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Is Red Still Relevant?

Friday, August 16th, 2013

After attending the Ontario Red and White Show (Read more: 2013 Ontario Red & White Holstein Show Results) and watching the events unfold at the US Red & White Convention Sale, I find myself asking if red is still relevant in the marketplace?  To answer that question I thought I would look at both sides of the argument.

The Case for Red

For years there has been growing demand around the world for Red and White Holsteins.  In the US last year the largest total number of Red Holsteins were registered in history.  The top selling animal for $184,000 at the Parade of Perfection Sale, OCD McCutchen Duchess-ET *RC, was a red carrier from Curr-Vale Obsrvr Delta and the second highest seller at the World Classic sale for $122,000 MS M-P Dak 4777 Pie-Red the #1 gTPI Red Animal in the USA at the time.  In Europe, at the recent All-European Show in Switzerland, the top sellers were all red & white or red carrier animals.

Blondin Redman Seisme EX-96 2E

Blondin Redman Seisme EX-96 2E
Reserve Supreme Champion Royal 2011 & 2012
Grand Champion R&W Royal 2010, 2011 & 2012
Grand Champion Red & White Madison, 2010, 2011 & 2012

Red Holsteins are also seeing their greatest success and popularity ever.  Cows like Blondin Redman Seisme EX-96 2E and KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX-95 2E are two of the most popular cows in the world today.  Many descendants of Apple are winning in both the show ring and on the red index charts.

KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX-95 2E  Unanimous All-American Red & White 1st 4-year-old & HM Senior Champion, 2012 International Red & White Show

KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET EX-95 2E
Unanimous All-American Red & White
1st 4-year-old & HM Senior Champion
2012 International Red & White Show

Then there are red sires like Kulp-Dale Golden PP-Red.  Golden PP-Red’s first five units of semen sold for $50,000 (Read more: $10,000 a dose Polled Semen).  With that came a 90-day exclusive guarantee, a unique deal struck between some very progressive thinkers.  While there is no question being the highest homozygous polled bull at the time-helped drive the demand, the fact that he is red also added another desirable element to his market appeal.

The Case against Red

First let’s look at it from a milk production standpoint.  While some will make the comment that their red coat helps them in the heat, in reality red coat actually has relatively low relevance to efficient milk production.  Even polled that is more a consumer/animal welfare issue than it is a herd management issue, has more relevance to efficient milk production than red cattle.

Then there is the issue of genetic potency.  The top R&W proven sires are almost 18% lower for genetic merit than the top black genetics available, and the top *RC are 17% lower.  When it comes to young sires, the top Red or Red Carrier bulls are 9% lower than their black contemporaries are.  While it does show that Red genetics are advancing at a fast rate they are still a significant distance behind.  This means that red breeders have to take a substantial genetic loss in order to obtain the red gene.

Part of the reason for red’s relevance issue may be the popularity of polled (Read more: From The Sidelines To The Headlines, Polled Is Going Mainline!, Why Is Everyone So Horny For Polled?, Polled Genetics: Way Of The Future Or Passing Fad?).  For years red has been one way for breeders to breed for something unique.  Something that makes the animal special.  Both in the barn and in the sales ring polled has gained significantly in industry popularity.  While proven polled bulls are almost 23% lower in genetic merit than their horned contemporaries, genomic polled sires are 13% behind.  This shows that polled genetics are actually advancing at a faster rate than red genetics.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While it is hard to predict the future, there is no question that the demand for polled is both a good thing and a bad thing for the red and white breed.  With polled being far more prevalent in red and red carrier cattle, the Red and White breed has seen significant increase in demand as a result of the increased demand for polled.  That blessing can also be a curse.  Since polled has now gone mainstream, many of the top polled sires are no longer red or red carriers.  Contrary to polled, Red and White cattle will always have a challenge gaining traction in large commercial herds.  For that reason it is destined to be a niche market.

However, after attending recent red and white events and seeing the demand for red in Europe, there is no question that while small in number, red and white breeders are some of the most passionate in the industry today.

