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Even though I wrote the Royal Winter Fair Preview Article and titled it “Expect the Unexpected”, I have to admit that even I was shocked at the final results.  Common sense tells us that we should always be prepared for the unusual because it all comes down to how each cow looks on the day and in the Judge’s opinion.  There were just under 4,000 entries for this inaugural Royal Winter Fair Fantasy Exhibitor competition.  Similar to the Holstein Show itself, you could not just pick the winners from Madison and expect to be a winner yourself.

Junior 2 Year Old

Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza  1st place Junior 2 year old Belfast Holsteins & Mary Inn Holsteins, QC

Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza
1st place Junior 2 year old
Belfast Holsteins & Mary Inn Holsteins, QC

After being upset by Petitclerc Sid Sunkiss at Expo International du Holstein Quebec (Read more: Expo Internationale Holstein Québec Results)  Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza regained the top spot. Having said that, Sunkiss did offer a little better value for those who were trying to squeeze in some more expensive older cows (Please note that Sunkiss’s value was set prior to EIHQ).  With almost 70% (36.9% Lasenza, and 32.7% Sunkiss) of the participants and all of the top 40 participants selecting these two cows, it really was a two-cow race.  When Lasenza entered the ring, she looked the best she has yet.  After viewing her strong rear seam, many who were hoping for an upset knew that it would not be happening on this day.  Another great value pick would have been Jacobs Atwood Vedette, who at $120,000 and placing third and earning 10 points could have certainly helped the more than 100 participants that spent just over the $2,500,000 limit.

Petitclerc Sid Sunkiss 2nd place Junior 2 year old Ferme Blondin & Yvon Sicard, QC

Petitclerc Sid Sunkiss
2nd place Junior 2 year old
Ferme Blondin & Yvon Sicard, QC

Senior 2 Year Old


Charwill Attic Marcy
1st place Senior Two Year old, and Reserve Intermediate Champion
Gen-Com Holsteins, QC

On a day that was full of surprises, the one sure thing was Charwill Attic Marcy.  She looked amazing, as she has all year, and easily strolled to the top of the class.  With Marcy also earning Reserve Intermediate Champion, she proved to be a very economical choice as well.  For almost 40% of the participants and all of the top 40 Marcy was a must have in order to contend in this year’s competition.

Junior 3 Year Old

Phoenix Sanchez Geo  1st place Junior 3 year old  Breamont Holsteins, ON

Phoenix Sanchez Geo
1st place Junior 3 year old
Breamont Holsteins, ON

Catching everyone by surprise was Phoenix Sanchez Geo.  With less than 3% of the total competitors picking her and none of the top 40, this was certainly a curve ball that many did not see coming.  With the two most popular picks Ehrhardt Gold Beauty, winner at Expo and the full sisters BVK ATWOOD ABRIANNA and BVK ATWOOD ANDREA not making it to the show, this class was certainly a write off for many competitors.  Geo on a day of upsets turned out to be one of the greatest value picks in the entire competition!

Senior 3 Year Old

Aingers Advent Bambi 1st place Senior 3 year old Ferme Blondin, QC

Aingers Advent Bambi
1st place Senior 3 year old and Intermediate Champion
Ferme Blondin, QC

Talking about upsets. Could there be a bigger upset than seeing Aingers Advent Bambi defeat Valleyville Rae Lynn and Butz-Butler Gold Barbara?  Less than 15% of the competitors even included her on their team.  Rae Lynn and Barbara have been much heralded this year and were expected to have a clash of the titans at the Royal.  However, as Bambi’s upset of Barbara at EIHQ showed us, she is not to be forgotten.  With Bambi winning Intermediate Champion and only costing $125,000, she was easily the greatest value in the whole competition.  While many, including myself, discounted this three calf Senior 3 year old, (actually she has had four calves as there were twin heifers by Atwood), Bambi has certainly thrown her name into the ring.  Even though Rae Lynn did earn honorable mention Intermediate Champion, and did so while milking over a year, at $625,000 in our competition, the price may have been too high for many to choose to include her.  However, the real surprise was Barbara, at $625,000 and no bonus points, her third place finish was a team killer for many.

