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Not since Wayne Gretzky ripped Leaf fan’s hearts out in game 6 of the 1993 playoffs have they felt such pain as they did on Sunday night after having a 3 goal lead on Boston with just over 10 minutes to play.  (FYI I had to forgive Gretzky as I married his cousin and it would cause bad in-law relations).  Making Leaf fans more prime for pain was the fact that they have not been in the playoffs for the past 9 years.  After watching what had to be one of the worst collapses in hockey history, I got to thinking about what it took to be great.  What I came up with is that truly great players like Gretzky and Crosby don’t only make themselves look great but they also make the players around them that much better.  Just like great cattle investments don’t only make themselves profitable but also help the animals around them  more profitable.

Lessons from Sydney Crosby

sidney-crosby-alex-ovechkin-game-7[1]Due to the lockout of 2004-2005, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin both entered the NHL in the same year.  At the time there was great debate about who was going to be the better player.  Since then the stats would tell you that Ovechkin has been the better investment.  He has 371 goals, 365 assists for 735 points, whereas Crosby has had 238 goals, 427 assists for 665 points.  However, sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story.  Even though Ovechkin has won more individual awards (Rookie of the Year, 2x NHL goal scoring leader, 2x most valuable player, vs. 1 MVP and 1 scoring title for Crosby),  ask any NHL player which one is better and they would tell you that Crosby is by far.  That is because Crosby not only puts up numbers himself but he also makes the players around him raise their level of play. For example, before playing on a line with Crosby, Chris Kunitz highest goal total was 26 in an 82 game season. This year, playing with Crosby he had 22 in the shortened 48 game season. That is an almost  50% increase.  This outstanding ability to inspire  others around him has resulted in Crosby having played more playoff games than Ovechkin and has already won a Stanley Cup in his career.

When I got to thinking about how the truly great ones not only make themselves look great they also make the others around them better, it reminded me of a comment that Jeff Butler of Butlerview made in an interview we did with him just before Royal last year (Read more: Exciting Times for Butlerview).   In the article Jeff say’s “type brings the foot traffic to the farm, but genomics and pedigree get them buying.” This further reminded me of  an article I had written early this year about the great RF Goldwyn Hailey and how she  herself may not be a great return on investment (Read more: RF Goldwyn Hailey: Cash Cow or Cash Hog?).  While there is no question that Hailey’s  own numbers alone are  not the highest ROI in the market today, if you look at it from a marketing investment she and other great show cows could be the wisest marketing investment you could ever make.  Now I am not talking buy these animals for the over 1 million dollar mark.  But as Jeff says nothing drives traffic to your door like a great show cow.  Something Jeff should know considering he owns 2 of the top 5 cult following cows in the world today (R-E-W Happy Go Lucky and Cookview Goldwyn Monique).



The big thing you need to remember and as Jeff pointed out in our article is that you need the supporting cast in your herd to help convert that traffic into revenue.  For Butlerview that means animals like Regancrest S Chassity, Regancrest G Brocade and De-Su 199 Chart Topper.  These high genomic animals from big name pedigrees are the ones that help Butlerview’s big investment in show cattle pay dividends.  Key to any of this is the fact that all animals need to be good embryo producers or you might as well kiss your money goodbye (Read more: What Comes First the Chicken or the Egg?).

Lessons from Wayne Gretzky

The great hockey player  to every play the game, Wayne Gretzky, always said don’t go to where the puck is but rather, see where the puck is going and go there.  As we highlighted in our article about the marketing of Glen Drummond Aero Flower and DES-Y-GEN PLANET SILK, you need to see or even predict where the marketing is heading and make sure your marketing and breeding goals are in alignment with that (Read more: Marketing Lessons From Glen Drummond Aero Flower).  As the dairy industry develops, efficient milk production that fills the consumers’ needs will gain greater importance. National indexes are always being adjusted to reflect the marketplace.  In Canada it will not be long before greater weighting will be placed on health and fertility traits, this means you should already be breeding for this today so that your ahead of the curve when these changes occur.  Remember that it’s not only about how much milk, or how many show winning daughters a sire produces, but it’s also important to breed to a bottom line that is consumer friendly. It’s only a matter of time before the national indexes reflect this even more.


David Dyment has kept Planet Silk ahead of the curve by combining both high index, Red Factor and polled in one complete package. Her sons and daughters dominate the top of the Red and the RC list (GTPI). Her son DYMENTHOLM S SYMPATICO is one of the highest GTPI and GLPI active bulls in the breed.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Headliners will get you attention, but their ability to make the others around you shine as well will be what makes you the money.  Sidney Crosby is a great player, but it’s the ability to lift up the others around him better that  wins the Stanley Cup.  The same was true for Wayne Gretzky.  It wasn’t just his own ability to dominate a game that created the opportunity for Gretzky to appear in 6 Stanley Cup finals, winning four of them.  It was his ability to see the play developing and make his team around him shine too that did it.  Until players like Ovechkin learn this key lesson he will never win a cup.  The same is true when you are designing your genetic marketing program.  Until you learn just how you are going to use your headliners to maximize the other genetic stars in your herd and look 3+ years down road and see where the market is heading, you are never going to generate  as much return on your investment as you could.



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Are You Breeding Purple Cows?

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Face it, the tactics that have been used for the past 50 years don’t work anymore.  The same old ads. In the same old magazine.  Advertising the same old genetics. After you’ve seen one, or two, or 10, you’ve seen them all!  Boring!  However, a Purple Cow?  Now that would be something.  Are you remarkable enough to have a Purple Cow?  In today’s day and age of in vitro fertilization, genomics and social media, you’re either remarkable or invisible.

bigpc[1]Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable is perfectly titled for dairy breeders today.  Godin’s understanding of dairy cattle is limited as represented by his comment “Cows, after you’ve seen one, or two, or 10, are boring,” but his point about needing to be remarkable, in order to stand out from the herd, is spot on.

Every day breeders come face to face with a lot of boring stuff – even a lot of the same old boring cows – but you can bet they would never forget a Purple Cow.  Now getting a Purple Cow marketing idea doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s not as if you can just wake up one morning and change your marketing to have your “Purple Cow” idea.  You need to breed for it.  You need to manage for it.  And then and only then can you market it.

The Game Changers

For years, generation after generation of consistent breeding was enough to have your genetics in demand around the world.  However, that is no longer enough thanks to in vitro fertilization (Read more: IVF: Boom or Bust for the Dairy Industry and FAST TRACK GENETICS: More Results in Less Time).  With so many breeders leveraging this technology and producing more and more cattle at the top end of the genetic scale, there has been a shift in the marketplace.  What used to be unique is becoming commonplace. In this recent spring sale season, I saw no less than three full sisters (Uno’s from the great Apple) selling at three different sales in a 1-week period.  And then of course there were still more sisters at home.  IVF has changed things so much that even at the very top end, owners of the very best genetics are having trouble differentiating their product.  Genetics that at one time would have been sale headliners, are now selling in those lull sections of the sale that minimize profits.  Combine that with the cost to produce these animals and the ROI is shrinking.  Of course IVF is a catch 22 technology.  If you don’t use it and other breeders are using it on their top genetics, you’re still left behind.

