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2013ecttop13of2013Commercial milk producers want to breed cows that have high feed conversion efficiency, that avoid culling and that take the least care or staff time (Read more – Feed Efficiency: The Money Saver).  The well known and widely used total merit indexes, TPI*TM  and LPI, rank sires according to which ones leave the most profitable ideal or true type cow. However the factors in those indexes and the assumptions that are made when calculating them do not address feed, culling or low maintenance.   Milk producers are left to fend for themselves when it comes to selecting sires that will leave their kind of cows.

What’s Being Heard

Milk Producers say: “All I want is a trouble free cow that efficiently converts forages to the kind of milk my milk buyer wants.

Veterinarians say:  “Cows must get in calf, have minimal feet problems and must not be prone to having production limiting diseases (reproduction problems, mastitis, metabolic disorders or  ..etc.).

Farm Workers say:  “Sick animals, calving problems and animals that do not work easily within the farm system waste my time.

Feed Advisers say: “Test your forages, feed the rumen, get the most out of your forages and the use of nutrients for both production and maintenance must be considered simultaneously (i.e. medium sized cows yielding the same as large cows are more feed efficient).

Milk Processors say: ”Except for the milk we sell as a drink, we want the solids not the water.

Financial Advisers say:  “Make decisions based on profit per cow, per litre, per hectare, per pound of feed consumed, per worker, …etc.

Consumers say: – Well in fact we may not be listening to consumers (Read more – Milk Marketing: How “Got Milk?” became “Got Lost”)

There are even more voices speaking in producers ears and more words appearing on the computer screens that producers read.  With all the information that is currently available, selecting sires that best meet the needs of milk producers can be a daunting task.

Getting Started

Milk producers do not wish to deal all the numbers that appear on proof sheets. That can be a very time consuming exercise with no definitive answers at the end of it.

The Bullvine decided to research what is available today on selecting sires for feed conversion efficiency, for freedom from major known reasons for culling and for minimal extra care. We recognize that down the road there will be genomic indexes that are based on the relationship between yet to be recorded on-farm cow performance data and the DNA make-up of cows for these three areas. But today those genomic indexes do not exist.

Bullvine Efficiency Index (BEI)

Based on the information from a number of countries that we have been able to access, the Bullvine has developed the following formulas:

  1. BEI = Production (45%) + Durability (35%) + Health & Fertility (25%)
  2. Production = 30 Fat Yield + 50 Protein Yield + 10 Fat% + 10 Protein%
  3. Durability = 17 Herd Life + 42 Mammary System + 25 Feet & Legs  – 8 Body Depth – 8 Stature
  4. Health & Fertility = 46 Somatic Cell + 23 Daughter Fertility + 23 Udder Depth + 8 Milking Speed


  1. Milk Yield is not included as it contributes to more udder strain and added milk haulage or on-farm water removal costs.
  2. The negative weightings on Body Depth and Stature reflect that larger cows  require extra feed to grow to that size and to maintain that larger size each and every day compared to cows of more moderate size.

Sire Rankings

Using CDN’s Custom Index Calculator  the following sires came to the top of the list,


Please note: Due to the fact that CDN’s Custom Index tool only allows quires by Domestic Canadian, MACE and Genomic individually it is not possible to do an overall ranking.

Key Findings

  • Except for the Domestic Canadian list only a small difference exist between bulls
  • The rankings do not always follow TPI* TM or LPI due mainly to the negative weighting on body depth and stature and increased emphasis on SCS, daughter fertility and udder depth.
  • Although Braedale Goldwyn, Sandy Valley Bolton and Picton Shottle progeny are prominent on these listings, they are from different cow families so inbreeding using the sires on these lists should not be a problem, providing a breeder does not focus on just one of them


  • Braedale Goldwyn appears on the listings himself. As well he has six sons on the lists and is the maternal grandsire of three of the genomic bulls.
  • Sandy Valley Bolton has seven sons on the listings
  • Picton Shottle is the maternal grandsire of nine bulls on the listings
  • Oman sons Long-Langs Oman Oman and Badger-Bluff Fanny Freddie both appear on the listings, as do one son and one maternal grandson of each of them
  • De-Su Observer, yet to be daughter proven, has three sons and one maternal grandson on the genomics listing

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Commercial milk producers often want the decisions on which sires to use to be as simplified as possible. That is why the Bullvine has produced these BEI listings. With due consideration to avoid inbreeding, milk producers can expect BEI to rank bulls for them for production, durability and health & fertility with emphasis on the sires that can convert intake into milk production.