Valleyville Rae Lynn  2nd place Senior Three Year old and HM Intermediate Champion Quality Holsteins, Ponderosa, Al-Be-Ro Land and Cattle, ON

Valleyville Rae Lynn
2nd place Senior Three Year old and HM Intermediate Champion
Quality Holsteins, Ponderosa, Al-Be-Ro Land and Cattle, ON

4 Year Old

Robrook Goldwyn Cameron  1st place 4 year old and Grand Champion St Jacobs, Clark Woodmansee, Budjon Farms & Peter and Lyn Vale, WI

Robrook Goldwyn Cameron
1st place 4 year old and Grand Champion
St Jacobs, Clark Woodmansee, Budjon Farms & Peter and Lyn Vale, WI

In what was to be a rematch from Expo, where Cookview Goldwyn Monique got the upper hand, on this day it was all about Cameron who caught Judge Crowley’s attention and strolled to a convincing win in her class.  Looking better as the day went along and peaking in the Grand Champion parade, Monique proved to be a pretty good choice as well.  However, in order to contend in this year’s Fantasy Exhibitor Competition, you pretty well needed to choose Cameron.  In fact, 75% of the top 40 competitors and 100% of the top 10 all chose Cameron to anchor their team.

Cookview Goldwyn Monique  2nd place 4 year old and Reserve Grand Champion Jeff Butler and Joe and Amber Price, IL

Cookview Goldwyn Monique
2nd place 4 year old and Reserve Grand Champion
Jeff Butler and Joe and Amber Price, IL

5 Year Old

MS Goldwyn Alana 1st place 5 year old and HM Grand Champion P Boulet, Ferme Fortale, Isabelle Verille, QC

MS Goldwyn Alana
1st place 5 year old and HM Grand Champion
P Boulet, Ferme Fortale, Isabelle Verille, QC

With her dominant class win and Honorable Mention Senior and Grand Champion honors, MS Goldwyn Alana was a great pick for many.  All but 1 of the top 40 competitors and over 40% of all competitors had chosen Alana to win. There were no real surprises in this class.

6+ Year Old Class

Calbrett Goldwyn Layla 1st place Mature Cow Comestar, Speranza Holsteins and Ponderosa, QC

Calbrett Goldwyn Layla
1st place Mature Cow
Comestar, Speranza Holsteins and Ponderosa, QC

When it comes to the biggest shocker of the day, that honor has to go to Calbrett Goldwyn Layla.  After finishing ninth at Expo, no one expected Layla to upset World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, and 1st place 6 year old from EIHQ, BONACCUEIL MAYA GOLDWYN.  Less than 2% of the competitors even had Layla on their team.  This victory had to be even more shocking than Bambi’s victory in the Senior Three Year Old Class.  For those who had gone all in on Maya, her 2nd place finish and no bonus points in Grand was the biggest team killer in the whole competition.  Maya certainly looked good at the Royal, though she did not fit with the style of cow that Judge Crowley was looking for.

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn 2nd place Mature Cow Ty-D Holsteins, Ferme Jacobs, Drolet and A & R Boulet, QC

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn
2nd place Mature Cow
Ty-D Holsteins, Ferme Jacobs, Drolet and A & R Boulet, QC

What had to be a pleasant surprise for many, as well as to us, was Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy winning the longtime production class.  As we were not sure if this former World Dairy Expo and Royal Supreme Champion would be making the trip this year, she was left out of our competition.  Nevertheless, seeing her extreme size and dairyness was certainly exciting for all.

Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy 1st place Production Cow Morsan, Van  Runen Dairy, Mark Butz, Gert Andreasen, AM

Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy
1st place Production Cow
Morsan, Van Runen Dairy, Mark Butz, Gert Andreasen, AM

The Dream Team

During the team selection period, it was a consistent challenge for many competitors to get all their favorites onto their teams.  Though as it turned out, with the expect the unexpected theme of this year’s competition, the ultimate points team, that would have earned 217 points, would have only cost $2,085,000, almost $500,000 under the $2,500,000 budget.  This team would have been,  Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza, Charwill Attic Marcy, Phoenix Sanchez Geo, Aingers Advent Bambi, Robrook Goldwyn Cameron, Ms Goldwyn Alana and Calbrett Goldwyn Layla.  Yes that is correct, you could have had all the class winners on your team and still had almost a half a million left in your pocket.  It just goes to show, it’s not about how much you spend, but rather how wisely you spend it.

The Winners Are

Colin Uecker of Watertown Wisconsin had the winning team of Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza, Charwill Attic Marcy, Ehrhardt Gold Beauty, Aingers Advent Bambi, Robrook Goldwyn Cameron, Ms Goldwyn Alana and Willowholme Goldwyn Jessica.  Earning 187 out of a possible 217 points.  While a couple of the other top 5 competitors did have higher scoring teams, Colin took full advantage of the bonus points for getting his entry in early to  squeak out the win.  With so many upsets, it is not surprising that no one predicted the exact results.

