Ray Pursley and his wife Wanella, along with their children bred and developed one of the outstanding Guernsey herds in the Midwest.
Ray lives on the same farm on which his early ancestors located in 1839. His is the fifth generation of the Pursley family to operate this 108-acre tract of land. Beginning with a Guernsey heifer Ray purchased when he was 19 years old he and his family, over the past 48 years, proceed to build a top quality herd of some 60 milking cows.
The herd was tested for production through the DHI and DHIR program. High production transmitting sires, among the best in the breed, were used continuously. A good feeding and management program was regularly carried out with milk yields per cow steadily increasing. In 1986-87 the Rolling Herd Average on 47 cows is 13,900 pounds of milk, 650 pounds of butterfat. This is one of the highest Guernsey herd average production attained in Missouri. Practically all roughage for the herd is raised on the home farm with grain feeds purchased.
The herd was officially classified for type with several “Excellent” cows and many “Very Goods” resulting. Ray supported local and state shows and was a regular consignor to the Mo-Kan Sale. Among some of the higher producing cows were PGF Billy Maid (Ex-90) with 22,540 milk, 971 fat DHiR as a three-year-old and PFG Emory Margie (VG-89) with 17,890 milk, 818 fat and a Jr. two-year-old.
Ray served several terms as a Director of the Missouri Guernsey Breeders Association and as Vice President. He was a member of the Mo-Kan Sales committee two years and also served as sales manager for the Southwest Guernsey Breeders Association. He served as President of the Greene County DHI association and as a member of the local Productions Credit Association. In addition he was president of the local P.T.A.; a 4-H Club leader and Vice President of the Greene County Extension Council. He is a member of the Schweitzer United Methodist church.
Ray and his wife, the former Wanella Morrison were married in 1945. They have three daughters and several grandchildren. The daughters all married are: Cindy Arrowood, Dian McDowell and Jeanne McDowell. All reside in the Springfield, MO.
After nearly a half century of milking and herd building the Pursleys dispersed the milking herd of some 45 cows and 55 bred and open heifer, August 8, 1987. The pay-off for years of dedicated effort and good management is reflected in the sale average of $1154. Ray and Wanella are retiring but no doubt treasure many rich memories of their success as breeders of top quality Guernseys.