The 12 Holstein Sires to Maximize Genetic Gain

With the December 2012 genetic evaluation release and all the changes to the different systems, many breeders are finding it hard to figure out   which sires are the ones they should be taking a closer look at for their breeding programs. In typical Bullvine fashion we decided to not only provide you with the top lists (Read more in our Genetic Evaluations Section) but also to look at  what sires will help you maximize your genetics, by identifying which ones  address certain needs.  Here is what we  found from the 99% Rank worldwide for their area of specialty.

Overall Performance Improvement

When looking for the sire the will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for  sires that have a balance of production and longevity. We also wanted  great health and fertility traits that will deliver a  low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection).  Here are our top three.

    (Bolton x Bret x Rudolph)
    Last proof run,  we had  concerns with Dorcy as his parent averages and DGVs were higher than his actual daughter performance. However, with his daughter numbers nearly doubling in December, his actual daughter performance  is now higher than his PA’s and right on where his DGV had been predicted.  Look for Dorcy to sire balanced dairy cattle that have great udders and very good feet & legs, though he will need to be protected for dairy strength fat percent and specifically his body depth and chest width.
    (O Man x Aaron x Bellwood)
    There is no question that the story around the world is how well Man-O-Man daughters are performing (Read more – Man-O-Man will he turn platinum?)  While we are huge Man-O-Man fans, he has  yet to leave a son who has Genomic results that are  higher than his own on the CDN system (Read more – Is Man-O-Man really going to be a sire of sons?).  When it comes to your breeding goals, he certainly is a sire that should still get  consideration even for the most aggressive genomic programs.  Look for Man-O-Man to sire outstanding production from cattle who have correct  feet and legs and strong mammary systems.  One area to watch him for is his rump angle, as his daughters can be a touch high in the pins.
    (Facebook x Shottle x O Man)

    One sire that is certainly going to be on the top of everyone’s list is Enforcer.  He may be hard to get your hands on as he is just one year old and Semex will probably only be releasing him for contract matings (Read more – Select Sires vs. Semex – A contrast in cooperatives). This Marbri Facebook son has the highest DGVs in the breed.  Look for him to sire extreme component yields from strong dairy cattle with great feet and legs.  One area to be cautious on using him is his body depth.  Both his sire stack and his DGVs would say this area needs protecting.  For those looking for an early release genomic sire, check out GenerVations Liquid Gold born on the same day as Enforcer but yet publically available (Read more – $750 Dollar Semen! Are you crazy?)

Production Improvement

It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production. We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility so  we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without  sacrificing everything to get it.  In addition to Enforcer and Man-O-Man, here are some top production sires you should consider.

    (Bolton x O Man x Adam)

    Much like the Nerello grapes that the Mascali area of Italy is famous for, Mascalese is a sire that works best when used to balance out a pedigree by offering a  strong production infusion.  Mascalese is the perfect mating for Planet’s, Man-O-Man’s and Goldwyn’s, as he will add the dairy strength and rump improvement that is needed.
    (Bolton x O Man x BW Marshall)

    Holding strong in the US proving system that saw many sires drop over the last proof round is AltaGoalman.  This proven Bolton son from the Genomic powerhouse De-Su, offers extreme production with acceptable percent components, He delivers significant overall production improvement. While AltaGoalman will not hurt your udders and legs, he certainly needs to be protected on body depth and rump.  AltaGoalman is most definitely best suited for commercial environments but can also be used for a shot of production, if used carefully.
    (Niagra x O Man  x Throne)

    Certainly a sire to consider, for those looking to push the genomic envelope and yet still wanting to find new bloodlines, is Vigor. Vigor is a RI-VAL-RE 2338 NIAGRA son from a TRIONE MAN IDRA VG-89-ITA. She is from one of Italy’s most dominant cow families TRIONE AARON BELLUNA VG-89-ITA.  Idra is an O-Man daughter of TRIONE THRONE ELENA VG-88-ITA.  Look for Vigor to be the genomic equivalent of AltaGoalman and needs to be protected on rump and dairy strength but offers tremendous production improvement.  He is a great option for a progressive breeder looking to develop a more unique bloodline.

Longevity Improvement

Recent changes to the US system for productive life rankings may have breeders scratching their heads.  Here are some sires that bring some light to the situation. In addition to Dorcy and Enforcer, other sires to consider for longevity improvement are:

    (Goldwyn x O Man x Durham)

    Goldday is a Goldwyn son from A-L-H DESTINY VG-87-3YR-USA DOM GMD. Destiny is of course the popular bull mother from Markwell Durham Daisy (Read more – Markwell Durham Daisy – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist), proven in Germany. Goldday is also the full brother to former #1 German sire Danillo. Look for Goldday to sire unbelievable udders and legs as well as long herd life.  One area where you will want to protect Goldday is rump angle. Be cautious in using him on cattle that need production improvement.
    (O Man x Die Hard x Metro)

