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Archive for Mil-R-Mor Roxette

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”.

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.

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