Place First name Last Name
1 Colin Uecker
2 Ily Genetics
3 Flavio Junqueira Costa
4 Stephen Mast
5 Luke Instone
6 Wayne Houdek
7 Colin Leach
8 Tom Pettit
9 Jean-Philippe Charest
10 Darrel Barkman
11 Kate Cochrane
12 Hannah Roberts
13 Andree Menard
14 Emily Stuff
15 James Woodmansee Sr.
16 Alexandre bapst
17 Gwyn Murray
18 Bryant Hlavaty
19 Maxime Lauzon
20 Austen Schmidt
21 Raphael Chabot
22 Matthew Keffer
23 Allan Merkley
24 Anna Meyer
25 Brett Woker
26 Robin Christman
27 Andy Reynolds
28 Christopher Burne
29 Mireille Cloutier
30 Christian Roberge
31 Olivier Corriveau
32 Cameron Davis
33 Christiaan Viljoen
34 Alana Brown
35 James Whatman
36 Jeff Merkley
37 Genevieve Arbour
38 Brian Coyne
39 Olivier Lapointe
40 Cleocy Mendonça Jr.
41 Susan Armstrong
42 Donna Banowetz
43 Meaghan Thornhill
44 Grant Armstrong
45 Sandy MacGillivary
46 Sean Murray
47 Melissa Marcoux
48 Lysanne Pelletier
49 Fina Martinez
50 Catherine Lauzon
51 Annette Killian
53 Scott Crandlemire
53 Jon Spoelstra
54 Tom Peters
55 Blake Zehr
56 Matt Forestell
57 Nicole Crosbie
58 Adam Nelson
59 Tony Van Lith
60 Sylvain Cormier
61 Mandy Brazil
62 Jacquin Louis
63 James Hoffman
64 Proulx Jean-Philippe
65 Joe Nash
66 Scott Brown
67 Kevin Jacobs
68 Annie Chabot
69 Francis Cournoyer
70 Amelie Poulin
71 Anne-Marie Loranger
72 Burnell Zehr
73 Chris Schulze
74 Chris Steven
75 Shelby Iager
76 Chad Ryan
77 Tom Uber
78 Anthony Brenton-Robert
79 Mike McLaughlin
80 Michael Leclerc
81 Alejo Guichon
82 Max Petitclerc
83 Nathan Ulmer
84 Eric Houdek
85 Jake Dueppengiesser
86 Ashley Knapton
87 Jason Pegg
88 Guillaume Labee
89 Hannah Jackson
90 Chad Popp
91 Ricardo Cuesta
92 Olimar Rupli
93 Kevin Vanzessen
94 Chris Hill
95 Corey Popp
96 Adam Zehr
97 James Woodmansee jr.
98 Deb Knapton
99 Jack Lomeo jr
100 Brent Carmichael

