Archive for March 2014

For cattle photographer Christine Massfeller timing is everything.  As a young child, the timing was right for visits with her mother to a nearby dairy farm.  Next good timing provided her with the perfect mentor.  The timing was also right when a creative idea blossomed and the right subjects and the right team came together at the right time. It shouldn’t be surprising then to learn that Christine Massfeller is the photographer behind the 2014 Masterrind Calendar.  Any way you look at it that photo shoot has timeliness written all over it. (To view this keep sake Calendar click here)

calori_d_jasper_maribold_120607_0041 Kopie

Christine Massfeller holding Calori D Jasper Maribold

“From Behind the Scenes, Christine Moved to Behind the Camera.”

Many will tell you that the greatest thing about finding your true calling is the way it expands your talents and abilities.  Christine Massfeller found this to be true when she was working in the Public Relations department of the German AI Rinder-Union West.  For her what came next was a logical progression. “At RUW I was responsible for the magazine they produce for their local members. So I also started taking pictures for that magazine just learning by doing because I was not educated in photography at all. But at this time my interest grew and I bought my first semi professional camera, organized some photo shoots and bought and read literature about basic technical things.” A simple beginning that for Christine soon progressed to an important next step. “A few months later I was introduced to Han Hopman by my German colleague Steve Schneider and I started my career with Holstein International.”

Calendar Cover - Schneewittchen - Snow White Cow: Girl (Graceland), Owner: Agrargenossenschaft Eibau Model: Constance Nagler.

Calendar Cover – Schneewittchen – Snow White
Cow: Girl (Graceland), Owner: Agrargenossenschaft Eibau
Model: Constance Nagler.

January

JANUARY Sterntaler – The Star Talers
Calf: WEU Pamela (Fanatic),
Owner: Perk, Spanharrenstaette

“Looking Back it was Early Exposure that Inspired the Times of her Life”

Let’s rewind the story a bit to discover where a passion for cows started for a girl who wasn’t raised on a farm but learned to love cows anyway. Christine recalls the beginning. “I grew up in a small town and fell in love with cows when I was a child, when my mom and I picked up milk from a very small dairy farm close by. It was always difficult for my mom to get me out of the barn again. I could watch cows and spend time with them for hours.” Surprisingly, or maybe not, Christine made this the inspiration for her education. “After school I went to university and studied Agricultural Science with the focus on Animal Nutrition, Genetics and Breeding.”  This was no passing fancy and it is a daily party of her life. “I love everything that has to do with cows. My boyfriend’s cows realize that every day. I absolutely love spoiling them.”

February

FEBRUARY Frau Holle
Cow: WHC Schira (Golden Eye),
Owner: Weseloh, Schneverdingen
Model: Marion

“It is Invaluable to Have Timely Mentoring.”

The next timely occurrence for this budding photographer was getting employed by Holstein International.  Christine describes it as, “The best thing that could ever happen to me.  The people are wonderful and I had a perfect start there.” This also marked the timely entry of a very important mentor. “I got the best teacher you can imagine in Han Hopman.”  Here was an opportunity that would make a big difference to Christine. “Han Hopman developed creative and natural cow photography. (Read more about Hans Hopman in Han Hopman: Shooting Straight at Holstein International) In the beginning of my HI career he spent a lot of time with me, teaching and showing me everything he knew: technical aspects, how to work with cows behavior, putting legs, composing images, communication with people and animals etc.”  No doubt this input inspired Christine to delve deeper into photography and, with the generous support of Holstein International, Christine furthered her studies.  “I did an official photography education at a renowned Dutch school.” And she continued to learn from her mentor. “The most important thing was that Han is such a good teacher and great and loyal boss. That saved so much time in making progress.” Indeed people are the main success factor for Christine. “Being a member of the editorial team of HI gives me the chance to learn so much about the dairy and breeding business from my colleagues and of course from the business itself and all the people I meet and work with.”  (To see more great work from Holstein International photography team click here)

March Cover

MARCH Kleine Meerjungfrau – Little Mermaid
Cow: BcH Caroli (Stylist),
Owner: Luenschen
Model: Rabea

“It should be possible to take ordinary cows and make them Extraordinary”

It is obvious that Christine Massfeller is a true cow passionista.  Who else would come up with an idea that basically meant sending out a casting call for cows? But that is just one part of the challenges that she enjoys when doing cattle photography which has so many facets to get right.  She numbers them.  “Bringing a cow into balance and getting out the best of every animal, scene and model. Making the best of every situation. Working with light.”  Cows constantly influence Christine’s imagination and her work. “For my photography education exam, I developed my series “Cows Surreal”. The idea was to put cows in scenes they naturally never would appear. The idea behind that was that almost every human in our modern world has contact with dairy animals, but not in a direct way. People buy milk and milk products in supermarkets but almost never see a cow in real. So I tried bringing cows back to people in an abstract way. This series is not yet finished. I will continue working on it soon. But with starting this series I got some worthwhile experiences with real complicated and difficult photo shoots.”

April Cover

APRIL Baron von Muenchhausen
Cow: Kleopatra (Stempler),
Owner: Bertram, Hunden
Model: Gerhard

“They said ‘It Couldn’t Be Done!’”

Quite often it turns out that the best impetus for doing something exceptional happens when you’re told that it can’t be done.  Cow art, cow science and cow photography are not immune to naysayers.  In Christine Massfeller’s case she wanted to show the world a different perspective on cows. Not for her is the idea of “same old, same old.” She wants to take the whole experience for herself, her viewers … and even the settings the cattle are placed in to a whole new level.  “I had the idea to go a step further and I developed that fairytale idea. That would involve even more story telling. In the beginning it was very difficult to convince people that this could work. Too much effort.  Too expensive. Too Crazy.  Too Kitschy.”  So, of course, Christine didn’t give up. “The images were already finished in my head but most people I talked with first could not imagine how it would look like.” And then good timing entered the picture once again.  I got support from Han and he promised me we would do it together and publish it with HI.”

May Cover

MAY Schneeweisschen & Rosenrot
Limousin bull and Charolais heifer owned by Ahrens GbR, Hespe
Models: Sophia Sparkles and Eva Wermert.

“It was a BIG idea for BIG Calendar that had found it’s Time!”

When all the necessary parts of a project come together — you just know that something big is going to happen. “Han has done a calendar for Masterrind almost every year for the last 10 years. Their calendars always have a special theme. We brought the fairytale idea to the table and immediately got some supporters, who were very enthusiastic about the idea. Then we worked out a plan and Masterrind decided to do it with us. It was a win win situation. Masterrind was a great partner and they organized everything perfectly.”

June Cover

JUNE Bremer Stadtmusikanten – The Bremen Town Musicians
Cow: Schnicka (Donley), Owner: Hoeft, Bramstedt
sheep (14 year old Erna) and cock (still alive!!) owned by Evers family, Syke; dog Winnie owned by Hermann Bischoff

“Making it Look Simple Requires A Lot of Work”

With approval for the project, it was time to put in the hard work. “We had quite a few meetings and developed everything, the scenes, how the cows should look like, the human models, the costumes and everything else.” Although cows were the stars, it took a lot of people to pull it off. |Christine gives credit to the large behind-the-scenes-team. “It took everyone pulling together. There was the Masterrind organization, their PR department, some of their classifiers who selected the cows (and also helped washing & clipping them, organized the transportation to the scenes), the human models (some of them Masterrind employees or their kids, some of them from my soccer team), the cow models, the breeders of the cows who prepared their animals, professional hairdressers and makeup artists.”  Christine feels that having such an enthusiastic team was a key ingredient of the project’s success. “It was really wonderful to work with such great people (and cows) who did such a good job, even though they had no experience with such a project (me either)!”

July Cover

JULY Rotkaeppchen – Little Red Riding Hood
Bull: Smokin Joe (Observer), MASTERRIND
Model: Carolin
Wolf: Hermann Bischoff

August Cover

AUGUST Froschkoenig – The Princess & the Frog
Cow: FUX Sia (Alexander), owner: Hahn/Radtke GbR
Model: Teresa Kempe.

“The Fairy Tale Ending is A Pleasant Surprise”

When you plan a fairytale photo shoot, it would be nice to assume that it would end happily ever after.  Even with her passion for dairy cows, Christine has been pleasantly surprised at how the project has been received. “Honestly I did not expect such a big response. Masterrind gave the calendar to their members (in Germany the AIs are owned by their local breeders) and clients. It was out before 2014 started. We got many emails from people who wanted to buy one, also from people who are not in our business.”  (To order your copy of the keep sake Calendar click here)

September Cover

SEPTEMBER Dornroeschen – Sleeping Beauty
Cow: Jolli (Jotan), owner: Agrargenossenschaft Bockendorf eG
Model: Lori

October Cover

OCTOBER Hans im Glueck – Lucky Hans
Cow: Silva, owner: KÖG Kleinbardau
Models: Thomas & Thomas

“Dreamscapes Inspire a Dream Job”

Loving what you do every day is a dream that many wish they could fulfill.  Christine makes it look easy and inspiring, but she has eight steps that comprise her best advice to someone who would like to follow their photography dream: Work hard. Find a good teacher. Listen at the right moment. Don’t listen at the right moment. Be a better photographer then Photoshopper. Develop your own thing. Be open. Be always respectful to people and cows you are working with.” Christine is more than willing to take her own advice and adds a couple more action steps. “Staying healthy and open minded. Keep on working for HI. Keeping learning, because photography gets more and more difficult the deeper you get into it. It’s a big process.” Her dearest dream is to keep developing new ideas and producing the ideas that come up.” She sums it up enthusiastically. “There are so many pictures in my head that need to be taken!”

November Cover

NOVEMBER Haensel & Gretel
Cow: Litt Leo (Radenko), owner: Wortmann GbR, Morsum

december

DECEMBER Aschenputtel – Cinderella
Cow: Jess (Starfire), owner: Pfaff, Gahlenz
Model: Nicole
Castle: Schloss Moritzburg, Sachsen

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Not only have dairy calendars been taken in a totally unprecedented direction but so have the cows that are our daily inspiration.  With the turning of every page, there is a new dairy dimension to be celebrated.  Congratulations to you Christine Massfeller for sharing your wonderful images and giving us insight and inspiration for every dairy day of the calendar year. (To order your copy of the keep sake Calendar click here)

 

 

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Oil is thicker than Milk

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Here is a quick science lesson for everyone.  It isn’t going to be like those boring chemistry classes in high school, where you were more excited about getting to use the Bunsen burner than actually learning something.  This is a political science lesson about international politics.  When it comes to world trade, Oil is far greater and more important to most countries than milk production is.

Recently there has been a great deal of talk about the removal of supply management from markets around the world.  Since most of Europe has either already removed supply management or is in the process of doing so, the writing is on the wall for remaining supply managed countries such as Canada.  It’s no wonder that there has been significant backlash from Canadian producers about this issue.

Understandably Canadian dairy producers are very uneasy with this proposition.  They have enjoyed a stable production environment where they could go to bed without having to worry about what the milk price would be the next day, next week or next month.  But all this is about to change.  As the Canadian government seeks to open world markets through international trade, Canada’s supply management is a constant sticking point.  (Read more: Why the Future of the North American Dairy Industry Depends On Supply And Demand)

Interestingly, and probably funded by those who seek to benefit the most, recent reports from the Conference Board of Canada suggest that the cost of ending milk quota is far less than expected.  (Read more: Cost of Ending Quota Much Smaller than Expected).  According to the study, the Canadian Government could buy out producers who hold quota, about 12,500 dairy farms, for as little as $3.6 Billion to $4.7 Billion.

Armed with this study over the past month, there has been significant media hype in the major publications about how this is “Good for Farmers.”  The news flash is that the Canadian economy would gain $1.2-billion a year and as many as 8,000 new dairy jobs, if the industry were freed to pursue rapidly expanding dairy markets in Asia and Africa.  The story angle is that Canada is losing ground by doing nothing.  The study estimates that Canadian dairy farmers are sacrificing $1-billion a year in lost revenue as milk is being displaced by cheaper imported dairy ingredients and substitutions by oil-based products in everything from ice cream to yogurt.  (Read more:  Canadian dairy producers can grow without monopoly and Dairy supply management costs consumers and farmers)

First let’s get real.  Most Canadian dairy producers are not in the position to compete with world markets.  This is e true if you remove quota and don’t replace it with the other forms of unacknowledged subsidies that other dairy producing countries maintain.  As a result of operating under the safe and secure quota system, many Canadian producers have not been forced to become as efficient as those in other markets such as the Western US, Australia and New Zealand.  In 1980, Canada produced 14 per cent more milk per capita than the U.S.  In 2011, Canada produced 21 per cent less.  The average Canadian dairy farm has about 76 cows while the average herd in the US is 187.  (Read more: Where have all the dairy farmers gone? In Depth Analysis of the 2013 U.S. and Canadian National Dairy Herd Statistics).  In order to compete, Canadian dairy farms would not only have to grow but they also would have to manage their operations differently.

But the real issue here is not about what effect this will have on dairy farmers.  It is about what market it opens up for other industries, specifically Oil and Pulp and Paper.  Due to the massive investments in the Oil/Tar Sands in Northern Alberta, Canada has become a significant player in the world oil market.  The potential revenues from these developments make the cost of removing the Canadian Supply Management System look like a drop in the bucket.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The amount of money, especially political funding and taxes, that this Oil movement has behind it is far greater that any backlash that would result from removing supply management from the Dairy industry.  For the average producer, there is no question that the removal of Supply Management is a BAD thing.  There is no question that it will force many 50+ year old producers into early retirement.  Now that could be something that would cause strains on the Health Care system because a displaced dairy farmer does not do well mentally or physically.  It will also force any new young producers to be very afraid to enter the market.  You see, faced with a volatile sales price, milk production will become an uncertain career choice.  So let’s not kid ourselves.  The question of removing supply management from the Canadian dairy industry has nothing to do with what’s “best for the producers”. Removing supply management is totally about what’s best for the Canadian economy as a whole and significant industries such as Oil in particular.  For all Canadian milk producers who have the deluded notion that their concerns are enough to stop the Canadian government, never forget that “Oil is thicker than Milk.”

 

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Ancaster Fairgrounds, Ancaster, Ont.
Judge: Julien Chabot, Embrun, Ont.

Quality Goldwyn Flinso Grand Champion

Quality Goldwyn Flinso
Grand Champion

Grand Champion – Quality Goldwyn Flinso (Goldwyn), Quality Holsteins, ON
Reserve Champion – Marfloacres Damion Lulu (Damion), Quality Holsteins, ON
HM Champion – Vale-O-Skene Pure Gold Abigial (Pure Gold), Vale-O-Skene Holsteins, ON

Marfloacres Damion Lulu Intermediate Champion

Marfloacres Damion Lulu
Intermediate Champion

Intermediate Champion Marfloacres Damion Lulu (Damion), Quality Holsteins, ON
Reserve Intermediate Champion Duckett SA Jordan Fargo (Jordan), Vale-O-Skene Holsteins, Emilane, RisknRoll, Dreamcrest & Gary Troup, ON
HM Intermediate Champion Eastriver Gold Deb (Goldwyn), Kingsway Farms, Millen Farms Hazbro & Matt Forestel, ON

IMG_4394

MAPEL WOOD WINDHAMMER ELEGANCE
Junior Champion

Junior Champion – Mapel Wood Windhammer Elegance (Windhammer), Mapel Wood Farms, ON
Reserve Junior Champion – Ms Andis Gw Arian (Goldwyn), Howard-Haven Holsteins, ON
HM Junior Champion – JM Valley Lavanguard Solo (Lavanguard), Mapel Wood Farms, ON

Intermediate Calf (1)

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MS Ducket Dyment Coral
1st place Intermediate Calf

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  1. Ms Duckett Dyment Coral (Numero Uno), Gracehaven Holsteins & Royal Lynn, ON

 Senior Calf (9)

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Watdale Sid Melinda
1st place Senior Calf

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  1. Watdale Sid Melinda (Sid), Dale Watke, ON
  2. Corrcroft Smokin Carbie (Smokin), Clarkvalley & Peter Leach, ON
  3. Clarkvalley Sanchez Miata (Sanchez), Sandy MacGillivary & Clarkvalley, ON
  4. Durham Atwood Rihanna (Atwood) Fred & Bill Killing & Frankhaven, ON
  5. Paul-lor Goldwyn Muriel (Goldwyn), Paul-Lor Jerseys & Holsteins, ON

Summer Yearling (7)

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JM Valley Lavanguard Solo

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  1. JM Valley Lavanguard Solo (Lavanguard), Mapel Wood Farms, ON
  2. Clarkvalley, Mapelwood & Certified, ON
  3. 3. Charlyn Attic Kenzie (Attic), Charlyn Jerseys, ON
  4. 4. Dortholme Braxton Jillian (Braxton), Dortholme Holsteins, ON
  5. 5. Kaymanor Louisianna (Lexicon) , Jeremy Hunter, ON

Junior Yearling (7)

MAPEL WOOD WINDHAMMER ELEGANCE 1st place Junior Yearling

MAPEL WOOD WINDHAMMER ELEGANCE
1st place Junior Yearling

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  1. Mapel Wood Windhammer Elegance (Windhammer), Mapel Wood Farms, ON
  2. Coale Atwood Janie (Atwood), Dortholme Holsteins & Certified Holsteins, ON
  3. Kingsway Goldsun Alina (Goldsun), Cedarpatch Holsteins, ON
  4. Kaymanor Lexington (Siren), Emilee Schipper, ON
  5. Kentville Fever Mercedes (Fever), Peter Leach, ON

Intermediate Yearling (5)

MS Andis GW Arian  1st place Intermediate Yearling

MS Andis GW Arian
1st place Intermediate Yearling

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  1. Ms Andis Gw Arian (Goldwyn), Howard-Haven Holsteins, ON
  2. Aleah Millen Naughtys Secret (Goldwyn), Aleah Farms, Millen Farm & Matt & Tyler Yates, ON
  3. Lifloc Goldnuts Bell (Goldnuts)Lifloc Holsteins, ON
  4. Hanalee Fever Havanna (Fever), Hank & Nancy Hazelger, ON
  5. Jr Sid Sveta (Sid), Den Hann, Hunter & Krantz, ON

Senior Yearling (3)

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Werrcroft Fever Vaneca
1st place Senior Yearling

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  1. Werrcroft Fever Vaneca (Fever), Clarkvalley Holsteins, ON
  2. Hanalee Lauthority Aphrodite (Lauthority), Hank & Nancy Hazeleger, ON
  3. Vale-O-SKene Spirte Tricker (Spirte), Vale-O-SKene Holsteins, ON

Junior 2 Year Old

Eastriver Goldwyn Deb   1st place Junior 2 Year Old

Eastriver Goldwyn Deb
1st place Junior 2 Year Old

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  1. Eastriver Goldwyn Deb

Senior 2 Year Old (9)

Duckett SA Jordan Fargo 1st place Senior 2 Year Old

Duckett SA Jordan Fargo
1st place Senior 2 Year Old

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  1. Duckett SA Jordan Fargo (Jordan), Vale-O-Skene Holsteins, Emilane, RisknRoll, Dreamcrest & Gary Troup, ON
  2. Twinrod Fever Fantabulous (Fever), Ed & Bonnie Franken & Christopher Franken, ON
  3. AHD Windhammer Joslyn (Windhammer), Walkerbrae Farms, ON
  4. Cavanaleck Goldwyn Bazooka (Goldwyn), Cavanaleck Farms Ltd., ON
  5. Comestar Lauwinny Windbrook (Windbrook), Up-Ridge Holsteins, ON

Junior 3 Year Old (2)

Elliotdale Denzel Daisy 1st place Junior 3 Year Old

Elliotdale Denzel Daisy
1st place Junior 3 Year Old

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  1. Elliotdale Denzel Daisy (Denzel), Elliotdale Holsteins, ON
  2. Morsan Miss Snowflake, Hank & Nancy Hazeleger, ON

Senior 3 Year Old (2)

Marfloacres Damion Lulu 1st place Senior 3 Year Old

Marfloacres Damion Lulu
1st place Senior 3 Year Old

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  1. Marfloacres Damion Lulu (Damion), Quality Holsteins, ON
  2. Walkhven Damion Zippy (Damion), Walkhavern Farms Ltd., ON

4 Year Old (5)

Vale-O-Skene Pure Gold Abigial  1st place 5 Year Old

Vale-O-Skene Pure Gold Abigial
1st place 4 Year Old

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  1. Vale-O-Skene Pure Gold Abigial (Pure Gold), Vale-O-Skene Holsteins, ON
  2. Comestar Lautelliam Sanchez (Sanchez), Maplekeys Farms, ON
  3. Heather Holme Golden Autumn (Goldwyn), Glen & Curtis McNeil, ON
  4. Up-Ridge JD Waffle (Dundee JD), Up-Ridge Holsteins, ON
  5. Cityview Contendor Mercedes (Contendor), Paul-Lor Jerseys & Holsteins ,ON

5 Year Old (4)

Quality Gold Danzi 1st place Mature Cow

Quality Gold Danzi
1st place 5 Year Old

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  1. Quality Gold Danzi (Goldwyn), Quality Holsteins, ON
  2. Patience Dundee Precious (Dundee), Fred & Bill Killing & Frankhaven Holsteins, ON
  3. Hautpre Tralaka Dusk (Dusk), Clarkvalley & Old Acres Holsteins, ON
  4. Valmar Terrason Annie (Terrason), CJ Vanderlip & Sons, ON

Mature Cow (2)

Quality Goldwyn Flinso  1st Place Mature Cow

Quality Goldwyn Flinso
1st Place Mature Cow

  1. Quality Goldwyn Flinso (Goldwyn), Quality Holsteins, ON
  2. Darwell Goldwyn Monster (Goldwyn), Les & Darlene Sharpe, ON
Comments (0)

Although she is neither a dairy breeder nor a show ring competitor, artist Valerie Miller nevertheless is completely hands on in her relationship with cows. This passionate painter not only paints her girls larger than life but she also aligns their bovine characteristics with dear family members and friends.

Valerie and Norma

Creating from Nature and Nurture with Help from Cousins and Cows

It’s quite true that not all dairy lovers are born and raised on a dairy farm.  Valerie explains her country connection and how it has been multi-faceted and rewarding over several generations. “I have a long history in my family of people making a living through working with animals. My mom’s side of my family founded (and still run) Impro Products, a leader in natural solutions to livestock production and dairying for over 50 years. I have uncles and cousins who are dairy farmers and two of my uncles and their families have W.W. Homestead Dairy – a local dairy in Waukon, Iowa (where we live) that locally produces and processes a full dairy product line. I also have an aunt, uncle, and first cousin who are Veterinarians. We live in Northeast Iowa, a rural area of the Midwest that has beautiful gently rolling hills, and we have quite a few dairy farms around here.  Growing up I loved visiting and spending time on my uncles’ farms, as well as the farms of my friends – actually I still love spending time on their farms!”

