Archive for Heather Holme

There are many pivotal moments on the way to cattle breeding success.  Niels Erik Haahr is clear about his personal ones, “I was born with the virus to be a breeder.” His father was interested in horse breeding and cattle breeding but the next big impetus came when Niels Erik was thirteen. “I invested in my first Holstein calf and she was successful.” There is no inoculation that can cure that fever but it burned even hotter after Niels Erik visited Glen and Vanda McNeil when he was 18. “I went to Heather Holme farm in Canada and, from that moment, it was clear in my mind that my mission was to create a top Holstein herd.”  (Read more: Glen McNeil: Communication, Common Sense and Respect for the Speed Bumps Delivers Holstein Leadership)

It Isn’t Lonely for Anderstrup at the Top

Located in Denmark, Niels Erik Haahr of Anderstrup Holsteins in some respects has a somewhat unique dairy resume. “Today I farm together with my brother. We have an operation of 300 milking cows, 500 heifers, and 100 bulls. We milk 3 X. The herd average is 14,350 Kg 3.7 % F 3.3 P somatic cell last 12 months 103,000.” So having noticed the 100 bulls, the details on this herd continue to catch our attention. “The average score is VG 86.5.” The logistics are also interesting. “We handle 350 hectares of land with grass and corn. We make 175-200 ET calves every year.” For this dairy breeder, the main market is Scandinavia (NTM), Germany (RZG), and Holland (NVI). But the outstanding piece of information is that this single herd has produced four of the top 10 bulls on their AI list. And an outstanding further addition is that “In the last 12 months 32 bulls from Anderstrup Holstien have been accepted into A.I.!”

Anderstrup Goldwyn Mali VG-89-DK 2yr. She has 8 sons in AI She has 9 daughter which 8 of them are already contracted @ CRV She is the highest producing 2yr. Old in her herd Maternal sister to the #1 Jango son World Wide: Dukefarm Highlife @ Semex Same family produced the great sire Long-Langs MAN-O-MAN

Anderstrup Goldwyn Mali VG-89-DK 2yr.
She has 8 sons in AI
She has 9 daughter which 8 of them are already contracted @ CRV
She is the highest producing 2yr. Old in her herd
Maternal sister to the #1 Jango son World Wide: Dukefarm Highlife @ Semex
Same family produced the great sire Long-Langs MAN-O-MAN

Anderstrup Aims High

Not everybody can build such a resounding success story.  Niels Erik gives credit to his parents influence.  “My mother and father always taught us that if you work hard and you have a little bit of talent, in the end you will succeed at whatever you are working with.  To make good results in breeding you need to be hard working the year around. With the genomic world you need to try to be up front every day to make the next high one. If you slow a little bit down you can very fast be out of the game of selling bulls to Al.”

What Makes the Difference?

The Bullvine always encourages breeders to pinpoint the differences.  Niels Erik starts with obvious national ones. “I think the difference is getting smaller and smaller – but no doubt our cost per kg of milk produced is higher in Denmark than in the US. We have more debt per cow because of high prices of buying land and quota for the production and the salary level – for staff- is also higher than in the US.”

Those would appear to be hurdles rather than easy steps.  Haahr continues. “My passion has always been to breed great cows. When I was young I did focus mostly on breeding great show cows – but with the years it changed.  Now I go for total breeding with high production, with good secondary traits combined with great type. But we still want to make some top show cows so we have a small part of the herd that is bred to top type bulls. So today the herd is split in 3 groups 1 – Cows/heifers with high genomic potential 2 Type cattle 3 Recipients”

Anderstrup MoM Carien

Anderstrup MOM Carine VG-89-DK EX-91-MS 2yr.
The #3 GTPI Man-O-Man daughter in Europe!
She is dam to the #1 & #2 GTPI Bookem dtrs in Europe and to the #1 & #2 Levi dtrs in Europe
The #1 genomic cow in Denmark with +40 NTM

Carine Means Success — Pure and Simple

Of course, the Anderstrup method is working well. “My best home bred is Anderstrup Didrik Carine EX 92. She managed to be a show cow together with making 365 D  18,255 kg 4.5 F 3.5 P in her 2 lactations.  In her 2nd lactation, she was flushed to Man O Man. The result was the number 1 bull in Scandinavia Viking Mandel and the Number 1 cow in Scandinavia Anderstrup Man O Man Carine VG 89 2 Y. This Man O Man is also testing well in the US with a gTPI of 2292. She is the dam of number 1 and 2 Bookem and the number 1 and 2 Levi in Europe.” Those are astounding benchmarks to be set by a single herd.

Anderstrup Levi Classi he #1 GTPI Levi-daughter in Europe! Her full sister is the #2 GTPI Levi in Europe Dam is the #3 GTPI Man-O-Man in Europe - #6 GTPI Cow in Europe and #1 NTM Cow in Denmark - Anderstrup MOM Carine VG-89-DK EX-91-MS 2yr.