Calculate Your Own Score

Class Name Price Points
Jr 2 year old Beckholm Goldwyn Deelila – $120,000 $120,000 0
Jr 2 year old Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza – $300,000 $300,000 20
Jr 2 year old Comestar Masha Sanchez – $105,000 $105,000 0
Jr 2 year old Dream-Prairie GW Alberta – $135,000 $135,000 0
Jr 2 year old Gen-Com Brett Madison – $105,000 $105,000 0
Jr 2 year old Jacobs Atwood Vedette – $120,000 $120,000 10
Jr 2 year old MS Aubrey Gold Addison – $135,000 $135,000 0
Jr 2 year old Petitclerc Sid Sunkiss – $150,000 $150,000 15
Jr 2 year old RF Duplex Caileigh – $105,000 $105,000 0
Jr 2 year old Weeks Dundee Anika – $225,000 $225,000 6
Sr 2 year olds Arcroix Goldwyn Jamaique-ET – $120,000 $120,000 0
Sr 2 year olds Blondin Goldwyn Bordeau – $150,000 $150,000 0
Sr 2 year olds Charwill Attic Marcy – $300,000 $300,000 28
Sr 2 year olds Jacobs Duplex Anna – $225,000 $225,000 10
Sr 2 year olds Kingsmill Atwood Allison-ET – $135,000 $135,000 0
Sr 2 year olds Pierstein Atwood Rosine – $60,000 $60,000 6
Sr 2 year olds Rosiers Blexy Goldwyn-ET – $105,000 $105,000 0
Sr 2 year olds Starcrest Rhyme Casablanca – $120,000 $120,000 5
Jr 3 year old BVK Atwood Abrianna-ET – $240,000 $240,000 0
Jr 3 year old BVK Atwood Andrea-ET – $180,000 $180,000 0
Jr 3 year old Ehrhardt Gold Beauty-ET – $340,000 $340,000 0
Jr 3 year old Hardy Gold Diamond – $80,000 $80,000 0
Jr 3 year old Jacobs Knowledge Harpe – $180,000 $180,000 10
Jr 3 year old Kingsway Sanchez Arangtang – $140,000 $140,000 9
Jr 3 year old Lindenright Atwood Bounce – $160,000 $160,000 0
Jr 3 year old Ms Ken Dren Sanchez Feather – $100,000 $100,000 5
Jr 3 year old Phoenix Gogo Sanchez – $160,000 $160,000 0
Jr 3 year old Phoenix Sanchez Geo – $160,000 $160,000 20
Jr 3 year old Roquet Jasmine Sanchez – $140,000 $140,000 0
Jr 3 year old Tolamika Dundee Fanta – $120,000 $120,000 3
Sr 3 year old Aingers Advent Bambi – $125,000 $125,000 30
Sr 3 year old Butz-Butler Gold Barbara – $625,000 $625,000 10
Sr 3 year old Cowtown Durham Grasshopper – $200,000 $200,000 0
Sr 3 year old Eastriver Gold Deb 850-ET – $150,000 $150,000 4
Sr 3 year old Ernest-Anthony Allure-ET – $125,000 $125,000 8
Sr 3 year old Kingsway Goldwyn Abba Dabba – $225,000 $225,000 7
Sr 3 year old TC Sanchez Kristina – $75,000 $75,000 3
Sr 3 year old Valleyville Rae Lynn – $625,000 $625,000 21
Sr 3 year old Vioris Alex Pandora – $100,000 $100,000 0
Sr 3 year old Whitake-Kk Goldie Rose – $250,000 $250,000 6
4 year old Cookview Goldwyn Monique – $720,000 $720,000 29
4 year old Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice  $150,000 $150,000 3
4 year old Drumlee Mischief Denison – $240,000 $240,000 10
4 year old Jacobs Goldwyn Valana – $300,000 $300,000 9
4 year old Lampada Goldwyn Katrina – $240,000 $240,000 0
4 year old Ms Pride Gold Invite 761 – $210,000 $210,000 8
4 year old Nordale Goldwyn Ricky – $90,000 $90,000 7
4 year old Quality Gold Danzi – $240,000 $240,000 5
4 year old Robrook Goldwyn Cameron – $570,000 $570,000 40
4 year old RockyMountain Goldwyn Trisha – $240,000 $240,000 0
5 year old Crestomere Lou Victoria – $330,000 $330,000 4
5 year old Gerann Roy Grendel – $330,000 $330,000 15
5 year old Glenwin Goldwyn Calypso – $330,000 $330,000 10
5 year old Ms Goldwyn Alana – $510,000 $510,000 32
5 year old Quality Goldwyn Flinsco – $210,000 $210,000 7
5 year old Rayon D’or Goldwyn Adonial – $240,000 $240,000 5
5 year old Robella Reg Macy – $270,000 $270,000 0
5 year old Rocky Mountain Gold Winter – $240,000 $240,000 0
5 year old Silvermaple Damion Camomile – $210,000 $210,000 0
5 year old Tromley-Dairy Lheros Jewel – $330,000 $330,000 0
6+ year old Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn – $1,000,000 $1,000,000 15
6+ year old Calbrett Goldwyn Layla – $120,000 $120,000 20
6+ year old Cityview Metro Lucy – $210,000 $210,000 0
6+ year old Jacobs Goldwyn Britany – $240,000 $240,000 9
6+ year old Ms Dundee Belinda-ET – $210,000 $210,000 8
6+ year old Pierstein Goldwyn Sunshine – $90,000 $90,000 5
6+ year old Starbrite Lyster Lyndsay – $480,000 $480,000 9
6+ year old Tween Bay Sara Goldwyn – $180,000 $180,000 7
6+ year old Willowholme Goldwyn Jessica – $300,000 $300,000 10

The Bullvine Bottom Line

In a year that was anything but expected, it is not surprising that this year’s results were all over the board.  Congratulations to Colin Uecker !!!  Be sure to watch for next year’s Fantasy Exhibitor.  There will be many new features added to this amazing competition.


