,” Steven said.
This is not the first time the Frasers have invested in Australian genetics, saying they are good enough to compete anywhere in the world. In 2004, the Frasers became partners in another IDW Champion, Fairvale Jed Bonnie 94-ET EX-1E 8* 2xEP 1xM 1xF 1xP LIFE 1, with Goldwyn embryos imported to Canada resulting in the 100,000 litre lifetime production, multiple show winner and brood cow, Fraeland Goldwyn Bonnie EX-95-3E 8*.
“The success we’ve had with the Bonnies gave me more confidence to invest in a foreign family again,” Steven said. “It will be fun to have Bonnies and Jessicas in the barn.” The Frasers have big plans to developing their own branch of the Jessica family to market and show in Canada.
“Over the years we have marketed embryos of our own to Australia, so it is fun when in turn you can purchase genetics back,” Steven said. “I have been fortunate to attend IDW many times, and s much as it is a ‘cattle’ business, it is also a ‘people’ business, and I always enjoyed my time down under and dealing with the Australian dairymen.”
The whole box and dice
“What Elmar have achieved with their Jessica family has really given Australian cow families a profile worldwide,” BDCC member Geoff Horrocks said, praising the
contribution the Elmar stud has made in promoting the Australian Holstein on the local and international stage. “I have spoken with many overseas breeders and
industry people who have travelled over here for Dairy Week or to judge our On Farm Challenge, and they often tell me ‘You Australian’s don’t know what you’ve got’, when they see how good our cows are.”
Geoff believes that strong cow families are the most important thing when it comes to breeding cows, and the Jessica family is one of many powerful maternal bloodlines unique to Australia.
“All the finalists this year represented strong Australian cow families, all developed by people who are passionate about the future of the breed,” he said. “These are the cow families with the traits that allow them to consistently rise above the rest – the traits breeders should be looking for.”
The ability of the Jessica family to rise above the rest was also noted by invited industry judges, Bill Morgan of ABS Australia, and Western Districts breeder Craig Fisher, Byrne Lee Holsteins. “Jessica 11 really is the ‘pin-up’ girl for the Australian Holstein,” Craig said, noting Jessica’s superior type profile and eyecatching
style. He praised Jessica not just for her show ring success, but that of her progeny as well.
“She’s an exceptionally good cow, and she’s won our national show. But there’s more to her than that. It’s one thing to be all flash and win at a show – but it’s another thing to breed it.
Not all champions do that, and she now has daughters and granddaughters winning as well.” Craig acknowledged that this level of success “doesn’t just happen”, paying respect to the Hore family and their dedication to the shows and promoting the Holstein breed. “It takes more than just having ‘the right’ cow,” he said. “You need to know how to feed them and breed them to the right bulls, you need to promote them, flush them and get them back in calf – and kudos to Elmar – that’s what they do well.”
Bill was looking for what he called “the big picture cow” – a cow that classified well, produced well, bred well, and that demonstrated longevity. “The Cow of the Year, for me, is the pinnacle competition, and needs to be a cow that would raise the profile of the breed,” Bill said. “A cow that will represent the Holstein breed at the highest level. A cow that could influence a herd, influence other herds and impact the wider industry.” “Jessica 11 has done that. When you look at her production results and her show results and now her progeny results – she’s the ‘whole box-and-dice’. She’s a cow everyone recognises, and (since the sale) is having an impact on herds outside of just Elmar.”
Bill emphasised the importance of breeding from strong cow families and using classification, shows and competitions such as the Cow of the Year to build a pedigree.
“The milk companies pay you the same regardless of who the cow is – milk’s milk,” he said. “But if you are going to register your herd, and build value in your herd, then it’s worth the effort and expense to promote your herd and build a profile. Breeding is a passion, and competitions like this is a great way to highlight these great cows, and for a breeder, highlight what they have been able to do – highlight what they’ve achieved and share it with others that have the same passion.”