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Durham vs. Goldwyn: A Clash of Two Titans

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Inspired by the recent announcement of Regancrest Elton Durham siring the most excellent cows in the U.S. (Read more – Durham Passes Elevation to Become the Leading Sire of Excellent Cows in the U.S.) and Braedale Goldwyn the most in Canada (Read more – Goldwyn First Ever to 1000 EX Daughters in Canada), we here at The Bullvine thought it would be a great time to take a closer look at these genetic giants to  see who has had more impact on the Holstein breed.

The Regancrest Elton Durham Story

Durham coverBred by Regancrest Farms, Waukon, Iowa, Durham was born in 1994 and would go on to be one of the most popular sires of the first decade of the new millennium. Durham’s pedigree combines Bell and Chief Mark bloodlines as he was by a son of Bell, and Snow-N Denises Dellia (EX).  His dam was out of a Bell daughter. Also Dellia and Effie, his sire’s dam, were both from Chief sons and his pedigree shows four Ivanhoe crosses and two to Fond Matt.  Durham has left a very consistent transmitting pattern in both his daughters and his sons. Due to his low production numbers, he was not used heavily as a sire of sons, but his daughters have seen extensive use as bull mothers.

For five consecutive years 2003-2007, Durham was Premier Sire at World Dairy Expo.  This certainly establishes Durham as a once-in-a-lifetime sire of type.  His pattern leaves long bodies, broad and flat rumps, udders that are well attached and  wide rear udders.  However what made him so successful in the show ring was that Durham also transmitted outstanding dairyness and style.

Durham Sons

Durham sons were extremely consistent in their pattern and, at one point, eight of them were in the top ten spots for P.T.A.T (2005).  Some highlights include:

    From the Saturday family, his dam was Sher-Est Emory Swanny (EX). Mr Sam is also the sire of the popular type sire Pine-Tree Sid, who is the sire of Micheret Alexandra Sid (VG-88-2YR) All-American (tied) and All-Canadian Senior 2yr old in 2010.
    Sampled in Spain, Duplex was the highest type sire in the US for several summaries, with high numbers for udders and feet & legs.  Similar to Mr Sam, Duplex was also from an Emory dam this time going back to Henkeseen Mark Marci (EX-94).
    Modest was Durham’s highest production son from Meadow Bridge Aero Missy (EX).
    At one time, Fortune was in the top 10 on the Canadian LPI list.  Probably best known now for being the sire of the winning 4 year old at the 2012 Royal, Macpes Fortune Koquine EX-94-Can.
    From a great maternal breeding family, Primetime was the Durham son of Windy-Knoll-View Peggy (EX-94), and had a high type proof and for a long time was among the top Herd Life sires in Canada.  He was also the sire of the 2006 World Dairy Expo Junior Champion and All-American fall calf, Wm Ariannas Pt Aesha.

Durham Daughters

Daughters represent  the area where Durham has had his greatest impact. There are many great daughters to choose from. Here are just a few:

