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Tribute to Mr. John Balme

John Balme


The Ayrshires have served me well. When I first started farming after World War II I had Ayrshires and when I came to Canada in 1961, I had the opportunity of buying the farm Joe Saville had started to build up on Vancouver Island. This was an Ayrshire farm and Joe had purchased Oak Ridge Royal Jo at a sale in Portland.

Royal Jo became the brood cow of the farm, she lived for twenty years and for a long time was the highest milk producer in Canada. Many of our cows have her blood in their pedigree, as for instance Starman Kathleen who has just completed 100,000 kg of milk. Balme Ayr Farms is primarily a milk farm and if the cows do not milk, they do not stay. We have twice been at the top of the table for large herds, the first time with modest BCA’s of 140. The breed has come a long way since then and indeed Royal Jo would have done much better if I had known as much as I did later about feeding.

Notable about our animals is Balme Ayr Leslie who had BCA’s of over 300 and another Milkman cow, Tanya 5, who gave over 11,000 kg on a recent lactation.

Joe Saville had bulls. We still have bulls, some we have bred and some came from bob and Ellen Saville and others in Alberta.

A few years ago, I passed the farm on to my son Oliver who is showing himself an innovative farmer and I am proud of his progress. I still manage to do a small amount of tractor driving to keep my hand in.