Valerie and Paula

Encouraged by Mom, Masters and Mentors

Valerie was creatively inspired by her rural heritage and happily points out how fortunate she was in the mentors in her life. “Growing up my mom was a huge influence on me and encouraged me artistically as much as she could. She would always buy me art supplies for my birthday and Christmas, and would help me learn how to use the art supplies together. She would frequently say that she wanted to be an artist but her parents wouldn’t let her, so I could be anything I wanted. She also loves telling people she taught me everything I know.” With that supportive start, Valerie was eager to meet other creative role models and she was fortunate there too. “Larsh Bristol was a professional photographer and a friend of my dad’s. After high school Larsh and I would have art shows together, and he would teach me things about making a living through art, among other things. Larsh was a big influence on me, and still is even though he passed on after a terrible car crash several years ago.” She is also an eager and avid student of famous painters. “From a historical painting perspective, I love the works of Mark Rothco, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper. I used to spend hours poring over their paintings in books that I had either checked out from the library or bought with birthday money. Their paintings were so beautiful to me and I hoped one day I would be able to create something as beautiful as their paintings.”

Valerie and Virginia

Valerie Adapts to Cows, Canvas and a Career

Homing in on a fulfilling career is something everyone strives for and Valerie reports that she got off to a quick start. “I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a painter. (I think in kindergarten I was telling people I was going to grow up to be an artist.) So, even though I have an art degree in studio art with a concentration in painting from Bradley University and a marketing degree from the University of Iowa, I was painting as much as I could from about 8th grade. I painted from photos I took myself, ones I found in books, and read and followed along to every type of painting book I could.” She looks back on how she started amassing her photo inspirations. “I first started messing around with my dad’s old SLR camera when I was in high school. I would take a lot of photos of friends, animals, and of course cows. As I went into college, I took some photography classes to learn more about cameras and how to use them to achieve what I wanted them to do.”

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“Valerie, Valerie, How Does Your Gallery Grow?”

My husband and I met the first week in college, and about a week later we were pretty much inseparable. He was majoring in sculpture and I was majoring in painting. We used to talk about opening up a gallery/store together somewhere and so we came upon the name of Steel Cow as it was a combination of both of us – he was using a lot of steel in his sculptures and I was painting cows. After we got married in 2003, we spent a few months deciding where to locate. After countless hours on the internet looking at places and traveling around a bit, we couldn’t find “the perfect place,” so we decided to open a store in a family building in Waukon on a temporary basis.” For Valerie and Josh temporary is enjoying an extended stay in this rural town.

The Girls

The Artists’ Journey Travels Down the Waukon Road

It might not be the first place to come to mind for establishing an arts based lifestyle but this town in rural Iowa is working well for Valerie and Josh. “Waukon is a great place to live and raise a family, but there are not a lot of stores around here, and there are quite a few empty buildings in our small rural town. Steel Cow opened our doors 10 years ago this month. I hung up my cow paintings (at the time I was also painting dog portraits), and Josh is a cabinetmaker, and he displayed his very cool handmade furniture and cabinets. As time went on, we adjusted and tweaked our businesses to make them work for where we were living.” It becomes apparent that, in a similar way to the multiple skills that dairy farmers must call on every day, Josh and Valerie have dug deeply to enhance and grow skills beyond their chosen arts. “The building we are in was built by my grandfather’s grandfather in the ’20’s as a furniture store, so it was really neat to have the building being used for something in the family again. About 5 years into it, we bought the building from my parents and completely renovated the whole space ourselves. Talk about exhausting! Josh wouldn’t say so, because he comes from a line of contractors and work to them is like food. But, I thought I was going to die when I had to sand the floors. Luckily I survived and have a much greater appreciation for what it takes to renovate an old building. I just wish the elevator still worked! I spent an entire winter one year cleaning and painting the third floor ceiling. The building is three floors plus a basement and has tin ceilings and original floors, so it has quite a bit of character.”

1962846_10152118235424232_1347842388_n[1]Out of the Barn and Into the Gallery

The young couple has really paid their dues to create the space that is just right for them to grow their family and their business says Valerie. “We live on the third floor, Josh and I have studios on the second floor, we have a retail space on first floor, and we have a bit of a catch all in the basement. A couple of years ago we were able to purchase a shed behind our store and we took the parking space in front of it and turned it into a garden complete with an 8 foot outdoor mural of Greta. We love it, and are so happy we stayed in Waukon and are continuing to grow Steel Cow.”

When Cows on Canvas Connect with Admirers

It is easy to imagine how surprised visitors are to see the Steel Cow gallery upon their first visit.  It isn’t every day that dairy cows go from milking parlor moos to artist’s muse (Sorry! Couldn’t resist).   Valerie too recognizes how unusual some might think that her career has been. “ I think my greatest accomplishment has been simply making a living at painting cows from a small town in Northeast Iowa. Although there are a lot of dairy cows around here, there are not a lot of people, so my husband and I have had to learn a lot of things along the way (and we are still learning!).” It takes persistence and dedication admits this entrepreneur. “So far, so good! Cow paintings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I don’t think they are as popular as landscape paintings, or flower paintings, but it’s fun to hear people tell me why they like my paintings, or that one of my paintings reminds them of their cow, the cow they had as a kid, or simply reminds them of when they visited their grandparents farm as a kid.” Obviously connecting people, cows and memories are important to this artist who hopes that her future will include her husband Josh, their one and a half year old son Eddie, her sister and brother-in-law and their one and a half year old daughter because whatever the adventures ahead she say “I would want them with to join me because I would not want to live without them, and if we were together, it could be fun.”

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“I Love All of My Gallery Girls”

Every painter feels a connection to the painted subject matter.  Valerie is emphatic. “One thing I will always do is paint cows. As long as I am creating art in a way that is enjoyable, challenging, and rewarding and am able to share that with others …… I will be happy.” That happiness has brought her close to all of her cow girls.  So much so, that choosing a favorite is difficult.

“Oh, that’s a tough one!” she admits. “It depends on the day. I like each painting to be better than the last, but that doesn’t always happen. As a cow, I like Queenie the best as she was the perfect matriarch of a local herd of dairy cows. I really like Virginia (she is chewing) and she reminds me of my great aunt who was always eating. I kept the original painting of Virginia and have her hanging in my kitchen. I am also fond of Dorothy as I first fell in love with cows when I met some Brown Swiss. Since I call the cow paintings “The Girls” and name most of them after family and friends it’s kind of like trying to pick my favorite relative (in which case I should say Greta because she is my sister.)” It’s obvious that Valerie’s heart is a large part of her artistry.

Valerie and Greta

There’s A Cow in Waukon Library

“In my immediate future I am finishing a mural of Tippie the Cow at our local library.”  Those who know Valerie are probably well aware of her project to raise funds for the Tippie Business School at the University of Iowa. “I owe so much to what they gave me, I simply want to give back something.” Expanding her artistic vision also includes another project. “I have been working on an A-Z kids book with the letters of the alphabet being the first name of “The Girls” and I hope to have it complete later this year.  Hopefully my future holds lots of murals, new paintings, and more trips to meet cows across the globe. I also have plans on adding other farm animals including pigs, goats, sheep, donkeys, chickens, horses and, of course, “The Boys.”  Oh to be that cow on the library wall and listen in to Valerie’s plans for the future.  However, she is shy about sharing. “ I have a lot of goals for the future, but I don’t really like to share them as the details are always changing.”  She also feels her art is evolving. “I would say my style is a contemporary representational depiction of cows. I like to strip the background away, take the cow out of context, and paint a solid color in the background. This way the painting focuses on the cow herself, and hopefully allows the viewer to connect with the animal up close and personal. I paint the cow representationally, but I do take “artistic license” and sometimes paint them a bit more whimsical. As I am going along in my artistic career, I am painting “The girls” more and more realistically and closer to how they actually look.”

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The Bullvine Bottom Line

When you admire Valerie’s paintings it’s not about dairy conformation or bovine genetics.  Valerie paints to capture the story.  The story of the cow.  The strength resulting from that connection is a celebration of hands on artistry.  Steel Cows. The connection between cows and the people who love them.

Be sure to check out the Steel Cow Facebook page as well.

 

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Stop Talking About Inbreeding…

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Dairy cattle breeders talk about attempting to keep the level of inbreeding within check in their herds. Poultry, swine and corn breeders talk in terms of inbreeding and producing lines and then crossing the inbred lines to produce the birds, piglets and seeds that are used for commercial production. In beef, breeds have been developed for their specialities and then breeds are crossed to produce the commercial animals. The challenge currently being faced by Holstein breeders is that once again the level of inbreeding is creeping up and that has the potential to be a limiting factor when it comes to on-farm profit. Let’s look at where the level of inbreeding is at and how breeders might address that.

Current Inbreeding Levels

Dr. Filippo Miglior, Canadian Dairy Network, presenting at the February 2014 Advancing Dairy Cattle Genetics Workshop held in Phoenix Arizona,  reported of the state on inbreeding in Holsteins born between 1982 and 2012..

MIGLIOR - Tempe Meeting Feb 2014 - Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding-17

It should be concerning to breeders that over the most recent time period, 2007 to 2012, that the Inbreeding Coefficients for Holsteins everywhere, North America and Global, increased at the rate of 0.36% and 0.33% per year respectively. These levels are the highest in modern Holstein breeding history.  Levels four to almost seven times large in 2012 compared to 1982 should be a wake-up call for our industry. The inbreeding levels from 1987 to 1997 were a concern back then when only a few sires were being used to produce sons for A.I. progeny testing programs. Breeders and A.I. took the warnings seriously and increased the number and diversity of sires of sons entering A.I.

What Has Been Happening?

There are a number of factors that need consideration.

Limited Number of Bloodlines Where once the bloodlines often had country or regional focus, Holstein breeding has gone global with only a few total merit indexes in use and TPI dominating. Diverse breeding resulting from the environmental situation or the cheese produced has disminished.

The number of different bloodlines used by A.I. companies has been greatly reduced. The table below is a global report on the Top 20 Sires of Sons since 1986. Half of these sires were born and used prior 2000. However recent sires like Man-O-Man, Planet, Shottle and Superstition are in the top ten. Only one of these sires, Shottle, was first proven outside North America but his pedigree was from North America. The end result is that this extreme use of a limited number of sires of A.I. sons has contributed to the increased inbreeding in the past 25 years.

MIGLIOR - Tempe Meeting Feb 2014 - Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding-20

Rapid Genetic Progress The significant increases in inbreeding comes about as a result of the very significant increase in the past decade in the genetic merit of the Holstein breed. The following graph produced by USDA shows the change in the annual rate of genetic improvement for Net Merit. This change was a result of intense selection  and increased accuracy using genomic information. However the fallout from that is the greatly increased inbreeding that we have now.

MIGLIOR - Tempe Meeting Feb 2014 - Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding-4

Adjusting Indexes for InbreedingUSDA/CDCB has produced reports on adjusting US production indexes for level of inbreeding. There is much more work to be done on the effects of inbreeding beyond milk production. The truth is that it will take a long time to determine adjustments for traits relating to health and fertility. Note that the field observations for those areas are likely only available in the Nordic countries.

Limited Number of Sires of Sons The two graphs below show just how short the list of sires of sons has become during. Having only 16 to 19 sires producing 50% of the young sires entering A.I. was great for genetic gain but for inbreeding it was a recipe for major problems. Even in 2011 there was still too much focus on too few sires of sons when only 32 produced half the young bulls entering A.I.

MIGLIOR - Tempe Meeting Feb 2014 - Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding-11

MIGLIOR - Tempe Meeting Feb 2014 - Genetic Diversity and Inbreeding-13

Focus is on Top Genomic AnimalsBreeders should be concerned about inbreeding with the extreme focus on only the very top young heifers and bulls. This has also put downward pressure on animal values for high indexing animals that are just outside the top group. Genetic gain for production and type could be almost as good if there was increased selection pressure for other economically important traits. Remember that the very top heifers are full sisters to the young bulls entering A.I. Where is the genetic diversity in that?

Inbreeding of Sire List ToppersThe Bullvine has studied the Expected Future Inbreeding (EFI) for the top forty Net Merit Dollars ($NM) sires on both the Holstein USA Dec ’13 proven and genomic sire lists. Each 1 percent increase in EFI reduces milk proofs by 65.3 pounds. The published proof on a bull with an EFI of 4 per cent would be reduced by 261 pounds (4 X 65.3 = 261).  The top 40 proven $NM sires have an average EFI 6.4, the genomic test sires also had an average EFI of 6.4 (Note: Had to be active with NAAB).  Sires with O-Man blood all have high EFI’s due to O-Man’s extensive use as a sire of sons.  Interesting to note that while both the top proven sires and genomic test sires average the same, this is a far greater range in the proven sires, the lowest proven sire in the top 40, Twist, has an EFI of 5.5, and the highest EFI proven sire in the top 40, Manifold, has an EFI of 7.  In the genomic test sires, the lowest EFI, (Rubicon, Mr Max and Magoo all tied at 6), and the highest EFI belongs to Dozer at 6.7.

Breeders looking for the sires with the lowest expected future inbreeding should look up:

 Proven Sires

Erdman – Kings-Ransom Erdman Cri-ET – 01HO09800Kings-Ransom Erdman Cri Twist – Clear-Echo Nifty Twist-ET – 029HO14335Clear-Echo Nifty Twist
AltaNetworth – Bomaz AltaNetworth-ET – 011HO10767Bomaz AltaNetworth Dorcy – Coyne-Farms Dorcy-ET – 029HO14142Coyne-Farms Dorcy

Genomic Test Sires

Rubicon – Edg Rubicon-ET 151HO00681Edg Rubicon2 Mr Max – Bomaz Mr Max-ET – 151HO00675Bomaz Mr Max
Magoo – Bomaz Magoo-ET – 151HO00677Bomaz Magoo Troy – River-Bridge Co-Op Troy-ET – 001HO11056River-Bridge Co-Op Troy

Polled not likely to help lower InbreedingWith more breeders breeding for polled animals, some of us may have thought there could be genetic diversity brought into Holsteins by this route. Well that just isn’t so. What is happening is that the same all too frequently used sires in horned are showing up as the sires or maternal grandsires in polled. The only outcrosses in the polled young sire pedigrees are the generation of sires or dams that introduced the polled gene.

What Needs to Happen?

The Bullvine offers the following ideas for how to make progress to reducing or at least holding the inbreeding levels.

Calculate Inbreeding Levels for Every CalfRemember that it is the inbreeding level for the calf that is to be born that needs to be watched. To achieve a reduction in inbreeding, the sire and dam should not be closely related. A good example where the breeder did his homework is Crackholm Fever, 6.35% inbred. His parents are more inbred than he is but they are from quite different lineage. His sire Goldwyn (James x Storm x Aerostar) is 15.17% inbreed while his dam Fashion (Blitz x Mattie G x Rudolph) is 8.17% inbred. Inbreeding can be managed. Most sire mating services have incorporated the minimization of inbreeding into their programs.

New Total Merit Indexes At the present time total merit indexes in the United States (TPI and NM$) and Canada (LPI) are under review for updating to include additional economically important heritable traits for which data is captured. Breeders need to have input into the further development of those indexes. Once those indexes are revised, new males and females will come onto the elite lists. Those animals are likely to bring forward the opportunity for breeders to use them to both generate more on-farm profit and to reduce inbreeding.

Develop Lines within Holsteins A.I. companies have already started to develop lines that place emphasis on traits like health and fertility. No doubt lines will be developed for feed efficiency, once more is known about it. Having such lines available will give breeders the opportunity to specialize the families on their farms or to cross lines to end up with less inbred animals. It could make for the best of both worlds – for the breeders and for the A.I.

More Study of the Genome As more and more animals are genomically tested there will be more accuracy to genomic results. But it does not end there. By studying each animal’s genome, it will be possible to know the exact level of inbreeding instead of what is currently done, which is only an estimation based on parentage. This will provide for yet another way to help tackle the inbreeding issue. Definitely genomically testing all heifers in a herd will, in the future, have a multitude of benefits for breeders (Read more: Herd Health, Management, Genetics and Pilot Projects: A Closer Look at ZOETIS)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Holstein breeders and the breed cannot afford to fiddle while Rome burns when it comes to inbreeding. It is time to take action to reduce inbreeding levels. It does require collective action by the breed, on behalf of breeders and A.I. companies. It is not too late to act. The time for procrastination has past.

 

 

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top read 14 iconThere is no question that breeding the next World Champion, World Dairy Expo Holstein Champion or even a Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion is the dream of almost every breeder who has ever entered the show ring.  The challenge is that achieving such a feat takes a combination of many factors.  First you have to have the genetics to win.  Then you need to have the will to win.  And of course, then everything must come together on show day if you are to achieve that dream.  In looking at the first part of this equation, there is no doubt that breeding is part science and part art form.  But at least from the science part, we thought we would take a deeper look.  So we went looking for two key things, first those sires that excel in those traits that are in demand in the show ring, and secondly those sires that  have the ability to produce the extremes, not just the averages.  You see we are not wanting those sires that will give you five out of  five VG-85-2YR olds.  We are wanting those sires that stand the best chance of giving you that 89 point2YR old that turns into your 97 point mature cow, which can then contend for all the big show awards.

An Explanation about Outliers

The easiest way to find outliers is to compare two sires for their daughters’ performance.  Then identify those sires that have the greatest deviation from their average daughter.  This is not to be confused with Type scores in the US that are expressed in Standard Deviations.  The best way to describe this is by an example.

Let’s say we have two bulls each with 10 daughters.  The following table shows their level of improvement for type across the 10 Daughters.

daudevconfind

Both of these sires would have an average improvement of 12 points.  Hypothetically if this was the whole population of their daughters they both would get the same conformation score.  The problem is they are two very different sires and the numbers tell us that.  However these are not the numbers that most breeders get to see.

Looking closer we see that Bull A daughters have a range of 18 points while Bull B’s daughters only range 4 points.  Sure both bulls, on av
erage, will perform the same but, when you are looking to breed for the extremes (such as show breeders are), or you are wanting to produce the most consistent results possible, you need to know these differences between bulls.  (Read more: Duds and Studs – Why you shouldn’t use the same sires as the AI units).  This is also the reason you will often see AI units using a sire of sons that is maybe not #1 on the list, but rather a few places lower.  That is because he has exhibited the ability to show the greatest range in his progeny.  (Read more: The Number That Will Change the Way You Look at Genetic Evaluations Forever)

The following are the top 10 sires we found:

#10 –LAUTHORITY

COMESTAR LAUTHORITYCOMESTAR LAUTHORITY
HOCANM103455217
200HO05588

First let’s be clear about what we are talking about.  We are talking about breeding the next generation of World Champions.  There is no question that Goldwyn is dominating this generation, but who will be the next sire to achieve such greatness.  So it’s only natural that at least a couple of Goldwyn’s make the list.  Lauthority, a Goldwyn from the great Laurie Sheik family, may not be as much an extreme sire higher up on our list, as he is more of a mister consistent sire, but his tall dairy daughters are just too special to not have on our list.  His daughters can tend to be a little flatter in the loin than would be desired, but his extreme mammary systems, combined with wide rumps will certainly catch the eye of many judges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 – GOLDEN DREAMS

HEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMSHEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMS
HOGBRM642262
206HO00148

The 2nd Goldwyn sire on our list is HEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMS.  This full brother to Atwood had a very impressive showing at the recent Italian National Show (Read more: Cremona Italy National Holstein Show Results).  Golden Dreams actually has higher genomic tests for all the major conformation traits than Atwood, especially in rumps, an area that if I was going to fault Atwood on it would be thus area.  Golden Dreams daughters may not be as deep as Atwood’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VISION-GEN SHF MAXIMUS

#8 – MAXIMUS

VISION-GEN SHF MAXIMUS
HOUSAM69314816
076HO00647

It’s no surprise that the first genomic test sire on our list comes from one of the hottest genomic families in the world the Rudy Missy’s.  Maximus is an Atwood son from PINE-TREE SHOTTLE MINNIE, who is a sister to the popular type sire, Pine-Tree Sid.  It’s no surprise that when you put the cow family that produced Sid, combined with Atwood/Goldwyn bloodlines that the potential for greatness is there.  You can expect Maximus daughters to be tall, walk uphill and have extreme angularity, though you will need to protect him in the pin setting.  However, with a genomic conformation test that is 6 points higher than his parent average he certainly got the best these two great cow families had to offer (+20 vs +14).

 

 

 

 

#7 – SNOWY

LOOKOUT PESCE SNOWYLOOKOUT PESCE SNOWY
HOCANM108250917
200HO06610

For those of you who are not afraid of genomics, but rather see it as a way to get ahead, there is Snowy.  No surprise this genomic giant came from the De-Su, considering that De-Su seems to be the only breeder that is able to keep pace with the large genetic corporations.  (Read more: Dairy Breeders vs. Genetic Corporations: Who are the True Master Breeders?)  In Snowy you have some legends when it comes to producing sons.  Through Let it Snow (his sire) you have Broeks MBM Elsa EX 1* NLD and LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94 18*, both Golden Dam Finalists. (Read more:  BROEKS MBM ELSA – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist and LYLEHAVEN LILA Z – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).  Through his maternal side you have another Golden Dam finalist MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92 GMD DOM 6* (Read more: MD DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) and DE-SU 7051 EX DOM.  It’s no wonder that Snowy is tied for the highest DGV Conformation test at +24.  Expect his daughters to be tall and dairy with great feet and legs.  While his rumps may not be great for calving ease, they should be fine for the show ring.

 

#6 – BROKAW

MR ATWOOD BROKAWMR ATWOOD BROKAW
HOUSAM140602463
007HO11118

In an era when it seems that genomic sires come and go quickly or, more accurately, are constantly being surpassed by the new hot sire, Brokaw has been able to stand strong.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall and have the necessary frame, dairyness and bolted on udders to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.

 

 

#5 – HIGH OCTANE

STANTONS HIGH OCTANESTANTONS HIGH OCTANE
HOCANM11696704
080HO06052

For those who are willing to take a flyer on a non-show family and a sire stack that may not be proven in the show ring there is the extreme genomic index sire Stantons High Octane.  High Octane also has a DGV for conformation of +24.  While his sire stack does not say it, his genomic conformation break down has High Octane built for the show ring.  He ranks in the top DGV’s of the breed for conformation, Mammary System, Dairy Strength, and Rumps.  The challenge for many breeders will be that there isn`t any show pedigree behind him even though he does trace back to the Barbie’s through Golden Dam finalists REGANCREST S CHASSITY EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 9* and her dam REGANCREST CINDERELLA EX-92-2E-USA DOM GMD 6*. (Read more: REGANCREST S CHASSITY – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist)

 

#4 – DILIGENT

CLAYNOOK DILIGENTCLAYNOOK DILIGENT
HOCANM11595050
200HO10095

A third sire with a DGV for conformation +24 is CLAYNOOK DILIGENT.  This early Velthuis Let It Snow is from the WINDSOR-MANOR RUD ZIP EX-95-4E-USA DOM GMD 1* cow family.  Similar to High Octane, Diligent’s pedigree may not read as a who’s who of the show ring, with sires like Snowman and a double dose of Planet, but if you have confidence in the genomic system, this sire is sure to deliver.  The nice part about Diligent is that there is no Goldwyn in his pedigree.  Therefore he can be an outcross sire to use on your Goldwyn daughters.  In fact Diligent is a nice conformation cross on the typical Goldwyn as he excels in both pin width and body depth without sacrificing the mammary system.