    Probably best known for being the dam of KHW Kite Advent who was Premier Sire of the Grand International Red and White show for three consecutive years and KHW Regiment Apple who was Grand Champion of the 2011 International Red & White Holstein show.
    Probably best known for being the second highest selling cow in Canadian History (Read more – Lylehaven Lila Z: Was she really worth $1.15 Million? and 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) she is also the dam of 2012 Canadian Cow of the Year Nominee, Comestar Goldwyn Lilac (VG-89) who’s descendants led the way at the recent Genetics By Design Sale (Read more – Genetics By Design – Crosses the $4,000,000 Mark).
    All-American in her own right as a 3yr old in 2005, Atlee is probably best known for her sons who dominate the current type evaluations: MS Atlees Sht Aftershock (+18 Conformation Dec*12); Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood (+17 Conformation Dec*12) and MR Atlees AltaAmazing (+16 Conformation Dec*12).  Atlee herself traces back to the great brood cow AITKENBRAE STARBUCK ADA EX-CAN EX-94-2E-USA DOM 4* (Read more – MD DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).
    BARBIE is the sixth generation of the Regancrest breeding program combining both the Dellias and the Brinas.  Eleven of her daughters are ranked in the top 25 of the American type index list.  Barbie’s offspring consistently generate top prices at international sales.  In 2009, granddaughter and fellow 2012 Golden Dam finalist, Regancrest S Chassity EX 92, sold in a package with her offspring for $1.5 million.  Barbie is the dam of 14 EX & 16 VG daughters and, currently, one of the breed’s leading type sires – Braxton EX-95.
    Daisy does it all.  She has high production, fitness, longevity and outstanding type.  This Excellent Durham granddaughter of Markwell Bstar Raven EX-95, who as a young cow made many waves at Madison, also transmits it all.  Daisy’s dam Markwell Luke Rapture recently passed away at 18 years of age.  Numerous daughters, granddaughters and their sons distinguish themselves in the genomic rankings.  As a bull dam in 2010, Daisy had some fabulous results with the high-ranking O-Man sons Dakota (the Netherlands), Duke (Germany), and Osaka (Spain).  In 2012, Daisy’s first progeny sampled grandson, Danillo, provided an impressive sequel with top position in the Netherlands.  Also of note is her grandson Goldday (By Goldwyn) who is from A-L-H Destiny and currently the top International Sires on the BPI List (Read more – Bullvine Performance Index (BPI) – Top Sires December 2012)

While Durham daughters were not typically the hardest milkers they were some of the most trouble free cows and, as more attention is being given to this, Durham decedents are gaining more attention again.  Because of their health traits, Durham daughters have been appearing on the Net-Merit lists and have A.I. studs using them heavily as dams  of sons, not just to get type sires, but to also get Net-Merit list toppers.

The Braedale Goldwyn Story

goldwyn test sire sheetGoldwyn has been an extremely popular sire worldwide since his initial proof in 2004.  This is not surprising given the strong maternal line behind him.  His dam Braedale Baler Twine (VG-86 23*) was Canada’s cow of the year in 2007 and his second dam Braedale Gypsy Grand (VG-88 36*) was the Canadian Cow of the year in 2003.  While many think that Goldwyn made the name for this cow family, long before Goldwyn was proven the family was already proving itself with Gypsy Grand sons Goodluck, Freelance, Spy, Freeman and Bold topping the bull list and daughters Cheetah, Second Cut, and Clairvoyant topping the cow lists.  This explains why Baler Twine was contracted as a virgin heifer at a time when the family name was not as prevalent as it is now.

According to E.Y Morwick in his book The Holstein History, “The pedigree of Braedale Goldwyn offers a clinic on the art of successful line breeding.  He carried three close crosses to Madawaska Aerostar: Sharemar James, his sire, was out of the Aerostar daughter, Stelbro Jenine Aerostar (VG); Braedale Baler Twine, his dam, was sired by Maughlin Storm, an Aerostar son; and Braedale Moonriver, dam of Braedale Gypsy Grand (Goldwyn’s maternal grand-dam), was an Aerostar daughter.  In Goldwyn’s lineage were three crosses to Walkway Chief Mark: Shoremar James and Braedale Gypsy Grand were both by Mark CJ Gillbrook Grand, a Chief Mark son; while Gypsy’s maternal granddam was Sunnylodge Chief Vick (VG 2*), a Chief Mark daughter.”

By February of 2009, Goldwyn had racked up a pretty impressive list of accomplishments, including finishing in the top six on the Canadian LPI list 14 out of 15 times.  He was number one once and number two twice.  He was also the top rated sire for conformation 11 times.  In 2008 when Goldwyn won Premier Sire at World Dairy Expo (ending Durham’s long reign), he was not only the youngest sire in 25 years to do so, but he was also the first bull who topped the LPI list to do so. With his win in 2012, Goldwyn has now tied Durham in achieving five consecutive Premier Sire awards at World Dairy Expo.