In one sense you could say Genomics has brought harmony to the world (Read more: The impact of genomics on cattle breeding and How Genomics is Killing the Dairy Cattle Breeding Industry).  No longer are cattle from different countries viewed as inferior or of lesser genetic merit.  Genomic testing has brought uniformity to the world market.  But as a result it has also brought globalization to the industry and breeders can no longer differentiate their genetics by country of origin.  This means that instead of the top 1% of the genetics in the world being in high demand, it is now the top 0.1% (Read more: An Insider’s Guide to What Sells at the Big Dairy Cattle Auctions).  Either you are at the very top of the lists or you had better find a new niche or way to differentiate your genetics (Read more: Marketing Lessons from Glen Drummond Aero Flower).

AMMON-PEACHY SHAUNA a very popular purple cow

AMMON-PEACHY SHAUNA a very popular purple cow

If you want to get your message out to the world, there is nothing better than social media.  The power of tools like Facebook to let breeders around the world know what animals you have is amazing (Read more: 7 Reasons Why Your Dairy Farm Needs To Be On Facebook and The Anti-Social Farmer: On the Verge of Extinction?).  The thing is, it still takes those animals that are the “Purple Cows” in order to be noticed.  Hailey, O’Kalibra, Missy, Happy Go Lucky and Rae Lynn are cows whose show ring successes have also caused social media success for their breeders.  On the genomic side, cows like Shauna, Lucia, and Hue have attracted a lot of attention.  Another aspect that helps pictures on Facebook go viral is the ones that comply with the Dairy Marketers Code of Conduct (Read more: Introducing the Diary Marketing Code of Conduct and Dairy Cattle Photography – Over Exposed ). However, in order to achieve this sustained viral status you first need to be unique. You need to know your niche.  You need to be a “Purple Cow.”

Valleyville Rae Lynn is certainly a Purple Cow

Valleyville Rae Lynn is certainly a Purple Cow

The Bullvine Bottom Line

In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges you to put Purple Cow differentiation into everything you build and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable.  It’s a manifesto for dairy breeders looking to take their genetics programs to a new level.  Pretty ads, generations of VG or EX and nice cattle pictures will not pay the bills. Either you set yourself apart or you are wasting your time.  What makes you unique?  Have you found your Purple Cow breeding program or marketing idea?



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Some Cows Just Want to Dance…

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

top13of2013On an average day we get about 100-120 different comments on our website, Facebook page and other social media sites about how dairy cattle showing is inhumane and unethical.  On Saturday alone we had over 200 comments on our Facebook page about how some of our udder shots were just downright cruel.  (Read more: What PETA Does Not Know About Raising Dairy Cattle!) Now fortunately we do have filters and staff setup to handle this, but it still got me thinking about this issue.  Is dairy cattle showing cruel and unusual treatment, or is it that the general public doesn’t understand that some cows just want to dance?

RF Goldwyn Hailey - A great show cow who just loves to dance

RF Goldwyn Hailey – A great show cow who just loves to dance

The image some would have you believe is that these cows are being badly treated, that they are in constant pain, and that they live a very harsh life.  This quite simply is not the case at all.  In reality these show cows receive the best possible treatment.  They receive a bath pretty much every other day, they get all the best feed they can eat and are loved by those who care for them.  And that is not just at the show.  This treatment occurs on a daily basis.

Think about it, they get regular haircuts so that they look pretty.  They get a little hairspray to make sure their hair stays in place.  They receive a massaging bath to make sure they feel good.  And they get all the nutritious food they could eat.  What more could a pampered “lady” ask for?

Beverly Donavon and the great show cow Sweet Pepper Black Francesca

Beverly Donavon and the great show cow Sweet Pepper Black Francesca

Oh yes, the love of a good man?  Well they receive that as well.  The breeders exhibiting these animals truly do love their show cows.  Many times these cows become like family to the breeders who love and care for them and they wouldn’t do anything to hurt them.  And to be “politically” correct there are many woman who love these great animals as well (Read more: The Magic of Francesca). In reality they do everything they can to provide for them.  They give these animals names and they treat them, some would say, better than their own children because there are no mind games, or time out for bad behavior.

VALLEYVILLE RAE LYNN - Mammary System - RAWF 2012

VALLEYVILLE RAE LYNN – Mammary System – RAWF 2012

Now there is the question about how cows mammary systems are prepared for show.  While most can understand the washing, clipping and feeding, they just can’t get their head around the apparent “pain” they perceive that cow udders endure The practice of letting the cows udder fill to capacity has some thinking that these lactating boobs  are about to explode.  Well I look at it like this.  When a young woman is out looking her best does she not put on her best dress and “push up” bra?  That is the same as a cow has when she goes into the show ring.  She wants to look her best and her “push up bra” helps her do that.

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky – Mammary System – NY Spring Show 2013

Now I know some would ask, “How do you know that the cow actually enjoys it?” Well look in their eyes.  There are some cows that love to show.  Just like there are some women who love to get all dressed up and go out on for a night on the town.  The second these dairy-girls step in the ring, something changes, they just want to dance.  And man can some of them do it. They walk into that ring as if they are walking down a runway in Paris, New York or Milan.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While some would condemn the treatment of show cows, those that actually understand the practice, appreciate that these cows are some of the best cared for animals in the world.  You see, for some of these cows, it’s as if they are “moovie” stars walking down the red carpet at the premier of their next big film.  They just love it!!!  All eyes are on them and there is nowhere else they would rather be.  They just love to dance.


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Over the past month I have been to 5 cattle auctions and 7 cattle shows in 4 different states or provinces. To say that I spent some time on the road driving from one event to the next is an understatement. And, while all of these events were amazing in their own unique way, there was one consistent thing that surprised me. Less and less people are attending these events.

RF Goldwyn Hailey - Grand Champion NY Spring Show

RF Goldwyn Hailey – Grand Champion NY Spring Show

Now normally this would cause one to think that dairy cattle showing is dying, but in reality I actually think that the exact opposite is true. Consider this. The quality of cattle at these shows has been the best I have ever seen. I have had the opportunity to see the great RF Goldwyn Hailey multiple times, and this last time at NY Spring Show I would say that she looked the best I had ever seen her (Read more: RF Goldwyn Hailey Rides to the Top Spot at NY Spring Carousel and New York Spring Holstein Show 2013 Results). Also in NY I saw one of the most competitive Sr. 2 year old classes ever, where the legend in the making R-E-W Happy Go Lucky was beaten for the first time in milking form. Though in all fairness she is in the later stage of her lactation and the others are peaking.



At the Ontario Spring Show, I saw what I think to be a future World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion, Valleyville Rae Lynn, giving Hailey a run for her money, though as Hailey has shown this spring she is untouchable. (Read more: Ontario Spring Discovery – Nothing Slipped Past Judge “Crack” and Ontario Spring Discovery Results). And at Quebec Spring Show I get to visit with many of the most passionate breeders in the world today (Read more: Do We Speak the Same Language? and Quebec Spring Show Results).

Valleyville Rae Lynn

Valleyville Rae Lynn – Reserve Grand Ontario Spring Show

So what is it then? Why are less and less people attending the shows?

In discussing this with Randy Blodgett, newly appointed publisher of Holstein World and mastermind behind Holstein World Productions, the answer becomes pretty clear. They are all watching the coverage online.