 

#3 – AFTERSHOCK

MS ATLEES SHT AFTERSHOCKMS ATLEES SHT AFTERSHOCK
HOUSAM65249839
094HO14105

While AFTERSHOCK daughters are not as silky or refined as many Goldwyn’s, he does make a great proven cross on your Goldwyn’s.  As proven by his Goldwyn brother, Atwood, there really is no question that the cross can deliver at the highest levels.  While you won’t typically get that all black heifer that the show ring loves, you will get extreme loin strength, feet and legs and dairy strength.  That is just what many Goldwyn’s require to take them to the next level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 – SAVIOR

LADYS-MANOR SAVIORLADYS-MANOR SAVIOR
HOUSAM71057277
200HO03855

The last of our genomic test sires and the greatest outlier in the breed for type is LADYS-MANOR SAVIOR.  This Lauthority son (#10 on our list), has insane genomic tests.  His genomic test for conformation +24 is tied for tops in the breed and is 10 points higher than his parent average (+14).  From the same cow family as that produced Shamrock, Savior’s third dam is LADYS-MANOR RUBY JEN EX-94-2E-USA DOM GMD.  When looking to produce an extreme outlier, you need to mate them to exactly such   an extreme outlier as this.  SAVIOR is that extreme outlier.  His linear is perfect for the show ring, and he will certainly leave a range in his daughters, as he is also a list topper when it comes to daughter deviation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – ATWOOD

MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOODMAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD
HOCANM8956379
007HO10506

Call it playing it safe, or call it the smart choice, either way you look at it, Atwood and his extensive use and consistent transmitting ability will certainly leave the most daughters that will contend with those of his sire Goldwyn.  There are so many reasons to choose Atwood.  First you have the magic Goldwyn on Durham cross, then you add in his dam who was  the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also had extreme conformation herself, winning Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going on to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade, Goldwyn, and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.  While he may not pass his sire in accomplishments, there is no question that Atwood is establishing himself as the heir apparent.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While playing it safe will certainly give you the most consistent type herd from top to bottom, sometimes you need to search for those outliers that can throw you the extremes.  In this list we give you a mixture of proven sires, genomic sires, and sires that are going to leave you some extreme ranges.  While you certainly must always consider corrective mating when breeding for the show ring, it’s also important to try some sires that will give you the extremes.

 

 

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For the past two years we here at the Bullvine have been warning breeders about changes that will come as a result of large A.I. companies and other genetic corporations owning top females.  The comment that many breeders come back to us with is,”I will take a “master breeder” over some geneticist any day.”  As well they say,   “If it was up to the geneticists, we would never have had sires like Goldwyn.”.  Well we here at the Bullvine decided to take a closer look to see who the true master breeder is.  Is it the Geneticist or is it the Seed Stock Breeder?

What makes a true master breeder?

For years the Master Breeder award has been one of the most coveted awards given out by breed associations.  This award is the pinnacle of success for any purebred breeder.  In Canada there have been 924 Master Breeders shields awarded since its inception in 1929.  While Holstein USA does not have a master breeder program, it does have the Elite Breeder Award, bestowed annually upon a living Holstein Association USA, Inc. member, family, partnership, or corporation who has bred outstanding animals and thereby has made a notable contribution to the advancement of the Holstein breed in the United States.  As well it designates the Herd of Excellence award which recognizes registered Holstein breeders who have bred and developed excellent herds made up of cows with superior type and production.

Except for the AltaGen herd, run by Alta Genetics, which won a Master Breeder shield in 2001, all the winners have been seed stock producers or, in the early years, government herds.  But now, with the large A.I. companies and genetic corporations entering into the ownership of top females, this could be about to change.  (Read more: Should A.I. Companies Own Females? And Why Good Business for AI Companies Can Mean Bad Business for Dairy Breeders)

Who owns the top genetics?

If you look at the top genomic index lists over the past 2 years, you will see six names consistently producing the top index animals.  The names include De-Su, S-S-I (Select Sires), EDG (Elite Dairy Genomics now managed by Sexing Technologies), Alta Genetics, ABS Global, and the Co-Op program at Genex.  Over the past year, more than 50% of the top 100 females have been owned by one of these companies.  The interesting fact is that all but one, De-Su, is either a large A.I. company or a genetic corporation.  So it is clear to see that these companies have already entered and are starting to win the race.

Now I know you are probably saying that just owning the top females does not make them a master breeder.  And I agree it doesn’t.  But what it does do is give them control of the genetic advancement race.  (Read more: The Genomic Advancement Race – The Battle for Genetic Supremacy and What the Experts Will Tell You about Who Is Winning the Genetic Improvement Race)  Sure there are some who think “Breeders can still breed a better next generation than the corporations can with all their number crunching and statistics.”  That is because many feel that the geneticists at these corporations lack one key element and that is cattle sense.  The knowledge that comes from working day in and day out with cows.  The cow sense that makes cattle breeding part art form and part science.  In my opinion, that is correct!  Unfortunately, correct or not, it doesn’t matter.  What really gives the geneticists at the large corporations the edge is the resources that are at their disposal.

It’s a question of resources, not cattle smarts

Let’s take a look at the typical seed stock producer versus the geneticist and just see who will produce that next list topper.  The seed stock producer can probably afford to flush each animal 3-4 times per year in order to produce the next generation of great ones.  Given typical ratios that would mean about 10 females a year and let’s say 10 males a year.  Therefore, that breeder would have 20 progeny to compete with against the large genetic corporations.  Now let’s look at the case for the large genetics corporations.  First of all they already own the majority of the top genomic index animals so that they are already starting ahead of the game.  But, more importantly, they can afford to flush their animals 10+ plus times a year.  This gives them at least 50 plus females and over 50 males (and possibly 100 of each) to submit to the ranks of the genomic test gods.

It’s not that they are better about making sire selections, it’s that they can afford to flush each donor cow to every possible sire thus making sure they have all their bases covered.  So yes I would not be surprised to see that the resulting ratios and consistency numbers of the Seed Stock producers end up being as good or better than that of the geneticists at the large corporations.  However, geneticists at the large corporations have much greater resources at their disposal and, therefore, can afford to keep shooting until they get it right.

Of course there are   those of you who are more discerning and say, “Let’s see who produces the better proven sires.  After all that is where you find the true measure of a master breeder,” To them I say, look at the semen sales in the world today.  More than 50% is genomic test sires.  A bull getting a good daughter proof is less and less important, when it comes to winning the genetics race.  (Read more: The End of the Daughter Proven Sire Era)

Another key factor is the significantly increased genetic reliabilities due to the introduction of genomics.  In the past these geneticists were using data that was 30-40% reliable.  Now with genomics the information is more than double that, taking what once was a scientific crapshoot, into an artful science.  (Read more: The Truth About Genomic Indexes – “show me” that they work!, Genomics – Lies, Miss-Truths and False Publications! and The Genomic Bubble Has Burst?)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The real question isn’t really about who are the better breeders.  The real question comes down to who has the biggest pocketbook.  Since the large A.I. companies have greater financial resources than those of the seed stock producer, they can afford to invest significantly more in order to win the genetic race.  The time to have changed this situation isn’t today.  The time to do something about it was two years ago when we told breeders that these corporations owning females would spell the end of the seed stock producers.  It was a good business opportunity that was taken by the A.I. companies.  They now have a relatively cost effective source for top genetics over which they have exclusive control.  So, while the seed stock producers may be the better master breeders, unfortunately they may not be around long enough to enjoy their victory.

 

 

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Hellender Holsteins: From Hell and Back

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

56250[1]It’s hard to imagine what path you would take as a dairy breeder if you were facing the loss of your entire herd. Anton Ender faced that decision in 1981 when his whole herd of elite Brown Swiss cows had to be slaughtered due to disease. For him the next step was to move forward with Holstein cows. Anton’s son Thomas Ender explains the decision simply. “He chose Holsteins because of their willingness to produce.” Today Hellender Holsteins, which is located just 30 minutes from downtown Zurich, is comprised of 23 hectares, 25 milking cows and about 40 heifers and calves. The free stall housing was built in 1991. Anton’s sons Thomas and Andreas are involved in the operation but both of them have full time jobs off the farm.  Thomas is the Head Classifier in Switzerland and responsible for all the breeding and marketing of the Hellender herd. Andreas works as a nutritionist and is on the farm on a daily basis and will take over in the near future.

“Targeted Milk Production.  Exceptional Show Performance”

Production attracted Anton Ender to Holsteins and it remains the highest priority. “At the outset they have to be productive.” says Thomas who outlines the Ender breeding philosophy. “We always select for productive cows that last. They don’t have to be the big time producers in their first lactation, but they do need to get better every year.” He zeroes in on how this is done. “The key to achieving this goal begins with great conformation and especially well attached udders.” Of course this has produced great looking animals and a very successful side effect in the success that they have had in the show ring. “We really like to show cows, but never bred for it. Production is the first priority.” Having said that, Thomas acknowledges that the show ring is important to the dairy operation. “The biggest part of our marketing is the participation on the Shows. With this success behind us, it is a great opening for marketing your genetics through the Internet, sales or on a private basis, because the link to the buyer has been created.”

Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92-CH 6E 11*     Supreme Champion & Hon Ment Best Udder Brunegg '11     1st at the Swiss Expo in '08 and '09 & 3rd in '11     Dam to COLIN (s. Champion) @ Swiss Genetics! #4 Swiss ISEL Bull (12/12)     Dam to the Hon. Mention Gr. Champion Swiss Expo '11: CALANDA     Jurgolin is in 8th lactation and already over 110.000 kg milk lifetime production!     She has 1 EX-94-2E dtr, 1 EX-94-3E dtr and 1 EX-95-3E daughter! Picture in 7th lactation

Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92-CH 6E 11*
Supreme Champion & Hon Ment Best Udder Brunegg ’11
1st at the Swiss Expo in ’08 and ’09 & 3rd in ’11
Dam to COLIN (s. Champion) @ Swiss Genetics! #4 Swiss ISEL Bull (12/12)
Dam to the Hon. Mention Gr. Champion Swiss Expo ’11: CALANDA
Jurgolin is in 8th lactation and already over 110.000 kg milk lifetime production!
She has 1 EX-94-2E dtr, 1 EX-94-3E dtr and 1 EX-95-3E daughter!
Picture in 7th lactation

Small Steps.  Big Success Now and in the Future.

There are always special animals that rise to the top of individual breeding programs and for Hellender Holsteins it was the Jurgolin Juror cow family. “Without any doubt the greatest cow we ever had and still have the pleasure to work with is Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92 6E GM 13*. She keeps impressing us with her own performance as she has already produced 125000kg of milk with really high components. Furthermore she twice topped the production cow class at the renowned Swiss’Expo.” Such achievements would make any breeder proud but Jurgolin is leaving a legacy as well. “The best thing about this hard working, zero problem cow is her progeny. Already 3 of Jurgolin’s daughters are classified EX-94 and EX-95 and there will be more great young cows to come.” Adding strength on the sire side is another achievement for Jurgolin. “Her son is the former N°1 bull in Switzerland and was sold out in a record time period.” Thomas explains the decision process that led to this success. “The mating was chosen to increase the production of her dam by Dixellen Design, which had really high components. Also could she have had a tighter attached udder but had excellent feet and legs, which made Juror a great mating sire for her.”

Hellender Champion Calanda EX-95-SW 3E      1st & Hon. Mention Champion Swiss Expo 2010     1st Swiss Expo Lausanne 2013     Supreme Champion Elite Show Brunegg 2010     1st National Expo Bulle 2010     Full sister to Hellender COLIN @ Swiss Genetics     She has a Windbrook son with skyhigh Genomics @ Swiss Genetics     Combined owned by: J. & C. Rey, P. Deru & Hellender Holsteins

Hellender Champion Calanda EX-95-SW 3E
1st & Hon. Mention Champion Swiss Expo 2010
1st Swiss Expo Lausanne 2013
Supreme Champion Elite Show Brunegg 2010
1st National Expo Bulle 2010
Champion x Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92-SW 6E
Combined owned by: J. & C. Rey, P. Deru & Hellender Holsteins

From a Small Start to Grand Successes

It is quite clear to see that, despite the traumatic cause of their start into Holsteins, Hellender building an outstanding herd.  Thomas outlines current breeding lines. “Right now we are still working with the foundation cow of the family, Juror Jurgolin. But we also are building through her daughters by Champion and Goldwyn. The next generation of great ones will come up through the Dempseys and a Knowledge out of the Champions and a Hvezda with RC as well as a Windbrook straight out of Jurgolin.” The shine on the future is also being fulfilled in the show ring. “We own two milking Goldwyns out of Vangoh Durham Treasure EX-96 3E that have been really successful in the showring and that are fresh with their second calves and ready to be flushed. Treasure caught my eye being late maturing and showing a perfect udder already as a young cow.” New purchases are showing possibilities too. “We just purchased the Top Seller of the Riedmuellers Holstein Complete Dispersal, Bolton Chantal VG 2y, a show winning daughter out of Champion Cresta then Durham, Encore, Cinder and Tony Rae EX-96. This bull dam has a very high production in a great mammary system and shows us lots of potential in the show ring as well. Thomas modestly identifies the Ender family’s blossoming success. “I think we consider our greatest accomplishment is that we started with a herd of 25 cows and have been able to develop a successful cow family whose progeny is doing well in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Denmark and Belgium.”

Hellender Champion Corina EX-94-SW 3E      Supreme Champion Argovie-Expo 2013     1st & Res. Champion & Best Udder Brunegg '11     1st Expo Bulle '09 and 3rd Expo Bulle '11     3rd Swiss Expo Lausanne '09 and 3rd Swiss Expo Lausanne '13     Supreme Champoin & Best Udder Elite Show Brunegg '09     Supreme Champion Luga Luzern '09     1st & Res. Jr. Champion Elite Show '08     Swiss Holsteins Cow of the Year '14 Champion x Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92-SW 6E

Hellender Champion Corina EX-94-SW 3E
Supreme Champion Argovie-Expo 2013
1st & Res. Champion & Best Udder Brunegg ’11
1st Expo Bulle ’09 and 3rd Expo Bulle ’11
3rd Swiss Expo Lausanne ’09 and 3rd Swiss Expo Lausanne ’13
Supreme Champoin & Best Udder Elite Show Brunegg ’09
Supreme Champion Luga Luzern ’09
1st & Res. Jr. Champion Elite Show ’08
Swiss Holsteins Cow of the Year ’14
Champion x Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92-SW 6E

Sire Selection

“We like security in our breeding program, so for the breeding part genomics hasn’t affected us as much.” Having said that he adds this caveat. “It is harder to sell a bull out of a great cow family if you’re not in the race.” He therefore outlines the Hellender sire selection philosophy.” The majority of the bulls we used are daughter proven because with a small herd we prefer a proof with more security and prefer not to experiment with young genomic bulls. At the moment we are using Atwood, Aftershock, Seaver, Sid, Observer, Dorcy and still Champion. On the genomic side we’ve been using Destined, Airintake and Lingo. All of these bulls transmit good milk production in great udders.”

Hellender Champion Cortina EX-94-CH 2E  4th Swiss Expo '09 & 3rd Swiss Expo '10 4th National Expo Bulle '10 2nd & Hon. Mention Champion & Res. Best Udder Brunegg '09 Champion x  Hellender Champion Cortina EX-94-SW 2E

Hellender Champion Cortina EX-94-CH 2E
4th Swiss Expo ’09 & 3rd Swiss Expo ’10
4th National Expo Bulle ’10
2nd & Hon. Mention Champion & Res. Best Udder Brunegg ’09
Champion x Hellender Champion Cortina EX-94-SW 2E

 “Little Things Make a Big Difference”

Perhaps the easiest way to understand the Hellender breeding philosophy is to look at in the context of their home country. Thomas agrees pointing out, “I think the biggest difference is size. Everything is smaller in Switzerland: the farms the machinery and the herds. This opens the opportunity to do a more individual mating for each animal. At the end this helps to increase the level of the average. We are really happy about the fact that size doesn’t matter as much as it used to in the past. A middle sized, well balanced cow with a great udder often gets a preference towards the big framey cow. For us this is the key to longevity.  Do some wise investments in great cow families that reflect your breeding goal right at the beginning and go from there. Embryos I think are a good opportunity to acquire top genetics at reasonable prices. And be hard on the selection of your own animals, this makes you move forward with the right genetics over the years.”

Calanda and Corina are 1st and 3rd in the production cow class at the recent Swiss Expo

Calanda and Corina are 3rd and 4th in the production cow class at the recent Swiss Expo

“No Matter How Small You Start Out, You Should Always Dream Big”

The Enders are reaping the success of staying true to their vision. The history of this small herd attests to the success that a focused breeding philosophy can generate. In 2014 Hellender Champion Corina EX-94 was named Swiss Holstein Cow of the Year.  (Read more: Hellender Champion Corina – Swiss Holstein cow of the Year!) This daughter of Hellender Juror Jurgolin has several show ring victories and has been 3 time Supreme Champion in Switzerland with multiple outings at the Swiss Expo in Lausanne. Another Jurgolin daughter, probably the most famous of them all is, Hellender Champion Calanda EX-95 3E. She was Honorable Mention Grand Champion of the 2010 Swiss ‘Expo. Of interest also, is that several sons of the Jurgolin daughters are in AI. With all this success, there are many who admire the achievements of Hellender Holsteins. In advising other breeders how to follow in their footsteps, the Enders encourage dairy breeders to stick to their goals and learn from the best. “It is important to have an open mind and always be willing to listen and learn from good cowmen.” The Hellender Herd has benefited from that mentoring and Thomas gives a personal example, “For me the person I look up to is Callum McKinven. I admire him not only as a breeder full of passion but because he made it possible for me to see new opportunities. I learned much during my stay at his place and in times with him after.”

Hellender Goldwyn Griffen NC Goldwyn x Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92 6E GM 13* 3rd place Swiss'Expo Lausanne 2014 4th place Swiss'Expo Lausanne 2013 2nd place and finalist Junior Expo Bulle 2012

Hellender Goldwyn Griffen NC
Goldwyn x Hellender Juror Jurgolin EX-92 6E GM 13*
3rd place Swiss’Expo Lausanne 2014
4th place Swiss’Expo Lausanne 2013
2nd place and finalist Junior Expo Bulle 2012

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There are many great examples to use as role models and it isn’t surprising that many of them have gone the route of big herds, big facilities and big investments.  For the Hellender herd the focus wasn’t on size and numbers.  It started with strong emphasis on milk and built from there. With scrupulous selection they have certainly achieved quality in both milk production and in the show ring.  Congratulations to Hellender Holsteins for being an example of how a small herd can be managed to achieve remarkable success.

 

 

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Over the past few years the management and genetic sides of the dairy cattle industry have been handed a huge data opportunity.  One example comes from Lely who report that their robotic system can capture more than 120 different values per cow per day. Sounds excessive doesn’t it? For some breeders that number is beyond comprehension. However, before offering a final assessment on volume of data, let’s dig deeper. Lely Current Data Collection

Dairy farm operators know very well the challenges resulting from high feed cost and narrow margins. But they do not have the numbers to get down to the exact profit at each individual cow level. Do they breed Bessie back? If so what should she be breed to improve her? Or is she the next cow to be culled based on revenue generated less expenses? The challenge has been that managing Bessie has always been in hindsight and what is needed is real time management of her situation. Add to that the fact that wages and labor laws in many developed countries are causing breeders to rethink the degree of automation to apply to their operations. Many sensors already exist for measuring and monitoring cows and many are in the process of coming to market. It all comes down to having the numbers to manage, breed, feed and farm. There are many management   considerations that discerning breeders should reflect on as they plan for future success in the dairy cattle industry.

Eight Numbers for Better Cow Management Decisions

  • Animal Weight – Ways of capturing a cow’s weight available many more factors can be added to what is known on an individual cow basis. Factors like feed intake, loosing or gaining weight and individual cow profit per day for the past week come quickly to mind.  These sensors also allow for monitoring of negative energy balance determined by body weight changes and milk solid ratios.
  • Rumination – Having a healthy rumen is paramount to having a productive profitable dairy cow. Since it is not possible to determine DMI (Dry Matter Intake) on an individual cow basis, rumen activity sensors are used to endure that a cow’s digestive system is functioning well. The sensors also allow for consistent monitoring of feed delivery to ensure feed truck operators are doing their job.
  • Components / Milk QualityMany on-farm systems can now capture fat %, protein %, lactose %, milking time, SCC, Conductivity and color of the milk at every milking (SCC is not equal to conductivity and color of the milk indicates mastitis alerts as well). These numbers and some of the relationships one to another give important information on both a daily and lactation basis. Knowing about problems immediately is by far the best way to address them. Wouldn’t all breeders like to be able to know about a pending SCC spike and address it immediately?
  • Temperature – is captured as either milk temperature or can be electronically read from a device such as a bolus in the rumen. The milk temperature is taken 2 – 4 times per day and is a start. However having an internal device provides for real time cow management. The obvious use of temperature changes is general cow health throughout lactation in order to detect differences from normal. Knowing a cow’s temperature after calving has been found to be very useful    in getting her off to the right start. New to management tools could be monitoring a cow’s temperature, hour by hour, during her heat period. Breeding at exactly the right time is being studied and preliminary results are showing greatly increased pregnancy rates when body temperature is considered. Think how beneficial it would be to have a 65% conception rate instead of a 35-40% rate.
  • Heat Detection – In addition to the idea, just mentioned, of breeding by temperature during heat, there are many systems working successfully that record cow movement and thus signal to breeders that a cow is more active and should be closely observed for being in heat. Yet another device is one that measures hormone levels signalling an on-coming heat (Read more: Better Decision Making by Using Technology). Just think of the savings in labor, drugs, vet costs, semen, extra days spent in dry pens and days of lower milk production at the end of lactation if conception rates could be 70% or higher in cows and 85% or higher in heifers.
  • Milk Yield Every Milking – On a milking to milking basis nothing is more important than to know if a cow has produced to the expected level. All automated milking systems can do that and so breeders with those systems have a very important tool at their disposal. Cows falling below expectation are highlighted for attention by the herdsman either immediately or on a list that can be reviewed at any time.
  • Listings – Every automated system is capable of generating lists and graphs from the data captured. When a breeder first gets an automated system, they use the lists to find the problems or underperforming cows. However after a time breeders also find the reports to be very beneficial for setting goals for their cows and herd. A list can be as simple as knowing which cows, in a robotic herd, have not been milked. Or are they sick or lame? No matter what, the herdsman has a reason to find the cow and investigate. Breeders not only benefit from knowing what goes on in their own herd but the equipment providers are able to use the data from across herds in establishing benchmarks. And it is not only the breeder that benefits, his veterinarian and feed advisor now have information that they can use to make better recommendations.
  • Heifers The heifer herd is the forgotten part of the dairy herd (Read more: Should you be raising your own heifers?). Automated calf feeding systems are now being used successfully. Many of the devices mentioned above, for cows, can be used for heifers as well. Just think of what the saving would be if age at first calving could be reduced by 3-4 months, $400 saved per heifer raised amounts to $20,000 savings per year in a 100 cow herd.

