History

Den-Kel Jerseys LLC is a 70-cow Registered Jersey herd owned and operated by Kip and Katie Keller in Byron, NY.

The Keller's herd is among the nation's leaders for milk production and genetic merit. With the December 2019 genetic evaluations, the herd ranks #67 for herd average Jersey Performance Index with an index of +74.

Den-Kel Jerseys has a 2019 lactation average (mature equivalent basis) of 23,267 lbs. milk, 1,243 lbs. fat and 865 lbs. protein. Actual production is 21,278 lbs. milk, 1,142 lbs. fat and 789 lbs. protein.

The Kellers milk many high-producing cows, including JX Den-Kel Medalist Jinger {4}-ET, who produced the top 305-day milk record in the nation in 2019. As a six-year-old, she produced 36,130 lbs. milk, 2,122 lbs. fat and 1,232 lbs. protein.

Den-Kel Jerseys has sold more than 20 bulls to artificial insemination (A.I.) organizations and regularly consigns females to leading sales like the All American Jersey Sale and the National Heifer Sale.

The Kellers have also focused on polled genetics as a niche market.

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History

Den-Kel Jerseys was established by Kip and his late wife, Robin Denniston-Keller. The two began dairying in 1994 on Kip's family farm in Valatie, NY. They moved to the present farm in Byron in 1999, initially renting and then purchasing the farm.

Though Robin grew up showing heifers, she learned the value of profitable dairying at Dutch Hollow Jerseys and High Lawn Farms, where she worked after graduation from Cornell and during the early years of marriage.

Den-Kel Jerseys strives for early maturity of heifers and increased days of productive life. Calves are fed a high-fat, high-protein milk replacer as a means of increasing energy levels to boost growth and immunity. Calves are raised in individual hutches, then moved to super hutches and a calf and heifer barn that was completed in the spring of 2009. Heifers are bred beginning at 9-10 months-of-age.

Cows are housed in a three-row freestall barn with sand bedding and an open feed alley. They are milked in a double-seven herringbone parlor and fed a high-quality, high-forage (60%+) diet.

Kip focuses on cow management and leaves cropping to a custom harvester. Forage quality is a team effort, with Kip choosing the time forages are mowed and chopped and covering the bunk silos on his own - all in 24 hours or less. Several years ago, Den-Kel Jerseys purchased a bunk de-facer to reduce dry matter losses.

Awards

Kip and Robin were honored with the National Dairy Shrine's Progressive Dairy Producers award in the small herd division in 2008 and the AJCA's Young Jersey Breeder award in 1999.

Robin received an International Young Jersey Educational Travel Award (JETA Award) from the World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference in 2008 and she and Kip traveled to the Isle of Jersey.

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Kip and Robin received the Progressive Dairy Producers award from Dr. George Shook at World Dairy Expo in 2008. Photo courtesy National Dairy Shrine.

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Hi-Kel TBone Pfennig-ET was the high-selling female at the 2010 All American Jersey Sale, purchased for $21,500 by River Valley Farm, Tremont, IL. She was consigned by the Hi-Kel Syndicate, comprised of Hi-Land Farms (represented by David and Dana Chamberlain) and Kip and Robin (both couples back center).