Decrausaz Iron O'Kalibra  Class 9 winner, Sr & Grand Champion - 2013 All European Championship

Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra
Class 9 winner, Sr & Grand Champion – 2013 All European Championship

During the recent NY Spring Show, there were over 5,000 people watching on the live video stream. This reminded me of the video stream we shared of the EU Championship Show where there were so many people wanting to watch that we had up to 1,000 people waiting to get one of the coveted spots to watch the live stream on the Bullvine alone(Read more:The All European Championship Show: The Greatest SHOW on Earth and Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra Wins Grand at the 2013 All European Championship). Interesting note about the EU Championship show. The show itself did such a great job of covering the show, we here at the Bullvine didn’t even have to attend the show and we had the largest viewership in the world, thanks to the power of digital and social media.

3X as many people watched the 2013 All European Championships on then all other publications combined.

And now we are talking about just those who are able to take the time to watch it live. If you add in those that watch the coverage on the various publications and Facebook you would easily be over 12,000 viewers. There are more publications than ever covering the shows. Gone are the days when you were lucky to get covered in your national breed publication and that’s it. In today’s digital dairy media world, you are likely to have 4 or 5 publications there taking pictures and sharing the results. Who knows maybe someday we will have coverage comparable to a professional sporting event? Imagine it, commentators during the cow show bring you all the play by play.

From the great camera angles combined with the very professional in ring cameras combined with the outstanding music and exceptional ring announcer the experience was riveting for all.

From the great camera angles combined with the very professional in ring cameras combined with the outstanding music and exceptional ring announcer the experience was riveting for all at the 2013 All European Championships.

But already even this is starting to change. We here are the Bullvine try to do even more. While we have not gotten into the live streaming of the shows, we have started to do more and more stories about what happens beyond the placings. We try to bring you the story behind the story, such as (Read more World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages and The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the greatest ever told!).

Brian and Rob Eby embrace

Brian and Rob Eby embrace after Ebyhomle Goldwyn Marcia is named Reserve Grand Champion at the 2012 RAWF

Watch out for those “Moovie” Stars

Actually, it’s almost scary how much some things have changed. Just write or share a picture of Hailey, O’Kalibra, Happy Go Lucky, or Rae Lynn and the piece goes viral. These cows have become “Moovie” Stars. They have their own cult following that would rival that of One Direction, Maroon 5 or Justin Bieber.

While I am sure that many dairy breeders are not “Beliebers”, they are very passionate about great cows and these four certainly are that. And yes I am sure that many of the showmen that show these animals do have egos as big as Justin’s is. Things have changed so much that the showmen of these cattle have gone from complaining about or at least ignoring the photographers in the ring, to a point where they make sure they have the animal set up correctly. They are all looking good and appreciate the exposure. So much so that in the past 2 weeks alone we have had over 20 requests by breeders for pictures from the show for use in ads and other marketing efforts. A “money shot” of their animal winning their class or better yet the show, brings coverage you just can’t buy and a boring side shot cannot compare with. (Read more No Cow Is Perfect – Not Even in Pictures and Introducing the Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct)

The Power of Social Media

Starting today in Wisconsin is the Mid-West Spring National. This is a show that I am sure will be great. But I will not be there. That’s because between, myself and my trusty traveling partner (my father and Bullvine writer), we need time to rest. Yes the time in the car is fine for discussing many of the great events or challenges facing the dairy industry and leads to some great articles (Read more: Where is the Balance in Balanced Breeding?)., we need time to get caught up on the other things in our lives.

We were stressing out that we needed to be there but just couldn’t do the 11hr drive back and forth and still get everything done that we need to do. So we are not going. The amazing part is, when I mentioned on Facebook about the show and asked what animals were there and who looked good, we got some super responses. The best of them were the people that said they would take some pictures for us and share with us all the “juicy” details about the stories behind the story. To our faithful readers who are doing this for us we send a BIG thank you. To those looking for results, we say “Don’t worry we’ve got you covered”.

Touch my heart

Now there is one event that I would love to be at. And yes it does happen today, and yes it is at a cattle show, but NO it is not happening in the show ring. Since starting the Bullvine we have had the opportunity to get to know many amazing people. One such case is Beverly Donavon, the passionate owner of the great Ayrshire show cow Sweet-Pepper Black Francesca. Their story has touched our hearts and made us huge fans of both (Read more: The Magic of Francesca).

Through the power of social media we have gotten to know Beverly and her husband Richard. Recently Richard mentioned to me that a great young artist, Emma Caldwell, had painted an amazing picture of “Frannie” and that he would be attending the Ayrshire Spring Show in Quebec today with Beverly to meet the artist and pick up the picture (Read more Emma Caldwell’s Art Stirs Mind and Heart!). Now you see Richard may come sometimes come across as a sarcastic wrangler but when you get to know him, you can’t help but like him. This special event that he has arranged, and that Beverly knows nothing about, is just another reason why. When Frannie passed this past winter, Beverly was understandably devastated and Richard has done everything he could think of to help her through this tough time. This picture is just one of the many things he has done to help her through it. Emma Caldwell has graciously agreed to auction of her latest painting “Hailey” with a portion of the proceeds to go towards a charity (click here to learn more).

Emma Caldwell's painting of the great "Frannie"

Emma Caldwell’s painting of the great “Frannie”

So my interest in being there has nothing to do with the show, which I am sure will be great. It has nothing to do with covering this story, which I am sure will be a tearjerker. But rather, it has EVERYTHING to do with the power of the human spirit. Three amazing people will get to meet, share a few tears (Bev most certainly), and celebrate an amazing cow and a very thoughtful gesture by all in involved. There will not be a big presentation in the center of the ring. There will not be any announcement over the public address system. If you see Bev with tears in her eyes over her trademark heartwarming love for one of her favorites , be sure to give her a big hug and say, “Way to go, we all loved Frannie and she was one of the best ever.”

So this is where I will be this weekend.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While we here at the Bullvine will not be able to attend as many shows as we would like, I think that is also the case for many passionate dairy breeders. However thanks to the power of social media and the enhanced coverage many of the trade publications are providing, you can rest assured that you will be able to get the full story. To those who pioneered this, such as Randy Blodgett over 16 years ago, when he first did digital real time coverage at Expo, “Way to go Randy”. To those that have stepped up to help bring us the story behind the story at Mid-West Spring National, we say “Thanks”. Yes show attendance is down, but there is no question that the show passion lives on.


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We all look forward to those times in life when all the pieces come together.  That is exactly what is happening for Dusty Schirm who resides in Chebanse Illinois with his wife Nicole and son Wyatt, awaiting the arrival of their second son due in June.  Dusty is the Show Manager at Butlerview Farm where he tells us he feels fortunate to work with some of the top show cattle and most sought after genetics. (Read more: Exciting Times for Butlerview) “I spend the vast majority of my time working with Joe Price and our crew with the show cattle, preparing everything for the upcoming show season.” This life he loves started at home for Dusty.

dusty family

In His Footsteps

Dusty has always had a keen eye for cows and people and gives credit to his father, Larry Schirm. “The biggest influence in my life has always been my dad. He is a man I have respected as long as I can remember.  He has always been sought after to judge the greatest shows in the world and is someone everyone always enjoys.  Mike Heath is someone who has helped me along with every aspect of learning cattle.  When I was first starting out I would spend weeks with him touring around looking at cattle and trying to learn how to see them in the rough just like he does.  He has also been one of the toughest critics on me and never afraid to push me to be better.”