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Most years you can expect the results from the Holstein show at the Royal Winter Fair to be pretty much a repeat from that of World Dairy Expo (Read more: World Dairy Expo 2013 Holstein Show).  But this year is going to be different.  From  cows that were at Expo and won’t  make the trip to Toronto, to cows that have freshened since Expo and have made  the trip, you can certainly expect the results from this year’s show to be very different.

The Judge

Tasked with placing this amazing show will be John Crowley.  John and his supportive wife Cynthia and four kids (who are already achieving great things in their own right) are Master Breeders and milk 75 head in Hastings Ontario.  They currently have 40 Ex – 60 VG – 6 GP.  The herd has garnered over 60 All-Canadian, 100 All-Ontario, and 9 All-American nominations including the recent 2011 Unanimous All-American Junior Best Three Females and First Junior Herd at the 2011 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo.  Crovalley is proud to have captured over 100 Premier Breeder and Premier Exhibitor banners at numerous shows across Canada.

Crowley has also judged in numerous US states and has travelled extensively abroad judging in  South Korea, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Portugal, and Brazil.  In addition, John has had the privilege of judging the Jersey Futurity Class at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.  When asked, “What is the biggest thing you want breeders to say after the show?”  John replied, “Of course I want the breeders to be satisfied with the job I did.  I want people to say that it was a fair job, with no politics involved and that I had a real pattern in selecting my animals.”

Assisting John this year will be Don Donnan.  Don hails from Stirling Ontario.   He and his wife Beverly  own Donnanview farms—an 80 cow Master Breeder herd.  Donnanview is proud to have bred 29 Excellent cows in the past three years and has bred and/or owned several All-Ontario and All-Canadian nominees.  When Judge Crowley was asked  how he selected his associate, he replied, “I wanted a close friend, a friend that sees cows similar to me.  I wanted a person who milked cows and one who, when asked a question,  will give me his honest opinion, while acting  in a supportive role, knowing that this is my show to judge.”  We are sure he will get that and a few much needed tension breakers from Associate Judge Donnan.

Contenders for Junior Champion

Fanico Reginald Marty

Fanico Reginald Marty

Similar to last year the World Dairy Expo Junior Champion will not be making the trip to Toronto, opening the door for some other very worthy candidates.  Leading the way has to be the Reserve Junior Champion, FANICO REGINALD MARTY, who was also Junior Champion at the recent  Expo Internationale Holstein Quebec (Read more: Expo Internationale Holstein Québec Results).  Other contenders to watch for are a pair of Winter Yearlings AQUAREL OUTBOUND OBE TENTION and PETITCLERC GOLDWYN SIDNEY.  Also watch for a very exciting senior calf class that includes three  big time contenders PETITCLERC GOLD SALTALAMACCHIA, COMESTAR LARION GOLDWYN and DUCKETT FEDERAL TAZ.

The Contenders for Intermediate Champion

Nowhere is the competition at the Royal  going to be more intense  than with the cows that have freshened since Expo (or have had just that much more time since freshening to straighten around) or did not make the trip to Expo than in the Milking Yearling through Senior Three year old classes.



In the Milking Yearling class the World Dairy Expo winner, EXTONDALE SID IAMS is at the Royal, but 2nd place from Expo, ARETHUSA FEVER ALMIRA-ET is coming off a big win in Quebec where she earned many fans and is certainly maturing nicely.  Others to watch for include COMESTAR LAUWINNY WINDBROOK and MS ATWOOD ADRENALINE.

Belfast Goldwyn Lasenza

The junior 2-year-old class is certainly heating up to be quite a  battle.  With the extremely popular and Expo Champion BELFAST GOLDWYN LASENZA getting beat by Expo 3rd place PETITCLERC SID SUNKISS in Quebec, it certainly reminds us that any cow can be beaten on any given day.  Others to watch for include WEEKS DUNDEE ANIKA and DREAM-PRAIRIE GW ALBERTA.



Probably the one junior cow class that seems to be the most cut and dried is  the Senior 2 year old class.  CHARWILL ATTIC MARCY has been dominant all year and looked great at both Expo and in Quebec.  However, as we all know there are always contenders and they include FUTURECREST AFTERSHOCK TAHLIA who sells at lot 1 in the Sale of Stars, as well as JACOBS DUPLEX ANNA, JACOBS ALEXANDER BLACKY and HODGLYNN DYNASTY LICORICE.