Goldwyn Sons

In addition to Goldday mentioned above, there have been impressive sons.  While maybe not LPI or TPI list toppers, they have certainly passed on the high type traits that Goldwyn has to offer.  They include:

    Underrated by many, Fever is more than just a high type sire (+16 Conformation Dec *12) he is also a great mastitis and fertility improvement sire making him a great sire to address the major herd culling problems and should probably get greater attention from many breeding programs (Read more – From Fantasy to Reality – Top Sires to Address Herd Culling Problems).
    Similar to Durham, many Goldwyn sons did not excel in production but did offer great improvement in conformation and health and fertility traits.  Dempsey is one such case.  His daughters would not WOW you with their production, but their strong components, outstanding udders and legs, combined with long herd life and low somatic cell score, certainly make them favorites among their owners.
    Atwood is probably the sire that is going to give Goldwyn the closest run for his money, over the next few years, at the Royal and World Dairy Expo.  His daughters are already putting up some impressive show results (Read more – Breeding The Next Show Winners) and he was among our picks for one of the sires to breed the next World Dairy Expo Champion (Read more – 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion).  Of course Atwood is from the magic cross of Goldwyn on Durham that has produced many great results.  His dam is one of the top Durham daughters MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 6* (Mentioned above).
    Lauthority combines two of Canada’s greatest cow families, the Gypsy Grand’s and the Laurie Sheik’s. His dam is COMESTAR LAUTELMA IGNITER who is proving she can leave top sons and top daughters as proven by COMESTAR LAUTAMIE TITANIC VG-89-2YR-CAN 14* who was Reserve All-Canadian Jr. 2yr old in 2006.
    Guthrie is currently Goldwyn’s highest proven LPI son at +2494 that has him in the top 50 MACE  gLPI sires.  Guthrie is one of the few Goldwyn sons over 1000 KG of milk and combines that with extreme type (+16 Conformation) and solid health and fertility traits.

Goldwyn Daughters

Similarly to Durham, Goldwyn  has made a bigger impact through the maternal side. Some of his  most notable daughters include:

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no doubt that Goldwyn and Durham are the two greatest type sires since the turn of the century.  However, they have yet to leave that legacy son that tops the lists.  While Goldwyn does have Atwood who is going to give him a run for his money at the upcoming North American shows, there is no top index sire to continue the tradition.  For both sires the greatest impact is going to come through their daughters and in that area Goldwyn holds much more opportunity, since Durham was found to be a carrier for CVM and could not be used in countries like Canada, greatly limiting his potential impact.  Which brings us to the question, “Is Goldwyn’s dominance because  he has had a greater opportunity than Durham did (Read more – Braedale Goldwyn: Is He the Greatest Type Sire Ever?).  What is clear is that Goldwyn daughters have fared much better in the show ring while Durham daughters have proven themselves more when it comes to proven sons.  Though the quality of both these sires’ progeny is certainly of the highest level, it will take time to determine just which one of these two sires will have the greatest final impact.


In our recent article, Fact vs. Fantasy – A realistic approach to sire selection, we highlighted the need to choose sires not just on ideal conformation goals, but to also match your sire selection to the key management challenges your herd faces. In typical Bullvine style we wanted to take this one step further and to go from fantasy to reality and identify just what sires will help address these top culling issues.

The Bullvine’s Realistic Approach:  Breed to Minimize Your Profit Thieves

In the previous article, we recommended minimum sire proof levels for total index, female fertility, somatic cell score and feet & legs in both the US and Canadian genetic evaluation systems.  Since we only have access to DGVs from CDN, all values quoted in this article will be in Canadian terms.

Some considerations set for sires to qualify for consideration are worth repeating:

  1. A minimum LPI/TPI value (+2000) was set to address the problem of cows being culled for low   production;
  2. Sires had to be on an active marketing list of a North American AI organization; and
  3. Sires with only genomic evaluations had to have been born in 2011 or, in other words, they are in the initial stages of their sampling time.

Just a reminder of the minimum values The Bullvine set for bulls to be considered.

  • Lifetime Profit Index    > +2000
  • Daughter Fertility       > 100
  • Somatic Cell Score       < 2.90
  • Feet & Legs                 > +5

INFERTILITY: You can’t make milk if you can’t make calves

Breeders know that there is a difference in bulls’ daughters’ ability to become pregnant.  It’s probably one of the most important profit metrics on most herds. This is measured as Daughter Fertility in Canada and Daughter Pregnancy Rate in the USA.  This information has been available for some time, yet it still seems to be given little heed when sires are selected for use in A.I. and herds.

The Bullvine offers the following sires for use by herds wishing to genetically address infertility.

