2022 Active Master Breeder Award
Dennis and Barb Mashek, Calmar, Iowa
This year’s Active Master Breeder could also qualify as owning one of the oldest farms west of the Mississippi owned by the same family. That farm purchased in 1854 is now owned by our 2022 Active Master Breeder, Dennis and Barb Mashek of Calmar, Iowa. Hilltop Acres is an 8th-generation family farm.
This is a story of how Association breed programs can help a breeder develop a fabulous herd as we see today at Hilltop Acres. Dennis’s father, John, in the late 60’s and 70’s transitioned through the IE program to a registered Brown Swiss herd.
Today, Dennis, Barb and their sons, Josh and Tanner and their families, are involved in the 800 registered Brown Swiss operation. They have a milking herd of over 400 head along with bulls and heifers and use an extensive ET program.
Two of the most noteworthy cows bred by the Masheks are Hilltop Acres Jetway Dixi “2E92” and Hilltop Acres BL Jillete ET also “2E92”. Jillete has 79 registered offspring, with her most well-known being Hilltop Acres T Jolt ET. All but 3 of her offspring are ET’s. Dixi’s sons include Hilltop Acres PR Dominate ET and twins Hilltop Acres PT Dalton and Dallas. Other popular AI sires from Hilltop Acres include Ali Jackson, Driver, and Dynasty. Over 200 Hilltop Acres’ bulls have been proven.
In reviewing the latest Performance Summary from April, we find there are 5 Hilltop Acres bulls in the top 50 PPR evaluated bulls, 6 in the next 50, and 5 in the next 50. That is 16 bulls in the top 150 bulls, or over 10% of the top bulls carry the Hilltop Acres’ prefix.
Not to be outdone, Hilltop Acres has the number 3 PPR cow in the breed with Hilltop Acres M Teresa and 11 in the top 100, again over 10% of the top cows in the breed.
Just last fall, Hilltop Acres was highlighted in the September Bulletin with the article “ONE MILLION”. Four Brown Swiss cows of Mashek’s achieved a combined lifetime production of over one million pounds of milk at 1,124,620 pounds. What an accomplishment! The herd currently has 25 cows over 10 years old. They breed for average-size cows with good feet and legs, resulting in longevity.
At last year’s convention, one of the four “Million Pound” cows received the Living Lifetime Cow Award based on Energy Corrected Milk (ECM). The cow, HF Bonanza Blaze had a lifetime record of 411,970 pounds ECM. They also own the number 7 cow on the list, also one of the “Million Pound” cows, Hilltop Acres Zeus Nibs, at 337,898 pounds ECM. Hilltop Acres also won the White Cloud Award for High ECM at 1/11 or less with Hilltop Acres HP Ruffles at 34,642 pounds ECM. Tanner accepted both awards last year. This was the third year in a row a Hilltop Acres’ animal has won this award.
In the past, Hilltop Acres has won many awards, including the Progressive Genetic Herd Award and the Ira Inman PTPR Award for their herd size group, and have been named a Genetic Honor herd for many years.
Also at last year’s convention, Tanner Mashek won the Young Breeder Award. Tanner is the herd manager and owns 300 head. He is involved in the breeding decisions and embryo transfer matings for the herd.
Dennis has served as Iowa state president and serves as co-chair of the Iowa State Sale. In 2002, Dennis and Barb received the Young Breeder Award. Apparently, it runs in the family.
I hope most of you are aware your National Association will be hosting the World Brown Swiss Conference this fall in Madison in conjunction with World Dairy Expo. On Sunday, October 2, those attending the conference will be bused to visit and tour the Hilltop Acres farm and herd. This is quite an honor for the Masheks to host Brown Swiss breeders from around the world.
Congratulations to Dennis and Barb Mashek as the 2022 Active Master Breeders, along with sons Josh and Tanner.