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Glenridge Citation Roxy EX-97 is a true legend of the dairy breeding industry.  Holstein enthusiasts around the world voted Roxy as the “Cow of the Century.”  But did you know this breeding icon almost never existed?

At the 1958 Sale of Stars in Toronto, the Ontario Association of Animal Breeders (eight A.I. units at the time) bought a bull calf, Rosafe Citation R, for an unbelievable price at the time of $30,000 from H.J. Wilcox, who had purchased his dam, Glenvie Nettie Jemima (EX-13*) earlier that year at the age of 15 for $9,000 at the Rosafe Dispersal hedging his bets that she would have a son.  Ontario Association of Animal Breeders was placed him in service at a cost of $7.00 per service, $2.00 above the normal rate, and breeders used him enthusiastically. When the first Citation R calves were being born it was discovered that he was a Red Carrier, something that was seen as undesirable at the time (Read more: Is Red Still Relevant?).  In line with A.I. practice at the time, Citation R was returned to the Wilcox family, who in 1961 sold Citation R to Don Marcos Ortiz, owner of Santa Monica Ranch in Mexico for $33,000.  As those early Citation R daughters developed they dominated the show ring.  With a limited supply of semen available and in high demand in Canada and the US, it prompted Curtis Breeding Service and the Canadian A.I. units in 1966 to bring the semen back.  This was just in the nick of time for Roxy, as the following year Lorne Loveridge, breeder of Roxy, was looking for the right mating of his top cow Norton Court Model Vee, Roxy’s dam.

As a calf Roxy was a tall, gangly heifer that really did not attract much attention from anyone, until she calved for the 2nd time.  It was at this time she caught the eye of Doug Blair and Lowell Lindsay. (Read more: Sire facility dedicated to Alta founder, Doug Blair and Lowell Lindsay To Be Inducted Into Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame)  Blair, part owner of Western Breeders’ Services (forerunner to Alta Genetics) at the time, was looking for bulls to buy, as was Lindsay, who was sire procurement officer for United Breeders.  When they saw Roxy, they were overwhelmed.  They discussed buying her on a 50-50 basis, but they couldn’t come up with the hefty sum Loverridge was asking for.  Enter Bob Miller (Read more: Bob Miller – Outstanding from Any Angle).  Miller was a Canadian born cattle photographer who had immigrated into the US and started his own herd Mill-R-Mor.  Miller was summoned to the Loveridge farm to photograph Roxy and her dam Vee. Miller for quite some time had been searching for a cow family to build his breeding program around.  He had some very specific requirements.  Roxy and her family met all of them – type, production and longevity.  Miller fell in love with Roxy but didn’t purchase her at this time.  Later that year Roxy was named Reserve Grand Champion at the 1972 Canadian Western Agribition, and was nominated for All-Canadian consideration as a four year old in 1973.  Loveridge had already started to realize that his location precluded many visitors from seeing the cow and her family.  It was at this time Miller returned to Glenridge and purchased Roxy and half interest in her dam.    Loverdige considered Miller’s Illinois location more suitable for promotion and marketing and the pair as well as Vale, Roxy’s ganddam, and Glenridge Emperor Rocket (EX-96-3E), Roxy’s three-quarter sister by Downalane Reflection Emperor, moved to Mil-R-Mor.

In Miller’s hands Roxy made four records over 1,000 lbs of fat.  With career totals of 209,784 lbs of milk, 9,471 lbs of 4.5% fat.  Making her the 3rd generation of 200,000 lbs of lifetime production.  She was also one of the very few to ever score EX-97 points.  Roxy was also a member of eight All-American, All-Canadian or Reserve All-Canadian groups, and with Glenridge Emperor Rocket was three times All-American Produce of Dam and all-Time All-American Produce of dam in 1984.


