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West Virginia University Invites Public to Celebrate Reymann Memorial Herd September 28

Celebration of Historic Herd
Ben Walsh and Curtis Swiantek with part of the Reymann Memorial Herd

 

EVENT SCHEDULE

10 a.m. Welcome Dean Robinson/Introduction of Reymann Family

10:15 a.m. Overview of farm and herd from Ben Walsh

10:45 a.m. Agronomics of the farmland base (Presented Dr. David Belesky, Clinical Associate Director of Farm Administration, and Dr. Tom Griggs, Associate Professor of Agronomy)

11:15 a.m. Forages and grasslands use in rotational grazing (Presented by Dr. Domingo Mata Padrino, Research Associate Professor of Plant and Soil Science)

11:45 a.m. Rotational Grazing and Campus on My Farm (Audrey Gay Rodgers of Belleville, PA will address the crowd on her own practices at Hameau Farm and Plum Bottom Ayrshires)

12:30 p.m. Lunch (Grass-fed burgers, Ayrshire cheese, and ice cream courtesy of Reymann Memorial Syndicate)

 

 

 

 

The Reymann Memorial Ayrshire Herd at West Virginia University is one of the oldest continuous Ayrshire herds in the nation. Over the herd’s 119-year history, Lawrence A. Reymann and West Virginia University (his successor) have given great care and attention to the continued development of the herd through genetics, breeding, and improved management techniques.

As the university continues its mission to preserve and improve this herd, officials will be hosting an event on September 28, 2017 to celebrate their success and inform the public about their efforts, specifically the value of rotational grazing. The event (held at 1400 Stewartstown Rd., Morgantown, WV 26505) will run from 10 a.m. through lunch, which will be held at 12:30 p.m.

The herd has quite a unique history. It was originally established by Lawrence A. Reymann in 1897 by combining the top genetic bloodlines of the time. According to the Journal of Dairy Science, “In the first decade of the 20th century, Hill Top was probably the most outstanding Ayrshire herd both from the standpoint of winnings and leading records.”

Despite big dreams for his herd, Lawrence A. Reymann passed away at the young age of 31. His brother Paul O. Reymann, who later became the President of the Ayrshire Breeders Association (1921-1923), took over management of the herd and later donated Cacapon Farms (a farm owned by Lawrence) and the herd to the West Virginia University Agricultural Experiment Station.

As part of the original agreement, WVU vowed to “give particular care and attention to the breeding and development of the herd of registered Ayrshire cattle… and at all times use its best endeavor to promote and bring this herd of Ayrshires up to the highest standard.”

The herd has had some instability over the years, but is in capable hands today. Ben Walsh, the Associate Director of Farm Administration and Operations, is an experienced herd manager with a keen desire to return the Ayrshire herd to the elite prominence which it once held. In addition, the College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design is under the leadership of Dean Daniel Robinson. With his oversight, the herd has continued to develop and thrive, and two small research projects have been launched with grants from the U.S. Ayrshire Breeders Foundation.

The herd, which consists of 31 milking and young cattle, has tremendous potential. Currently, nine embryos (coming from excellent Ayrshire dams and sired by 100% Ayrshire bulls) are implanted in Holstein heifers. This isn’t the only method by which the herd is growing, though. Two animals have been donated by the Reymann Memorial Syndicate, including naturally polled Plum Bottom Ryder Lenore and Plum Bottom Pluto Athena.

Rotational grazing, which has improved the health of the herd and reduced feed costs, has also been instrumental in the herd’s success. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn more about the advantages of rotational grazing at the event on September 28. Please join us at West Virginia University for a celebration of the Reymann Memorial Herd and an informative discussion about rotational grazing!