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It would be easy to just take the winners from this year’s World Dairy Expo (Read more – World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A battle for the ages) and predict that they will win at the Royal.  But that is not always the case.  It’s a different day, different judge, and new animals have calved and others have been fresh longer.  Instead let’s take a look at the highlights of what is sure to be a truly Royal show.

The Judge

Callum McKinven - 2012 Royal Holstein Show Judge

Callum McKinven – 2012 Royal Holstein Show Judge

At Lookout Holsteins in North Hatley, QC, Callum McKinven, his wife Kathy Beerwort and their three daughters work hard to create a comfortable, low-stress environment for their herd of show winners and genomic stars.  When they first built their facility in the beautiful hills of Quebec, all details were put into place for sensible cow comfort.  Callum has shown well-known heifers and cows to victory at major shows, including World Dairy Expo and the Royal.  McKinven is a very active, respected judge, both domestically and internationally.  Lookout in partnership has had several  sale toppers lately including LOOKOUT PESCE EPIC HUE at the Planet Holstein Sale (Read – The Planet Explodes at World Dairy Expo – 2012 Planet Holstein Sale Recap) and RALMA-RH MANOMAN BANJO VG-88-2yr at the Gillette Visions sale (Read – Gillette Visions 2012 Sale – Great People, Great Cattle = Great Results)

The Contenders for Junior Champion

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie - Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie – Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

While the Junior Champion from Madison, Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie, certainly has to be considered the early favorite, it really could go any way.  Nowhere is there greater variance every year than in the nod for Junior Champion.  While many might go on to win their class at the Royal, winning Madison does not guarantee the Royal win that many would expect.  Other heifers to watch for include the recent Quebec International Holstein Show Junior Champion Jacobs Jordan Babe (Read more – Expo International Holstein Quebec Heifers Results).  Another one to watch for is Crovalley Knowledge Akika who looked very impressive winning junior champion at the recent Autumn Opportunity Show (Read more – Autumn Opportunity Holstein Show Results).  In addition, note that the Madison Reserve Junior Champion Jaslyn Aftershock Avila will not be there as she is owned in partnership by Lookout Farms.

The Contenders for Intermediate Champion

Cookview Goldwyn Monique (Right ) and Whittier Farms Jasp Kinetic (Left) - World Dairy Expo 2012

Cookview Goldwyn Monique (Right ) and Whittier Farms Jasp Kinetic (Left) – World Dairy Expo 2012

While Cookview Goldwyn Monique looked extremely impressive (Read more – World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages) and is the early front runner, other contenders include fellow class winners from Madison, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara and T-Triple-T Gold Prize (Read more – World Dairy Expo Winners: Investment Worthy). Other contenders would have to be the recent Intermediate Champions from Quebec, Robrook Goldwyn Cameron and from Ontario Quality Gold Danzi (Read more – Quality Holsteins – Well-Deserved Congratulations).  Another X Factor might be Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice.  While not looking her best at Madison, don’t let her fall too far off your radar.  With her massive frame and dairyness, the two times All-American and All-Canadian is always within striking distance.

The Contenders for Senior Champion

RF GOLDWYN HAILEY- Grand Champion Quebec International Show 2012

RF GOLDWYN HAILEY- Grand Champion Quebec International Show 2012

I would like to say it’s in doubt, but that simply is not the case.  If RF Goldwyn Hailey EX-97 comes out looking as good as she did at Madison and the recent Quebec International Holstein Show, there really is no doubt.  She is on a roll that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, and she should easily assume the crown (Read more – The Story Behind How Two Full Sisters Dominated Expo Quebec).  Other cows to keep an eye out for include Boulet Goldwyn Chalou and Quality Goldwyn Flansco.

The Red and White Story

Blondin Redman Seisme EX-96 (98-MS)

Blondin Redman Seisme EX-96 (98-MS)

Just like Hailey, Blondin Redman Seisme, should be considered the strong favorite to win Grand yet again.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While you never know how the cows will settle in and what they will look like on show day, this group certainly has to be considered the early contenders.



Excitement and speculation are at an all-time high for  the 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show.  Exhibitors from around the world and cows from across North America have started making their way towards Madison.  (Watch this great video featuring Ferme Jacobs, Ferme de La Plaine & ferme blondin on their way to World Dairy Expo).  With the anticipation levels about to explode, let’s take a closer look at the early contenders.