Glenridge Citation Roxy EX-97-4E
Queen of the Breed I & II
Member of the All-American Produce of Dam ’77, ’78 & ’79
Member of the All-American & All Canadian Get of Sire ’79
1st cow of the breed to have 10 Excellent dtrs
International Cow of the Century 1999
Dam of the 1st 30* STAR brood cow in Canada
7 of her EX daughters earned Gold Medal Status
Dam of 16 EX daughters
She has 3 descendents with 15 or more EX Dtrs! (Roxette 17, Lana Rae 20 & Integrity Robin 15)
The only 4 Generation direct line group of cows with more than 11 EX dtrs: Roxy 16, Roxette 17, Dixie Rox 11, Bstar Roxie 12)
Highest producution Roxy is Brigeen Convincer Rhonda EX-95, 66,320 lbs milk in 365 days
Highest Classified Roxy female is C Hanoverhill Tony Rae EX-96
Highest Classified Roxy male is Sir Ridgedal Rustler Red EX-97
Roxy has more than 300 EXCELLENT descendents

Brood Cow Extraordinaire

Even though embryo transfer was in its infancy, Miller placed Roxy on an E.T. program where she produced 30 E.T. offspring and three natural calves.  She had 20 daughters and was the first cow to ever have ten Excellent daughters.  Eventually, this led to 16 daughters scoring EX, four more were VG and there were 4 Excellent Sons.

Mil-R-Mor Roxette EX-Can GMD-DOM 30*

Mil-R-Mor Roxette
EX-Can GMD-DOM 30*

Roxy’s most impactful daughter Mil-R-Mor Roxette (EX-30*) is not without her own story.  Until 1977, Bob Miller had never sold a Roxy daughter.  At the encouragement of Horace Backus, Miller consigned Roxy’s Elevation daughter, Roxette, to the National Convention Sale that year, being held in Columbus Ohio.  Enter the legendary Peter Heffering (Read more: Hanover Hill Holsteins: Peter Heffering 1931-2012).  Heffering had some investors who were looking to purchase some top animals, but would need to a little time to bring the money together.  Backus and Heffering agreed to terms and Heffering came to the Convention Sale and purchased 19 head for $207,600.  Among the cattle purchased were J.P.G. Standout Kandy, the top seller at $41,000 who was named All-American Aged Cow that year and again two years later. He also purchased Mulder Elevation Mazie, who would become a member of two Elevation All-American Gets.  As well he purchased Mil-R-Mor Roxette at $25,000, the third highest seller in the sale.

R Peter Heffering commented “We felt that Roxy was one of the breed’s great cows and probably the best daughter of Citation R. Elevation was making a lot of good offspring, so when the Elevation heifer was coming up for sale at  the National Convention Sale, we bought her as a foundation female for the herd. Roxette flushed well and turned out to be one of the strongest transmitting daughters of Roxy.”

After the sale, Miller raised objections.  He hadn’t been consulted about his heifer being sold on investor terms, with a third down on sale day and the balance over the next two years.  Rumors spread that the deal almost collapsed, though Miller has said years later that he was glad Roxette ended up at Hanover Hill.


Stardale Leader Roxy EX-95-UK 7E
5 Milking dtrs in UK: 1 x EX, 2 x VG-87 & 2 x VG-86
5 generations average over 93 points for type!

Roxette produced 17 EX daughters and helped establish Roxys as the breed’s most consistent Excellent family.   She became Canada’s first 30 star brood cow and scored 20 stars in the UK where she had many fans after leaving 11 of 22 daughters scored Excellent. Roxette moved first to Bond Haven, where she bred a Dixiecrat daughter, Bond Haven Dixie Rox, who superseded her dam as EX-93 2E 52* after moving to the UK.  Stardale Leader Roxy EX-95 7E, by Comestar Leader from a Mr. Mark Cinder daughter of Rox, is one of the most popular brood cows in the UK.  Leader Roxy produced over 100 tons of milk with her eighth lactation totaling almost 14,000 kgs in 305 days after a seventh lactation yield of 15,200 kgs at 5.27% fat and 3.29% protein for her owners, the Willsbro herd. Leader Roxy has proven to be a solid investment. Purchased for 8,500gns at the 2006 Stardale Sale of the milking herd of Robert and James Burrow, she has to date bred 16 daughters, 13 of which hold the Willsbro prefix, and her nine classified daughters have all scored Very Good or Excellent.

