Everyone loves winning. No one enters a competition to finish last. Regardless of who you are every purebred dairy breeder dreams of winning supreme champion at World Dairy Expo. Your dream of walking in the spotlight, on the colored shavings, with everyone applauding you, starts with choosing the right sires.
Logic would tell you that you take top 10 PTAT sires or Conformation sires and away you go. However, we all know what wins in the barn does not win in the ring. That is because the relative importance/weights are different in each area of the Dairy Cow Scorecard. Therefore, instead of your typical classification weightings that make up the basis of PTAT and Conformation indexes (Udder 40%, Dairy Strength 25%, Feet & Legs 20% and Frame 15%) we decided to place more emphasis on traits that make a difference in the show ring to come up with our short list of sires to use (Udder 35%, Feet & Legs 13%, Stature 13, Strength 13%, Body Depth 14%, Dairy Form 13%). For those of you who think great show cows don’t produce as well we recommend you read Show Cows: All Type and No Action)
We then went to Genomics. Yes genomics for show cattle. Many confuse the word genomics and TPI or LPI index when actually genomics is just a more accurate and earlier-in-life method of evaluating or predicting a sire’s ability to transmit improvement for that specific trait or composite. Therefore, it can actually be a huge tool for breeder who is looking to breed great show cattle. In the case of young sires, we were also careful to make sure we did not use sires with type genomic traits lower than their parent averages, as our previous analysis showed us (Read – 7 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Use Sires with DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages).
Let`s get a better understanding of what sires will help you win that elusive prize of breeding the next great show cow. The following are the lucky seven sires we would recommend in order to breed the next supreme champion. Having said that, we admit that all great breeding is two parts homework, one part intuition, and three parts luck. Let`s start with the homework.
#7 – MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD
It’s no fluke that MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD EX-90-4YR-USA is probably the next generation of great show bulls available today. Combining Goldwyn on Durham would normally be enough but added to that his dam is the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*. Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going 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 (the full sister to the recently deceased World Champion Shoremar S Alicia EX-97). Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade 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.
#6 – PINE-SHELTER CLAY WOOD
If you don’t want to use Atwood himself, how about one of his sons? Possessing the highest values of all the bulls on our list for stature (5.09), PINE-SHELTER CLAY WOOD will give you that punch of stature needed for show cows. Not surprisingly since his third dam is none other than 2003 World Dairy Expo Champion, PINE-SHELTER CHEYENNE EX-95-3E-USA DOM. Expect Wood to sire a very balanced cow that needs to be used on cows that have deep ribs and deep heals. He will give you those big wide rear udders that can do wonders when the judge is standing behind you making those critical decisions.
#5 – GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE
Possessing the highest genomic values for most conformation traits is GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE VG-87-1YR-CAN. (Not to be confused with the Facebook sensation He is One Ugly Dude) This Atwood son from SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN has unbelievable genomic values for all major conformation traits, well above his expected parent averages. This is opposite to the situation for most recently proven Claynook bred bulls, whose PAs exceed their genomic values and whose indexes dropped in a major way from when they were sampled to when they were proven. (Read – The Hot House Effect On Sire Sampling). Dude has the genomic values to back it up. Expect Dude to sire breed leading mammary system improvement and loads of dairy strength, though he will need to be protected on high pins.
#4 – REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK
For those of you who want a sire other than Atwood and Atwood sons, I offer up the next two selections. In REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK VG-87-2YR-USA you have no Goldwyn blood at all. From the REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* (2012 Golden Dam Finalist) family, by way of a VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* Shottle daughter REGANCREST BREYA, and sired by GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ EX-94-6YR-USA ST’12. Breya is the former #3 PTAT Cow in the breed and continues the strong legacy that Barbie started. In Bradnick you get a sire who is over 3 points on all composites except Dairy Comp where he is at 2.92. In every major type trait Bradnick’s DGV’s are higher than expected from his parents.
#3 – SCIENTIFIC B DEFIANT
As the REGANCREST S BRAXTON EX-95-5YR-USA son of the #4 GTPI RC cow, SCIENTIFIC GOLD DIOR RAE-ET *RC EX-92-4YR-USA DOM, SCIENTIFIC B DEFIANT is doubly blessed as his is also a red carrier. Of course Dior Rae is from none other the great show winning SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE-ET EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, tracing back to the Queen of the Breed herself GLENRIDGE CITATION ROXY EX-CAN EX-97-4E-USA GMD 6*. In Defiant you get a sire stack of Braxton from a Goldwyn from Durham that just drips dairy strength. Expect Defiant to sire extremely tall framey cows that have strong, snug, shallow udders. However, you may want to protect him on the cleanliness of bone as well as slight curved legs.
#2 – CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT
Coming in at #2 is another Atwood son CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT. While the female side of this cow family may not have won any major shows, they do have generation after generation of outstanding strength, frames and feet and legs, tracing back to the same bloodlines as the great CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN. Combine that with Atwood’s udders and you have the potential for greatness. Expect Airlift to sire extreme feet and leg improvement as well as rumps. For the line breeding fans out there, Airlift would make a great cross with your Goldwyn’s. Bringing the needed rump and dairy strength improvement many Goldwyn’s need. However, much like Allen, you may not want to use him on cattle that are extremely straight legged. Airlift also makes a great option for those looking to sire show-winning calves as Airlift is almost over 4 points on all major type traits outside of mammary system.
#1 – MR ATWOOD BROKAW
Leading the way, but surely not a surprise, is MR ATWOOD BROKAW. 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 being 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 (4.85 Stature) and have the necessary frame (3.89 Body Comp), dairyness (3.06 Dairy Comp) and bolted on udders (3.77 Udder Comp) 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.
Side Note on Goldwyn
For those of you wondering how we could leave probably the most dominant show sire of the past decade BRAEDALE GOLDWYN GP-84-8YR-CAN EXTRA’05 GM’12 off of the list. Here is our explanation. While there is no question that Goldwyn is a great sire, and a fantastic type improvement sire, we argue that part of his success came through opportunity as much as through genetic ability. Since Goldwyn was used on so many cattle including the top type cattle in the breed, because of his outstanding proof, he had far more opportunity than most other sires to leave his mark. While he has not disappointed, his sons, such as Atwood and his grandsons as in Defiant, have now surpassed him.
The Bottom Line
The truth is everyone loves a winner. That`s the simple truth. Ask yourself, “How many times have you seen a packed house to hear the naming of the top new TPI or LPI sire?” This is not to say that you can’t strive for both. (Read – Show Cows: All Type and No Action?) Nevertheless, everyone would love to breed the next great show cow. That starts with using the correct sires. In then means using the bloodlines that have proven they have done it before. We have chosen Brokaw as the greatest sire for show type improvement. Of course, as is the case with all mating decisions, you need to make sure the sire you choose crosses well and is a corrective mating with the cow you are breeding.
For those of you looking for a more balanced breeding approach, check out The Top 12 Holstein Young Sires to Use for Maximum Genetic Gain.