Numbers to Breed Better Cows

Having better management tools is only 50% of the success equation. The other half is breeding better cows. The data that would separate the best from the rest is a long and growing list.

  •  Milk Yield Every Milking – The most accurate lactation production is when a weight from every milking is known. By having a weight captured at every milking, a genetic index could be calculated for a bull’s daughters peak production and persistency of production. Knowing such details may in fact help breeders determine the performance pattern that they want from their cows.
  • Components / Milk Quality – Here as well, having more observations will increase the accuracy of genetic indexes in order to breed cows that produce the milk that processors and consumers demand.
  • Milking Speed – The current genetic indexes are calculated using breeder assigned subjective rating. Fast, average or slow. Automated milking systems are now capable of capturing milking times. As more herds move to automated systems it will be possible to know if a bull’s daughters take 30 seconds less or 30 second more to milk. Time to milk determines the number of cows per robot or the size of the parlor. Milking speed is not consistent throughout the life of a cow and has variations even in the lactation. More over the robot gives an honest measurement which is not affected by the fear of the cow for the milking appraiser.
  • Adaptability / Temperament – Breeder know that not all cows are equal when it comes to be handled, milked and cared for. Using data from automated systems it will, in the future, be possible to produce genetic ratings for how bull’s daughters work within automated systems, their temperament, and other factors that breeders see as being necessary.
  • Reproduction / Fertility – Currently the data we have on cows, bulls and embryos are stored on many different databases. Bringing that information to a linked data system, studying it and then developing genetic bull rankings could well be a significant development when it comes to increasing the reproductive performance of dairy cattle.
  • Feed Efficiency – One of the most read articles that The Bullvine routinely produces is the one listing sires that will produce the most feed efficient cows (Read more: Feed Efficiency: The Money Saver and 50 Sires that will Produce Feed Efficient Cows ).  Bullvine readers want to have genetic evaluations for feed efficiency. For some Bullvine readers sire rankings cannot come too quickly. Research is currently underway to determine the relationship between feed efficiency and other genetic indexes. However if feed intake data could come from automated on-farm systems it would be a big step forward.
  • Lameness / Mobility – On a herd and industry basis, mobility issues are a big financial drain due to animal cull, lost production and added costs. Breeders know that cows that avoid lameness, that are able to easily get to the feed bunk or pasture and that spend the majority of their time resting, are the kind of cows that make the most profit. With more complete data from automated systems and with perhaps additional sensors it will someday be possible to have genetic indexes for mobility.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The definitive statement, when it comes to information and data on dairy farms, is that we have currently only scratched the surface. Definitely much more data from automated on-farm systems will soon be available for breeders to use to operate their dairy enterprises and to select their sires. Decisions made by dealing with the exceptions or past performance are old concepts. What is needed is more condensed and focused information and data to manage with on a real time basis. More data from automated data capture systems can and will make this a better industry. Let’s welcome in the future.

 

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12 Things You Need to Know About A2 Milk

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

When a new food trend presents itself a considerable amount of the success or failure in consumer uptake relates back to the way the product was introduced to the marketplace.  Drinking milk is by no means a “new” marketing trend but with the acknowledged trend toward healthier eating and better diet choices, the entry into the marketplace of a “new and better” milk drink is making ripples in milk glasses around the world. Milk has certainly seen its share of positive and negative marketing.  Everyone relates to and has positive feelings about the “milk moustache” campaign.  But mothers worldwide deal with the issues of “lactose intolerance” and “mother’s milk versus cow’s milk”. Every dairy producer faces the arguments of natural, unnatural or pasteurized.  And even with the acceptance or more flavored milks, the health issues have not been truly answered. What does this “new” milk mean to dairy producers?

Something Exceptional? Or Exceptional Marketing?

An Australia based firm – A2 Corp. – has been selling a brand of A2 milk in New Zealand and Australia for the past 10 years and is poised to launch into the North American market. Their growing body of research suggests that A2 milk may provide the answer for the 1 in 4 Americans who suffer from lactose intolerance.  The A2 Company hypothesizes that the problem is that they are unable to digest A1, a protein most often found in milk from high producing Holstein Cows. They propose that the A2 protein which predominates in milk from Jersey, Guernsey and most Asian and African cow breeds is more easily digested.

It’s about Leaky Gut Syndrome.

As with many health food trends, evidence shows they often get the first foot hold in the alternative medicine field.  From that perspective, the leading explanation for why some people can’t tolerate A1 milk is attributed to leaky gut syndrome. The idea that loose connections in the gut, “like tears in a coffee filter, allows proteins to enter the body and run wild.  In response the body sends immune cells to fight the autoimmune invaders and the result is swelling and pain from the resulting inflammation.  These symptoms are associated with arthritis, diabetes and autism.

What’s wrong with A1?

The real fiend in A1 milk according to A2 proponents is that, when digested, A1 beta-casein releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7), an oploid with a morphine-like structure.  Numerous recent tests report higher-than-average levels of BCM7 in blood from people with autism and schizophrenia. Furthermore, a recent study that is currently under review in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reports on cell cultures research by Richard Deth and Malav Trivedi, both in the Pharmacology Department at  Northeastern University in Boston, that shows similar high amounts of BCM7 in gut cells causes a chain reaction that creates a shortage of antioxidants in neural cells.  This is a condition that other research has tied to autism.

Where’s the SCIENCE?

As for leaky gut, this is a condition that many adults may suffer from.  However, the condition is normal in babies under a year of age, who naturally have semi-permeable intestines.  Therefore, when they’re fed typical cow-milk formula, problems arise with digestion.  “A 2009 study documented that formula-fed infants developed muscle tone and psychomotor skills more slowly than infants that were fed A2-only breast milk.  Researchers in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic have suggested links between BCM7 in cow milk and childhood health issues.  Another more recent study implicates BCM7 in sudden infant death syndrome, reporting that some “near-miss SIDS” infants had blood serum containing more BCM7 than the blood of healthy infants of the same age.” Research is ongoing to support these claims.

Partners on the Frontier

Bob Elliott, Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Auckland opened up discussions about A1 milk and diabetes in Samoan Children.  In a 1997 study published by the International Dairy Federation, Elliott showed A1 beta-casein caused mice to develop diabetes. In 2000 he partnered with entrepreneur Howard Paterson, then regarded as the wealthiest man on New Zealand’s South Island, to found the A2 Corporation.

False and Misleading?

Those charged with responsibility for public health and safety are feeling the pressure from this new product. In 2009 the European Food Safety Authority reported that they found no link between consumption of A1 milk and health and digestive problems.  To date, much of the supporting research has come from the A2 Corp., which holds a patent for the only genetic test that can separate A1 from A2 cows. Some fear a conflict of interest arises here.  In 2004, the same year that A2 Corp. went public on the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Australia’s Queensland Health Department fined A2 marketers $15,000 for making false and misleading claims about the health benefits of its milk and, at least for New Zealand’s Food Safety Minister, the debate was resolved.

The Door is Open to Welcome New Milk

Debate over or not, the A2 Corporation moved forward to market its a2 brand milk in New Zealand and Australia, where its currently accounts for about 8 percent of dairy product sales Down Under. In 2012, A2 expanded distribution through the Tesco chain into Great Britain. Currently a two-liter bottle sells at an 18 percent premium over conventional milk. Building on consumer acceptance in these locations, A2 is poised to re-launch into the U.S. market where they feel, unlike on their previous entry, there are now enough American consumers willing to pay a premium for A2 milk. The good news appears to be that A1 is not the causative agent for diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Ready for Research

In building the A2 hypothesis, it becomes necessary to compare its benefits to the problems of A1 milk. In 1993 Elliott proposed that consumption of A1 milk could account for the unusually high incidence of type-1 diabetes among Samoan children growing up in New Zealand.  A colleague, Corran McLaclan, later found strong correlations between per capita consumption of A2 milk and the prevalence of diabetes and heart disease in 20 countries.  Critics explain the relationships away by other  factors such as diet, lifestyle and exposure to Vitamin D as suggested by research published by  Elliott  and  in the book written by Keith Woodford,(Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk.). The time is ripe for responsible research to resolve these issues.

Coming to A Grocery Store Near You

A2 Corporation is understandably cautious about suggesting that consuming its products is a solution to preventing serious diseases.  Their marketing emphasizes instead the digestive benefits of its fluid milk, fresh cream and infant formula products. Regardless of your current position in this “Battle of the Milks”, when it comes to the health of the next generation, we all need to take a stand. Worldwide A2 Corporation is into several years of expansion into the UK, Ireland and China.

A2 From the Farm to the Table

Along with being exposed to new dairy products, today’s consumer wants verification for what they are being sold. A2 Corp. explains that the company’s farmer-suppliers use DNA analysis of tail hair from each cow to certify she is producing A2 milk, which is kept segregated through processing.  They also report that it is now possible to convert a herd of A1-producing cows to A2- producing cows. They are working with selected dairies that are making this conversion and test-marketing A2 milk in a number of U.S. states.

A1, A2 and AI

AI companies are well aware of the A1/A2 debate and are taking steps to stay up on new developments.  Many US and Canadian AI companies keep records of the A1/A2 genetics of their genetic offerings. The development of A2 producing Holsteins is gaining momentum and breeders with long term vision are phasing out A1 cows and are confident they can maintain high production throughout the transition. At the leading edge are those who seek niche markets using the A2 dominant breeds such as Jersey, Guernsey and Normande.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

As with any other health claim, there will be early adopters and those who wait until the facts are all in.  I can’t help but ask, “When was the last time, you were absolutely certain of the nutritional science behind all the food you eat?”  Having said that, it isn’t difficult to accept the proposition that there are certain people in the population, particularly babies, who react severely to the A1 protein.  Four fifths of our family can dine delightfully on shellfish without incident.  Our baby risks anaphylactic shock from merely sniffing some on a buffet. So back to A1 and A2.  Is the market big enough for both?  Is one right?  The other one wrong?  The spotlight is on milk in a positive way. Sometimes we spend so much time defending the tradition that we miss the opportunity of bringing a whole new consumer into the dairy aisle.

 

 

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This past weekend Dr. Gilles Patenaude, the 84-year-old patriarch of Ferme Gillette, passed away.  Five generations of Patenaude’s have farmed on their “Century Farm,` but it was Dr. Gilles and his wife Lorette that first started the family into Holsteins.  Gilles purchased the family dairy farm from his father in 1958 and in 1960 started into purebred Holsteins.  Why? “Because in everything I did I wanted the best.  It’s as simple as that.”

Joined in the family dairy by his four sons, Marc, Louis, Vincent, and Mathieu and their families, achieving the best is exactly what the Patenaude family has done.  Master Breeder shields, All-Canadian awards, Class Extra Sires, World Record Producers, Canadian and International Cow’s of the Year, they have achieved it all.  Of course this success does not happen overnight. Neither did it come easily.  For Gilles Patenaude and his family, their hard work has led them to breeding one of the best dairy herds in the world.

Dr Patenaude, a dentist by trade, practiced for 40 years then retired in 1996.  Becoming a dentist was a lifelong ambition for Gilles who had dreamed of it since he was 5 years old.  Nevertheless becoming a dentist would not come easily for Gilles.  You see he was dyslexic and that made it very challenging for him in school.  Fortunately for young Gilles he was also very competitive and his desire to be the best at whatever he did would help him overcome these challenges.  He was a boxer, swimmer and wrestler while attending University of Toronto.   His time at University also taught him another important lesson in life.  In order to become a dentist he had to make many financial sacrifices and learn the difference between merely spending and investing.  This lesson has paid many dividends over his career.

The mark of an impactful life is made, not through the achievements you collect, but rather by the legacy you leave behind.  For Gilles, that legacy is represented by his and Lorette’s four sons – Marc, Louis, Vincent and Mathieu.  Eldest son Marc is in charge of the field crops and fieldwork and he has two boys Eric, who is heavily involved in the marketing of Ferme Gillette, and Martin.  Louis, the public face of Ferme Gillette, looks after the farm’s elite genetics herd plus marketing.  He has three children, Paul, Amelia and Camille, who are all very involved in the family operation.  Vincent is responsible for the large commercial herd and his wife, Dr. Christie McLeod, is a veterinarian and they have two daughters, Rachel and Danielle.  The youngest of the brothers is Mathieu who is responsible for machinery and accounting.  With wife Adela they have two young sons, Jonathan and Stephane.

Like Gilles’ personal road to becoming a dentist, the road to success for Ferme Gillette was certainly not an easy one.  In 1994 tragedy struck when the Patenaudes sustained a fire that killed 205 cows and destroyed their main free-stall barn and milking parlor plus the show barn.  Fortunately a key survivor was Gillette Blackstar Christiane (VG-88-17*), who rose from the flames and ashes of the blaze to go on to win Holstein Canada’s Cow of the Year in 2000.  This would be the third fire to occur at Ferme Gillette.  In 1970 a fire destroyed the barn, and a second fire in 1980 killed a few head of cattle and damaged the buildings.  As Dr. Gilles pointed out, they just kept on going “Because we love it”.  Therefore, I was not surprised when the Marcus family of Woodstock recently lost their herd to fire, to learn that it was Dr. Gilles’ son Louis was one of the first to reach out to Clarence, and share their support and experience to help them.  We are happy to report that the Marcus family is well on the way to milking again by summer.

The list of accomplishments for Dr. Gilles Patenaude and the team at Ferme Gillette is exceptional.  Here are some highlights:

  • 1878 Dr. Gilles Patenaude’s grandfather settles on farm at Embrun, Ont.
  • 1958 Dr. Gilles Patenaude buys family farm from his father and replaces dairy herd with beef cows.
  • 1960 The Patenaudes switch back to dairy cows and begin with purebred Holsteins. Dr. Patenaude joins Holstein Canada, using prefix “Gillette”.  Taken from his and his wife’s first names.
  • 1970 Fire at Ferme Gillette.
  • 1980 Fire at Ferme Gillette.
  • 1981 Farm incorporated as La Ferme Gillette Inc. Gilles and Lorette Patenaudes’ four sons – Marc, Louis, Vincent and Mathieu – become partners in the farm with them.
  • 1985-86 Ferme Gillette makes purchases in Bond Haven Dispersal, Hanover Hill Dispersal, Sunnylodge Top 40 Sale, Cormdale Dispersal and Cormdale High Index Invitational Sale to enhance genetics in their herd.
  • 1990 First La Ferme Gillette Sale in April sees 102 head sell for a total of $1,029,950 and an average of $10,097 making it highest herd sale for year in Canada. Startmore Merrill ET, Canada’s number one indexing cow, tops sale at $500,000 and is highest selling animal of year. At the time, she is the third highest selling milking female ever sold in Canada.  The Patenaudes had purchased Merrill as a calf for $63,000 in the 1986 Cormdale High Index Invitational Sale.
  • 1991 Hanoverhill TTA Roxie sets world record for protein in 365 days of 817 kg.
  • 1992 Ferme Gillette partner with the recently deceased Hardy Shore to host Visions ’92 Sale in August. The sale averages $10,600 on 41 head, highest of the year.   (Read more: Hardy Shore – Shormar Holstiens – Obituary)
  • 1994 Fire destroys dairy barns and 205 head of cattle at Ferme Gillette on November 22nd. The Patenaude family begins to rebuild. One of the few animals to survive was the “miracle” cow, Gillette Blackstar Christiane (VG-88-17*), who would go on to win Holstein Canada’s “Cow of the Year” award in 2000. Gillette ties as leading owner of Honor List producers. 
  • 1996 After 40 years Dr. Gilles Patenaude retires as a dentist, giving him more time to enjoy the farm. “Dentistry was really my fulfillment in life,” he says.
  • 1997 Gillette Visions ’97 Sale averages $7962 and grosses $1,337,675 on 168 head in November, making it best sale of the year. Skys-The-Limit Claire tops sale at $275,000 and is highest selling animal for the year. Gillette Carlton, son of Maeford Starbuck Chrissy (Ex-17*),  becomes their first Class Extra bull. The Patenaudes will eventually breed nine Class Extra bulls, eight with the Gillette prefix, along with 22 Superior Type and 10 Superior Production bulls.  The Patenaudes purchased a first choice from Gypsy Grand by “Wade” at the 1997 RockyMountain High Sale. When it came time to make their selection, however, Louis Patenaude was so taken by the “Storm” daughters from Gypsy Grand at Braedale that he asked if he could chose one of them instead. Second Cut was soon on her way to Ferme Gillette
  • 1998 Three cows make Canadian champion production records – Gillette D L Bonbon, 2-year-old Total Performance and protein champion; Calbrett Valiant Ruby, 10 years & older protein champion; and Gillette Jed Pandora, yearling Total Performance champion (and briefly fat champion). Gillette is runner-up for leading owner of Honor List producers.
  • 1999 Gillette Brilea Belle Fleur is Canadian champion for Total Performance, milk and protein in yearling class for Ferme Gillette and Brilea Holsteins. Belle Fleur had several sons in A.I. The most famous was Gillette Brilea F B I (Ex-94-Extra), the popular “Mtoto” son at the Semex Alliance, who in turn is the sire of Gillette Windbrook (Ex-94-Extra). Ferme Gillette is number one Production Herd in Canada.  Ferme purchases  Windemere-Masmill Jellybean (Ex-90- USA-GMD-DOM-6*), a “Leadman” daughter. Purchased Jellybean as a 9-year-old cow from Jim and Nancy Kemp of Ohio.
  • 2000 Gillette Blackstar Christiane named “Cow of the Year” by Holstein Canada. Her son, Renaissance Triumphant, is tied as Canada’s number one conformation bull in May. Braedale Second Cut becomes number one cow for fat in Canada in November. She would achieve this distinction four more times. Windemere-Masmill Jellybean is new Canadian fat champion in 9-year-old class. Ferme Gillette is runner-up for leading breeder and owner of Honor List producers. They earn their first homebred All-Canadian award on Gillette Rubens Dolcevita. Dolcevita was one of three animals owned by Ferme Gillette to win their class at the Royal Winter Fair.  In February 2000 the bull jointly bred by Ferme Gillette and Brilea Holsteins, Brilea Gille Foreman (VG-Extra), claimed Class Extra. This “Skychief” son was purchased by United Breeders/East Gen. His dam was Quietcove Star Fanta-ET (VG-88-15*), a “Blackstar” from Quietcove Valiant Fawn (Ex-95-2EUSA- GMD-DOM-10*), the “Valiant” who was Reserve All-American 4-year-old in 1987.
  • 2004 Gillette-I Durham Jericho is number one LPI Cow in November. She would repeat that feat in February 2005.  Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind (VG-88-26*) topped the fall edition of the Triple Crown Sale as a recently fresh 2-yearold for $30,000 to Toshiaki Yamada of T-Wave Holsteins, Hokkaido, Japan, with Ferme Gillette retaining an interest in this valuable “Blitz” daughter
  • 2005 Ferme Gillette wins Master Breeder shield. Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind heads LPI Cow List in August and then in November becomes first cow in breed to surpass +4000 LPI (+4066). She will eventually lead LPI Cow List six times, as well as being first for type four times and first for milk three times. Ferme Gillette is Premier Breeder at Expo-Printemps Holstein Quebec and Ontario Summer Show. Gillette James Cabrelle is Reserve intermediate champion at the Quebec Show and intermediate champion at the Ontario show. Cabrelle tops Sale of Stars at $180,000. Gillette-I Durham Jericho is overall leader on the Honor List. “FBI” became Class Extra on his first proof in May 2005. In 2005, the Patenaudes realized another of their goals…a Master Breeder shield.
  • 2006 Ferme Gillette has top five cows on August LPI Cow List –2nd Wind, Zone, S Cut, Jericho and Second Cut. Second Cut is dam of the top three. Gillette ties as leading owner of Honor List Producers.  Gillette Final Cut (VGExtra) became Class Extra on his first proof in May 2006. Sired by “Inquirer”, “Final Cut”is a son of Braedale Second Cut (VG-86-23*). A homebred “Dundee” daughter from the Spottie family, Gillette Dundee Sunshine (VG-89), claimed Reserve All-Canadian as a senior calf.
  • 2007 Gillette Blitz S Cut is number one for milk in February and again in January 2008. Gillette has six cows in the top 10 of May LPI Cow List and eight in the top 13 in February. Gillette Dundee Sunshine (VG-89), claimed Reserve All-Canadian as a milking yearling. A granddaughter of Jericho’s by “Morty”, Gillette Morty Jerianne (Ex-95-2E), was Honourable Mention All-Canadian junior 3-year-old.
  • 2009 Gillette Shottle 2nd List, Canada’s number one LPI heifer, tops RockyMountain High Sale at $140,000 and becomes second highest selling bred heifer for all-time in this country. Ferme Gillette is Junior Premier Breeder at Kemptville Championship Show and wins both junior and reserve junior champion rosettes. Gillette S Planet 2nd Snooze (VG-86-2y)  sold for $75,000 in the 2009 Sale of Stars to T-Wave.  Gillette Miss Damion (VG-88), 2009 All-Canadian senior yearling.
  • 2010 Ferme Gillette tops both the LPI Bull and GLPI Cow Lists in August with Gillette Jordan and Gillette Bolton 2nd Sleep, respectively. 2nd Sleep was also number one GLPI cow in April. “Jordan’s” brother, Gillette Jerrick is number seven, the first time in history identical twins, who are the result of embryo splitting, rank in top ten. In December, “Jordan” remains number one bull, while Gillette Windbrook is tied as number one bull for conformation. “Windbrook” becomes Class Extra following in the footsteps of his sire, Gillette Brilea F B I, who was Class Extra in 2005. Gillette E Smurf becomes new Canadian champion for lifetime milk production with 206,934 kg. Gillette is leading breeder and owner of Honor List producers.  R-Z Baxter Caramel-ET (VG-89-2y-DOM). This “Baxter” daughter was purchased for $100,000 in the 2010 Matriarchs of the Breed Sale in Wisconsin by Ferme Gillette, Ferme Maryclerc Inc., Ste-Claire, Que., A. & R. Boulet Inc., St-Francois, Que., Olivier Leclerc, St-Patrice-de-Beaurivage, Que., and Dany-Pierre Rondeau, Fortierville, Que. She is backed by four generations of Very Good or Excellent bull mothers whose sire stack includes “Goldwyn”, “O Man”, “Durham” and “Juror“.  With the introduction of Genomics Caramel would see extreme popularity as a bull mother.
  • 2011 Three sons of Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind rank in top five of LPI Bull List in April, with “Windbrook” at number two and Gillette Wildthing and Gillette Willrock at number five. “Wildthing” and Willrock”, a pair of identical twin bulls from a split embryo, are the first progeny proven sires to receive identical genetic evaluations based on a pooled group of daughters.
  • 2012 Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind would earn Canadian cow of the year, International cow of the year, and Bullvine’s Golden Dam  honorers. ( Read more: 2012 Golden Dam: The Results are In!)  Gillette Emperor Smurf EX-91 earns a Guinness Book of World Record as the most prolific milk producer in the history of dairy cows. (Read more: World Records Are Not Only Set at the Olympics) Gillette Visions 2012 sale averages $11,900 with Ralma-RH Manoman Banjo topping the sale at $131,000.  (Read more: Gillette Visions 2012 Sale – Great People, Great Cattle = Great Results!)