    Freddie’s jump back to the top of the TPI list is not surprising as his daughters continue to perform.  Much like his father O Man, Freddie  was not given much use,  as his low type numbers scared many breeders away.  But, also like his father, his daughters tend to last much longer than their type numbers would indicate.   That’s because Freddie has outstanding fitness traits that helps him leave low maintenance daughters.  They are not angular and they are not deep but they do they milk hard and last long.
    (Goldwyn x Blitz x Mattie G)

    Battling with GUTHRIE and the Goldwyn sons of MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE (Read more – MD-Delight Durham Atlee – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) Fever may be the best proven Goldwyn son in the world. Fever is just one of the sires that does a lot of things right.  He has strong fitness traits combined with great type numbers that contribute to daughters lasting a long time.  Considering that production is one of the lower reasons breeders cull cattle (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection), it’s no wonder that Fever daughters will have a long career in many herds.

Health and Fertility Improvement

As I tried to point out in our recent article, Who killed the market for good dairy cattle?, breeders need to focus more on what their actual management goals are and less on their perceptions, or misconceptions.  That means putting a greater focus on health and fertility, when choosing mating sires in your herd.  In addition to Enforcer, Fever and Freddie here are some sires to consider:

    (Rolex x Tugolo x AltaFormation)

    While not a name that most breeders know, Phonic is certainly going to get some attention from breeders looking to breed to where the industry is headed.  With extremely low SCS and high daughter fertility combined with functional type and above average production, Phonic is leaving daughters that are extremely low maintenance. Tracing back to the great Italian brood cow Cervi FIRESTONE, this family has produced such sires as BUXON, WOODSTOCK and PADERNUS. Given his high rump angle, it is interesting that he is such a good  calving ease sire.
    (Britt x Tugolo x Metro)

    In Vars you get one of the top proven sires for daughter pregnancy rate, calving ease and productive life. Surprisingly this Britt son has an outstanding fat percentage coming from his MGS Tugolo.  However, his sire stack also dictates that he very much needs to be protected on type, especially udders.  It is ironic that a sire with such high herd life also sires deep udders that need improvement in udder cleft.
    (Russell x O Man x BW Marshall)

    Cobra is an early Russell son from a deep cow family.  His genomic test results are extremely high, especially for the health and fertility traits. Breeders looking to enhance the profitability of their herd and push the genomic envelope will certainly be looking to Cobra.   Cobra should be protected on bone quality as well as body depth.

Type Improvement

Hey everyone loves a winner and extra value, so that is why we added 3 extra type improvement sires. Great show cows are as much bred as they are “made”, as is evident by some of the great show cows from Quality Holsteins (Read more – Quality Holsteins – Well-deserved congratulations)   In addition to the 7 Sires to use in order to breed the next world dairy expo champion, we offer these three sires to consider.

    (Stormatic x BW Marshall x Winchester)

    Breeders who were are the 2012 Royal Winter Fair (Read more – The 2012 Royal Winter Fair – One of the greatest stories every told!) will certainly find it hard to argue with this selection.  Valleyvillle Rae Lyn VG-89-2YR, sired by Sanchez certainly impressed many and will give even the best Goldwyns a run for their money in 2014 (Read more – Quality Cattle Look Good Every Day). Look for Sanchez to sire extreme frames and superb feet and legs, though he may need to be protected on rear teat position and teat length
    (Duplex x Allen x Progress)

    For those of you looking for something with an international flair but a solid base, there is Glauco.  Glauco is the Duplex son of the great Italian show cow TOC-FARM ALLEN AMYLY EX-96-ITA, who is from a EX-93-ITA Progress and then the great brood cow SUNNYLODGE SKYCHIEF AMY EX-95-2E-GBR 5* who of course is from an EX-2E 8* Tab then the legendary SUNNYLODGE PRELUDE SPOTTIE VG-87-3YR-CAN 18*.  Glauco daughters are extremely tall and open and have  amazing rear udders. He should be protected on the  set to his rear legs (curved ), similar to Skychief but with much better bone quality.
    (Bookem x Shottle x Goldwyn)

    For those of you who breed for type but are willing to use genomic sires, Doorman is for you.  This Bookem from a Shottle has no great show cattle in his pedigree, but, at +22, he does  have a very high genomic test for conformation. Genomically test speaking, he is the perfect sire for the show ring. Doorman will be a great test to see if Genomics works in the show ring (Read more – Does Genomics Belong in the Show Ring?)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We  have stated it many times. In maximizing your genetic gain,  you can’t just pick from the top of the TPI or LPI list.  You need to make sure that your  matings are the best corrective cross.  Breeding great cattle is part art  and part science. You need to have both parts.   It takes careful consideration and generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why, instead of just giving you a list of the top 12 we tried to provide you with insight into which sires will provide you with the maximum gain in each specific area.

Check out our  Genetic Evaluations Section for more information.


7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion

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.




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.




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.




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.


REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* - dam of Bradnick

REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* – dam of 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.




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.


CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 - dam of Airlift

CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 – dam of 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.




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.


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