Anderstrup Levi Classi
he #1 GTPI Levi-daughter in Europe!
Her full sister is the #2 GTPI Levi in Europe
Dam is the #3 GTPI Man-O-Man in Europe – #6 GTPI Cow in Europe and #1 NTM Cow in Denmark – Anderstrup MOM Carine VG-89-DK EX-91-MS 2yr.

At the Top with Anderstrup

The success story continues to build.  Anderstrup is working with several high cows and heifers including

  • Anderstrup Man O Man Carine and daughters by Bookem, Levi and Massey
  • Anderstrup Snowman Heaven (Snowman x Boliver VG 87) is the Number 1 gTPI Snowman in Europe and the highest RZG heifer in Germany at 159.  At the moment there are 25 pregnancies coming from her.
  • Tirsvad Big Time Noma (Big Time x VG 87 Stol Joc x VG 87 Oman, owned with Tirsvad Holsteins). She is the dam of Tir An Uno Nyala gTPI 2525 RZG 155. She sold in the Eurogenes summer sale at 84.000 Euro. Noma is also the dam of several heifers above gTPI 2400 and over 150 in RZG. Her 2 Lexor sons are numbers 2 and 3 of all European bulls tested in Germany both at RZG 161. Noma has 2 full sisters and in total there are 25 heifers from the 3 sisters. One of them is the number 1 heifer in Scandinavia sired by the German bull Maximum. Niels Erik reports that the 3 sisters will soon be fresh and they look promising.
  • Anderstrup G-Force Malin (G Force x VG 89 Bismark x VG 87 Baxter) is the number 2 heifer in Denmark and the number 5 in Germany at RZG 158.
  • Calbrett Supersire Barb RC (Supersire x Rainyridge Super Beth VG 86 x Talent Barbara EX 95) gTPI 2527. Number 1 gTPI RC in the world. She is owned with Diamond Genetics and Drakkar Holsteins. Recently topped the Cormdale Summer Sale at $265,000.  (Read more: Cormdale Summer Sale 2013 Results)
IMG_0316

Topping the sale Cormdale Summer Sale at $265,000 was the #1 gLPI and gTPI *RDC heifer of the breed Calbrett Supersire Barb. The Seagull-Bay Supersire daughter from the extremely popular Superstition daughter Rainyridge Super Beth VG-86-2yr projected to 222-218-239% BCA who sold for $75,000. The next dam is Rainyridge Talent Barbara (Ex-95-2E-USA-2*), the “Talent” who was All-Canadian and All-American 5-year-old in 2010 who traces to the noted Rainyridge Tony Beauty (Ex-5E-9*). Offered in the sale by Cormdale Genetics Inc. and their partners Diamond Genetics of Holland and Al.Be.Ro. Land & Cattle of Italy, she was purchased by Anderstrup Holsteins with partners Diamond Genetics and Drakkar Holsteins.

Investing in the Top End is The Key to Exceptional Dairy Breeding.

Niels Erik says: “Invest in the genetics from the top end.” Currently at Anderstrup they are using the following bulls:

Genomic :        Mandel (DK), Miracle (DK), Boss (DE), Big Point (DE), Balisto (US), P.Aiko (Tjekk), Seargeant (US), Shottglass (US), Aikman (US),Model (US), Predstine (US), Chevrolet (NL), Picanto (DE)

Type:   Gold Sun (US), Goldwyn (CA), Attwood (US), Bradnick (US), Fever (CA), Lauthority (CA), and Meridian (US).

Anderstrup Gets Genomics and Gets the Calls!

Once again, we learn how important it is to get name recognition. ““We do a little bit of advertising in different magazines. We try to get our best cows’ pictured so we have them ready for the catalog and future Ads but the only thing that really works is to have your cattle high on the genomic list. That is what makes people start calling.” He goes on to describe why genomics is a big part of the Anderstrup program. “For us genomics has been great. It has been a big challenge to get the Al to travel the long way to come to Denmark. With the genomic test it makes it so much easier to catch the attention of customers around the world. It has not changed the dairies in Denmark but we have picked up genetic speed. Hopefully the results will mean there are more profitable cows for the commercial farmers.”

Anderstrup has been was the Premier Breeder and Exhibitor for the last 8 National shows they have been at in Denmark. 2013 will mark a end to this streak as Niels will be the judge.  Pictured here is part of the 2012 team, Gr.Champion Anderstrup Goldwyn Jolly EX  Res.Gr Champion Anderstrup Stormatic Krista EX Hon Mention Gr Champion Anderstrup Damion Jenny EX.