Smurf receiving a special award from MP Grant Crack

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Life is never boring at Ferme Gillette.  There are so many things happening there. But from now on the absence of Dr. Gilles will be hard for the entire team.  His love for details and hands on efforts from fixing fences to keeping the farm esthetically pleasing will be sorely missed.  While Dr. Gilles had stepped aside for his sons and the next generation and had moved from leading to guiding the team, he certainly left his impact on the family and, by extension, on the dairy industry as a whole.  Dr. Gilles was extremely proud of the fact that “All my family is happy with what they are doing.” From the entire   team here at the Bullvine, our sincere condolences go out to the Patenaude family.  As a breeder, friend and family man Gilles always sought excellence and, in so doing, lived his dream. Gilles Patenaude was simply the best.

 

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In 2013 more US dairy farmers left the business than in any year since 2007.  For an industry that has seen almost 64% percent of its members leave in the span of one generation, these are not positive stats.  Continued high feed costs, despite high milk prices, have seen margins get tighter and tighter causing over 2,321 dairy farmers to leave dairying in the last year alone.

Figure 1 Licensed US Dairy farms

Click on image to enlarge

TABLE 1: Licensed U.S. Dairy Farms & Average Herd Size by year

NameSireGTPI*OwnerState/Ctry
AIR-OSA-EXEL M DEE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2361Joey Airosa & Henry & CarolynTipton , CA
DA-SO-BURN UNO 781AMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2647Darin & Sonya BurnikelCresco , IA
LARCREST CANTO-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2626Jon E. LarsonAlbert Lea , MN
T-GEN-AC SUPERSIRE RUTH-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2619Tim ClarkBrownsburg-Chatham , IA
EDG RUBY UNO RACHEL-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2615Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
LADYS-MANOR RD SASHAY-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2598Ladys Manor LLCMonkton , MD
S-S-I JEROD MINAL 8777-ETDE-SU JEROD 1223-ET2598Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
EDG HALLIE UNO HEATHER-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2581Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
CAR-J SUPERSIRE LILA-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2569Carlton WilliardGraham , NC
COYNE-FARMS UNO MAPLE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2545Coyne Farms Inc.Avon , NY
EDG RUBY UNO RIZA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2539Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
EDG RUBY UNO RANDI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2535Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
VIEW-HOME UNO HOPE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2534Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
VIEW-HOME MCC FOUND-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2531Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
WOODCREST NUMERO UNO FUN-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2530Woodcrest Dairy LLCLisbon , NY
VIEW-HOME MCC ALABAMA-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2528Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
ROORDA MAY MCBABY 15866-ETDE-SU D MAYFIELD 893-ET2522John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
ROORDA SS MCJONI 15887-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2516John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
EILDON-TWEED SAJ TANO-ETGIL-GAR DOMAIN SAJAC-ET2516David R. WoodAmsterdam , NY
BUTZ-HILL MAGICGIRL-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2513Mark ButzMount Vernon , IA
VIEW-HOME UNO GRACE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2512Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
MS KOENEN NUMEROUNO 5835-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2508Gregory B Moret & Koenen DairyPrairie Du Chien , WI
APRILDAY-CG SS BETTY-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2502Edward Peck & Charles GarrisonMadison , WI
MS DREARY DRALA-ETSEAGULL-BAY HEADLINER-ET2501Trans-America GeneticsSt-Hyacinthe QC , CA
ROORDA SS MCCARI 15884-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2500John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
EDG HALLIE MOGUL HEART-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2497Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
MELARRY MOGUL FELICE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2495Melvin C. & Spencer C. HackettRice , MN
BACON-HILL UNO MAUDE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2493Bacon-Hill Holsteins LLCSchuylerville , NY
ROORDA CUT MCCINDY 15917-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2493John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
ROORDA CUT MCJANE 15914-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2489John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
SPEEK-NJ UNO DANCE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2489Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
DE-SU GALAXY 2494-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2487Darin MeyerNew Albin , IA
VIEW-HOME UNO FAITH-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2487Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
S-S-I GLX MAYBELINE 8725-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2487Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
MORNINGVIEW MGL ROXY-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2478Tom J. SchmittDurango , IA
ROORDA SS MERRITT 15889-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2477John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
SPEEK-NJ DA MARIAH CAREY-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2475Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
FARNEAR CAM ALL AMBITION-ETSHEMA JEEVES CAMERON-ET2473Bryhill Farm IncOrmstown PQ , IA
LARCREST COTTON-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2469Jon E. LarsonAlbert Lea , MN
NORTH-ECHO MOGUL 2893-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2469Clear Echo Farm LLC & North FoSchuylerville , NY
SEAGULL-BAY MOGUL 1723-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2465Seagull Bay Dairy Inc.American Falls , ID
MORMANN UNO LIVANA 2184-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2465Daniel Sandra & Jennifer MormaNew Vienna , IA
VATLAND MOGUL MOCHA 3665-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2463Josh VatlandCaledonia , MN
COYNE-MCGARR MOGL LOTTIE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2463Dan McGarr & Coyne Fms Inc.King Ferry , NY
HOLYLAND ECLIPS UNO 2145-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2462Daniel F. & Joseph N. LoehrMount Calvary , WI
LADYS-MANOR HDLR SHASTEE-ETSEAGULL-BAY HEADLINER-ET2461Ladys Manor LLCMonkton , MD
OCD PARISH DAFFODIL-ETPLAIN-KNOLL PARISH 5534-ET2459Oakfield Corners DairyOakfield , NY
REGANCREST NU BENISHA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2458Regancrest FarmsWaukon , IA
CO-OP RB MIXER OLIVEMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MIXER-ET2454Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
TJR MOGUL PACIFICA 2192-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2454TJR GeneticsFarley , IA
VIEW-HOME MCC ALASKA-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2452Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
SANDY-VALLEY HLNR TILLIE-ETSEAGULL-BAY HEADLINER-ET2449Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
JOOK SUPER SIRE 6839-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2447Lester C. Jones & Sons Inc.Massey , MD
CO-OP BSF MOGUL LYDIA-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2446Brown Star Farm LLCGillett , WI
DE-SU GALAXY 2486-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2445Darin MeyerNew Albin , IA
DINOMI MOGUL DAINTY CRI-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2445Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
SEAGULL-BAY MOGUL 1725-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2445Seagull Bay Dairy Inc.American Falls , ID
PENN-ENGLAND GIFIAN 9329-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2441Penn England LLCWilliamsburg , PA
ROORDA SS MIRCELA 15882-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2441John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
MS MOVIESTAR UNO MACE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2439Butler Borba Glaz-Way & DurrChebanse , IL
JOOK HEADLINER 6910-ETSEAGULL-BAY HEADLINER-ET2438Lester C. Jones & Sons Inc.Massey , MD
S-S-I STCHL MICK 8753-ETERBCREST SATCHEL P2438Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
JOSEY-LLC UNO SANGARIA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2437Josey 101 LLCTrempealeau , WI
DE-SU MOGUL 2490-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2437De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
SCO-LO ABRA UNO 2022-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2436John CannonDyersville , IA
TJR DAY PAIGE 2208-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2436TJR GeneticsFarley , IA
MIDAS-TOUCH MCCUT TISHA-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2435Kings-Ransom Farm LLCSchuylerville , NY
T-SPRUCE NUMERO UNO 7322-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2433Arnold B. GruenesRichmond , MN
DE-SU SUPERSIRE 2278-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2432De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
DE-SU SALEEN 2492-ETFUSTEAD SALEEN2432Darin MeyerNew Albin , IA
CO-OP BSF MOGUL LUCY-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2432Brown Star Farm LLCGillett , WI
LARCREST CACHITO-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2432Jon E. LarsonAlbert Lea , MN
DE-SU UNO 2297-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2430De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
TJR UNO DEIDRA 2204-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2429TJR GeneticsFarley , IA
SANDY-VALLEY HDLNR THEDA-ETSEAGULL-BAY HEADLINER-ET2429Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
SANDY-VALLEY MG CALAMITY-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2429Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
CO-OP DAY ROSETTE 6920-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2428Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
SIEMERS UNO REAL-PRETTY-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2426Siemers Holstein Farms Inc.Newton , WI
S-S-I STRLNG TAYLOR 8728-ETSANDY-VALLEY STERLING-ET2425Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
REGANCREST NU BENEA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2424Regancrest FarmsWaukon , IA
WILRA SUPER SIRE 537-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2422Wilra Farms Inc.Nashville , IL
STONEHURST NU CHESNI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2422David & Anne Kulp & Todd GaltoManheim , PA
WA-DEL MOGUL BRENNA-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2422Rick L. WadelShippensburg , PA
STONEHURST NU CHASITI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2421David & Anne Kulp & Todd GaltoManheim , PA
OAKFIELD MORGAN BUBBLES-ETS-S-I BOOKEM MORGAN-ET2420Alicia LambOakfield , NY
DE-SU EPIC 2515-ETGENERVATIONS EPIC2418De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
MORMANN UNO LIQUOR 2209-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2418Daniel Sandra & Jennifer MormaNew Vienna , IA
JOOK MOGUL 6736MOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2416Lester C. Jones & Sons Inc.Massey , MD
END-ROAD MAYFIELD BLAZEDE-SU D MAYFIELD 893-ET2416Duane & Janet MolhoekFalmouth , MI
KHW MCCUTCHEN AFLIRT-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2416High Altitude SyndicatePlatteville , WI
S-S-I OCOSMO MARIAH 8714-ETO-COSMOPOLITAN-ET2414Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
LANGS-TWIN-B S-SIRE 4961-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2414F. & L. Baumann and F. LangMarathon , WI
KP-ACK HUNTER 316-ETCOOKIECUTTER MOM HUNTER-ET2412Kevin & Pete AckermanSauk Rapids , MN
WOODCREST DAY DAWNING-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2412Woodcrest Dairy LLCLisbon , NY
DE-SU GALAXY 2504-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2412Darin MeyerNew Albin , IA
MS PETRONE DONALYNNA-ETWELCOME SUPER PETRONE-ET2412Trans-America GeneticsOakdale , CA
HAR-DALE-ACRES-JP PALACE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2411Fred & Matt HarderAthens , WI
RI-VAL-RE SUPRSRE NALLIE-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2410Aaron JorgensenWebberville , MI
END-ROAD MOGUL BLISS-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2410Duane & Janet MolhoekFalmouth , MI
ROORDA UNO MOLLIE 15849-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2410John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
AL-LEW MGL ALABAMA 1196-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2409Scott I. SollenbergerSaint Thomas , PA
EDG LACY MCC LOLLIPOP-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2408Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
DE-SU UNO 2500-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2406De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
JB-DOMINIC SAJAC 3249GIL-GAR DOMAIN SAJAC-ET2405James E. BurroughsDenair , CA
CLEAR-ECHO CLARTA 2868-ET2405Clear Echo Farm LLCSchuylerville , NY
JERESA UNO PEPSI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2405Jere L & Teresa J BrubakerMyerstown , PA
PENN-ENGLAND RUTHIE 9512AMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2404Barry M. & Diane H. EnglandWilliamsburg , PA
COYNE-MCGARR MOGUL BAINA-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2403Dan McGarr & Coyne Fms Inc.King Ferry , NY
FOUR-CAL DAY DARBY-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2403Four-Cal GeneticsCaledonia , MN
SCHILLVIEW SUPERSIRE GIGISEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2403Michael & Karen SchillerFreeport , MN
ST GENOMICPRO STARRYMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2403Sexing TechnologiesNavasota , TX
DANHOF MOGUL DELARAE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2402Jason & Sheri DanhofWaukon , IA
AMMON-PEACHEY MSY MIFF-ETCO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY-ET2402M & J Ammon & G S PeacheyLewistown , PA
CO-OP RB GALAXY GARLIN-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2401Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
MORNINGVIEW UNO REGINA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2400Tom J. SchmittDurango , IA
SIEMERS DADDY BOMBTASTIC-ETRONELEE SSI O DADDY-ET2400Siemers Holstein Farms Inc.Newton , WI
S-S-I STRLNG SIDNEY 8732-ETSANDY-VALLEY STERLING-ET2399Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
CLEAR-ECHO SUPRSIRE 2878-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2399Clear Echo Farm LLCSchuylerville , NY
MORNINGVIEW MGL RENEA-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2399Tom J. SchmittDurango , IA
T-SPRUCE O-COSMO 7270-ETO-COSMOPOLITAN-ET2399Arnold B. GruenesRichmond , MN
SPEEK-NJ COLBIE CAILLAT-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2397Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
OCD PARISH DARLING-ETPLAIN-KNOLL PARISH 5534-ET2396Oakfield Corners DairyOakfield , NY
BLUMENFELD GRAFEETI 4282LADYS-MANOR RD GRAFEETI-ET2395Spring Prairie Colony Inc.Hawley , MN
KERIEL UNO BARBI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2395Daniel K WiebeWhitewater , KS
FOUR-CAL DAY FELICITY-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2394Four-Cal GeneticsCaledonia , MN
S-S-I OFFIE TANDY 8638-ETCLEAR-ECHO OBSERVR OFFIE-ET2394Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
LARCREST CALADIUM-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2394Jon E. LarsonAlbert Lea , MN
SIEMERS DADDY BOMBI-GAL-ETRONELEE SSI O DADDY-ET2393Siemers Holstein Farms Inc.Newton , WI
FARNEAR-BH SS MABEL-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2392Tom SimonFarley , IA
AL-LEW MGL ARCADIA 1194-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2392Scott I. SollenbergerSaint Thomas , PA
VATLAND MOGUL MOLLY 3663-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2391Josh VatlandCaledonia , MN
DE-SU UNO 2514-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2391De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
DE-SU UNO 2288-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2390De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
STONEHURST NU CHARISA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2390David & Anne Kulp & Todd GaltoManheim , PA
NORTH-ECHO MOGUL 2856-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2390Clear Echo Farm LLC & North FoSchuylerville , NY
NO-FLA PETRONE 34760-ETWELCOME SUPER PETRONE-ET2389North Florida HolsteinsBell , FL
S-S-I SHAN TEANNA 8755-ETLADYS-MANOR MAN-O-SHAN-ET2388Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
ROYLANE BOOKEM MEG 5457-ETDE-SU 521 BOOKEM-ET2388Gary & Bruce RoylanceWarden , WA
ZAHBULLS GOLDEN CRI-ETMOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE-ET2388Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
CO-OP BSF MOGUL JASIME-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2387Brown Star Farm LLCGillett , WI
SEAGULL-BAY VN GALAXY-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2387Seagull Bay Dairy Inc.American Falls , ID
GIL-GAR S-SIRE SAUCY-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2387Henry G. StellingPlainview , MN
EDG BRYSHA SS BRYCE-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2386Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
KP-ACK MOGUL 320-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2386Kevin & Pete AckermanSauk Rapids , MN
SANDY-VALLEY SPX FREESIA-ETBLUE-HORIZON ALTASUPLEX2386Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
ROSYLANE-LLC MAURICE 5848MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE-ET2385Rosy-Lane Holsteins LLCWatertown , WI
PINE-TREE 4283 NUM1 5577-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2384Matthew J. SteinerMarshallville , OH
WELCOME DAY GILDEX-ETMINNIGAN-HILLS DAY-ET2384Welcome Stock Farm LLCSchuylerville , NY
RONELEE SUPERSIRE TAMMY-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2382Sherman PolinderLynden , WA
FARNEAR-BH SS MYRA-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2381Tom SimonFarley , IA
WELCOME UNO GORGEOUS CRI-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2379Genesis Cooperative HerdShawano , WI
EDG EVIE LITHIUM EMA-ETS-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM-ET2379Elite Dairy Genomics LLCChebanse , IL
APRILDAY-CG SS ARETHA-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2379Edward Peck & Charles GarrisonMadison , WI
TEEMAR MOGUL ARMBAND-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2379Mark P. PaulLuxemburg , WI
S-S-I MASSEY BARRIE 8784-ETCO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY-ET2379Select Sires Inc.Plain City , OH
UECKER LAYNE JOLILA-ETKELLERCREST SUPER LAYNE-ET2379Dale UeckerForestville , WI
SANDY-VALLEY BILLIE JEAN-ETROYLANE BOXER PUNCH 4311-ET2378Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
ROORDA UNO MCMARY 15844-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2378John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
SPEEK-NJ CLAUDET COLBERT-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2378Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
SEAGULL-BAY ALEXA II-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2377Seagull Bay Dairy Inc.American Falls , ID
VIEW-HOME MCC GLORY-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2377Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
SPEEK-NJ UNO GLENN CLOSE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2376Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
JOOK 1H10297 6667EILDON-TWEED SUPER CHAP-ET2376Lester C. Jones & Sons Inc.Massey , MD
OCD MCCUTCHEN DETROIT-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2376Oakfield Corners DairyOakfield , NY
ROORDA MOGUL DARBY 15796-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2376John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
LINERWAY UNO GOGO-ETSAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2375Jeff & Dan LinerVan Dyne , WI
ROORDA MCCUT DANNY 15902-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2375John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
BRANDT-VIEW DEAN DOMINGA-ETRONELEE SUPER DEAN-ET2375Brandt-View FarmsAnnville , PA
HONEYCREST MOGUL FANFARE-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2374Honeycrest Farms IncSpring Valley , WI
RO-WEE EXOTIC PARADISE-ETREGANCREST PARADISE-ET2374Robert & Kris WeedenRichland Center , WI
SPEEK-NJ CAROL CHANNING-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2374Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
WILRA SUPER SIRE 528-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2373Wilra Farms Inc.Nashville , IL
LINERWAY UNO GAGA-ETSAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2373Jeff & Dan LinerVan Dyne , WI
DE-SU GALAXY 2513-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2372Darin MeyerNew Albin , IA
TJR UNO DAISY 2196-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2372TJR GeneticsFarley , IA
DE-SU GALAXY 2484-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2370De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
VIEW-HOME UNO LUCIANA-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2370Country Dairy Inc.New Era , MI
HENNIKERS MOGUL REGENIA 2-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2370Holstein UKHerts WD3 3BB ,
DANHOF MOGUL DALLAS-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2368Jason & Sheri DanhofWaukon , IA
BUTZ-HILL MAGICNIGHT-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2368Mark ButzMount Vernon , IA
DE-SU LITHIUM 2276-ETS-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM-ET2367De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
WCD-ZBW SUPERSIRE LALA-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2367Kevin & Barbara Ziemba & WoodcLisbon , NY
HOLEC PANZULMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2367A L H Genetics BVDamwoude ,
LARCREST CABARET-ETGENERVATIONS LEXOR2367Jon E. LarsonAlbert Lea , MN
PFAFFS COCO-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2367Kenneth J. PfaffRochester , MN
SPEEK-NJ UNO DECKLYN-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2366Neil McDonahTrempealeau , WI
COYNE-MCGARR GALAXY BAKA-ETDE-SU FREDDIE GALAXY-ET2365Dan McGarr & Coyne Fms Inc.King Ferry , NY
DE-SU LAYNE 2279-ETKELLERCREST SUPER LAYNE-ET2365De Su Holsteins LLCNew Albin , IA
MS CHASSITY UNO CUTIE-ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO-ET2365Chassity Syndicate LLCOverland Park , KS
SIEMERS DADDY BOMBI-GIRL-ETRONELEE SSI O DADDY-ET2365Siemers Holstein Farms Inc.Newton , WI
CLEAR-ECHO ODADDY 2892-ETRONELEE SSI O DADDY-ET2365Clear Echo Farm LLCSchuylerville , NY
ST GENOMICPRO RAMAH-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2364Sexing TechnologiesNavasota , TX
KERNDTWAY MCCUTCHEN DICE-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2364Mark W. KerndtWaukon , IA
WAKE-UP PETRONE EVE-ETWELCOME SUPER PETRONE-ET2364Wayne HoudekCaledonia , MN
VISION-GEN MOGUL MI14392-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2363VISION GENETICSMount Joy , PA
MILLER-FF SSIRE ELEGANT-ETSEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE-ET2363Joshua & Nicole MillerGlenwood City , WI
PENN-ENGLAND GIFIAN 9331-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2362Penn England LLCWilliamsburg , PA
SANDY-VALLEY HUNTER CHAR-ETCOOKIECUTTER MOM HUNTER-ET2362Dave Pat Frank Jr. & Greg BStevens Point , WI
ROORDA MCCUT MOANA 15909-ETDE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN 1174-ET2362John & Larry RoordaPaullina , IA
KP-ACK MOGUL 319-ETMOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL-ET2361Kevin & Pete AckermanSauk Rapids , MN

Of the 84,549 dairies that left the industry in the past 22 years, the majority did so between 1992 and 2002.  Regardless that does not negate the fact that since 2003 the decline every year has been at least 3.3%.

How the West Was Won

TABLE 2 Regional Herds, Cows and Herd Size Since 1992

TABLE 2 Regional Herds Cows and Herd Size Since 1992

Click to enlarge

figure 2 herds by region 2013

Click to enlarge

Despite the reduction in the  number of dairy farmers, national cattle numbers actually held seeing only a 0.1% reduction to 9.221 million cows.,  Production actually increased slightly (0.3%) to 201.2 billion pounds.  However, that is the slowest rate of production growth recorded in the past 5 years.

figure 3 herd size by region 2013

Click to enlarge

An obvious trend over the past 22 years is the significant growth in herd sizes.  The national average herd size has risen from 74 cows per herd in 1992 to 167 cows in 2013.  The biggest change in herd size has occurred in the West where there has been a 58% increase to 279 cows per herd.  In fact that average herd size in the West is more than 5 times the size of the herds in the other regions.