In the Junior Three Year old class there will be the Expo winner, EHRHARDT GOLD BEAUTY, but gunning for her will be a pair of full sisters, BVK ATWOOD ABRIANNA and BVK ATWOOD ANDREA, and the recent show winners PHOENIX GOGO SANCHEZ and PHOENIX SANCHEZ GEO.  Of course we cannot leave out Jacobs Knowledge Harpe  who is a very popular pick in The 2013 Royal Fantasy Exhibitor Contest (Read more: Fantasy Exhibitor – Royal Winter Fair 2013)

Valleyville Rae Lynn

Probably one of the most interesting twists coming out of Quebec is that, instead of it being a two cow race for the Senior Three year old class, between Expo winner BUTZ-BUTLER GOLD BARBARA and the extremely popular VALLYVILLE RAE LYNN, a third cow AINGERS ADVENT BAMBI has thrown herself into the mix after defeating Barbara in Quebec.  Each one of these cows is very different from the others.  Bambi is a very strong powerful cow, Barbara is extremely dairy, something that may just give her the edge over Rae Lynn who has been milking for over a year.  The other interesting side story to this class is that the owners of each of these animals represent some of the greatest dairymen in the breed today (Read more: KUEFFNER DAIRY TEAMWORK “2 Dream the Impossible Dream!”,and Quality Holsteins – Well-deserved Congratulations).  For me that is what makes picking a winner in this class  very hard.  On each of these cow’s best days, I would say that the win would have to go to  Rae Lynn, but she has been milking over a year, and while the Quality team has done an amazing job, I wonder if that is enough to get around Barbara who is  yet to be- defeated at Expo or the Royal.  And she did defeat Rae Lynn at last year’s Royal.  While I have loads of respect for Bambi, I just wonder if she is  too  different in her style and makeup to win.  You either  have  to win with her or place her 3rd as the other two type in much better together.  If you are looking for a dark horse, keep your eyes open for KINGSWAY GOLDWYN ABBA DABBA grand champion at the recent Autumn Opportunity Show in Ontario.  (Read more: Autumn Opportunity 2013 Holstein Show )  One thing is definite. This  will probably be one of the most watched classes of the day with the winner more than likely  going on to do battle with Marcy for Intermediate Champion.

Butz-Butler Gold Barbara-ET

The Contenders for Senior Champion



Continuing the theme of epic battles, there is the re-match of the four old class from Expo.  At Expo COOKVIEW GOLDWYN MONIQUE got the upper hand on ROBROOK GOLDWYN CAMERON.  However, Cameron made the trip to Quebec and certainly impressed many with her big win and Reserve Champion honors.  Others to watch for include ROCKYMOUNTAIN GOLDWYN TRISHA, JACOBS GOLDWYN VALANA, DRUMLEE MISCHIEF DENISON , MS PRIDE GOLD INVITE 761 and QUALITY GOLD DANZI.


With Expo winner ROSEDALE LEXINGTON opting not to make the trip and rematch with MS GOLDWYN ALANA, the win in the class has pretty much been handed  to Alana.  Having said that, there are  many, especially those who were in Quebec where Alana was Grand Champion, who think even if Lexington had made the trip she may not have come away with the victory.  While I totally agree that Lexington deserved to win at Expo, Alana looked much better in Quebec than she did at Expo and would certainly have made things very interesting.  Others to watch for in this class include GLENWIN GOLDWYN CALYPSO, CAVERHILL PEACH DOLMAN and QUALITY GOLDWYN FLINSCO.

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn

Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn

While I certainly expect BONACCUEIL MAYA GOLDWYN to dominate the mature cow class, as Judge Liddle reminded us in Quebec, you cannot just expect to roll to victory.  Adding an interesting twist to this class is the fact that one cow that has been coming on strong, especially since Expo as the truck ride home helped her peel off some weight, is WILLOWHOLME GOLDWYN JESSICA.  Others to watch for include CITYVIEW METRO LUCY, GERANN ROY GRENDEL and TWEEN BAYS SARA GOLDWYN.

In one of the most interesting battles of the day we will see the legend STARBRITE LYSTER LYNDSAY go against a  Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY.  Yep that is correct Missy is in Toronto.  I took a quick look after the long trip from the west and Missy will certainly impress many of her fans.  The question remains, “Will she be able to relive former glory or not?” The answer to  that question is ultimately up to Judge Crowley.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no question that this year’s Royal is going to be a great one.  With so many great cows and passionate breeders the show is sure to make history.  As a passionate dairy enthusiast, I can’t wait to get this show on the road, because I am already expecting the un-expected.