Anderstrup has been was the Premier Breeder and Exhibitor for the last 8 National shows they have been at in Denmark. 2013 will mark a end to this streak as Niels Erik will be the judge. Pictured here is part of the 2012 team, Gr.Champion Anderstrup Goldwyn Jolly EX, Res.Gr Champion Anderstrup Stormatic Krista EX, Hon Mention Gr Champion Anderstrup Damion Jenny EX.

Where Do you Go When You’re Already at the Top?

Having already inputted an amazing 40% of the top 10 bulls on the Scandinavian AI list, you might assume that Erik Niels would have rested on his laurels for awhile.  You would be wrong to do so! This committed dairy over-achiever still had very definite targets that he aimed for and achieved. He shares them. “In the Index world to breed the number 1 bull, Mandel (Man-O-Man), and 2 bull, Miracle (Miracle) in Scandinavia and the number 1 and 2 female in the same year 2013.” The herd has 6 females in the top 10 females in Scandinavia. He already had set his sights on the show world and was the Premier Breeder and Exhibitor for the last 8 National shows they have been at in Denmark. And the icing on the dairy breeding cake for this gentleman who started judging at 16 came when he judged the European Red and White Show in 2013.  No doubt with such focus even more aspirations will become achievements.

Don’t Overlook the Challenges

With such commitment and enthusiasm also comes an awareness of the challenges. Niels Erik confirms his concerns. “I am nervous that the Al companies only focus on making the next top bull and forget our bigger and bigger inbreeding problem in the Holstein breed, we are all focused on making the new leader – and in that battle we all forget to make enough outcross combinations because that what the breed really needs. I am also nervous that in the future the laboratory breeding will more or less take over the influence that breeders have today. If we see what has happened in the last 5 years in the labs I am really concerned that in the future it is more important that Al companies work with the best labs and then they work with the best breeders”.

Anderstrup Roumare Gisela VG-89-DK 2yr. Former #1 GTPI Roumare in Europe Dam is the full sister to DT Improver and DT Impress Dam is maternal sister to Tenetic @ Amelis, France Her Grand dam Genua has over 20 sons at European AI's

Anderstrup Roumare Gisela VG-89-DK 2yr.
Former #1 GTPI Roumare in Europe
Dam is the full sister to DT Improver and DT Impress
Dam is maternal sister to Tenetic @ Amelis, France
Her Grand dam Genua has over 20 sons at European AI’s

Better Management = Better Performance. Better information = Better Decisions.

For those who can only dream about such a high level of achievement, Niels Erik has clear advice. “Start with putting your management of the herd at the highest level. Visit top farms. Get inspired and try to copy all the things that can bring your herd to a top management herd. If you have a top management herd, the chances for success in breeding are much higher.” Along with high management levels, Haahr feels that there has to be equally high information. “Be updated at all times about what is going on in the breeding world.  Ask leaders in the breeding world that you trust to advise you. You need to be a 100 % updated to be up front.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line – Dairy Passion:  Catch it. Breed It. Live it.

“Work hard and be focused on what your goal is.”  Niels Erik Haahr knows that actually doing that can sometimes be easier said than done. He encourages dairy breeders. “Don’t lose your focus if the results are not coming. We are working with spreading of Mendel in the genetic world so you also need luck – but – in the end, you will succeed if you keep your focus on your goals and work hard to reach them”  Good advice from someone who caught the dairy passion and lives it at the highest level.

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So much about dairying in North America is in a state flux, that it is reassuring when people are willing to take leadership roles.  Glen McNeil, the Immediate Past President of Holstein Canada, demonstrated his commitment to Holsteins and leaves the position still committed to continuous improvement of the industry and hopeful for changes ahead. “There will be speed bumps that give us a reality check and that is called balance and experience.” But overall he is positive. “People seek, adapt and embrace change at different stages. Developing proactive policies and direction on an ongoing basis is the responsibility of the Board of Directors as is due diligence…”  This doesn’t mean he sees the world through rose-coloured glasses. “The constant degree and speed of change, and the methods of communication that are being used today mean that everything becomes super fast paced.”  Adapting to the times and respect for the people on all sides of an issue has worked well for Glen.

Barn to the Board Room – Respect for the Roots

gm2Glen has great respect for people in the barn and in the Board Room. It has served him well and been returned to him. He highlights his experiences while at the Holstein Canada Board table. “This enriching experience at the Board table has helped me develop an attitude of respect towards people and their opinions. People remember how you treat them and how you make them feel, longer than what you said. The most important ingredient of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

Getting the basics right about people and developing cow knowledge skills has been important to Glen. He looks to those who influenced him early on. ” My parents taught me work ethic, morals, respect and care of livestock. Dave Houck (Romandale Farms) taught me the art of breeding including aAa. Dave introduced me to Bill Weeks from Vermont, Frank Phister of Mexico, and many great Holstein enthusiasts worldwide. Earl Osborne, Bill Grieve and Pascal Lemire, all Past Presidents of Holstein Canada, were great leaders that inspired me.”