The Judge

Michael Heath  - 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

Michael Heath – 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

Of course the final decision rests in the hands of 2012 World Dairy Expo Judge Michael  Heath and his associate David Dyment, who combined have more than  45 years of judging experience and have judged over seventy shows at the state and national level in  countries around the world.  Michael grew up on his parents, Billy and Betty’s Spring Valley Farm in Maryland.  After finishing college Michael’s passion for dairy cattle lead to him becoming a professional fitter for 14 years, and the respected position he holds  as a great cattleman and marketer.  He has owned cattle from some of the top families in the breed. Most notable of these is co-ownership of the MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE family (2012 Golden Dam Finalist).

Michael has judged many of the top state and provincial shows and highlights in a recent Cowsmopolitan article how pumped he was when he had the opportunity to make JACOBS GOLDWYN BRITANY Grand at Quebec last fall.  Though he admits he had to be a little reserved in his “Champion Slap” because of the fact that so many Goldwyn’s can be  skittish.  Nevertheless, he says that the ringside can expect a slap on October 6th Goldwyn or not.

Don’t be worried that Michael will be all work and no play. With David Dyment as his associate he is confident that they will have  the balance of intensity and objectivity needed to make it through this enormous task, and when need more than capable of pointing out the “hotties”. Given that Michael has probably one of the greats “strappers” as his associate it is great that Michael comments the following in a the Cowsmopolitan article:

“I want people to know that, as long as their nerves don’t get the best of them and as long as they’re comfortable, they are invited to show their own cattle.  I don’t care who is on the halter and I encourage young exhibitors to show their own animals as well.  This is the chance of a lifetime – get out there and have fun.”


The Contenders for Junior Champion

Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly, Will not be at WDE12 as she is owned by Michael Heath and David Dyment

Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly, Will not be at WDE12 as she is owned by Michael Heath and David Dyment

With Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly being owned by the two judges the remaining contenders are:

  • Devans Denzel Angela
  • Kingsway Goldwyn Artichoke
  • Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie
  • Liddleholme Asteroid Bird

(Thanks to our avid readers for catching our error and having R-E-W Happy Go Lucky on the JR. champion list,  she will be in the Milking Sr. Yearling Class as she calved on Sept. 1st)


The Contenders for Intermediate Champion



While the recent move of Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice to co-ownership with Duckett Holsteins, you have to consider her an early favorite.   Others include:

  • Cookview Goldwyn Monique
  • Earlen Goldwyn Secret
  • Pappys Goldwyn Rave
  • RF Goldwyn Halona
  • Savage Leigh Gold Lona


The Contenders for Senior Champion



With two EX-97 point cows, Harvue Roy Frosty EX-97 and RF Goldwyn Hailey EX-97 set to battle, this year’s show is set to go down in the history books as one of the all-time greats.  This brings back memories of the Acme Star Lily with Leduc Broker Mandy at WDE in 1997 or her battle with Rainridge Tony Beauty  at the  1999 Royal.  Some cattle who could be “X Factors” are:

  • Rocky Mountain Talent Licorice (Reader added)
  • Savage-Leigh Leona
  • Whitaker Stormatic Rae


Life is Not All Black and White



While the Black and White Holstein show is going to be great, we must not forget some of the other great competitions.  At the International Red and White Show, Judge Justin Burdette from Windy Knoll View Farms will do a great job of helping breeders and exhibitors to feel  that each of their animals got the look that they deserved. You have to consider Blondin Redman Seisme Now EX-96 an earl favorite for Grand Champion, with Lake Praire Advent Aava-RED EX looking to give her a good run for her money.  Drawing from his experience of  being the Associate for Chris Hill a few years back, Justin will also do a great job of sorting out the contenders for Junior Champion that include: Flowerbrook Gyna-Red and Deckett P Lucy-Red.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no question that this year’s World Dairy Expo Holstein Show is going to be one for the ages and that there is no better man for the job then Michael.  I am sure he will have the time of his life.

For those of you looking to breed a World Dairy Expo Grand Champion check out – 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion


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