Dusty’s First Top Model

Dusty’s father and Grandpa both contributed to the star maker he would become.  He looks back fondly, “My start in cattle started in Junior Jersey shows.  Both of my grandparents were Jersey breeders and the passion for not only dairy cattle but the show ring started at a young age.  When I was 8 my grandpa Schirm let me pick out a calf to start my own cow family with and to show that year.  I spotted my calf.  She was a broken color Jersey with quite a bit of white on her and I named her Dusty’s MX Butterscotch and she was a March calf.  Little did I know she would go on to be very successful the following year and be named Jr Champion at all the national shows (World Dairy Expo, Harrisburg, Louisville) and that was when I was hooked!”

dusty clippingLearning the Saw-Dusty Trail

Some people have a natural talent for bringing out the best in dairy cattle.  Dusty is modest and prefers to give credit to others.  “I first started fitting around the age of 16 and was very fortunate to have some great teachers.  Starting out with Terry Rawn and Steve Deam.  Once I turned 18 I worked with Delbert Yoder for the first year and learned many valuable tools.  After that I was fortunate to work along with all the great fitters, Paulo, Roger Turner, Mike Heath, Joel Kietzman and Mark Rueth.”  He continues to study these talents.

Roadways, Roses and Runways

For the observer, fitters are the magic makers of the show scene.  We rarely consider what hard work that must be.  Dusty explains, “For me the hardest challenge in being a fitter was the lifestyle I lived.  I would spend 320 plus days a year on the road never having much free time and when I did have some time off I would usually spend that looking for the next great one on the road.  It is a wear and tear business and not for everyone.  There are many highs and lows that also come with being a fitter and a lot of scrutiny win or lose!”  Dusty has learned to make it work.

Learning from the Topliners!

Being at the top of your chosen career is never easy but Dusty has advice to those who would follow the fitters dream, “Starting out is not as tough as one might think. There are many great people in this business that will give anyone a chance.  My advice is when you get an opportunity, take full advantage of the people you are surrounded by.  The reason you are working with those individuals is because they have the formula for success.  Take what they do and apply it to your own goals.”

dusty phoneFrom Heads and Tails to Setting Sales

Looking back Dusty’s career path is a straight line from show string to sales string but thinks it has more serendipity (he encouraged the Bullvine to use big words).  “Last year was my first sale on my own.  It is a funny story how I got pushed into doing one though.  Mike Heath always had a very successful Spring Valley Jersey Sale every other year and last year would have been time for him to do another sale.  When he told me he wasn’t going to do one I thought well, do you think I could do one.  He more or less said yep you are doing one and that was it.  Following in his footsteps was not an easy task because his success with his sales has always been top level.  Mike was great though with helping me through all the steps of having my own sale and with his help and many others we had a very successful sale.”  A little serendipity.  A lot of hard work.

Happy Talk is the Measure of Success

Everybody measures success differently.  For Dusty Schirm he likes to have people talking about him. “Success for me is getting calls from all the consignors that let me know they saw their animal win at a show or they just talked to the buyer of the animal who wants to come to the farm to purchase another one or to see the animal’s cow family.  That for me is how I measure success from a sale when seller and buyer are happy and say, “Thank you!”

Dusty Follows the Stars from Runway to Retail

Over the course of his “hands-on” career, Dusty has been side-by-side with many great cows.  As always, cow-men find it hard to pick out favorites.  “There are so many I have loved to be part of.  From Jerian Sterling Mason, Dupasquier Cousteau Mamie, Friendly-Acres Linjet Murphy, Co-Vista Airliner Sarah, SavageLeigh Linjet Joy, Harvue Roy Frosty to current stars such as Cookview Goldwyn Monique, Silvermaple Damion Camomile  and R-E-W Happy Go Lucky.  I have been so fortunate to be associated with these individuals over my short career.  But I would have to say my favorite all time was JIF Little Minnie.  I bought Little Minnie as a 3yr old many moons ago in an old tie stall barn before she was popular and she has now gone on to be such a marquee cow in the Jersey breed.”

JIF Little Minnie EX-96 4E All-Canadian Mature Cow 2002 & 2004 All-Canadian Champion Cow 2002

JIF Little Minnie EX-96 4E
All-Canadian Mature Cow 2002 & 2004
All-Canadian Champion Cow 2002

Making Change when Shift Happens

For Dusty the biggest change he has witnessed in his career has happened in the marketplace.  “The value of show cattle is increasing to extremely high ends at the top and losing some of the value for the state show and regional type of cattle.  It used to be if you had a real nice cow with a great pedigree that could win or compete at state show levels, she would be worth $7500-$15000.  Though it’s great to see the value on the greatest show cattle in the world at an all time high, it’s sad to see that the markets for smaller homebred herds to market their individuals are losing their value.”  This brings Dusty to face the future with a forecast.

Survival of the Fittest

Not one to mince words, Dusty looks ahead with a clear eye.  “The number one change ahead for my generation is survival.  This means that milking cows will probably not cut it to raise a family so you must find a niche market to provide more income to support your love for dairy cattle.  Also we must learn the art of mating cattle to achieve our personal goals.  Taking the time to study pedigrees that would be the ideal cross on a cow to make the next great one.  It seems more and more we use the “HOT” sire, which is ok for some matings, but we really need to learn about cow families and thinking outside the box.  Some of the best cattle ever have been as a result from someone doing something no one else would have!”

dusty and WyattFortunes, Favorites and Fatherhood!

Dusty says he is fortunate to have been involved in many great accomplishments from fitting cattle that have won at Madison to owning or selling individuals that have been National Winners or All Americans.  However, these are not number one on his achievement list.  He points out, “My proudest moment ever is seeing my little guy for the first time!”  He continues to add special achievements, “My greatest accomplishment so far would be seeing so many individuals go on to be successful from our Jersey Sale this past spring. It is truly one of my proudest moments seeing the Reserve Jr Champion and Honorable Mention Jr Champion heifers from Madison that sold in the Franchise Sale last spring.” (Check out the great work Dusty and the team are doing for The Franchise Kind II Sale)

Wit, Wisdom and a Happy Wife

Dusty loves the new opportunities opening up in his life and has special visions for the future. Jokingly he suggests, “Perhaps I will start up an internet site that tells the truth about the cattle industry… OOPS! … That’s been done .. The Bullvine!”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Then seriously Dusty concludes, “I would like to continue the blessings of time shared with my wonderful wife and family and someday have my own herd of cows that my children could carry on with.” No doubt his boys will enjoy learning hand-in-hand with their dad.  Dusty Schirm is a shining example!



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For years there has been great discussion about how show type is different from functional type.  Show cattle are bred to be taller, deeper and to have level rumps where functional cattle are bred for maximum feed conversion and sloping rumps (Read more: From Fantasy to Reality – Top Sires to Address Herd Culling Problems).  For the most part, the show ring has always been an exhibition stage for genetic advancement.  However, more recently there has been rising debate about whether the show ring is still achieving this.  For the most part this conversation is centered around the need for a non-milking SR./Fall yearling class at the major fall shows.  You see, by fall shows most of the animals in this class are over 2 years of age and, compared to the average calving age, are behind the majority of their other young cow peers.  With the cancellation of the non-milking Sr./Fall yearling class for Ayrshires (Read more: A Letter to the Editor From US Ayrshire President in Regards to Fall Yearling Class Cancellation ) this discussion has heated up even more.  To get to the bottom of this, the Bullvine decided to look at both sides of the argument.