The Triple Excellent Heather Holme Team

The team of Glen and Vanda took over ownership of Heather Holme in 1977 and they have always focused on “the vital importance of developing positive relationships with family, employees, clients, and suppliers to our business.” Attention to detail has helped the McNeils to bring out the best in their cows. Having won three Master Breeder Shields is a unique and rare achievement. It is always amazing that those who reach these heights make the success sound simple. Glen has a four point philosophy.  “Sire selection and animal care on a day to day basis is paramount! Consistently using elite breed improving sires in complimentary matings for generations is vital. We use our classification information and aAa in every mating. We avoid incorporating inferior genetics. “ Simple but true. And yet it goes beyond genetics to the people involved. The McNeils praise each team member on-farm at Heather Holme or through their service suppliers for the expertise that they contribute to the overall success.

(L) Heather Holme R Josee EX 4E (C) Heather Holme Gibson Jolene EX 2E (R) Heather Holme Golden Jewel VG

(L) Heather Holme R Josee EX 4E
(C) Heather Holme Gibson Jolene EX 2E
(R) Heather Holme Golden Jewel VG

The World Wide Excellence of Canadian Holsteins

Glen is equally emphatic about his commitment to Canadian Holsteins and their role.  “There is not a country in the developed world that is short of milk or we would not have the milk price issues that are as evident as they are today in so many countries. Canada needs to continue to breed a balanced dairy cow that can sustain the high production to enable them to express their genetic potential over a lifetime to increase profitability. Every dairyman in the world wants trouble free, profitable cows, with the correct conformation to withstand the high production that today’s dairy cow is capable of producing.”  A big order but one Glen is confident can be achieved.

Holstein Canada CEO Ann Louise and President Glen McNeil share their Canadian "hockey" heritage with Irish and Finnish #2012WHC Participants!

Glen McNeil and Holstein Canada CEO Ann Louise share their Canadian “hockey” heritage with Irish and Finnish 2012 World Holstein Conference Participants!

Achieving More Close to Home Too

With the pressures on all organizations to provide relevant and needed services to its members, The Bullvine asked for Glen’s thoughts on Holstein Field Services “Field Service is just that, an extension service to our members to communicate to and educate our dairies on the profitability opportunities with registration, classification, milk recording, genome testing, etc. The pricing model for services must be flexible and will evolve as more dairies see the advantages of these services. Communications in different forms is paramount today.”

The Next Turn in the Road

Having seen the Holstein industry from various viewpoints, Glen shares his perspective. “I have tremendous respect and faith in our youth involved in the dairy business at many different levels. In having the opportunity to travel worldwide I have great appreciation for supply management in Canada.” New opportunities will present themselves with all the hills and valleys that progress demands.  McNeil knows it will take willingness to change. “We would never consider using the same sires that we used 20 years ago, or farm the same way, feed or manage our cows the way we did 20 years ago. Common sense and understanding what Genomics can and cannot do will be very revealing in the next 2-3 years.”

Holstein Canada CEO Ann Louise Carson, President Glen McNeil, and Board member Mario Perrault were very pleased to recently attend the All-European Championship Show in Fribourg, Switzerland

Glen McNeil and Holstein Canada CEO Ann Louise Carson, Mario Perrault were attending the All-European Championship Show in Fribourg, Switzerland. The traditional alpine horns in the picture are played in the Swiss Alps.

“One Door Closes. Another Opens.”

History will continue to be written at Heather Holme where one theme they have built on is that “challenges are also opportunities”. Glen welcomes the changes opening up in his schedule. “I am fortunate to be able to return to our farm on a more regular basis than I have for a few years to assist Curtis and Vanda as required and spend more valuable time with our family”. No doubt there will be new evolutions ahead. It is noteworthy that the McNeils are using Facebook to share their ideas and to market their cattle by almost daily updates. Look for the McNeils to have and sell healthy cattle as they have maintained their CHAH (disease free) Herd status when others found it an expense rather than an investment.

Curtis and our Herdsman Greg Feagan, Greg has been working with us for 31 years.

Son Curtis and herdsman Greg Feagan, Greg has been working with Heather Holme for 31 years.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The McNeils at Heather Holme believe in taking good stock and best practices, making them better and getting results. Adapting to and changing with the times has built their success. Glen looks to the future with the same equanimity that has served both Heather Holme and Holstein Canada well. “Change is inevitable and desirable. Adapt and harness new technologies to continue to be profitable and competitive and learn how to adapt to change. “We applaud McNeil for his dedication, vision and commitment.  It smoothes out the speed bumps so that Glen can confidently declare. “The future is bright for Holstein Canada and the Canadian dairy industry!”

 

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