In search of Devons
For the past three years Walker Century Farms has been on an adventure that has been fun, challenging and frustrating. The project has been to find absolutely pure Devon genetics among the herds of southwest England, then breed those animals, and bring the embryos to the United States. Here the fertilized eggs are implanted in recipient cows.
We say it’s been fun because we’ve been working closely with two other Devon farms in the States and seven more in England. So we’ve made new friends, been welcomed into their homes, and together met the challenge. The challenge involves poring over records going back more than 100 years, dealing with the science of pairing the right cows and bulls, flushing the embryos and freezing them, shipping them to the US, thawing and implanting them in American cows and finally calving the young ones. The frustration comes with the inevitable failures along the way. Even more frustrating has been dealing with the regulations and bureaucracies on both sides of the Atlantic. These immigrants are certainly not “undocumented”. Success then, when it comes, is particularly sweet.
And here’s success: a new bull calf that was conceived in a clinic near Cambridge, England. His biological dam was a cow from North Tawton; the sire, a bull at a farm in Lands End. Eventually, the embryo was implanted in a cow near Hartwell, Georgia. He’s everything we could have hoped for and one of three that have just been born. No name yet; just a number: TDA 008. TDA is the abbreviation for“Traditional
The group picture is of “8s” proud American family, the partners in the project. From left to right: Wooz and David Schoumacher of Virginia, Doyle Unruh the young Georgia farmer raising the calves, John Forelle of New York and Nancy and Bill Walker of South Carolina. If you want to read a lot more about all this you can go to our special website: www.traditionaldevon.com.
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