According to research, there are now over 381 EX Roxy’s whose pedigrees run in a continuous line of Excellent cows back to Roxy and hundreds more through her sons.  One of the greatest contributors to that in recent years has been Gloryland Lana Rae EX-94-2E-USA DOM.  So far 16 of her 21 classified daughters have reached EX, with all 20 averaging 90.9 points.  Lana is from an EX Lindy daughter of Hanoverhill Tony Rae EX-96-2E, then Hanoverhill TT Roxette EX-94-2E USA, then Roxette.  The highest scored daughter of Lana Rae is one of her five Durham daughters, Glory-Land Liberty Rae EX-95 EX-95-3E-USA DOM 4*. Liberty Rae was sold for $410,000 in the 2008 Cowtown Sale. She went on to win first Aged Cow, Best Udder, Senior and Grand Champion at the 2009 Vermont State Show.  Liberty Rae has 16 EX daughters.



It’s also this side of the family that produced Scientific Debutante Rae EX-92-4-YR GMD DOM 3* (Durham x EX-Jubilant x EX-96 Hanoverhill Tony Rae EX-96-3E then TT Roxette) who was the 2005 World Dairy Expo Reserve Champion, 2010 Global Red Impact Cow of the Year, and the dam of many notable Red and White sires, highlighted by Scientific Destry.

Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old 2012

Also from TT Roxette comes the extremely influential polled brood cow, Golden-Oaks Perk Rae –Red P EX.  Perk Rae is an eighth generation Excellent polled Roxy. The polled gene in combination with red and Roxy has made Perk Rae the cornerstone of the marketing program at Golden Oaks Farms. Perk Rae traces back to the Roxys through Scientific Beauty Rae-ET *RC EX-90 who is sired by Rubens, then Jubilant Rae and Tony Rae. Sired by Perk-Red, Perk Rae has numerous daughters worldwide and sons at ABS Global, ABC Genetics and Trans-World Genetics. (Read more: GOLDEN-OAKS PERK RAE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).


Other notable descendants of Roxette are her sons Raider (Starbuck) who was a very influential bull across Canada and the United States in the mid-1990’s and Royalist (Sheik). A full sister to Hanoverhill Raider is Hanover-Hill Star Roxy EX-92 2E. Star Roxy was twice nominated All-American and had four EX-94 offspring, three daughters and one son. Her great grandson, STBVQ Rubens VG-88 ST’98 GM’03, added udder quality, style and airiness not previously seen in the red and whites. This earned him the Premier Sire banner at World Dairy Expo for six years in a row.

Mil-R-Mor Toprox (EX-94-3E-GMD)

Mil-R-Mor Toprox (EX-94-3E-GMD)

Mil-R-Mor Toprox (EX-94-3E-GMD) was the highest record daughter of Roxy, and one of the breed’s first 2,000 lb. fat cows.  Sired by Hilltop Apollo Ivanhoe (VG-GM). Her most famous descendant of recent times is Brigeen-C-Integrit Robin EX-95.  One of the highest scoring Integrity daughters worldwide, Brigeen-C Integrit Robin was bred from Haselmere Prelude Rhoda EX-91 3E. Rhoda descends from Brigeen Southwind Rhonda VG-88 2* via Mil-R-Mor SWD Rockette VG-86, who in turn is out of Mil-R-Mor Toprox 3E-94. Mary Briggs, one of the partners in Brigeen Farms, describes Roxy’s in The Holstein History, as “Healthy and fertile – the indexes around the world for somatic cell count, fertility and longevity highlight the family’s real strengths.  They are above average in size and substance and are even-tempered, seldom fighting or stupid. They aren’t a nuisance: they just go along doing their business”.