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Don’t Judge a Cow by Its Picture

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Recently the Bullvine posted a judging contest on Facebook to see how breeders would place these six animals based on their pictures alone (Read more:  Facebook image, entry form). The results were very interesting and raised the question “How well can you judge an animal from their picture?”


The animals selected, and more specifically, the pictures selected were all from photos that I have personally taken at shows.  So there was no doubt that the animals appear as they appeared in the show ring this year (Read more:  Introducing the Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct, Has Photo Enhancement Gone Too Far? and Dairy Cattle Photography – Over Exposed).

Of course we all know that No Cow is Perfect – Not Even in Pictures.  What we are trying to figure out, is if these animals would place differently with pictures as compared to how they would place if they were judged side by side.  The results were very interesting.  Most people placed the class C-F-A-D-B-E and our official placing was F-C-D-A-E-B.  F and C were a very very close placing, with only a slight split between them.  They were followed closely by A, and then there was a decent split to D.  The bottom pair of B and E could go either way.


The pictured placings were not too different, until you compare how these animals would place if you actually had them side by side.  In that case, you would see a very different result F-D-C-A-E-B.  F would take the class handily.  You see F is Valleyville Rae Lynn, and C is Desnette Alexia Roseplex.  These two cows have faced each other several times with the most recent time being at Ontario Summer Show (Read more:  Ontario Summer Show Holstein Results and The Shocking Speed of Social Media and the Dairy Industry) where Rae Lynn won the class and went on to be Intermediate and Reserve Grand Champion and Roseplex was 3rd in that class.  In the picture, Roseplex looks much deeper and more open of the rib.  In real life she may be pretty close, but there are two things that you greatly miss in the picture that you can only see in real life.  First is that Rae Lynn is just as deep and long. Since the leadsman of Roseplex is standing beside the cow instead of in front of her during this shot, we were able to crop in and so the cow appears that much larger.  The other factor that you cannot see in just a side shot compared to being able to have the cows side by side is that Rae Lynn possesses much more width throughout. She is a much longer cow (another reason the pictures look different) and has a higher and wider rear udder.

Valleyville Rae Lynn compare

Valleyville Rae Lynn
It’s interesting to see just how cropping of a picture can change the way the animal looks.


The placing of D over C is where many may start to wonder what happened.  We admit that in the pictures this is an easy placing of C over D, but if you had these in animals in the same ring at the same time, two factors would come into play.  First that D, Eastriver Gold Deb 850, is again wider of the chest, higher of the rear udder and cleaner throughout.  The second is that D would type in better with F (the class winner) and then would naturally follow her in the class.  Similar to how Raivue Sanchez Pamela did at Ontario Summer Show and hence Roseplex (C) was placed 3rd at Summer Show (Read more:  Ontario Summer Show Holstein Results).  Something that you are not able to tell when judging pictures is also the stage of lactation.  In this picture Deb 850 is fairly fresh where Roseplex is in mid lactation.

The other thing you would not realize in pictures, that you do when you see these cows, is that there is a size difference.  This comes to play in our next placing of C over A.  A, originally identified as Crater Indiana Goldwyn is actually Debeau Jasper December,  she is a very balanced dairy cow but,   with a live view, you would realize that she is not as much overall cow as the three above her.  Also her rump, slope to hooks to pins, as well as width of rear udder would limit her from placing higher in this class.

Huntshaven Deb Narobi Red It's amazing how much getting a lower perspective can change the appearance in a photograph.

Huntshaven Deb Narobi Red
It’s amazing how much getting a lower perspective can change the appearance in a photograph.

The last two cows (E and B) also bring some interest to the class and not just because they are red.  In this case, the difference is actually the quality of the picture.  In both pictures the cows are not set up perfectly or looking their best.  That was by design for this class.  You see we have better pictures of E, Huntshaven Deb Narobi Red, and B Deslacs Ritzy Greedy Red.  But what we wanted to point out here is just how animals can look very different depending on who is taking their photo.  Both these cows are much better than their pictures would indicate.  However, for me it is an easy placing putting E over B on the dairyness throughout and the quality of her fore udder.  Yes Rizty Greedy Red is a very deep opened ribbed cow, but Narobi, is cleaner of the leg, smoother of the fore udder and longer throughout.  The challenge you have with Narobi’s picture is that it is slightly over exposed here and so you cannot see her ribs as well as in Rizty Greedy Red’s picture.  We  intentionally used  a slightly darker picture of Rizty Greedy Red and a slightly over exposed picture of Narobi to prove our point about what over exposing pictures does (Read more: Dairy Cattle Photography – Over Exposed).