5 Reasons for keeping the class:

  • Non-Milking Sr./Fall Yearlings  represent about 6-10% of the animals exhibited at each show
  • They show all summer at an age that is under two, and if these shows are to be the championships for the year, should there be a class that animals have competed in all summer.
  • You need to look at the timing of the shows.  Since Madison is in early October and only 1/3 of the yearlings should have calved by then, it doesn’t make sense to cancel the class there.
  • The show ring is about breed promotion, so why not show off as many great animals as possible?
  • There have been some interesting points made about how calving them in early can lead to cows burning out later in life.  A case could be made for this.  When you look at the All-Canadian Mature Cows and 5 year olds over the past 2 years, NONE were nominated in milking form as a yearling.


5 Reasons for cancelling the class:

  • The quality of the milking yearling class has probably shown the greatest rate of advancement over the past 20 years, compared to any other class.  Yes some of the summer calves are pretty large and cut right, and the 150,000 lbs. class is amazing to see with the great longevity of these animals.  However, if you look at the whole class, from top to bottom and consider the rate of change, none of these highlights compare to that of the milking yearling class.
  • Over the past 5 years more animals have gone on to success in Milking form from the Milking Sr./Fall Yearling class than that of the non-milking class (Read more: Do All-Canadian Heifers Make All-Canadian Cows?)  A great example of this is Valleyville Rae Lynn who was 2nd at the Royal this year as a 2nd calf Milking Senior 2yr old and now has the ability to flush, develop and compete in 2014 as a 3rd calf 4 yr. old.  Just imagine how impressive she will be.  This is also the plan for the very popular and unanimous All-Canadian and All-American Milking Yearling, R-E-W Goldwyn Happy Go Lucky. In fact the two most recent animals to convert heifer success into milking success where CRAIGCREST RUBIES GOLD REJOICE and T-TRIPLE-T GOLD PRIZE where both Winter/Intermediate Yearlings.
  • The Royal is in November when more than 2/3 of the class should have calved and, as a result, it really doesn’t make sense to have the class.  When looking at the non-milking SR. yearling class at the Royal, one of the biggest challenges that is consistent throughout the class is the dairyness or lack thereof throughout the class.  It is very hard to keep these animals clean and dairy.  Jerseys have been well ahead on this from both a breed advancement and a show ring perspective and, as a result, their average age at 1st calving is low and they DO NOT have a Senior Yearling class at the Royal.  (Please note they do have a Fall Yearling class at World Dairy Expo).
  • I have heard the argument that some animals are just not big enough or developed enough to calve that young and I can totally understand that.  Nevertheless, should these animals be rewarded for being behind in their development, when compared to others?  Remember, Dry Cow classes were dropped because they did not showcase milking udders and production ability.  Two major functions of dairy cattle profitability.
  • The dairy cattle industry is a business and dairy cows don’t become profitable until after they calve.  Shouldn’t we be showcasing profitable animals instead of those that are still costing money?  Remember the dairy farming is a business and everyone needs to appease the banker.  The banker is like an undertaker and eventually everyone has to pay the price.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

While there are many great points on both sides of this argument, if the show ring truly wants to stay relevant and represent the best the breed has to offer than there is no question it needs to be ahead of the curve and not behind it.  That means it should be leading the charge not following it.  The one thing both sides can agree on is this is an issue the breeders need to decided together in order to ensure that dairy cattle showing stays relevant going into the future.  Since the breeders who show at the national level really are a niche group, they need to make sure they stay market relevant or become irrelevant very fast in the eyes of most producers and the breed associations as a whole.

What do you think?  Take our Facebook poll.




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Breeders Choice Awards 2012-300In the age of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars and countless other franchises where the fans decide the outcome, it’s about time for Dairy Breeders to join the decision-making fun..  That is why the Bullvine has created the Breeder’s Choice Awards.  The Breeder’s Choice Awards celebrates fan favorites in the show ring, index cows, sires and dairy celebrities.  It stands alone as the only major award where real people – not industry insiders – determine the winners.

The Winners are?

Over the past month The Bullvine has been conducting surveys on our Facebook page to see exactly  who the fans would choose as the top Holstein show cattle in North America for 2012.  To qualify the animals in each class needed to place in the top five spots at either World Dairy Expo or the Royal (Read more: World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show: A Battle for the Ages and The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the Greatest Stories Evert Told ). After thousands of votes here are the winners:

COBEQUID GOLDWYN DANNY - 2012 Breeder's Choice Spring Heifer Calf

COBEQUID GOLDWYN DANNY – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Spring Heifer Calf

Spring Heifer Calf

  1. Cobequid Goldwyn Danny
    (Read more: Who’s The Next Great One?)
  2. Siemers Gwyn Glam Thisup
  3. Cherry Crest Lavanguard
PETITCLERC GOLDWYN SIDNEY - 2012 Breeder's Choice Winter Heifer Calf

PETITCLERC GOLDWYN SIDNEY – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Winter Heifer Calf

Winter Heifer Calf

  1. Petitclerc  Goldwyn Sidney
    (Read more: Who’s The Next Great One?)
  2. Kingsway Lauthority All In
  3. Sunspark Windbrook Extra
MD-DUN-LOAFIN LAUTH ELLI- 2012 Breeder's Choice Fall Heifer Calf

MD-DUN-LOAFIN LAUTH ELLI- 2012 Breeder’s Choice Fall Heifer Calf

Fall Heifer Calf

  1. MD-Dun Loafin Lauth Elli
    (Read more: Who’s The Next Great One?)
  2. Idee Goldwyn Livia
  3. Siemers Dstry Sunraygal
CO-VALE FEVER CAMILA - 2012 Breeder's Choice Summer Yearling Heifer

CO-VALE FEVER CAMILA – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Summer Yearling Heifer

Summer Yearling Heifer

  1. Co-Vale Fever Camila
    (Read more: Who’s The Next Great One?)
  2. Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza
  3. Bismer Damion Jasmine
JACOBS ATWOOD LILLY BOY - 2012 Breeder's Choice Spring Yearling Heifer

JACOBS ATWOOD LILLY BOY – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Spring Yearling Heifer

Spring Yearling Heifer

  1. Jacobs Atwood Lily Boy
    (Read more: Who’s The Next Great One? and Breeding The Next Show Winners)
  2. Crestbrooke Gap Torrie
  3. Sharp Acres ST Jessy
Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie - 2012 Breeder's Choice Winter Yearling Heifer

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Winter Yearling Heifer

Winter Yearling Heifer

  1. Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie
    (Read more: Breeding The Next Show Winners)
  2. Springway Sassy Rae
  3. Kingsway Sanchez Armadillo
Kingsway Goldwyn Artichoke - 2012 Breeder's Choice Fall Yearling Heifer

Kingsway Goldwyn Artichoke – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Fall Yearling Heifer

 Fall Yearling Heifer

  1. Kingsway Goldwyn Artichoke
  2. Kingsway Sanchez Magician
  3. Crovalley Knowledge Akika

Junior Champion – MD-Dun Loafin Lauth Elli

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky - 2012 Breeder's Choice Fall Yearling In Milk