The Story by State

TABLE 3 Dairy Farm Numbers by State

RANKNAMESIRE STACKRZGRZMRZEOWNER
1FAGENOFidji x Ruacana152141121RSH
2RED MISTElburn x Spencer149135120WEU
3ERAGONElburn x Spencer149130127RSH
4ELSPEElburn x Spencer147134122RUW
5TABITTableau x Mr Burns144136120RUW
6MORRISFidelity x Spencer144137121RUW
7DESMONDDesk x Malvoy143136129RUW
8ELLMAUElburn x Carmano142124123RUW
9MILKYWAYMitey x Lawn Boy142132116RUW
10LANZAROTELaron P x Mr Burns142125126RUW
11GEERTFidelity x Spencer141135114RUW
12ATTIKAAxion-Red x Oman141134109RUW
13CAN BECamery ISY x Carmano141124120RUW
14AIRY-P-REDColt P x Pembroke140124118RSH
15FILIASFidji x Mr Burns140126118RSH
16DESKDestry x Gogo140129124RUW
17FIEROFiction x Tocar14014298RUW
18COLOUR PColt P x Destry140123133RUW
19LADYS SONLaron P x Zabing140128124RUW
20TARGETTableau x Ramos140125121RUW
21PASCHA REDSavage x Spencer140126116RUW
22LACOSTELarson x Destry140129132LTR/ZBH
23FALSTERFiction x Mr Burns139135118LTR/ZBH
24DEEPSPACEDeedle x Tocar139139124RUW
25KUMOFiction x Spencer139138105RU

Figure 4 Herds by State Heat Map 2013


The greatest percentage of declines has occurred in the Southeast region (6.5% decline), and the greatest total decrease occurred in the Midwest (1,755).  The only state to actually show an increase was Pennsylvania that had a 60 herd (0.8%) increase in 2013.

TABLE 4 Total Milk Production by State 2013

RANKNAMESIRE STACKRZGRZMRZEOWNER
1ELWOODElayo x September137132119MAR
2MALVOYMarmax RF x Celsius136127109RUW
3SELONOSpencer 2 x Achtung13512999RSH
4LARON PLawn Boy x Shottle133115120ZBH
5LEVANTLawn Boy x Classic132128113WEU
6COLD BOYSpencer 2 x Oman13212093RUW
7TABLEAUTlanet x Faber132121117RUW
8MAXIMO-REDMarmax RF x BW Marshall131137106OHG
9TOCARTopred x Lucky Leo131140106RUW
10JERUDOJerom x Rudolph130121108VOSt
11GOLDEN EYEGogo x Lightning128127106RUW
12LA CROSSEColby-Red x Dutch Boy127132107ZBH
13MALLOWMalvoy x Talent127122117RUW
14SERANOSeptember x Stoll126120102RUW
15FALIPOFaber x Tulip126122106RBW
16LUCATONILaruel x Talent125111116WEU
17CRUNCHCarmano x Lightning125116108WEU
18CAREMCarmano x Colby-Red124112121RUW
19BURLENTMr Burns x Talent124113119RBW
20CARAMELCarmano x Modest123114117RUW
21WESTPOINTWestwind x Kian123104112RUW
22STYLEStabilo x Origin123123106RUW
23STERNBOYStabilo x Komtur12312595MAR
24EMDARUElayo x Talent123124116RSH
25JOTANJordan x Durham123109125MAR

Figure 5 Total Milk Production by State 2013

Figure 6 Production per Herd – By State 2013

Table 5 Dairy Cattle Population by State 2013

RANKNAMESIRE STACKRZGRZMRZEOWNER
1SNOWMANOman x BW Marshall x147145126GOEP
2GUARINIGoldwyn x Oman147131125RBB
3BILLARDBillion 3 x Oman145139110RUW
4MAGORIANMascol x Oman145145102Masterrind
5OMEGAOman x Manat14313695RMV
6MAVIDMascol x Eminenz142137108WEU
7BJÉRKBolton x Oman142139116Masterrind
8MALIXMascol x Oman140128104WEU
9FROSKOFrosty x Shottle139138105LTR
10ENZOEncino x Oman13913598RUW
11OMAGICOman x Lambada13913394RUW
12BAKOMBREBaxter 2 x Goldwyn139131119Masterrind
13MASCOLMtoto x Rudolph138127105LTR
14NOG MATOMascol x Laudan138123115RMV
15MARACASOman x Convincer13813197Masterrind
16BANDINIBillion 3 x Morty137130109RBB
17SHOWTIMEShottle x Brett137131123RMV
18MASCARPONMascol x Oman137130100WEU
19GIBORGibbon x Sunnyboy137120103RUW
20GUNNARGoldwyn x Ford137125128RMV
21MAINAUOman x BW Marshall x136125100Masterrind
22JUGADORJardin x Finley136139118RBB
23WIZZARDWebster x Cash136130101OGH
24STERNGOLDStol Joc x Shottle136117120RUW
25LEKOLaudan x Jocko Besn136126119RBB

Figure 7 Dairy Cattle Population by State 2013

Figure 8 Herd Size by State 2013

Figure 9 Production per Cow by State 2013

Table  6 Top States 2013 by Milk Production Efficiency

NameLPIMilkFatProt%F%PConf
LONG-LANGS OMAN OMAN-ET3212149083820.250.2712
DE-SU GILLESPY-ET298725746969-0.22-0.1213
BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE2985171766590.030.025
ENSENADA TABOO PLANET-ET296624978982-0.030.018
FREUREHAVEN NIAGARA2943221091770.10.038
END-ROAD O-MAN BRONCO-ET292322917075-0.1306
REGAN-ALH DIPLOMAT-ET29051382497300.2410
UFM-DUBS ALTAESQUIRE-ET2864973110630.690.273
GEN-I-BEQ BRAWLER285591062460.260.1410
SILDAHL JETT AIR-ET2824129272310.23-0.112
MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD281859662300.370.0919
GOLDEN-OAKS MEDFORD-ET28001555120430.58-0.068
CRACKHOLM FEVER279762056200.32015
DOMICOLE CHELIOS279484578410.440.1114
MAINSTREAM MANIFOLD2789179585700.170.092
O-BEE MANFRED JUSTICE-ET2780144780750.250.25-3
GEN-I-BEQ TOPSIDE2768119772450.260.0512
OCONNORS JAY2764129260740.120.2710
LIRR DREW DEMPSEY275636442340.290.1915
GEN-I-BEQ ALTABUZZER2748141782460.2806
SCHILLVIEW GARRETT-ET2746166965580.030.034
DELABERGE DEMOCRACY274544369470.490.289
HYLLTOP PRESLEY RED273486678560.430.246
BUTOISE BAHAMAS272617255273-0.10.146
WABASH-WAY EUREKA271116795169-0.10.127
CROCKETT-ACRES EIGHT-ET2706120570720.240.280
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON-ET270620337157-0.03-0.089
EMILANE LARKIN270216464157-0.180.039
DEWGOOD BENEFIT270084145490.130.187
DE-SU BOWMAN-ET2692137771440.19-0.0110
ALLYNDALE-I ATTICUS268019447220.380.1414
CLAYNOOK TENNESSEE267459238400.150.1813
MORNINGVIEW HASKEL2670193587640.150.015
REGANCREST-PJ MAXLIFE-ET266971583450.530.1910
BRAEDALE GOLDWYN265631749280.360.1612
DYMENTHOLM SOLSTICE2655148570680.150.164
GILLETTE WINDBROOK265493762400.260.0715
CHARLESDALE SUPERSTITION-ET265317792857-0.33-0.029
SANDY-VALLEY BRYSON-ET2649160269520.07-0.0210
COMESTAR LAUTREC2648116872470.260.079
UFM-DUBS OLEGANT-ET263912864042-0.070.018
WA-DEL JUNCTION-ET263871193570.620.3-4
ROCKYMOUNTAIN LEGACY2629225788530.04-0.184
COMESTAR LAUTHORITY262852559260.380.0815
COMESTAR BRIGADE2622193977600.06-0.029
WINDY-KNOLL-VIEW PARTNER2617114248640.070.238
WESSELCREST AIRBORNE-ET261515212843-0.24-0.058
JOLICAP CARRERA2612159662580.050.065
VIORIS SLEEMAN260924506889-0.190.074
STANTONS ALTARIC-RED260890671550.350.226
VALBLANC LIBRA260610241833-0.18-0.0113
KARONA FANTASY260518465161-0.1306
BO-IRISH ALTON-ET259822347177-0.090.031
TRAMILDA-N ESCALADE-ET259569352220.24-0.0113
KILOBYTE25918812838-0.050.0811
GINARY ALTABERNIE258718154251-0.21-0.085
BOMAZ OMAN KRAMER 561-ET258521955953-0.2-0.165
CHASIN-RAINBOWS JADON-ET258114324852-0.040.0410
DUDOC MR BURNS258013103267-0.150.27
EXPRESS BOLLY257787654400.20.17
CHARITY ALTAGRATIS-ET257159957440.320.219
HEATHERSTONE-V MCGUIRE-ET257014174929-0.02-0.159
MORSAN BORIS256939857300.410.1511
JEWELED-ACRES SHARKY-ET256422287882-0.040.07-4
GINARY JAKE256326765958-0.33-0.247
GILLETTE CANYON25631214435100.17
GILLETTE JORDAN256284947290.150.0110
DIAMOND-OAK FROSTY-ET2560143166540.120.060
BRYHILL LOYAL256065955290.290.0611
GILLETTE WATCH OUT2558128191430.40.013
PICSTON SHOTTLE-ET2558115646340.04-0.0410
GENO MARITIME2557171365480.03-0.067
SILDAHL AIRRAID2555169082410.19-0.136
TRUE-BLUE SHOWBOAT-ET2552117946500.030.116
R-E-W SUNBURN2551118752550.090.1410
BEAUCOISE RHAPSODY255177532450.030.177
SMITHDEN AARON255196349410.120.0710
GINARY BRAD254516654245-0.16-0.099
GEN-I-BEQ LAVAL254121526561-0.12-0.086
ARDROSS STERLING2539112577590.330.195
CRACKHOLM FOCUS2539116946570.020.173
HARDWOOD BOSTON-ET253946744380.260.27
SMITHDEN ADMIRAL253895673390.350.077
PETHERTON ROX ITAK253687448480.150.175
GREENLEA ARTIE-RED-ET253558936470.140.2411
REGANCREST REGINALD-ET253538641290.260.1414
NURRES SLUGGER-ET253313363960-0.090.147
DEMARC RANCH253215074051-0.130.015
KERNDT BRILLO-ET252823725466-0.28-0.14
REGAN-ALH DU RITE-ET252887850600.160.284
HENDEL BIGSTONE-ET252895861600.240.244
ROCKYMOUNTAIN MARKER252518754851-0.18-0.19
VELTHUIS SOLSTICE252512729310.230.248
BREEZE HILL CIRCUIT2525-33755140.660.2314
COMESTAR LAWMAN2521129372350.23-0.0613
CLEAR-ECHO DRISCOLL-ET252186881340.460.064
MICHERET INFRAROUGE252171029280.030.047
DUDOC RADIUS251813443839-0.11-0.054
GILLETTE STANLEYCUP251160065220.40.0213
GILLETTE WINDHAMMER251160065220.40.0213

Figure 10 Top States 2013 by Milk Production Efficiency


In evaluating which states are doing the best you can look at which states have the most production (i.e. California, Wisconsin & New York), or you can look at which states have the most producers (i.e.  Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York).We prefer to rank by which states are producing the most milk per cow from the most efficient herds.  Using that ranking  we see the following top 10: New Mexico; Arizona; Nevada; California; Colorado; Idaho; Texas; Washington; Florida; Utah).  It is interesting to note that all of these herds are located in the West except for Florida and that Wisconsin, despite having the most producers and the most cattle, falls to #23 in the rankings for milk production efficiency.

How Does Canada Compare?

Table 7 – Canadian Statistics

NameLPIMilkFatProt%F%PConf
VEAZLAND MARION-ET212928905664-0.43-0.25-1
KELSTEIN OLIVER244627898289-0.17-0.031
FUSTEAD EMORY BLITZ-ET207327031623-0.71-0.538
GINARY JAKE256326765958-0.33-0.247
DE-SU GILLESPY-ET298725746969-0.22-0.1213
B-HIDDENHILLS MAR MARMAX-ET229425384471-0.43-0.1-2
WILLOW-MARSH-CC GABOR-ET216225122143-0.61-0.323
ENSENADA TABOO PLANET-ET296624978982-0.030.018
STANTONS SILENT204024693159-0.51-0.18-4
BRAEDALE BIGBEN16002463435-0.75-0.382
VIORIS SLEEMAN260924506889-0.190.074
MORSAN ROSETTE218724454348-0.42-0.261
MORNINGVIEW-MT-I LAKEVIEW227123835677-0.28-0.020
KERNDT BRILLO-ET252823725466-0.28-0.14
DRIFTY-HOLLOW MASTODON226523714354-0.39-0.23
END-ROAD O-MAN BRONCO-ET292322917075-0.1306
GINARY ROCKEFELLER195822824937-0.29-0.315
ROCKYMOUNTAIN LEGACY2629225788530.04-0.184
MR MILLION MEGA-MAN-ET213922573536-0.4-0.322
MAINSTREAM CROWN-ET178622522613-0.5-0.514
BO-IRISH ALTON-ET259822347177-0.090.031
JEWELED-ACRES SHARKY-ET256422287882-0.040.07-4
FREUREHAVEN NIAGARA2943221091770.10.038
ETAZON ADDISON170922051165-0.62-0.06-7
COMESTAR EL TOREADOR226722015042-0.27-0.259
REGANCREST LONGTIME237321962457-0.5-0.1310
BOMAZ OMAN KRAMER 561-ET258521955953-0.2-0.165
GEN-I-BEQ LAVAL254121526561-0.12-0.086
BONTEMPS-I ASHTON231021524049-0.34-0.188
GAVOR223721441174-0.580.023
MR ELITE-ET192321362148-0.51-0.190
DA-SO-BURN DAMASK-ET165921221934-0.51-0.3-3
PETHERTON DARBY18992121838-0.6-0.260
VELKOMMEN-VALLEY JORIDY-ET196020941735-0.53-0.282
RENADO ROCKWOOD237120724144-0.31-0.22
CASTEL231020584554-0.26-0.113
MY-JOHN DENBY-ET205320504351-0.28-0.14-4
ROCKYMOUNTAIN LONGSUIT226820405453-0.18-0.117
GEPAQUETTE CYCLONE193020363736-0.33-0.261
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON-ET270620337157-0.03-0.089
COXLYN CAVAN197120232641-0.43-0.222
LE-O-LA EMERSON CLASSIC-TW239720092055-0.47-0.093
RICH-J SOSA-ET184320091733-0.51-0.28-3
MS POSIBILITY PRODUCER-ET226020034949-0.2-0.134
DELABERGE LAZARO18842000-937-0.72-0.24-3
PREMIER-G BLACKSMITH-ET240719955152-0.19-0.115
RICECREST MURPHY-ET234219785662-0.14-0.02-2
ALTAPPEL GLENDOR242119706943-0.02-0.172
CO-OP LONDON COSMO-ET23411967757-0.56-0.07-1
COMESTAR LITTORAL20781967340-0.61-0.215
SANDY-VALLEY BRISK-ET173419673038-0.37-0.22-6
DOMICOLE CHESTER235919595452-0.18-0.116
BENNER JUDO2345195884440.12-0.175
LA PRESENTATION CHARLY13891955740-0.57-0.21-13
STANTONS ENTER211519491041-0.55-0.191
COMESTAR LOUDANO194019442339-0.42-0.210
BEYERCREST JUDD-ET203019412229-0.43-0.291
COMESTAR BRIGADE2622193977600.06-0.029
MORNINGVIEW HASKEL2670193587640.150.015
WELCOME GARTER-ET209419334949-0.2-0.120
EMERALD-ACR-SA T-BAXTER247319146838-0.02-0.216
THORNSPYC TOYBOY17171907521-0.58-0.353
HORSTYLE MAXWELL-ET218319013467-0.310.044
EMERALD-ACR-VR CHASER-ET212319013053-0.35-0.07-8
LADYS-MANOR LANCE-ET174818871630-0.49-0.28-1
MY-JOHN ROB-ET221218823276-0.340.122
GLEN-TOCTIN LASHBAX-ET230218782453-0.4-0.084
ROCKYMOUNTAIN MARKER252518754851-0.18-0.19
COMESTAR LAUBUCK211918655929-0.07-0.277
GILLETTE WALLACE233318594042-0.26-0.168
GILLETTE WHITEFACE233318594042-0.26-0.168
RALMA-RH TRUMPET-ET222618595535-0.12-0.223
CLOVERHILLFM PLYMOUTH-ET237318576258-0.05-0.033
SUNNYLODGE SEYMORE17721856926-0.52-0.28-1
KARONA FANTASY260518465161-0.1306
GEPAQUETTE MESQUIN216118454154-0.24-0.061
GILLETTE WINDOVER202618431422-0.47-0.328
JNP-ATH-MOR MOSAIC-ET195118333439-0.31-0.191
MOHRFIELD FORM TRADEMARK-ET17381821-226-0.61-0.29-1
GINARY ALTABERNIE258718154251-0.21-0.085
POLY-KOW ALLTOP-ET247918114247-0.22-0.17
MISTER MADAGASCAR195718093137-0.31-0.2-1
STANTONS PRONGER12621806-913-0.69-0.39-1
MAINSTREAM MANIFOLD2789179585700.170.092
CHARLESDALE SUPERSTITION-ET265317792857-0.33-0.029
CRESCENTMEAD-A MOSES-ET14081777624-0.53-0.29-10
ROCKYMOUNTAIN LOCKMASTER226617764731-0.16-0.226
OCD ALTAPAXTON-ET20811771435-0.55-0.191
PLUSHANSKI ATMEN-ET225817672821-0.33-0.318
LEHOUX FESTIVAL219317612336-0.39-0.196
BLOSSOMDAIRY CALVIN183917583336-0.27-0.18-7
HA-HO CUBBY MANFRED-ET226017484752-0.17-0.04-8
JOCKO BESN221517424663-0.170.06-2
GILLETTE WOLF195317342216-0.37-0.344
GILLETTE WYMAN195317342216-0.37-0.344
SPRINGHILL-OH ELLIPSIS-ET17961728619-0.51-0.322
BUTOISE BAHAMAS272617255273-0.10.146
WALLACEVIEW PATTON2411172063410-0.133
BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE2985171766590.030.025
RALMA COPPER226617165121-0.12-0.36

*Rankings are where each province would rank in the U.S.

Some interesting stats present themselves when we compare Canada to the U.S.

For example:

  • All of Canada has about the same number of herds as Wisconsin and Missouri combined
  • Both Wisconsin and California have more cattle each than all of Canada
  • More milk is produced in each of Wisconsin and California than in all of Canada
  • The average Canadian herd is about 60% smaller than the average herd in the U.S.
  • The average US cow produces about 5% more milk than the average Canadian cow.  (21,807 lbs vs 20,712 lbs)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While there are certainly drastic differences in operation size across the different regions in the USA, the trends seem to be the same.  The number of dairy farmers is getting smaller and smaller and production is increasing at a slower rate than that of the U.S. population.  Continued increasing feed costs and decreased margins are only going to cause more producers to leave the US industry.  Since 2009 a perfect storm of plummeting milk prices and high feed costs have combined to push dairy margins to the brink.  Thousands have been forced out of business and many of those who survived are now deeply in debt.  Nationwide, dairy farmers lost $20 billion in net equity between 2007 and 2009.

Increasing global dairy marketplace competition and a US milk price that, although at a record high, remains lower than prices in Canada, China, Australia and New Zealand is driving producers out of the industry.  Unless more is done to protect dairy margins, these alarming trends are going to continue.  The day is coming in the United States when there will be very few milk producers left.  Is the US dairy industry coming to an end or a turning point?

 

 

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Are Your Cows Ready For Their Close Up?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

The dairy business isn’t as glamorous as Hollywood, but every cow deserves star treatment for the three weeks before and three weeks after calving. In particular, there is a turning point just before she calves that can make a tremendous difference to the success or failure of her maternal story. At the simplest level how you manage the feeding and housing of close up cows will impact their future health and milk production.  And that affects your profitability. The big picture for your herd and your dairy depends on how you handle getting your cows close up ready.

All the Right Moves!

Ideally cows should remain in the same group throughout the close up period and that group should be established early in the far-off dry cow period.  Although research has suggested that 12 to 24 hours is the perfect time to move cows prior to calving, putting this into actual practice may be easier said than done.  Every operation will look at crowding stressors of up close cows differently based on size, facilities, expense and staff.  Nevertheless the goal of the transition program should be to minimize the number of pen moves or addition of cows to the group. This is based on the reality that the social hierarchy within the group is changed and must be re-established each time new cows are added to the group. Regardless of how you decide to sub-divide your groups, overcrowding should be avoided at all costs.

Cows UN-Interrupted

Research has shown that if social interactions result in excessive-boss cow fighting, milk production could decrease by 3 to 8 lbs milk daily which may not be recovered. When possible, multiple cows, rather than single cows, should be introduced into a group together.  Aim to add new cows only once or twice a week to reduce the social conflict which occurs when cows are establishing the pecking order in a new group.

She Needs a Calving Pen of Her Own

Close-up dry cows and heifers need a clean, dry, and comfortable place to rest.  Each cow should be provided with a minimum of 1 well-bedded freestall (sand is the preferred bedding) or 100 square feet of bedded pack space. Providing adequate resting space is important. Limiting the resting space increases the time cows spend standing and predisposes them to hoof issues and increased incidence of lameness after calving.

Up Close Might Mean Too Close to Diseases

Along with high comfort and the seclusion or isolation that cows seek at calving, the area should also provide the least possible health risk for the dam and her calf.  Especially, avoid manure-borne pathogens from other cows.  Certainly being exposed to longer stays with continual disruptions of newly added herd-mates is less than desirable and appears to increase risks for ketosis and DA. Risk of removal from the herd in early lactation appears to be elevated three-fold. Subclinical milk fever and lower blood calcium content without clinical signs have been associated with higher risks of mastitis, retained placenta, metritis, and displaced abomasums. Thus, providing a clean, dry environment is critical.

Many diseases go undiagnosed at this stage.  These sub-clinical diseases negatively affect the entire upcoming lactation and cause losses in reproductive performance as well as added feed and fixed costs.

Use Your Cow-Sense

Obviously there will be different limitations with every set up.  The skill is to look at things and determine what actions should you take to encourage feed intakes by each close up animal? The ultimate goal is to ensure that all cows have access to enough feed. Avoid overcrowding, aim for enough square feet per cow to enable cows to move around freely and come and go to the feed area confidently.

STOP Over-Conditioning Up-Close Cows

Transition cows that are overconditioned (body condition scores greater than 4.0) eat less before and after calving, with feed intake dropping sooner and to a greater extent before calving than optimally body conditioned pre-fresh cows (BCS 3.5). As a result, these cows mobilize body fat to a greater extent compared to cows where feed intake is not compromised as greatly before calving. This greater mobilization of body fat causes excessive fat to accumulate in the liver of these cows, which further compromises the liver’s ability to make glucose to support milk production. Thus, these cows have a higher likelihood of developing fatty liver and then subclinical or clinical ketosis in addition to other metabolic disorders.