Bottom Line

These days we see the Roxy’s all over the world having great results in the show ring, the bulls are hitting the top Genomic rankings and family members sell for sky-high prices at auctions.  You can’t pick up a catalog from a top sale without finding a female descendant that traces back through her maternal line to Roxy.  They are all out of different branches, but trace back to the one and only QUEEN- Roxy! Glenridge Citation Roxy has touched every corner of the Holstein world, bringing style, power and longevity to the breed. And she is a real cowman’s favorite with show style to boot.  While it was Red factor that almost resulted in the greatest cow in the history of the dairy breed, Glenridge Citation Roxy EX-97 GMD 6* having never been born, it is now the Red factor, re-introduced to the family through Triple Threat that is having the greatest impact on Roxy’s legacy today.

To read more great stories from some of the most legendary cows in the Holstein breed read “The Holstein History”.


All round good guys can and do finish first. As evidenced by Holstein USA last week at its Annual Meeting naming Bob Miller its 2013 Elite Breeder Award winner. Bob is an all around good guy and owner of Mil R Mor Holsteins, Orangeville, Illinois.

Bob and Kay Miller at the Mil O Mar Golden Anniversary Sale

Bob and Kay Miller at the Mil O Mar Golden Anniversary Sale

Bob and Roxy

For most Holstein breeders when they start a sentence with the name Bob Miller they end it with the name Roxy. You see Bob and Roxy and her family have now been together for forty years. It started in the late fall of 1973 after Roxy was Grand Champion at the Regina (Western Canada) Agribition Show. She had been Reserve Grand the year previous. Bob was covering the 1973 show as the photographer. He fell head over healing in love with this, just fresh, fourth calving five year old Citation R daughter, Glenridge Citation Roxy. She matched his dream cow. However it would be another ten months, September 1974, before Roxy would leave her Saskatchewan home, owned by Lorne and Glenda Loveridge, and head to Dundee, Illinois. There Bob Miller would lead the transformation from great cow to supercow.

Bob’s Early Years

John Beerwort – Childhood friend of Bob’s

John Beerwort – Childhood friend of Bob’s

“All his life Bob has been full of fun and ideas to improve and excel” so says John Beerwort, Master Breeder, show judge and Type Classification Advisor. John is Bob’s boyhood and lifetime friend from Brome Centre, Quebec. ‘We grew up across the road from each other’. Marshall and Sarah Miller had nine children. The two that caught the Holstein bug were Bob, the youngest child, and one of his older brothers Grant, who served over twenty-years as a very well respected classifier for Holstein Canada. Besides formal education and sports, Bob won both provincial and national judging competitions in 1951. Since in a family of nine not all could farm at home, Bob and his wife departed Quebec in 1955 and he became the herdsman at Ravenglen Farms near Chicago.

What People Say about Bob

We often hear that the true worth of a person is what others say about them. Well in Bob Miller’s case words like humble, passionate, eager, curious, honest, high integrity,  a true friend, a strong supporter of youth, a family man, a hard worker,  able to walk in another’s shoes, thinks of what is best for mankind,….. are all mentioned by people who know him well or have only met him once. Definitely a man for all seasons and all reasons.

Bob’s Breeding Philosophy

Everything old is new again. How’s that you say? Well Bob, from an early age, wanted a cow that would classify Excellent and produce 200,000 lbs of milk with 4% butterfat. And over sixty years later he still wants that kind of a cow. In 2013 that as Bob says ‘is still what most farmer-breeders want from their Holsteins’. Like everyone else Bob has added in some wants including over 3.5% protein (3.2% true protein), high fertility and cows that are low maintenance, thus requiring minimal special care.

Recently Bob expanded his thinking for the Bullvine by saying ‘I want a cow with moderate stature (not show ring tall), wide chest and rump, udder above her hocks, having persistent yield throughout her lactation, calving every 13 months and one that the vet has not had to visit’. ‘Cows that are extremely tall, do not have great udders and are not able to stand in tie stalls or move about freely do not need to apply for work at Mil R Mor’. With practical experience Bob has, over and over again, proven for himself that it is the cow with high but not over the top daily production, with high components and with high fertility that over a lifetime returns the most revenue, at the least total cost, to her owner.