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Fall Yearling In Milk

Fall Yearling in Milk

  1. R-E-W Happy Go Lucky
    (Read more: World Dairy Expo Winners: Investment Worthy and Exciting Times for Butlerview)
  2. Dougal Lea Goldwyn Danita
  3. Blondin Alexander Mariska
BVK ATWOOD ABRIANNA - 2012 Breeder's Choice Jr. 2yr old

BVK ATWOOD ARIANNA – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Jr. 2yr old

Jr. 2 year old

  1. BVK Atwood Arianna
    (Read more: World Dairy Expo Winners: Investment Worthy)
  2. Joleanna Gold Pourinrain
  3. Jacobs Atwood Melody
Valleyville Rae Lynn - 2012 Breeder's Choice Sr. 2yr old

Valleyville Rae Lynn – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Sr. 2yr old

Sr. 2 year old

  1. Valleyville Rae Lynn
    (Read more: Quality Cattle Look Good Evert Day,  Don Shwartz: Love what you do and do the best you can! and Quality Holsteins – Well Deserved Congratulations)
  2. Butz-Butler Gold Barbara
  3. Crate Indiana Goldwyn
Robrook Goldwyn Cameron - 2012 Breeder's Choice Jr. 3yr old

Robrook Goldwyn Cameron – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Jr. 3yr old

Jr. 3 year old

  1. Robrook Goldwyn Cameron
  2. Cobequid Goldwyn Leno
  3. Arethusa Jasper Velour
Cookview Goldwyn Monique - 2012 Breeder's Choice Sr. 3yr old

Cookview Goldwyn Monique – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Sr. 3yr old

Sr. 3 year old

  1. Cookview Goldwyn Monique
    (Read more: Exciting Times for Butlerview, RF Goldwyn Hailey: Cash Cow or Cash Hog and International Intrigue – The Secret is Exposed!)
  2. Debeau Jasper December
  3. Quality Gold Danzi

Intermediate Champion  – Cookview Goldwyn Monique

Macpes Fortune Koquine - 2012 Breeder's Choice 4 yr old

Macpes Fortune Koquine – 2012 Breeder’s Choice 4 yr old

4 year old

  1. Macpes Fortune Koquine
    (Read more: Durham vs. Goldwyn: A Clash of Two Titans)
  2. T-Triple-T Gold Prize
  3. Bourgival Goldwyn Oriel
Wendon Goldwyn Allie - 2012 Breeder's Choice 5 yr old

Wendon Goldwyn Allie – 2012 Breeder’s Choice 5 yr old

5 year old

  1. Wendon Goldwyn Allie
  2. Scientific Gold Dana Rae
  3. Rockymountain Talent Licorice
RF Goldwyn Hailey - 2012 Breeder's Choice Mature cow

RF Goldwyn Hailey – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Mature cow

Mature Cow

  1. RF Goldwyn Hailey
    (Read more: World Dairy Expo Winners: Investment Worthy and The Story Behind How Two Full Sisters Dominated Expo Quebec)
  2. Ebyholme Goldwyn Maricia
  3. Harvue Roy Frosty
Starbrite Lyster Lyndsay - 2012 Breeder's Choice Lifetime Production Cow

Starbrite Lyster Lyndsay – 2012 Breeder’s Choice Lifetime Production Cow

Lifetime Production

  1. Starbrite Lyster Lyndsay
  2. Goldenflo Lheros Bubble Gum
  3. Savage-Leigh Leona

Senior & Grand Champion – RF Goldwyn Hailey


The Bullvine Bottom Line

While cows like R-E-W Happy Go Lucky, Cookview Goldwyn Monique and RF Goldwyn Hailey rode their almost cult like followings to dominant victories,  it was really interesting to see the classes where there were different winners than at the Royal or  Madison (Spring Calf, Winter Heifer Calf, Fall Heifer Calf, Spring Yearling, Winter Yearling, Fall Yearling, Junior 3 year old and 4 year old).  Particularly surprising  was that  in two of these classes (Spring Calf and Spring Yearling) the winner was not a class winner at either the Royal or Madison.  The biggest shocker of all has to be Royal and Madison Sr. 2 year old winner, Butz-Butler Gold Barbara, falling to Valleyville Rae Lynn.   It was also interesting to see the battle between Madison Junior Champion, Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie, and Royal Junior Champion, MD-Dun Loafin Lauth Elli, going head to head as they did  both did not attend both  shows.   Elli was the Breeder’s Choice.

What’s next

Continuing in our Breeder’s Choice competition, over the next few weeks we will be conducting polls on Facebook in the following categories:

So be sure to “like” our Facebook page and Click on “Show” in the News feed as Facebook now only shows you about 20% of posts on pages you like. Don’t miss any of the great polls and great conversation.


Exciting Times for Butlerview

Friday, November 9th, 2012

The dairy cattle business is built by people who have the passion and persistence to bring their dreams to reality such as Butlerview Farm of Chebanse, Illinois. Butlerview, which is owned and operated by Jim and Jeff Butler and their mom Joyce, is a state of the art facility, where brood cows and show animals are on display at all times in one location. It is the realization of a family dream based on their passion for cattle.

Cookview Goldwyn Monique EX-92 EX-95 MS Reserve Grand Champion, Intermediate Champion, 1st Sr 3-Year-Old/Best Udder Owned with Joe & Amber Price

Cookview Goldwyn Monique EX-92 EX-95 MS
Reserve Grand Champion, Intermediate Champion, 1st Sr 3-Year-Old/Best Udder
Owned with Joe & Amber Price

Field of Dreams Facility

The original facility from the 1970s has undergone major renovations, with utmost attention to cow management, comfort and presentation.  From hutches, through the heifer facility, to the box stall barn, every detail has been carefully considered to provide the best environment and allow the animals to reach their full potential.  Separate housing for bulls and complete federally approved flushing facilities round out this field of dreams cattle genetics business.


Dam of Gold Chip GTPI+2450 – #2 Genomic Sire 4/11
Her daughter, Goldwyn Cash GTPI+2324 is the #1 GTPI Goldwyn of the Breed 4/11

Build It and They Will Come

Years of experience in sales and marketing and a passion for cattle have come together in this start to finish home for the production and marketing of elite dairy genetics. Jeff admits that attracting clients can be a two step process. “Type brings the foot traffic to the farm.  But genomics and pedigree get them buying.”

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky-ET HM Intermediate Champion, 1st Milking Yearling/Best Udder WDE 2012

R-E-W Happy Go Lucky-ET
HM Intermediate Champion, 1st Milking Yearling/Best Udder WDE 2012

Growing Pains: Challenges and Opportunities

Jeff acknowledges the challenges they face. “Like most businesses that are going through rapid expansion, there are certainly growing pains along the way.” The logistics alone require constant attention to detail.” We need to turn our animals 2.5 times per year for proper facility utilization.  That means keeping most newborn animals no more than 4-6 months.  This means we have to plan what sales animals are going to, contact people that have purchased 1st choices from us and get them to pick their animals, decide what bulls studs the qualified males will go to and arrange all of the proper testing.”


Goldwyn daughter of 2012 Golden Dam Finalist REGANCREST-PR BARBIE
Daughters currently at Butlerview by Supersonic, Bookem, Shamrock (GTPI +2443), Snowman, Greatest (GTPI +2358), Large (PTAT +4.13), Epic & Numero Uno

Butlerview Success Formula: People, Talent and Time Off

Even though the vision is quite large the success formula is quite simple explains Jeff. “We try to have the best employees we can find because they are the most important asset we have. We teach them how we want things done and then let them do their jobs without micromanaging them.” He adds that, “It is important to make sure that employees get some time off to prevent burnout in this type of environment.”