Feed the “Less” Plus “More” Performance Diet

Regardless of where they are once sorted out, it is important that close up cows are within easy monitoring sight of caretakers and with access to fresh feed and water 24/7. About three weeks before their calving date, they should be receiving a transition diet.  The skill is in matching diet to the nutrient needs of the particular close up cow.

Diets for heifers should reflect lower intakes (approximately 23 versus 26 lb/day dry matter intake for mature cows) and the need for additional protein (15% crude protein or 1,200 g/day of metabolizable protein for springing heifers) during the close-up period.

Close-up dry cow diets should contain slightly more energy and metabolizable protein than far-off dry cow diets, but energy density still should be controlled to optimize intake after calving. Mineral balance of dry cow diets is critical to prevent problems after calving. Diets for dry cows 3 weeks before calving often contain lower potassium forages and grain products to allow for formulation of diets that prevent subclinical and clinical milk fever.

Reduce Stresses Pre-Calving

Recognizing that cows are social animals, providing a stress free environment for the actual calving is one of the most strategic things you can do.  There (Rick Grant) are Benefits of separating first calf heifers from mature cows.  Heifers compete better with other heifers and have higher dry matter intakes (10-15% improvement) and longer resting times (20% more) when housed separately from mature cows. When feedbunk space is limited, close-up dry cows may spend more time standing and eat less dry matter or eat larger and fewer meals. To prevent potential problems with lameness and other metabolic disorders after calving, close-up dry cows should be provided with 36 inches/cow of feedbunk space.  Don’t forget how weather impacts cow comfort.  Heat, much more than cold, is a stressor that has negative impact on close up cows.  Again, facilities and handling should reflect the needs of the close up cow. Moving cows once calving has commenced is shown to delay calving.

Is Close-Up Management Worth It?

We have considered the perils of not having a transition plan. (Read more: Dairy Cattle Management: LOST in Transition) By the time the actual calving date arrives, cows are half way through Transition.  There are two steps to success in this Close up stage: 1. Recognize problems early. 2. Take corrective action.  We have merely touched a few of the observation and care taking steps that could be on a checklist for close up transition management. There is always room for improvement and problems big and small that need attention and action.  The question might arise whether or not all this transition effort it is worth it.  Research indicates that there could be five pounds less milk per cow per day as a result of stress, diet, or increased instances of disease.  This equates to milking 92 instead of 100 cows. But that is not all.  Add in extra labor, extra drug costs ,added vet expenses and the losses incurred by early removal of cows from the herd, not to mention unsuccessful future AI breedings and the aggregate losses can soar to $300 less revenue and $200 to $300 additional costs per cow per year.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Regardless of the size of the particular operation, every breeder can use $500 to $600 more profit per cow per year.   Taking corrective action on your Close up Transition cows could be the best investment you ever made.  Are your cows ready for their close up?

 

 

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During this past week many of my Facebook friends have been debating on whether a third generation Excellent cow with good milk production should she be used as an ET recipient or should she be bred to produce her own calf (Discussion Part 1Part 2).  The debate started when one friend shared the picture of his Excellent cow with her latest calf – an IVF heifer from young highly rated genomically evaluated parents. Opinions weighed in from all points of view, each participant stating emphatically why their position was the one that was most correct. The majority said that, if it were their cow, they would breed her to produce her own calf. Well as I see it – that should depend on your herd’s genetic plan and how you define profitable.

Tradition Is Shifting

For quite some time, Excellent cows were few and far between. In Canada 0.2% were Excellent and in the USA it was about 1.0% Excellent.  Because of scarcity, daughters from Excellent cows would bring a very good price in leading sales. Sons, if by the right sire, were often of interest to A.I. for entry into young sire proving programs. Therefore if you owned an Excellent cow you owned a revenue generator.

Forty years ago the focus in breeding was the long lived Excellent cow with good lifetime milk production. Then the focus shifted to first or second lactation high scoring (minimum VG85), high producing and high indexing cows from respected cow families. With genomic evaluations coming on the breeding scene, high genomically evaluated heifers, three to twelve months of age, are now the sought after group. This change in focus to a 65+% reliable high indexing heifers has created a divide in breeder thinking and breeding goals.  (Read more: Is Type Classification Still Important? And Is Good Plus Good Enough?)

Take Your Pick

Today some breeders long for a return to the days when Excellent or 1st prize at a major show was all you needed to know about a cow. Other breeders are uncertain as to what they should be breeding for. Others simply state that they want cows that are less prone to being culled than in the past. Others have incorporated production and type genomic evaluations into their breeding programs. And still others are thinking in terms of using total selection indexes that put significant emphasis on health, immunity, fertility, labor efficiency and feed efficiency.  (Read more: The Truth About Type and Longevity and RF Goldwyn Hailey: Cash Cow or Cash Hog?)

Reality Check

The fact is that we now live in a new era for dairy cattle breeding.

Let’s look at some 2014 realities for Holstein breeders that did not exist in 2000:

There is no going back to former times!

Looking Forward

Type and also milk production will receive less attention in the breeding of dairy cows in the future because breeders have already made significant progress for those traits. Specific proteins, fats and solids in milk will be what consumers want in the milk products that they include in their diets.  Producers will breed for a herd of cows that return the most profit (Read more: She Ain’t Pretty – She Just Milks That Way). And yes, cows will be polled (Read more: From the Sidelines to the Headlines, Polled is Going Mainline!, Polled Dairy Genetics: The Cold Hard Facts and The 24 Polled Bulls Every Breeder Should Be Using To Accelerate the Genetic Gain in Their Herd). Excellent cows will not be a singular focus.  Perhaps I should qualify that statement. The Excellent cows of the past will not be sought after. It could well be that breeders will redefine what is required for a cow to be classified as Excellent.

Dr. Paul VanRaden, USDA-AIPL, has laid out the challenge for breeders in the future. He identified that today the best animal has a Net Merit of $1009 but knowing what we currently know about the genome, the best animal could have a Net Merit of $7515. (Read more: The Genetic “SUPER COW” – Myth vs Reality)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Technological advancements make breeding more profitable Holsteins a reality for future breeders. Conformational correctness will be only a fraction of what we need to know about a cow relative to profitability. For the breeder of the cow in the Facebook discussion, profitability included milk in the tank while producing a calf of high genetic worth. Excellent did not matter. We cannot ignore the realities relative to consumer demands, business management and genetic improvement. If we ignore them, we do so at our own peril.

 

 

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2014 editors choice graphicEveryone is always looking for the next great sire.  That sire that is going to leave them with the #1 daughter or son on the lists.  The problem is with everyone using the same exact sires, from the same exact lists it can be hard to get ahead.  That is why you need to find those sires that have the ability to leave you with the extremes.

Outlier sires have the ability to throw you the son or daughter that is extremely high on genomic lists, well above parent averages and have what it takes to top the charts.  But they also typically have the ability to miss the mark.  They typically have the tendency to through you the largest extremes, so for every list topper they will leave you some that don’t measure up.  Why this is acceptable is that in today’s genetic marketplace, the revenues from the one list topper typically make up for the costs of the others that don’t measure up.

The following are the top 10 sires we found that offer the greatest rate of acceleration with the ability to produce the extreme son or daughter.

ZAHBULLS ALTA1STCLASSAlta1STCLASS

ZAHBULLS ALTA1STCLASS
HOUSAM71441918      011HO11425
NUMERO UNO x DORCY x TOYSTORY

Every now and then there comes a sire that seems to come out of no where.  Alta1stclass is one of those sires.  From a cow family that many have not heard of, Alta1stclass is certainly a development of the genomic era.  Alta1stclass is the 3rd generation in his family to score at least 5% higher on their DGV’s than their parent averages.  That is saying something in today’s current calculations where those progeny that test  at the extremes are regressed back to the rest of the pack.  While not a high production sire, Alta1stclass has strong components and functional type.  Those looking to breed the next VG-89-2YR will not be impressed with his dairy strength scores and his loin strength.  Alta1stclass will give you strong components, high functional type and great health and fertility.  Which when mated correctly will sure leave you the next generation of extreme progeny.

 

DE-SU11848 RAMBORAMBO

DE-SU11848 RAMBO
HOUSAM71813434     029HO17571
JEROD x SHAMROCK x MAN-O-MAN

Rambo has is it all, he is over 1800 lbs of milk with positive components and a near flawless linear.  More importantly he has extreme health and fertility.  Rambo is a Jerod from a Shamrock then CLEAR-ECHO M-O-M 2150 VG-87 EX-MS @ 2-06 DOM, who is in the top 50 gTPI cows.  Expect Rambo to be the sire of many bull mothers, though as we learned in analyzing sires like Goldwyn and O-Man, there seems to be a strong indication that sires that get the majority of their genetics from their mothers tend to not produce the next generation of sons.  Rambo only gets approximately 41% of his genetics from his paternal side, similar to Goldwyn.  (Read more: Why Braedale Goldwyn Wasn’t a Great Sire of Sons)

 

 

 

EDG RUBICONRUBICON

EDG RUBICON
HOUSAM72128125     151HO00681
MOGUL x ROBUST x PLANET x BOLTON

With a sire stack that reads like a who’s who of the genetics world, it’s not surprising the Rubicon will have the ability to throw you the extreme list toppers.  In fact the cow family behind Rubicon has been doing that for many generations with his 2nd dam being SANDY-VALLEY PLANE SAPPHIRE VG-87-2YR-USA.  Rubicon has extreme components with a combined Fat and Protein of +153 lbs and add to that over 2.50 on Type and he is in rare company.  But what really make’s Rubicon stand out is his sire stack that demonstrates the ability to sire extremes.  Similar to Rambo, Rubicon’s Chromosomal PTA’s would indicate that he will make a much better sire of bull mothers than a sire of sons.

 

 

 

PALMYRA LADD MAN-PLADD MAN

PALMYRA LADD MAN-P
HOUSAM71506037     007HO12161
LADD-P RED x MAN-O-MAN x REDMAN

For those of you who are looking for an outcross sire who packs a punch, LADD MAN is your guy.  With extremely low inbreeding and relationship values Ladd Man is certainly the high outcross sire and he is polled.  Don’t let the Man-O-Man in the pedigree confuse you when thinking he may not be an outcross sire as he gets approximately 72% of his genetics from his sire Ladd-P Red and only gets about 8% of his genetics from Man-O-Man as opposed to the expected 25%.  While certainly not a production sire by any stretch of the imagination, Ladd Man has strong percentage protein improvement, solid type and very desirable health and fertility traits.  For those breeders looking for an outcross sire to use on your high production cows, Ladd Man-P is perfect.

 

 

DE-SU11756 OCTAVIANOCTAVIAN

DE-SU11756 OCTAVIAN
HOUSAM71813342     029HO17509
NUMERO UNO x BOOKEM x SHOTTLE

If you are looking for more milk that Ladd Man offers then Octavian should do the trick.  With a genomic test that is 6% higher than his impressive parent averages, Octavian will certainly leave you some chart toppers.  At almost 2000 lbs of milk, over 170 combined lbs of fat and protein and over 2.70 for type and strong health and fertility traits, Octavian is the balanced sire that does it all.  More importantly Octavian is the top balanced breeding sire to get more of his genetics from his father than his maternal side.  Which has proven by sires like O-Man to be a key factor in being able to sire the next generation of sons.

 

 

 

 

COGENT SUPERSHOTSUPERSHOT

COGENT SUPERSHOT
HONLDM755898903
SUPERSIRE x SUPERSTITION x SHOTTLE

Looking for a shot of production?  Then Supershot will score well for you.  The pedigree behind Supershot is certainly not well known among breeders with last 5 of his 8  generations coming from Dutch breeding.  Behind that is the US cow family at Vir-Clar Holsteins, tracing through the highly acclaimed Tirsvad Patron Claire EX92.  He hails from the same line as the famous Koepon Classy’s and Anderstrup Claire family, known throughout the globe for its ability to breed high-ranking females and bulls on numerous different bases.  Supershot has an extremely high genomic test and his pedigree indicates that he should be able to sire those extreme production daughters many breeders are looking for.  Supershot is also the #1 genomic sire for Net Merit $ 1000.  Supershot should be protected on milking speed and dairy strength.

 

WOODCREST MOGUL YODERYODER

WOODCREST MOGUL YODER
HOUSAM72254526    007HO12266
MOGUL x PLANET x BUCKEYE

If milking speed is a deal breaker on Supershot, then look to Yoder.  Yoder is the extreme sire that is sure to ring the bell.  His genomic test is 7% higher than his parent averages and his production predicted daughter deviations are some of the highest in the breed.   (Read more: The Number That Will Change the Way You Look At Genetic Evaluations Forever…) While results are sure to be highly variable, Yoder will certainly be worth taking that shot on with a large framed high production cow from which you are looking to produce that next generation of extreme production daughters and sons.  How many genomic sires are over 160 lbs of combined fat and protein and over 3 points on type?  Two Yoder and Silver.

 

 

 

SEAGULL-BAY SILVERSILVER

SEAGULL-BAY SILVER
HOUSAM72156794     029HO17573
MOGUL x SNOWMAN x PLANET

Since Supersire put Seagull-Bay on the map (Read more: Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy) everyone has been watching to see just who was going to be the next impact sire from this genomicly gifted family.  Now comes Silver who may just have a greater impact than even Supersire has.  Silver is a Mogul from the Snowman sister to Supersire.  Like Supersire, Silver has the ability to leave extreme production.  And just like Supersire he will have a significant impact as a sire of sons as well.  Ranking in the top 1% of the breed for Milk, Fat, Protein, Type, and Udders tells you that Silver is going to make a lot of noise before all things are said and done.

 

 

 

 

SANDY-VALLEY DREAMWEAVERDREAMWEAVER

SANDY-VALLEY DREAMWEAVER
HOUSAM71181872    029HO17576
SUPERSIRE x AltaMETEOR x SANDY

At over 1.0 for DPR and 2 points for HCR and under 8 for all calving traits combined with under 2.70 for SCS it’s no wonder that Dreamweaver daughters are going to last (+7.2 productive life).  To go with that Dreamweaver is over 2000 lbs of milk, over 120 lbs of combined fat and protein and over 3 points on type.  Not surprisingly he comes from a cow family that has made many dreams come true, as he comes from the SNOW-N DENISES DELLIA EX-95-2E-USA GMD DOM  5* family, well known for their ability to produce long lived sons and daughters.  Dreamweaver should be protected on body depth, set to their legs and angle of their rumps, but nothing that will interfere with the ability to last many long productive lactations.

 

 

 

DOUBLE-EAGLE RANSM KOBRAKOBRA

DOUBLE-EAGLE RANSM KOBRA
HO840M3012171355     147HO02472
RANSOM x EXPLODE x JUDD

In addition to Rambo, Kobra is an extreme health and fertility sire worth looking at.  Extreme components, and high type combined with breed leading health and fertility traits has this cow family emerging on every ones radar.  While not a family that contains generation after generation of VG or EX it is a family that test well genomically.  With Kobra being the third generation at least 5% higher on their genomic test than their parent averages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bullvine Bottom Line

In this era of pushing the genetic envelope those breeders looking to stay ahead, or at least at pace with the large genetic corporations are going to have to use outlier sires.  Sires that themselves have made significant gains over previous generations and have been genetically gifted the with best their parents had to offer.  Breeders are also going to have to exit the land of the safe and start using sires that throw more extremes.  These 10 sires are just those sires.  These sires are the 10 outlier sires that will give you the greatest chances at winning the genetics race.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

 

Farm Tractors Are Not Theme Park Toys!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

keep_kids_away_warning[1]When we go to amusement parks, we expect to be scared out of our minds as we screw up our courage to ride on the roller coasters.  The blood curdling screams stick with us long after we return with our little ones to the safety of the family farm.  However, those very children are statistically more likely to be killed on the farm than at the amusement park. The worst part of this statistic is that we seem to be oblivious to the very real danger presented by the equipment we have driven and shared rides on for generations.

Troubling Tradition

Farm machinery and particularly tractors fascinate children. They are giant replicas of the little toy ones they play with every day on the living room carpet. The desire to imitate Mom and Dad means that at very early ages children learn to drive tractors. Until that day the lure of being where the tractor action is can be lethal.  When you factor in the number of large pieces of equipment moving around the farm during busy seasons their small but precious bodies are not only hard to see but too often in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bury a Tradition Ad (English)

Turning a Blind Eye to Tractor Danger

We wouldn`t think about not buckling children into seatbelts in the car. We insist that they wear helmets when they ride bikes or protective padding for sports. We have childproof medicine caps, safety gates and bed rails but, when it comes to tractors, we let tradition and those old memories of bouncing through the fields in the cab of the tractor with grandpa impair our judgement.  We need to decide whether we want to preserve unsafe memories or our children.

March Gets In Step With Tractor Safety

The month of March is popular for week-long Ag safety observances by several national organizations. One of those is the “Keep Kids Away from Tractors,” campaign. This is the unified message of the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network (CASN) which is a coalition of 38 health, safety and youth organizations in the U.S. and Canada. The coalition’s campaign urges adults to think twice before allowing children 12 and under to operate tractors or ride on them. The “Keep Kids Away from Tractors” will be featured in a webinar at noon (CT), Wednesday, March 12. Presenting on behalf of the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety will be Director Barbara Lee, Ph.D., and Marsha Salzwedel, M.S. The webinar is sponsored by the Childhood Agricultural Safety Network and AgriSafe Network. Register at http://www.agrisafe.org.

The coalition urges individuals and groups to incorporate CASN resources in their safety initiatives. Posters, radio ads and more information can be found at http://www.childagsafety.org/TractorCampaign.htm.

Quality Time Ad

Perils that could Have Been Prevented

We need hyper-vigilance around tractors.  The first step is giving our children a healthy respect for the fact that tractors are machines not toys and that there are dangers represented by this piece of working (not playing) equipment. Consider these incidents from the past year:

  • A 1-year-old North Dakota boy died after falling from a tractor driven by his father. His 4-year-old brother survived.
  • A 6-year-old Minnesota boy died with his grandfather when the tractor they were riding rolled over.
  • A 5-year-old Kansas girl died when she fell through the windshield of a combine driven by her father.
  • The biggest tragedy of all? These deaths were 100 percent preventable.

Teach By Example

Before we teach them to drive, let’s teach them to be safe. As much as rural kids like the exceptional skills that being farm born and raised gives them compared to their town friends, they need to also learn the unique farm safety rules that can save their own (or their visiting friends) lives.  Everyone — driving or on foot – near farm equipment needs a healthy respect for how easy it is to miss a little head running by when the focus is on moving feed, harvesting or hooking up to another piece of equipment.  Of course, all of this assumes that the adults working on the farm are alert to the dangers and accept their responsibility for child safety.  There is no shame in being over-protective.   A little healthy fear of tractor danger is healthy for everyone.  The goal isn’t to be fearless.  The goal is to be safe.

Start Talking and Take Action

A child dies from injuries on a farm an average of once every 3.5 days. The most common situation involves a tractor. When kids and tractors get together the outcome can be tragic.

CAIR (Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting) reports that at least 45 per cent of accidents on farms occurred close to the farmhouse, such as in the farmyard, driveway, barn or shed.  About 63 per cent were machine related, including runovers, rollovers and entanglements, mostly involving tractors (47 per cent).

“Stop the Denial. Start Talking”

Discuss tractor designs with your child. While some newer tractors have cabs and roll-over bars for added protection from accidents, tractors continue to be inherently unsafe for drivers and riders because of the risk of roll-over accidents.

“Build on Safety Rules they Already Know”

Talk about seat belts with your child. In a car, everyone has a place to sit and a seat belt to provide a safety restraint. Most tractors have only one seat and one seat belt to keep the driver safe, meaning that tractors are safe for only one person driving or riding on it, advises the North Dakota Farm Bureau. Kids know about looking both ways when on the street.  They need to respect the “street smart” rules of farm lanes, barnyards and fields.  The right of way always goes to the equipment.

“Say ‘No!” to Tractor Rides”

Caution your child to never accept a ride on a tractor, warns the KidsHealth website. Riding anywhere on a tractor but in the seat with a seat belt is unsafe, including on a fender or on an attachment. A tractor can flip over in as little as 1 1/2 seconds, according to the North Dakota Farm Bureau. Tractors can also hit bumps or uneven surfaces and someone not secured with a seat belt could fall off the tractor.

“Safety is all About Location, Location, Location”

Warn your child about the threat of being run over by a tractor. Falling off the tractor could lead to being run over by the vehicle. In addition, it can be difficult for a tractor driver to see people near a moving tractor — especially children. Teach your child to stay away from work areas and moving tractors because she might not be able to make her presence known to the driver.

Healthy Respect Prevents Heartbreak

The slogans are hard hitting.  They are not meant to make us feel comfortable and reassure us that, of course, our children’s safety comes first.  If discomfort makes us take responsible action, then the discomfort is well worth it.

“It’s easier to bury a tradition than a child.”

“Your 75 lb child has no chance against your 10,000 pound tractor”

“The tractor is not the place for quality time.”

As much as we want our children to grow up in the traditional farming lifestyle that we cherish the key is that they “grow up”.  Farm safety isn`t about instilling fear.  It`s about being safe not sorry.  Nothing can heal the heartbreak of losing a child to a preventable accident.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The best way to instill our love of farming in our children is to also instil in them our respect for dangers that must be dealt with every day. The best way to say “yes” to farming traditions is to say “No!” when it comes to tractors.  “One seat. One rider. A rule to LIVE by!”

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Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the future of the dairy breeding industry.  New technology, new information and new organizations are entering the industry at record rates.  The problem is that along with all the changes there is also concern about who is leading these changes and protecting the interests of the average breeder.  One of the ongoing battles is the one surrounding the production and publication of US genetic evaluations.  The recent development of the Council for Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) has sparked a war between CDCB and Holstein USA over access to information.  Both sides are threatening to take their toys and go home.

”He who controls the information controls the world.”

Is anyone even considering the answer to the question, “Who does the information belong to?”  As we wrote back in March of 2012 the conflict is over who will have control of the information.  (Read more: Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?) Now more than 2 years later this battle is coming to a head.  Rumors suggest that Holstein USA is threatening that they won’t share type data with CDCB/USDA because they are not in support of positions and actions being taken at CDCB and are even considering producing their own genetic evaluations for production in addition to the evaluations they currently do for type.  Now let’s be clear.  Up until this point Holstein USA has cooperated fully in the exchange of data.  However, they have been very upfront about their concerns regarding material licensing agreements (MLAs) and the usage of Holstein data.

Enemy at the gates

When you consider that larger and larger corporations have now started to enter into the dairy genetics marketplace, whoever has access to the information will have the power.  If these new players get instant free access to this information, what does that mean to breeders?  I would guess that it would not be positive to seed stock producers or to those who market and sell dairy cattle genetics that has already seen significant decline in their animal values.(Read more: An Insider’s Guide to What Sells at the Big Dairy Cattle Auctions 2013, Who Killed The Market For Good Dairy Cattle? and Is There Still Going To Be A Market For Purebred Dairy Cattle In 10 Years?)  You see the big nasty label should not be applied to the AI companies but rather to multinational supply companies.  That is the enemy I think the large AI companies are most threatened by.  Not the smaller AI organizations taking market share but rather these significantly larger corporations that have the resources to squash the large AI companies like a bug.

