Can a great business plan look good on paper and in the lineup too? Twenty-four year old Jerry Jorgensen of Ri-Val-Re Holsteins in Webberville, Michigan gives a resounding “Yes!” He states their breeding goal as follows” We want to breed cows that appeal to the eye as much as they do on paper.”
No Sibling Rivalry Behind the Scenes
Ri-Val-Re Holsteins milks 300 Holsteins twice a day. Jerry and his dad Aaron focus on the dairy operation. They have 850 head of young stock and farm 8000 acres of soybeans, corn, alfalfa and wheat. Jerry outlines the setup. “The acreage is farmed in partnership with my grandpa, dad and aunt and uncle.” He outlines his own role. “I’m in charge of all breeding decisions, marketing (purchasing and selling) and have been for the past ten years. My sister Julie works full time assisting the vet and, in addition to daily chores, keeps up on all the paperwork associated with the farm.” Beyond the Jorgensen family they also have five other full time employees who milk, feed cattle and haul manure.
Ri-Val-Re Made Headlines
Ri-Val-Re recently attracted prominent attention, when they paid $10,000 a dose for five doses of polled semen. That’s a great story in itself but this one was even more unique in that it took place on Facebook (Golden PP Facebook Page). Of course Jerry had a plan. He wrote “I’ll pay 10K a unit if I can get the first 5 and no one else can buy it for 90 days.” The early negotiations were right out there for everyone to see as Roy MacGregor responded, “That’s a pretty hard offer to ignore!” The deal was made and everyone eagerly pencilled out the possibilities (Read more – $10,000 a dose polled semen). It looked like Ri-Val-Re was set to turn Golden PP into golden business tactics.
Reaction To Ri-Val-Re Risk Taking
Every new shift in the marketplace, stirs up interest and sometimes controversy. Such was the case with the $10,000 semen deal. Jerry reports that reaction was pretty mixed, “I would guess I have received calls, emails and text from 100 different people. Most were wondering if it was true or not.” Securely grounded in his vision for the future, he reports that opinions changed. “After I explained my plan and what I was doing with the semen, most people thought it would work out well for me and that it was a good risk to take.”
Golden PP was not a Shot in the Dark
Those who are less willing to take a leap of faith are won over by Jerry’s analysis of what went into the decision. “I love the Colt P x Goldwyn cross. Also he is the first homozygous bull available that has appealing numbers across the board.” Again that combination of numbers and the eye appeal which he says “I feel okay using him without sacrificing too much. Also with IVF and what you can do with a single unit of semen and knowing that every single calf will be polled there are several advantages economically that way.”
Ready to Risk on Genomics
With this explanation of the Ri-Val-Re game plan, it isn’t surprising to learn that genomics doesn’t inspire timidity either. Jerry confirms that “Genomics has changed our breeding program in the fact that we use all young bulls, where before all we used were daughter proven bulls. We still look for good pedigrees but we definitely are willing to take a lot more risk.” It all boils down to personal confidence, “I’m a big believer in genomics so I feel safe using young sires.”
Ri-Val-Re Grows Thanks to Breeding Program Stars
When discussing the stars of their breeding program Jerry notes, “We have three major areas. Firstly, Ri-Val-Re Goldwyn Nadine-Et VG-87 has been on a continuous flush program since she calved as a two year old. She’s the 7th generation VG or EX and has a sire stack of Goldwyn, Oman, Jesther, Terry, Elton and Melvin. She has 6 sons in A.I. the highest indexing one being Ri-Val-Re Nely (a Facebook at Semex) with a DGV LPI +3293. She has several daughters over 2300+ GTPI by Mogul, Observer and Numero Uno. Currently we have over 150 pregnancies on the way from her and her daughters.”
Ri-Val-Re Adv Win-Go-Red-Et Ex-90 and her daughters are being extensively flushed. Win-Go is the Grand dam of Ri-Val-Re Alc Mini-P-Red who is the #1 GTPI polled, red and white heifer. She is also the Grand dam of Ri-Val-Re Obsrvr Dolo-P *RC one of the highest GTPI PO bulls.
Over 100 pregnancies are on the way from Win-Go and her RC daughters by MacGuiness & Observer (many will be Polled & Red). Several other heifers that are 2300-2400 GTPI are on IVF flush programs from other branches of these families and other purchases.
Currently the sires being used at Ri-Val-Re Holsteins are Shanosber-P *RC, Golden-PP-Red, Predestine, AltaOak, Shan, Cashcoin, Colt-45, Platinum, Morgan, Chevrolet, Willpower and Liquid Gold.
Full Sales Ahead for Ri-Val-Re Holsteins
Starting in February we will be doing advertising leading up to our summer sale here at the farm. We consign to several sales throughout the year and are having our own sale June 15th. We plan to sell 300-350 genomic tested heifers in 2013 through consignment sales and our own sales in June and November.
Foreseeing An Emphasis on Health with More Polled Animals
A keen observer of the dairy business, despite his relative youth, Jerry reports “The biggest change I’ve seen in the last ten years is the emphasis put on health traits…. Not really sure what will change in the near future, I do believe the breed will be mostly polled by 2020 though once more and more polled animals are bred with comparable genetics to horned animals it will make more sense for breeders to breed polled and once that happens it will be hard to turn back .
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Jerry confirms what we have heard from many breeders. Real success comes when you can put it all together both on paper and in the barn. “We are heavily invested in genomics but I still want a product I`m happy to have my prefix in front of.” He advises new breeders to “start off slow and buy into cow families with deep pedigrees and known success.” As they continue to have success on paper and in the barn, they are proving that, when it comes to cattle breeding,
Ri-Val-Re is here to stay!