BVK Atwood Arianna-ET VG-89 1st Jr 2-Year-Old/B&O/Best Udder WDE 2012 Owned with Frank & Diane Borba

BVK Atwood Arianna-ET VG-89
1st Jr 2-Year-Old/B&O/Best Udder WDE 2012
Owned with Frank & Diane Borba

Marketing Strategy says “No!” to the Familiar and “Hello Wow Factor!”

The environment Jeff is referring to is the one where every animal and client benefits from the facilities and expertise offered by Butlerview Farm, Jetstream Genetics and Butler Fellers Auctions.  These are the three pillars of success according to Jeff. “I think what helps the success of Butlerview is that there are synergies between having the farm and having the auction company in Butler-Fellers to market the animals.” He points to the advantages. “This allows us to have a pulse and relationships with the buyers and sellers in the marketplace.” Each auction is an event in and of itself but Jeff doesn’t leave out the additional benefit of having the Jetstream bull stud. “This provides another avenue to market some of our bulls.”

Ms Atlees Shottle Aubry VG-88 EX-MS

Ms Atlees Shottle Aubry VG-88 EX-MS
Full sister to AFTERSHOCK

Buyers Come Through the Door for Type but Stay for Genomics and Pedigree 

A keen observer of the marketplace, Jeff homes in on what is most important to clients. “For show cows the most important thing I look for is the udder.  The other things I look for are style and show appeal, width of rump, openness and angularity, functional feet and legs and great front ends, with smooth blending of shoulders and long necks extending upward out of the shoulder. If they have all of that, then I look at size and length of body to make sure they are big enough.”  On the genomic side he has priorities as well. “For genomic animals, I look at three things in order: 1 Cow families and maternal lines; 2. Conformation of the individual; 3. GTPI score. Milk, fat, protein and high Type are the most important numbers that I look at. When trying to market offspring from them, I think those are the most important characteristics that the majority of our customer base looks at.”

RockyMountain Talent Lisorice EX-95 All-Canadian 2012 & 2011 All-American 2011

RockyMountain Talent Lisorice EX-95
All-Canadian 2012 & 2011
All-American 2011

Butlerview Seeks to Provide Exclusive Genetics

The team at Butlerview never loses sight of the fact that the goal is to be a world leader in top-ranked genomic and breed-defining type sires. “For type and show cows, we are using Gold Chip, Atwood, Brokaw, Sid, Colt 45 and Numero Uno because we really like the calves.  We anticipate using Licorice’s 2 sons that will be coming out in early 2013 at Jetstream Genetics: a red Destry son and a RC Goldwyn Son.” He outlines how they are approaching the genomic sires. “For genomic sires we are using Cashcoin, Cashmoney, Colt .45, Numero Uno, Supersire and have also ordered some Liquid Gold semen that we will be using.”


2nd Jr. 2-Yr-Old World Dairy Expo 2009
Res. All-American Jr. 2-Yr-Old 2009
Full Sister to Atwood & maternal sister to Aftershock

World Vision for Butlerview

These are exciting times to be in the dairy breeding business and Jeff offers this opinion. “Probably the two biggest game changers have been the ability to IVF animals which allowed a much quicker and more profitable ROI on the purchase of elite animals and then the invention of genomic testing which provides a tremendous tool for identifying the elite animals.”  He looks ahead to an exciting future with three important developments: “I see the value of high genomic males increasing for farmers as they move closer to 2013, when they will be able to test their own bulls. I see high genomic males topping public auctions much like high genomic females currently do.  I see the price of early semen from the high genomic bulls increasing rapidly in price, which will greatly benefit farmers.”

Ms Dundee Belinda-ET EX-94 EX-94 MS 3rd 5-Year-Old/1st Bred & Owned

Ms Dundee Belinda-ET EX-94 EX-94 MS
3rd 5-Year-Old/1st Bred & Owned at 2012 World Dairy Expo

Butlerview Shares Advice With Young Breeders

Jeff’s passion for the industry extends to everyone who shares his enthusiasm and particularly those just starting out. “When it comes to acquiring animals, I would encourage young breeders to look very closely at the maternal line.” His reason is based on years of experience.” It is much easier to market an animal when people around the world recognize the cow family that you are trying to market from.”

Micheret Alexandra Sid VG-89 5th 4-Year-Old WDE 2012

Micheret Alexandra Sid VG-89
5th 4-Year-Old WDE 2012

Innovation Changes Butlerview. Butlerview Innovates Change

If you stand still as the industry changes, eventually you will be left behind.  Through his new endeavours and keen eye for analysis Jeff talks about how modern marketing is based on engaging with the customer. He advises, “I would use the social media such as Facebook, print media and websites to get your message across to people.” He adds. “Today’s market is truly a global market.  You have to design messages that will reach and appeal to people all around the world.”

Peirstein Goldwyn Frisou EX-94 7th 5-Year-Old WDE 2012 Owned with Frank & Diane Borba

Peirstein Goldwyn Frisou EX-94
7th 5-Year-Old WDE 2012
Owned with Frank & Diane Borba

Bullvine Bottom Line

As Butlerview moves toward an exciting future Jeff is enthusiastic. “There are unlimited possibilities ahead.”  They look forward to working to grow their own business and those of their clients.


It’s seems like every day there is some new rumor about an astronomical price being paid for the “next great one” and many breeders find themselves asking themselves “How can they afford to pay that money for those cattle?”  While there is still some element of “all I want to do is win” the real way most of these breeders will make money is to sell off the fancy calves out of these great type cattle.

With that in mind we looked at the class winners from the recent World Dairy Expo and analyzed which ones that we feel have the proven genetics that you can be confident will stamp out those top type calves that will bring you the big prices in the sale ring.  Here are our top 5:




Talk about a cow with a bright future.  Not only did R-E-W Happy Go Lucky win honorable mention as a milking yearling at the world’s premier  Holstein show but also she has the pedigree and sire stack to back it up.  Happy Go Lucky is out of Arethusa Outside Leslie (VG-87) and the next dam is All-Canadian Milibro Cousteau Leila (EX-94).  Her outstanding type sire stack goes Goldwyn x Outside x Cousteau.  While the rumors about just how much Butlerview paid continue, there is no question this is one of the most valuable type cows on the planet.




In BVK ATWOOD ARIANNA VG-89-2YR-USA has many great things going on.  Linebred by Butlerview and Ruppert’s to be great, Arianna is just that.  Her sire Atwood’s MD-DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* (2012 Golden Dam Finalist) is a granddaughter of Arianna’s own dam the great MS KINGSTEAD CHIEF ADEEN EX-94-2E-USA DOM 2*.  While some would call it inbreeding, anyone who was at the show and saw Arianna and her sisters knows that this is linebreeding at its best.  When you look at Adeen’s progeny, you notice an area of potential improvement is the mammary systems and especially her feet and legs, two areas that Atwood excels greatly in.  When you look at enough Atwood’s you would say that maybe they would need some improvement in their rumps, something Adeen has proven she can stamp out.  There is no question Arianna and her sisters are a great example of modern linebreeding.