Imperfect Track Record

Now let’s say that USDA’s recent track record leaves some questions in many breeders’ minds.  Their decision to restrict breeders’ rights to genomic test their own bulls for a period of time certainly raised the ire of many.  Now the heated debate includes the formation of CDCB comprised of Breeds, DHI and AI (each with 3 seats on the board).  There doesn’t appear to be any apparent savings and no intention to reduce the USDA budget as a result of this decision.  And with the makeup of the board, it is felt that it is controlled by NAAB and the large AI organizations.

Once again this has me asking who exactly controls the information.

Holstein USA has been very vocal about stating that they have their members’ best interests at heart.  I respect that.  However I also see the other viewpoint that points out that this is the same information that members have paid for and yet they don’t get free access to it as in other countries.  Moreover, the limited amount of information that they do get access to comes with additional charges.  In the US is costs $8US to register a calf, in Canada it costs $9 CDN to register a calf.  Considering the exchange values these are about the same expense.  Though in Canada all information is then made publicly available to all.  In the US everyone has to pay an additional $3US per animal in order to get that information. So does Holstein USA really have their members interests at heart?  Or are they driven by their own survival and pocket book?  This is why the relevance of breed associations and programs like type classification are becoming key issues for many breeders.  (Read more: What is the Role of a Dairy Cattle Breed Association? and She Ain’t Pretty – She Just Milks That Way!)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Am I saying that I am in full support of CDCB’s actions?  No.  It seems to be heavily weighted against breeders and towards the interest of the larger AI companies.  I am most concerned that breeders have access to information.  As more and more AI companies get into owning  females and  developing  of their own bloodlines, the  very livelihood of  seed stock producers is threatened (Read more: Should A.I. Companies Own Females?, Why Good Business for AI Companies Can Mean Bad Business For Dairy Breeders, and What the Experts Won’t Tell You about the Future of the A.I. Industry).  So I understand why Holstein USA should be concerned.  The majority of the membership, and especially those at the board level, is made up of these very seed stock producers.  So if they were truly concerned about these breeders, why don’t them allow them access to all the information?  It’s not about control.  It’s about breeders’ success. Nobody wins if infighting prevents progress.

 

 

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2014 editors choice graphicOver the years it has been almost impossible to predict which hot new sire would be the next great sire of sons.  Just because a sire had a high index did not always mean that he was going to be a great sire of sons.  For instance, sires like Goldwyn produced great bull mothers but did not seem to make as much of an impact through their sons.  There have also been sires like O-Man that were great sires of sons, but did not seem to leave consistent bull mothers.  Fortunately, genomics at the chromosomal level has started to give us insight into which sires will make better sires of sons and which ones will be more impactful through their daughters.

Look to the past to predict the future

There is no question that Goldwyn has been one of the biggest impact sires over the past 20 years.  But for all the great daughters he has left, he has not had the same dominant performance through his sons.  Recent analysis by the Bullvine actually starts to explain why. Using the Chromosomal Predicted Transmitting Abilities tool on the Council for Dairy Cattle Breeding’s website we took a look at the top 10 Goldwyn daughters with EBV and genomic tests and his top 10 sons.  The following is what we found.

Table 1 – BRAEDALE GOLDWYN’s genetic contribution to his top progeny

$NM Sire Dam %Sire %Dam
Daughters

322

209

112

65%

35%

Sons

293

158

136

54%

46%

It is interesting to note that Goldwyn was much more dominant (11%) in passing his genetics on to his daughters than he was to his sons.  When you look deeper at this, you will actually find that Goldwyn himself actually received 64% of his genetics from his mother, BRAEDALE BALER TWINE VG-86-2YR-CAN 33*.

Chromosomal PTA for BRAEDALE GOLDWYN

Click on image to enlarge

In order to put this into a relative comparison, we decided to look at a sire that has been the opposite scenario, O-BEE MANFRED JUSTICE.  O-Man has been one of the greatest sires of sons of the past 20 years, but not as dominant on the female side.  When we look at Justice’s top 10 daughters and sons we find the following.

Table 2 – O-BEE MANFRED JUSTICE’s genetic contribution to his top progeny

$NM Sire Dam %Sire %Dam
Daughters

487

341

146

70%

30%

Sons

517

343

173

66%

34%

It is interesting to see that when looking at Justice’s progeny results he played a far more significant role on average, 68% of the genetic contribution to his progeny, than Goldwyn’s 59%.  This is especially true where Justice contributed 12% more to his top sons than Goldwyn did. This is not surprising when you notice that O-Man himself received a much larger contribution (48%) of his genetics from his father, as compared to Goldwyn’s 36%.

Chromosomal PTA for O-BEE MANFRED JUSTICE

Click on image to enlarge

Who’s Next?

Based on these trends, when looking at some of the top genomic sires from the past 4 years, we find that sires like Mogul, and Epic will be more impactful as sires of sons than say sires like Supersire and Numero Uno.  This is based on the proportions of their current chromosomes coming from their sires and their dams.

As far as current top genomic sires go, DE-SU 11756 OCTAVIAN-ET, SEAGULL-BAY SILVER-ET and MR DELICIOUS COIN 15006 will be more impactful through their sons.  Sires like MORNINGVIEW MCC KINGBOY and EDG JACEY MCCUT 8396-ET will probably leave more bull mothers, rather than sires of sons.  Again, this is based on the proportions of their current chromosomes coming from their sires and their dams.

The Bullvine Bottom Line.

For years, we have wondered why some sires seemed unable to pass on their great genetics to their sons.  Now at the chromosome level we know why.  Some sires are just more dominant about passing their genetics onto their progeny than others.  (Read more:  The Genetic Genius of Darwin, Mendel and Hunt – Genetic Transmission and the Holstein)  A sire’s ability to pass his genetics onto his progeny especially his sons, has a huge impact on whether or not he will be an impactful sire of sons.  For bulls like Goldwyn, this inability means he has fewer legacy sons, while Justice’s ability to dominantly pass on his genetics has contributed to his sons reading like a who’s who list.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

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The End of the Daughter Proven Sire Era

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

For almost sixty years dairy cattle breeders have relied on daughter proven sires to drive the industry forward. There was a time when over 70% of the genetic advancement depended on knowing which sires left the best daughters and using them extensively. However that era is fast coming to a close. The Bullvine sees changes in the not too distant future for both breeders and breeding companies, all of whom have built their business and breeding models around the daughter proven sire.

A Quick Look at History

Before the 1950’s unproven sires were the norm. Yes some of them may have had some limited daughter information but it was most often in a single herd and was actually just phenotypic observations (i.e. 12,500 lbs milk, 3.8%F, 5 VG & 10 GP daughters). A.I. was primarily a tool to get cows in calf without having to feed and handle a mature bull. Truth is that genetic progress, at that time, was only slightly above zero.  From the 1970’s onwards considerable progress was made, based on the use of proven sires. During that time breeders and breeding companies were more selective in which young sires were sampled, more herds were milk recorded and type classified, genetic evaluations used B.L.U.P. technologies (i.e. +1100 lbs milk, +0.25%F, PTAT +2.24) and high ranking total merit proven sires got extensive use.

New Technologies Will Turn the Tide

Now let’s deal with how new technologies will change the timing and accuracy of genetic decision making. Simply put ‘time waits for no one’ and ‘the future is in the hands of those that search out the new, decide and apply the best of the new”. That applies to all areas of dairy farming but just now let’s stick to the genetic component. Let’s focus on why daughter proven sires will become a thing of the past

Accurate and More Accurate

To date genomic genetic evaluation has resulted in a doubling of the accuracy of indexes for young animals. It will not stop there. With refined knowledge in the genome we can expect production indexes on young animals to go from 65-70% REL. to as high as 85-90%. in the next five years. As well with more on-farm data being captured and collected in Genetic Evaluation Centers we can expect the REL for productive life, type, health and fertility traits to approach 70-80%. Part of the increase in REL, from their current 50-65%, will come from more accurate field data and part from in-depth study of the genome. The end result will be that if total merit is known with 85% REL for young animals, then daughter proven bulls and older brood cows will not be used as the parents of the next generation. In short the pace of the trend of using younger and younger animals as the parents of the next generation will speed up even more.

Sexing Technology

Dairy cattle breeders are hearing that genomics is the biggest advancement in genetic improvement since the introduction of the proven sire.  Recent information on what’s ahead in sexing technology is on the brink of speeding up the rate of genetic gain. (Read more: Sexed Semen from Cool Technology to Smart Business Decision and SEXED SEMEN – At Your Service!) That does not even factor in epigenomics and nutrigenomics will hold out significant promise. (Read more: Forget Genomics – Epigenomics & Nutrigenomics are the Future) Proactive breeders will need to stay tuned to what’s ahead and be ready to adapt the breeding plans. (Read more: What’s the Plan?)

We know that young bulls do not produce large volumes of sperm per ejaculation as mature bulls do, so we’ll need to collect from extra young bulls but there will come a day when all young bull semen will be sexed. Having more young bulls being used will help to counteract inbreeding.

The changes could well go much further than that.  How much sexed semen will be needed in another fifteen years?  It could be that embryo and embryo transfer technology will advance to the stage that, once identified, the very top genetic ten to twelve month old heifers will have many oocytes collected and fertilized in vitro and then implanted into 99% of the females on a farm.

Of course exactly what will happen has yet to play out but we need to be prepared for major advances in the technologies relative to both genetics and reproduction. Regardless the use of daughter proven sires will be a thing of the past.

Maximum of 50,000 Doses Only

In the past superior proven bulls have remained active and in use well past ten years of age. They have produced, on average, 130,000 – 140,000 doses per year. In some cases they have sold more than one million doses of semen in their lifetime. Although profitable for their owners this extensive use has contributed to inbreeding and narrowing of the genetic base. The question that has always been asked ‘what do we do about too much Blackstar, Valiant or more recently Oman and Planet?’. We will not need to have that concern in the future as genetic progress will be so quick that the maximum a sire will get used in his lifetime is 50,000 doses. That does however change the value that any one sire will have. The industry savings on feed and maintenance costs beyond collecting 50,000, likely sexed, doses is significant considering the thousands of bulls that have been annually sampled around the world in the past.

It could be that 50,000 is far too high a number of doses. Take the case of Kulp-Dale Golden PP Red.  (Read more: $10,000 a dose Polled Semen and The 24 Polled Bulls Every Breeder Should Be Using To Accelerate the Genetic Gain in Their Herd) Five doses and $50,000 may be the numbers that will be attached to his contribution to changing the Holstein breed from horned to polled. Another factor to think about is that high genomically evaluated young sires are often used exclusively by breeding companies before general release and, when released, are priced at $200 to $1000 per dose. However after a few months their semen price is dropped to the $40 – $60 range. By the time they have been on the market for a year they are often down to less than $20. Why? Because their time of demand has passed. If the sire is no longer a list topper for at least one important trait he is history.

Alternatives Exist

A couple of months ago The Bullvine wrote about using all natural sires in a herd. (Read more: Natural Breeding – Could It Work For You?) These sires can quite easily have high genomic indexes. Think about it. A breeder focused on producing milk saving on labor to heat detect and inseminate his cows and heifers. Perhaps 10% of a herd’s labor cost could be saved. With robotic technology advancing quickly it could well be that the safety factor for workers by having yearling and two year old bulls around the farm may be minimized as there will be fewer workers to be exposed to the bulls. Definitely the need for daughter proven A.I. sires would be zero.

Are We Ready?

The pace of change is fast and will become faster. In a few years it could be that the only need for daughter proven sire information will be to check the accuracy of genomic indexes or to develop the formulae for indexing for new traits that breeders wish to include in their breeding programs. It could well be that breeders are more ready for the future than are some breeding co-ops and companies that have built their business model on having the vast majority of their revenue coming from daughter proven bulls. Having said that, progressive breeding companies are taking steps to control their costs and to specialize their product lines, including owning high ranking females. Daughter proven bulls will not be the focal point for those companies.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Having moved to daughter proven sires for accuracy and selection intensity reasons, we can now expect to see a move away from those sires for the reasons of speed of turning of generations and of having very accurate knowledge at the gene level. Anyone doubting these changes needs only to look at male selection in the plant, fish, poultry and pig industries. The downside for bull breeders is that their bulls will have less value. The upside for all other breeders is that they can continue to make rapid progress in breeding profitable healthy cows. Daughter proven sires were a major force in getting us to where we are but they will now be replaced by more advanced technology.

 

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If you were going on a driving holiday … It’s unlikely that you would wait to see your aunt’s holiday album or your sibling’s gas receipts at the end of the trip, before planning your best route.  Trying to plan by waiting for information that hasn`t yet happened or that isn’t yet available to you, is ineffective to say the least.  And yet when we’re trying to get cows from A-Z on the dairy journey, we use information like peak milk and butter fat tests that have little or no value for immediate decision making. Even worse – we let culling rates be the measure of our success.  In our travel analogy, that would be like using number of speeding tickets to determine your destination. While the information is related to the issue and cautionary, it does little to help determine the details of where you are going.

The Transition Cow Journey Needs Clear Signposts

We all know what a transition cow is but do we know what to provide her with in that pre- and post- calving period that is so crucial to her productive and reproductive success?  A survey by Dairy Australia provides thought-provoking statistics.  The survey found that only 65% of farmers use transition cow management and, of those ones using it, only 50% have a management plan in place that meets the cow’s nutritional needs. In other words, only 1/3 of the cows are getting the right treatment.  Furthermore, it means that staff is spending too much time and energy dealing with sick cows.  Not only is this a negative situation from the cow health viewpoint, but it also means that attention is being sidetracked from the needs of the whole herd.

The Transition Journey Needs A Planned Road Trip

There are important questions that must be answered:  

  • Do you know where you`re going?
  • Do you have the information to get there?
  • Are you willing to follow directions?

Five mis-used and over-rated sources of Transition Management:

Check off the ones you are using on your herd as action items.

  • Peak Milk Yield
  • Herd Production Level
  • First Test Day Percent Butter Fat
  • First Test Day Linear SCC
  • Calving Interval

If you’re using any of these you are definitely driving in the wrong direction.  Yes you have information.  But it cannot be used in a timely and effective way!

Are You Ready to Put the Pedal to the Transition Metal?

On the one hand, using the wrong tools is a problem.  On the other hand, not taking action is an even bigger problem. The above tests cannot be used to initiate actions.  The solution of using information for culling purposes does not solve problems such as milk fever, displaced abomasums and low dry matter intake or raise the level of health.  The other problem is timing.   Identifying a problem is great but getting it solved quickly is the priority.

Too Little. Too Late.

The lag time of most of the previously listed monitors is far too long and late. If you don`t take the proper early steps to get your cows through the transition period, you may not have the chance later.  Rather than getting rid of cows, get rid of transition monitors that aren`t working.  By the time you`ve decided to cull a cow, the outcome has been decided.  What is needed are tools that give you the chance to take action, before you have lost time, money and milk production.

Peak Milk has Shortcomings

As a monitor of fresh cow performance, peak milk has at least 5 shortcomings.

  1. It is not the true peak milk.  The reported number is the highest milk produced on any given test day so far during the current lactation. The odds that the test day will coincide with the actual peak milk day for a particular cow are slim. Furthermore Age at freshening, Lactation number, Calving season, Breed of cow, area of country and herd production level all have impact on peak milk. It is impossible to make these adjustments mentally.
  2. It`s too slow. Can you really afford to wait somewhere between 50-90 DIM to learn what a particular cow’s peak milk is?  This lag between the information and the time to take action is far too long. Prompt decisions are needed from all perspectives: cow health; production management and profitability.
  3. It`s simply an average. Averages are often considered useful as benchmarks to measure progress.  However an average that does not indicate the range of values has little of no use in managing the transition of individual animals.  You want to be able to take action regarding the cows that are at the low end.  The high end has particular needs as well that an average doesn`t identify.
  4. It includes more than recently fresh animals. Again it is the breadth of the information that limits its effectiveness in transition cow management. Peak milk measurements often include more than the recently fresh animals thus clouding the information for use in actionable decision making.
  5. It is biased because of cows that have been culled. To earn a peak milk record, a cow must survive in the herd past a second or third test.  Thus cows that left the herd prior to peak milk or ones that are currently in first test are excluded and thus the results are biased.

First Test-Day Percent Butter Fat has Limited Value

Whether higher or lower than normal butterfat tests do not accurately identify the state of the cow’s health.  Butter fat tests can be a moving and therefore a single test day doesn`t identify the direction of the trend.

  1. Higher than “normal” butterfats in individual cows is often a sign of metabolic difficulties. These cows usually are in a state of extremely rapid weight loss. They often have a history of metabolic problems such as ketosis, fatty liver, and/or displaced abomasum.
  2. Lower than “normal” butterfats in individual cows is often a sign of past metabolic difficulties, low body condition score, acidosis, or some combination of the three. These cows usually are very thin. In many cases, these cows are 20-30 days in milk at first test. It is possible that many of these cows would have been quite high if tested at day 8-15, but now are low since essentially no more body fat is available to be lost into the milk.

This likely under-reports problems in cows that are dropping from a “high” to a “low” test as they would not be distinguishable from “normal” cows.

First Test-Day Linear SCC May be Too Late

Unpublished data currently being evaluated suggest animals starting with a higher linear SCC (>4.0) produce 1,000-1,500 pounds less in the coming lactation when compared to cows freshening with lower linear SCC. In addition, recent reports suggest that cows with mastitis in early lactation have lower reproductive performance.  A cow culled in the first month of lactation is a far more expensive economic event than a cow that is replaced at the end of lactation.

Some estimate that the cow value drops about $3 per day after freshening for cows that do not become pregnant. Waiting for a year to see how many cows died from mastitis is a poor way to monitor either clinical or sub-clinical mastitis. Relevant action to take regarding high SCC starts at the drying off period of a previous lactation or at calving for heifers.

So, if those DON’T work, what OPTION is left??

It is easy to find numerous superior tools for monitoring a problem on a dairy.  The first test of the monitor should be that it either highlights another question or leads directly to a required management action.  The herd manager’s interest isn’t in the animals already identified for culling but rather to find those animals where some positive steps can be taken to achieve a positive outcome.  The goal is to move from useless information to useful actions.  Once you have identified the problem you can find the solution.

First Test-Day Mature Equivalent 305-day Projected Milk

Using the first Test Day Mature Equivalent is much faster than the limited monitoring methods previously discussed. The first projection is possible after 8 days in milk. Typically, cows are around 15-20 days in milk at first test. Admittedly, this projection is not 100% accurate in predicting the final 305 completed lactation total milk, but it is a good tool nevertheless. A cow starting with a low projection at first test is not likely to finish with an excellent total at the end of 305 days and is much more likely to be culled.

All DHIs and most on-farm herd management software offers projections of the expected lactation total 305 day milk production. A mature equivalent (ME) projection or Breed Class Average (BCA) further refines this prediction by adjusting all cows to the same age to allow comparison between cows in different lactations.

The ADVANTAGES of 305 day ME Projections

Compared to peak milk, the first test-day 305 day ME projection offers these advantages:

  • Measurement can be made starting at day 8, gaining 45-60 days on lag time.
  • Bias due to culled cow exclusion, although still present, is less.
  • Effect of different test-day days-in-milk is removed.
  • Cows freshening at different ages can be compared one to another.
  • Cows in different lactation numbers can be compared.
  • Cows freshening in different seasons can be compared.
  • Cows freshening in different areas of the country can be compared.
  • Different breeds can be compared.
  • Adjustment is made for herd productivity.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Getting the right information is the absolute first step if you’re going to properly manage your cattle through the pre-transition and post-transition periods.  It’s crucial for cow health and dairy profitability to be proactive.  If you are not using information that can clearly define what actions to take, you’re program and your profits and your cows will be lost in transition.  It’s time to take a YOU-TURN and map out where you are and where you’re going.  Don’t let stop signs determine your destination.

 

 

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DANAE BAUER: Capturing the Passion

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

We meet many who feel that dairy farming not only gave them skills for working, problem-solving and responsibility , but also the added courage and example to become self employed. Danae Bauer is from Scandinavia Wisconsin where she was raised on the home farm operated by her father and uncles. (Read more: Pine-Tree Monica Planeta Is the New Genomic Super Star Maker) “I have had a very active role in the farm ever since I was a child. I now work full time with the calves, embryos transfer, and marketing.

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From Shovel Speed to Shutter Speed

Many farm offspring feel they have had a picture perfect upbringing.  For Danae it was picture inspiring. “ I have had an interest in photography from a young age. In the past several years that interest has grown into a passion, leading up to a year ago when I began my photography business.”  Again she credits her family and agricultural background. “3. My family has influenced me greatly and has helped instill a work ethic, a desire to learn, and drive to achieve excellence which has valuable to me in honing my creativity through patience and practice.”

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Never Ending Learning Process

Like the true creative that she is, Danae is always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow her photography skills. “I completed a course in professional photography from the New York Institute of Photography, from which I was also given a merit award for a photography essay assignment.  I believe that while I gained knowledge from the schooling, I learned probably just as much from trial and error, practice, reading photography books, learning from articles and videos on the internet, and studying other’s work. It’s a good thing my cousins Katie and Emily are such good and willing models…I got a lot more practice in with them then I would have with my three brothers !”

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Capturing a Story – Creating a Feeling

When you look at pictures created by Danae, you often feel an instantaneous emotional connection, which isn’t surprising since that is what powers her own enthusiasm. “I would describe my style as creative, classic, clean, and country. My images are abundant in natural light, they are bright with vivid but true to life color. I strive to capture genuine emotion and interaction when I photograph people and animals.”  For Danae the people are just as important as the subject matter. “I love images that “grab and pull the viewer in” and allow them to experience or see the subject in a new way, the photos that capture the essence or heart of the subject, the photos that are genuine, but beautiful and unique.”

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An Eye for Agriculture. A Fusion of Farm, Family and Photography

I think my greatest accomplishment is creating a photo that strikes a chord with its viewer, especially if it makes them think positively about agriculture and farm life. I have had comments that my photos have been a blessing to those who see them, and if that is true, I count that as a success! “ Danae looks forward to a future that includes her two passions.  She quotes the familiar “A picture is worth a thousand words” and adds “I would love to continue to photograph farm families and help them tell their stories through photos.”

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The Bullvine Bottom Line

We totally agree with Danae that, as great as it is to do what you love, the human experience is what makes it worthwhile. She is already taking her photography to the next level and has a growing audience who responds to her efforts. “I hope that by sharing meaningful photos I will be furthering a favorable impression of the dairy lifestyle.”  All the best to Danae from the Bullvine readers and everyone who enjoy cows, people and country living. It’s a huge story ready to be captured by the Bauer lens one moment at a time.

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Be sure to check out Dana’s Farmgirl Photography Facebook page as well as her website for more great photos.

 

 

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