Miller family

Family is Important to Bob

Bob believes strongly in inheritance and the use of cow families with built in profit traits to produce the next generation of dairy cows. However even more important for him and Kay are their family that they work with every day. The family team members at Mil R Mor include their son who runs the cropping and equipment division covering over 2000 acres, a granddaughter who runs the milking herd side and a daughter who cares for non-milking females. Besides those key family members Bob points out that there are thirty family members, covering three generations, either close by or within an hour’s drive, all of whom help out at various times throughout the year. All are Holstein enthusiasts. Mil R Mor will be a breeding herd into the future as Bob proudly says ‘after I slow down a little more’. “I am so proud of my kids and grandkids, they are all genuine caring people’. A proud man is another thing that Bob Miller is.

Glenridge Citation Roxy EX-97-4E

Glenridge Citation Roxy EX-97-4E
“Queen of the Breed”

Queen of the Breed

Much has been written and yet the story is not finished on the Roxy Effect. Twice named Queen of the Breed and also the International Cow of the Year, now that is like being at the very top of Mt Everest. You can not go any higher up. In fact we often see in print that ‘everyone wants a Roxy’. What they want is exactly what Bob saw in Glenridge Citation Roxy forty years ago. A cow with moderately high production, high components, great dairy strength, width throughout, a capacious soft udder high off the ground and feet and legs capable of long winters in a stall in Saskatchewan or walking the pastures around Grenville. Another way of thinking of it is to think of Roxy’s grandson Hanoverhill Raider (EX –  Extra) and the way he left daughters around the globe that fulfilled the need for long lived productive and profitable cows. Over 500 direct female descendents of Roxy have classified Excellent.

When Bob visited Glenridge to picture cows in 1974 he not only found Roxy but also her A.I. sired dam and grand dam both of whom would classify Excellent and produce over 200,000 pounds of high fat milk in their lifetimes. That must have been a very exciting day for Bob to find his dream come true. All that remained for him to do was to somehow be able to get the opportunity to work with this family.

SCIENTIFIC GOLD DANA RAE EX-95 2E Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old 2012 Goldwyn x SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE-ET *RC EX-92

Reserve All-American 5-Year-Old 2012

Under Bob’s care and breeder instinct Roxy, 4E EX97, GMD 6*, produced sixteen Excellent and four VG daughters (none lower). Most of which were also Gold Metal or Star Brood Cow dams. Her most influential son was Glenridge Citamatt (No-Na-Me Fond Matt) who attained Superior Type for his owner United Breeders. Elevation crossed very well with Roxy, the most complete daughter being Mil R Mor Roxette Ex 30* with 7 EX and 10 VG daughters in addition to son Raider (Hanoverhill Starbuck). Bob started the Roxy Effect and many many top-of-the-line Holstein breeders from around the world have stepped up and bought into the Roxy’s. Notable Roxy’s include Scientific Debutante Rae 2005 World Dairy Expo Reserve Grand Champion and Golden-Oaks Perk Rae – Red as leader in both red and polled (Read more: GOLDEN-OAKS PERK RAE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).



Pedigrees and Bulls

In conversation with Bob he told the Bullvine that he had always focused on pedigree including both cow families and sire stack when mating for the next generation. Now with genomic evaluations Mil R Mor is using genomics but the animals must still come with strong pedigrees. So Bob continues his pattern of using all the tools. For him genomics is one more, very good, tool.

In case you might be wondering, Mil R Mor is not just a one cow family herd. The Pearl family is one other prominent family and they also match Bob’s breeding philosophy for medium sized cows with outstanding reproductive efficiency and long herd life. One of the Pearls has produced 300,000 pounds of milk. Now that is also some feat. When I hear Bob explain his breeding philosophies it makes me think that I should be booking a trip to Mil R Mor just to see this man in action. Action like 14 cows over 40,000 pounds of milk, 23 cows over 1500 pounds of fat, 194 EX cows, 18 Gold Metal Dams, 30 Dams of Merit as well as 4 national and 25 state production leaders and a herd BAA of 110.3.