GENOMICALLY EVALUATED SIRES: ranked by DGV Daughter Fertility Index

  • 111      Ever-Green-View FONSY (Super x Shottle)
  • 110      Brant-View ALTAOTIS (Observer x Active)
  • 110      Latuch Trigger TREK (Trigger x Ramos)
  • 109      Rosylane-LLC JOSIAH (Jives x Ramos)
  • 109      Blue-Horizon ALATASUPLEX (Super x Planet)

DAUGHTER PROVEN SIRES: ranked by Daughter Fertility Index

  • 110      Badger-Bluff Fanny FREDDIE (Oman x Die-Hard)
  • 107      Synergy ALTAJENKINS (Mac x Shottle)
  • 107      Mainstream MANIFOLD (Oman x Marshall)
  • 107      Co-op Oman CAVANA (Oman x Hunter)
  • 106      Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz)

MASTITIS – a bane to producing high quality milk

No producer wants mastitis, the cost of loosing a valuable cows, or the possibility of having a tanker load of milk lost due to antibiotics in the load. Additionally milk producers don’t want their vet visit time consumed with mastitis problems. Can mastitis be lowered by using genetic evaluations?  “Yes!” claim many producers who know from experience that the daughters of bulls with an SCS over 3.10 are problems.  Sure, they may be fine in their first lactation but in later lactations they are usually more prone to mastitis.  The Bullvine offers the following sires for use in herds that wish to avoid mastitis, as much as possible:


  • 2.22     Coyne-Farms JACY (AltaIota x Massey)
  • 2.32     Welcome ADOLF (Shameless x Ramos)
  • 2.40     Oconnors BAROMETER (Garrett x Shottle)
  • 2.47     De-Su ALTAHALEY (Alta Meteor x Goldwyn)
  • 2.48     Stantons EVEREST (Observer x Shottle)


  • 2.45     Co-op Bosside MASSEY (Mascol x Bret)
  • 2.54     Lirr Drew DEMPSEY (Goldwyn x Derry)
  • 2.62     Coyne-Farms DORCY (Bolton x Bret)
  • 2.62     Coppertop DOBERMAN (Shottle x Granger)
  • 2.63     Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz)

Feet and Legs – Vital for High Performing Cows

The heritability of feet & legs is low (.20 to .25) but there are significant differences between sires in their ability to sire animals with functional feet and legs, especially feet. The costs mount up when you consider that cows with sore feet do not come in heat. And their feet must be trimmed more often. On top of that they require medication. In the end, there is milk withdrawal and definitely there is a loss of milk production. The Bullvine offers the following sires for use in herds that care about reducing their costs and losses due to feet and leg problems.

GENOMICALLY EVALUATED SIRES: ranked by their DGV Feet & Legs Index

  • +16 Blue-Horizon ALTASUPLEX (Super x Planet) Side View +7, Rear View +10, Foot Angle +7
  • +15 Ronelee Shottbolt DENZEL (Shottbolt x Outside) Rear View +12, Foot Angle +7.
  • +14 Seagull-Bay HEADLINER (Robust x Planet) Rear View +12, Foot Angle +10.
  • +14 De-Su RANSOM (Robust x Ramos) Foot Angle +10, Heel Depth +7. Bone Quality -1.
  • +13 Farnear –TBR- BH CASHMONEY (Observer x Goldwyn) Rear View +10.

DAUGHTER PROVEN SIRES: ranked by Feet & Leg Index

  • +16 Gen-I-Beq BRAWLER (Baxter x Shottle) – Foot Angle +12, Heel Depth +13.
  • +15 Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz) – Bone Quality +10, Rear View +11, Rear Set +13.
  • +14 Lirr Drew DEMPSEY (Goldwyn x Derry) – Foot Angle +11, Heel Depth +8, Rear View +9.
  • +14 DANILLO (Goldwyn x Oman) – Foot Angle +12, Rear View +13.
  • +12 Va-Early-Dawn SUDAN (Jammer x Sailor) – Foot Angle +8, Rear View +13. Rear legs straight.


The sires recommended here are genetically superior for reducing the nagging problems of fertility, mastitis and feet. At the same time, they are superior for their Lifetime Profit Index.  Bulls’ daughters that do not reach their potential due to any or all of these limiting factors are not needed on your farm or in the national herd. Choose the best sires that correct the actual problems that you face and thereby give you the opportunity to increase your profit per cow per year.  This method of selecting sires is not showy like winning in the show ring is but your bottom line on your year-end financial statement will be a larger number. Taking your goal of greater profits from fact to reality.

Looking for more mating recommendations and insights…click here.


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