When BUTZ-BUTLER GOLD BARBARA VG-87-2YR-CAN sold for $187,000 at the recent International Intrigue Sale, many where asking was she the one?  (Read – International Intrigue: The Secret Is Exposed)  Well all those questions were answered on the colored shavings.  Barbara dominated the class.  The freak factor is extremely low on this one as Barbara probably has one of the greatest type pedigrees I have ever seen.  Her dam is none other than REGANCREST BRASILIA EX-92-2E-USA DOM 1* who of course is the daughter of 2012 Golden Dam finalist REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*.  For me there is no question that Barbara will just keep stamping out great calves.  As both her pedigree and type index  show that she will just keep putting out big dairy cows with great legs and udders and boxcar show rumps.  As Judge Heath  noted, she is just one massive milk truck, both genetically and in the ring.


4yr old class - WDE 2012

4yr old class – WDE 2012

Now, for me, this next one came in from off the radar a bit.  Since winning T-TRIPLE-T GOLD PRIZE VG-89-2YR-USA junior champion at the 2009 World Dairy Expo as well as the Royal I had not heard that much about her.  But man did she send a resounding message on the colored shavings at this year’s expo winning the 4yr old class.  Prize’s sire stack reads as a who’s who of the show sire world, (Goldwyn x Dundee x Linjet x Chief Mark). In that sire stack you pretty much have every sire of a recent Expo Champion represented (when you factor in that Goldwyn is a James son and Chief Mark is the sire of Skychief).  It really should not have been a surprise that Prize has  such an amazing udder given that such sires as Goldwyn, Linjet and Chief Mark are in her pedigree.   Those are also the exact reasons why you can be confident she is going to produce great daughters.




No list is complete without RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97-2E-CAN EX-94-5YR-USA.  As we have mentioned before, Hailey is the real deal (Read – The Story Behind How Two Full Sisters Dominated Expo Quebec).  Her dam, MELLHOLM LOUIE HANAH EX-92-2E CAN 2* was a show winner in her own right, winning HM.  All Canadian Sr. 2YR honors back in 2005.  When you cross the chest width, body depth and pin width of Hanah on the bone quality and set of legs and the proven ability to sire show winners of Goldwyn, the real question is, “How could you miss?”  When you add in the fact that she also has two full, sisters RF Goldwyn Halona VG-88-2YR-CAN and RF GOLDWYN HALTON VG-86-2YR-CAN then you understand why Hailey is the real deal.  It’s for that reason you realize why her daughter sold for $30,000 at the World Classic Sale (Read – World Classic 2012 Highlights).

The Bottom Line

There is no question that if show style  and high type indexes are in the pedigree, it shows in the ring.  There are exceptions and, no doubt, it’s finding the exceptions to the rule that makes breeding cattle so addictive. Your chances of getting back your investment rise exponentially if show quality is in the pedigree. Smart investors applaud all the winners as it takes a great deal of intelligence, and skill to breed and develop cows to this level.  The question then becomes once you have taken a cow to this level how can you maximize your return on your effort?  For us that means doing your homework knowing which ones have the highest probability to pass it on.



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Excitement and speculation are at an all-time high for  the 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show.  Exhibitors from around the world and cows from across North America have started making their way towards Madison.  (Watch this great video featuring Ferme Jacobs, Ferme de La Plaine & ferme blondin on their way to World Dairy Expo).  With the anticipation levels about to explode, let’s take a closer look at the early contenders.

The Judge

Michael Heath  - 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

Michael Heath – 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

Of course the final decision rests in the hands of 2012 World Dairy Expo Judge Michael  Heath and his associate David Dyment, who combined have more than  45 years of judging experience and have judged over seventy shows at the state and national level in  countries around the world.  Michael grew up on his parents, Billy and Betty’s Spring Valley Farm in Maryland.  After finishing college Michael’s passion for dairy cattle lead to him becoming a professional fitter for 14 years, and the respected position he holds  as a great cattleman and marketer.  He has owned cattle from some of the top families in the breed. Most notable of these is co-ownership of the MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE family (2012 Golden Dam Finalist).

Michael has judged many of the top state and provincial shows and highlights in a recent Cowsmopolitan article how pumped he was when he had the opportunity to make JACOBS GOLDWYN BRITANY Grand at Quebec last fall.  Though he admits he had to be a little reserved in his “Champion Slap” because of the fact that so many Goldwyn’s can be  skittish.  Nevertheless, he says that the ringside can expect a slap on October 6th Goldwyn or not.

Don’t be worried that Michael will be all work and no play. With David Dyment as his associate he is confident that they will have  the balance of intensity and objectivity needed to make it through this enormous task, and when need more than capable of pointing out the “hotties”. Given that Michael has probably one of the greats “strappers” as his associate it is great that Michael comments the following in a the Cowsmopolitan article:

“I want people to know that, as long as their nerves don’t get the best of them and as long as they’re comfortable, they are invited to show their own cattle.  I don’t care who is on the halter and I encourage young exhibitors to show their own animals as well.  This is the chance of a lifetime – get out there and have fun.”


The Contenders for Junior Champion

Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly, Will not be at WDE12 as she is owned by Michael Heath and David Dyment

Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly, Will not be at WDE12 as she is owned by Michael Heath and David Dyment

With Md-Dun-Loafin Lauth Elly being owned by the two judges the remaining contenders are:

  • Devans Denzel Angela
  • Kingsway Goldwyn Artichoke
  • Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie
  • Liddleholme Asteroid Bird

(Thanks to our avid readers for catching our error and having R-E-W Happy Go Lucky on the JR. champion list,  she will be in the Milking Sr. Yearling Class as she calved on Sept. 1st)


The Contenders for Intermediate Champion



While the recent move of Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice to co-ownership with Duckett Holsteins, you have to consider her an early favorite.   Others include:

  • Cookview Goldwyn Monique
  • Earlen Goldwyn Secret
  • Pappys Goldwyn Rave
  • RF Goldwyn Halona
  • Savage Leigh Gold Lona


The Contenders for Senior Champion



With two EX-97 point cows, Harvue Roy Frosty EX-97 and RF Goldwyn Hailey EX-97 set to battle, this year’s show is set to go down in the history books as one of the all-time greats.  This brings back memories of the Acme Star Lily with Leduc Broker Mandy at WDE in 1997 or her battle with Rainridge Tony Beauty  at the  1999 Royal.  Some cattle who could be “X Factors” are:

  • Rocky Mountain Talent Licorice (Reader added)
  • Savage-Leigh Leona
  • Whitaker Stormatic Rae


Life is Not All Black and White



While the Black and White Holstein show is going to be great, we must not forget some of the other great competitions.  At the International Red and White Show, Judge Justin Burdette from Windy Knoll View Farms will do a great job of helping breeders and exhibitors to feel  that each of their animals got the look that they deserved. You have to consider Blondin Redman Seisme Now EX-96 an earl favorite for Grand Champion, with Lake Praire Advent Aava-RED EX looking to give her a good run for her money.  Drawing from his experience of  being the Associate for Chris Hill a few years back, Justin will also do a great job of sorting out the contenders for Junior Champion that include: Flowerbrook Gyna-Red and Deckett P Lucy-Red.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no question that this year’s World Dairy Expo Holstein Show is going to be one for the ages and that there is no better man for the job then Michael.  I am sure he will have the time of his life.

For those of you looking to breed a World Dairy Expo Grand Champion check out – 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion


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