Mil R Mor Holstins - Orangeville Illinois

Mil R Mor Holstins – Orangeville Illinois

Bob has Done It All

Most of us have three careers in our lifetimes. But not Bob Miller. He has had ten. They are hired man, herdsman, AI technician, breeder-herdowner, photographer, ET recover technician, industry business owner, breeding stock marketer, elected industry leader (in Illinois, the USA and internationally) and now family patriarch. No wonder the breeders of Illinois continue to have him as a Delegate to the Holstein US Annual Meeting. It was interesting to learn that Bob, a pioneer in ET, had developed his own device for the recovery of embryos.

Bob Shares Well

This knowledgeable, humble and caring man has given extensively of his time to youth, fellow North American breeders as well as traveling to numerous other countries.  Many others including the National Dairy Shrine and Illinois Youth have honored him. Recently at the 2013 Holstein Canada Annual Meeting where she herself received special recognition Patty Jones, the accomplished livestock photographer, gave much credit to Bob Miller for giving her her start. Yes Bob truly helps others.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Bob Miller is the Bullvine’s definition of an elite breeder. An elite breeder is a dairy cattle breeder who sets a high goal for the kind of cow he or she wants to have in their herd, starts with a solid foundation and builds from that to a herd of cows or a battery of bulls that moves their breed to new heights.  Bob Miller has done that extremely well. He has lead by example. Bob we are all following you.


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There is no question that when it comes to understanding what cows will transmit and what cows will not, it is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum.  There is much that we don’t know and some would argue it is not meant to be known.  The problem is, for those of us with a passion for breeding great dairy cattle, we want to know it all.  For that I turn to the three greatest genetic geniuses in the history of the world, Darwin, Mendel and Hunt (No they are not a law firm).

Charles Robert Darwin He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.

Charles Darwin

Ask anyone in the world to name a geneticist and the first name that comes to mind has to be Charles Darwin.  No better demonstration of Darwin’s theory of evolution exists in the world than in dairy cattle breeding.  While there is no question that artificial selection and selective breeding exist on a daily basis, a cow’s ability to reproduce and produce milk leads to a natural level of selection that epitomizes Darwin’s theory.  “The laws governing inheritance,” Darwin wrote, “are for the most part unknown.”  Moreover, while many modern geneticists have theories about the tendencies of the modern Holstein cow, their genetic transmission pathways in large part remain a mystery to this day.

Gregor Mendel

Gregor Mendel

Then along came Gregor Mendel who introduced the concept of “genes” to explain heritability.  Mendel changed the whole way we look at breeding when he introduced the theory that the chromosome is the carrier of genetic traits.  He also explained why a trait can disappear in one generation and reappear in the next and why these traits occur in a three-to-one ratio.  One of Mendel’s disciples, three quarters of a century later, was Thomas B. Macaulay.  Macaulay conducted his own studies, on his Mount Victoria Farms (Read more: Mount Victoria Farms – The art and science of great breeding).

Thomas Hunt Morgan

Thomas Hunt Morgan

Then along came Hunt. Well, more specifically, Thomas Hunt Morgan, but my ego wouldn’t let this go as my name is Andrew Morgan Hunt (Read more about my ego: I’m Sorry But I’ve Had Just About Enough Of… ).  In research that is now reproduced by grade 9 science students around the world, Morgan introduced the concept of X and Y-chromosomes.  Morgan concluded that a female has two X chromosomes and that males have both X and Y-chromosomes.  He also posited that the male of the species, because of the presence of the Y chromosome, transmits differently than the female.

To get a better understanding of this, let’s look at this from both sides of the story.

