One of the fun family parts of raising Holsteins comes with naming them. Larcrest Holsteins of Minnesota not only does a great job with the names of their herd (most of which start with “C”) but those names have earned worldwide recognition for one cow family based on the descendants of Larcrest Juror Chanel EX-93 3E GMD DOM. Jon and Ann Larson and their son Tyler own and operate Larcrest Holsteins and, even without the signature “C” names, they are building an impressive reputation as hard-working, honest Holstein Breeders. A noteworthy group all around!
GOOD TIMING: 8 to the Barn
As the second generation at Larcrest, Jon and Ann continue to build. “We currently milk 120 cows and farm approximately 500 acres.” says Ann. “The dairy was started in 1960 by Jon’s parents, David and Raymona Larson. When they started their family, Raymona used her teacher’s retirement savings to purchase 8 registered Holstein heifers. Most of the registered Holsteins at Larcrest have descended from the original 8 heifers.” A great opening number for the herd. Positive dynamics have happened on the family side as well. Today Jon`s sister, Linda, and her children, Chase, Bridget and Lydia are an active part of the team.
LARCREST DREAM: The Complete Cow
At Larcrest everybody is on the same page, or to continue the musical analogy, they sing the same breeding philosophy tune. They explain their goals. “We very much strive to breed a complete cow. We have always appreciated cows with high type and longevity. Each corrective mating is important to us. Now with more modern tools we are more accurately able to identify each cow’s strengths and weaknesses. Health traits are gaining importance and service sires are screened for them.” Such harmony in goal setting has meant that Larcrest Holsteins is recognized for “outstanding type, modern health traits and high components.”
STRONG COW FAMILY: Hitting the High “C’s”
Much is written, talked about and attempted in the breeding of great cow families. With Juror Chanel, Ann and Jon got started on the right note and haven`t been off-key since. Chanel, Champagne, Cosmopolitan, Crimson, and Chenoa are making records for Larcrest. Ànn and Jon provide this update, “Our breeding and ET programs are based on the members of the Chanel family. Great Granddaughter Crimson and her daughters are the current focus. We are presently quite excited about 2 of Crimson’s daughter to calve this spring. Cale by Observer is due in March and Cordial by Atwood is due in June. Crimson and her 3 Planet daughters now rank as 4 of the top 26 CTPI cows of the breed. Larcrest Cardigan (2634 GTPI Cale x Numero Uno # 6 GTPI of the breed) and Larcrest Charmed (2590 GTPI Crimson x Numero Uno # 10 GTPI of the breed) as well as Larcrest Crayon (2512 GTPI Crimson x Mogul) show much promise in the calf pens.
LARCREST: A Chorus of Praise — Lucky Notes
Even a brief look at Larcrest leaves a strong impression of the achievements of Jon, Ann and Tyler. Theirs is the unique situation of a high index cow family that has many generations of home breeding. “A lot of credit for the generations of success can be given to our good friend and mentor, Dr. Marv Johnson who has done our embryo transfer work from the beginning.” Says Jon and he and Ann agree, “Breeding cows and seeing the next generation improve is something that we truly enjoy.” From the outside it’s hard to imagine such easy harmony but that too is practiced. “Patience and focus have produced the kind of cattle that we want to work with. We have some luck along the way… Chanel was nearly lost on first calving and Champagne was twin to a bull.” Nevertheless, everything reached a positive resolution. “Fertility and aggressiveness have also helped the cow family to thrive.”
Key Changes Come with Genomics
Whether you consider it as the previously mentioned aggressive or put it down to natural cow sense, Jon and Ann have moved with the times. “The use of genomics has changed our breeding program. It has shaped the decisions on which members of the family to concentrate our focus on. It has encouraged the use of more young sires. We still like to use daughter proven bulls when possible, especially on intriguing matings.” They definitely like the finer details of cattle breeding, “On the genetics end the biggest change has been the shortening of the generation interval with genomics. We feel that this has both positives and negatives. The positives would include the rapid increase in genetic potential. The negative would be increased inbreeding and higher risks for holes in the pedigree. We feel that the greatest animals are the proven cattle, both male and female, sired by daughter proven bulls that can still compete with the younger generations genetics-wise.”
In the Spotlight: And Now Here’s Cosmopolitan
When it comes to long- running performances, Cosmopolitan, the Shottle granddaughter of Chanel, steals the show. Her progeny have been sought after by many breeders, many in embryo form, by breeders in North America and Europe. The spotlight is held by her top son O-Cosmopolitan, the #1 Planet son in the world. He is being used heavily in Europe. One of his full sisters is #2 gTPI Planet in Europe. The bright lights continue to shine for Cosmopolitan progeny and the continuous production of embryos since she was flushed to top bulls for Net Merit, TPI and PTAT.
Marketing: It Takes Perfect Pitch
Marketing elite cattle when you are not the dairy heartland can be very challenging. For Larcrest Holsteins they take advantage of all available tools to get it right. Says Ann, “We use Holstein Plaza, website on Holstein World, Facebook, ads in Hotspots, Cowsmopolitan, Holstein World, Cattle Connection, and Holstein International.” She admits that it takes great work behind the scenes as well. “I think that the best marketing that we can do is through having good people that know the family inside and out. The performance of the cattle plus the representation of this group of people have been key to our success.”
SOUND ADVICE: Practice Makes Perfect
Such resounding success doesn’t come by accident. From day one Jon and Ann have stuck to their values. “If we were to give any advice it would be to be honest with yourself about what you have or don’t have. Accurate representation of your cattle both positive and negative in the long run will pay dividends
THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE: The Key to Success
And so the curtain continues to rise on Larcrest Holsteins with years of great performance and headliners to come. The stage is set for Larcrest’s outstanding home bred high index cow family to remain in the spotlight. As they pay attention right down to the smallest details of name selection, there is little doubt that genetic stars from Larcrest Holsteins will be hitting all the right notes! Encore! Bravo!!