His side of the story (XY)

If you look at Holstein bulls throughout history you find four distinct patterns:

  1. Great daughters but no legacy sons
    These are the bulls that sired amazing brood cows but none of their sons were able to continue their genetic legacy.  Examples are Hanover-Hill Triple Threat, Carlin-M Ivanhoe Bell, and Braedale Goldwyn.  They all were able to sire brood cow daughters beyond compare, but no real sons to advance that genetic legacy.  Why did these sires seem to produce better on the female side than that of the male?  For that we need to turn to Morgan and his X and Y chromosome theory.  Since the Y chromosome is the only one that is inherited solely via the paternal  line, this leads  some geneticists to believe that it carries little genetic information, and as a result  a great sires genetic legacy rest more with his daughters than with his sons.  Therefore, with this first group of sires it is thought that much of their genetics were transmitted on the X chromosome rather than the Y.
  2. Great sons but not as many brood cows
    Bulls that sired outstanding sons but never produced a top daughter.  A couple of great examples of this are Montvic Rag Apple Sovereign, Maizefield Bellwood and O-Bee Manfred Justice.  All of these sires have left outstanding sons, but are not found as often in the maternal sire stack of the great sires.  There is no question as to their genetic contribution to the breed, but it was more as a sire of sons than their ability to leave an equal number of brood cows.
  3. Sons and daughters both extraordinary
    These are the sires that have gone down in history as the all-time greats.  Sires like Johanna Rag Apple Pabst, Governor of Carnation, Montvic Chieftain, Wisconsin Admiral Burke Lad, A.B.C. Reflection Sovereign, Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation, Pawnee Farm Alrinda Chief, Walkway Chief Mark, Hanoverhill Starbuck, Madawaska Aerostar and Maughlin Storm.  These are the bulls that not only displayed personal greatness but were also able to transmit both outstanding brood cows as well as legacy sons.
  4. Sons and daughters that were inferior
    Sons and daughters that are both below average.  These bulls left inferior daughters and as a result were never even given the chance to produce sons.  Bulls in this category are too numerous to mention and loads of their daughters go to the slaughterhouses every day.  No explanation necessary other than a lack of genetic merit and here enters the need for genomics (Read more: The Truth About Genomic Indexes – “Show Me” That They Work).

Her side the story (XX)

The female side of the story uses the same four distinct groups.

  1. Great daughters but no legacy sons
    These are cows with outstanding female descendants but undistinguished males.  Great examples of these are the cow families of Hanover Hill Papoose, Krull Broker Elegance and Plunshanski Chief Faith.  They all were able to leave outstanding female descendants generation after generation, but were never really able to accomplish the same feat on the male side of the story.
  2. Great sons but not as many brood cows
    These are the cows with potent transmitting sons, but daughters who didn’t outperform the average.  Examples of these are Wylamyna Tidy Kathleen (dam of Sir Bess Tidy and Sir Bess Ormsby Tidy Fobes) Lakefield Fobes Delight (dam of Lakefield Fond Hope, Lakefield Fond Delight Fobes and Carnation Royal Master) and Pawnee Farm Glenvue Beauty (dam of Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief).  All of these cows had outstanding maternal lines but for some reason were just not able to transmit that legacy through their daughters.
  3. Sons and daughters both extraordinary
    Among the females in this category are Glenridge Citation Roxy, Mil-R-Mor Roxette, Comestar Laurie Sheik, Braedale Gypsy Grand and Snow-N Denises Dellia.
  4. Sons and daughters that were inferior
    Cows who, in terms of influence, failed to produce anything worthwhile.  Blame it on lack of genetics, bad breeding, improper management, or just bad luck, these cows just didn’t influence the breed. We have all seen examples.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There has never been a clear explanation of why some bloodlines seem to transmit better through maternal lines, others through the paternal, and still others do well in both.  Even genomics does not answer this.  There are high genomic animals that still have these same tendencies.  Maybe if we could genomic test the genes on each chromosome we might find the answers?  Until then Genetic Transmission in the Holstein Cow will remain a mystery.

To read more about this get a copy of The Holstein History by Edward Morwick and read the chapter on Inheritance Patterns.

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.





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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