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Let’s sit back and think about how often we don’t get to see many of the great cows in the world in person.  Unless you are someone like Han Hopman (Read more: Han Hopman: Shooting Straight at Holstein International) or a select few that get the opportunity to get to the major shows around the world, you would never really be able to pick out exactly  how all these great cows compare to each other.  For example take Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra *RC EX-96-SW (Read more: DECRAUSAZ IRON O’KALIBRA: Simply the Best).  Many who have seen her as well as the top cows in North America admit that she is an extremely balanced cow and that her udder is amazing, though they wonder would she be enough cow to contend with the likes of Hailey on the North American show circuit.  For those looking at both of them in pictures you could certainly go either way.  O’Kalibra takes amazing photos and it can sometimes be hard to get as good a picture of Hailey as she looks in real life.  And so the bottom line tells us it takes more than a picture to judge a cow.

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There is no question that social media has changed our world.  From the ability to talk to people of like mind from anywhere in the world to the ability to learn the latest news instantly, the dairy industry has changed dramatically as a direct result of social media.(Read more: How Social Media Is Changing the Holstein World)

Every second 2,200 tweets are posted, 580 users update their Facebook status and 24 minutes of video are uploaded to YouTube.  The scary part is that adoption rates of new social networks are accelerating.  It took LinkedIn 3.5 years to reach 10 million users.  The same feat took Twitter just over 3 years, and Facebook 2.5 years.  Most recently Google+ did it in just 2 weeks.  The reach of social networks is spreading faster than any infectious disease in the history of mankind.  From 2005 to2010, Facebook gained over 500 million users.  More than the entire world population at the time of the Black Death. (Read more: How Social Media Is Changing the Holstein World)

Shocked and Amazed in the Show Ring at Summer Show

This past week’s events highlighted for me just how astonishingly fast social media is.  First, while attending the Ontario Summer Show, the power of the Internet and social media certainly flexed its muscle (Read more: Ontario Summer Show 2013 Holstein Results).  Coming into the show, I would have told you that Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2yr, the Res. All-Canadian Sr. 2yr old from 2012 and 1st Senior 3 & Intermediate and Reserve Grand Champion Ontario Spring Show 2013 would be able to stroll her way to an easy win.  Then entered Raivue Sanchez Pamela and Desnette Alexia Roseplex and you could hear the excitement in the crowd rise to another level.  Roseplex, a cow that probably has one of the greatest side profiles I have ever seen, has been developing well since winning Intermediate Champion at the 2013 Quebec Spring Show and has gained more chest width and rear udder width to go with that amazing profile.  Then there is Pamela that on any other day, against any other competition might have been the talk of the town.  Instantly, I was getting messages from breeders around the world saying how amazing that class was and speculating about who would win.  The shared pictures from all three cows were extremely popular.  But once you saw these three amazing cows in line, you realized that Rae Lynn was simply that much longer and dairier than these other two also outstanding cows.


Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR
First Senior 3 year old, Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand Champion
Owned by Quality, Granja Ponderosa, Al-Be-Ro Land & Cattle, ON and Spain

Almost instantly the questions switched to asking when we will see Rae Lynn against the likes of Butz-Butler Gold Barbara VG-89-2yr and Eastriver Gold Deb 850 EX-92 EX-92 MS?  The challenge is that since Rae Lynn has been milking since last October and is not due again until March 2014, we may not see her again until the Royal, passing on the long trip to World Dairy Expo.  Let’s hope that we may see her at Madison to give us the greatest Senior 3 year old class in history.

Grand Champion Ontario Summer Show - Calbrett Goldwyn Layla (Goldwyn), Mature Cow, For then owners: Cormdale, Genervations, Kruger, Al-Be-Ro land and cattle.  Now owned by Comestar Holsteins and Ponderosa farms of Spain.

Calbrett Goldwyn Layla EX-95
1st Mature Cow and Grand Champion Ontario Summer Show
For then owners: Cormdale, Genervations, Kruger, Al-Be-Ro land and cattle.
Now owned by Comestar Holsteins and Ponderosa farms of Spain.

Having said that, none of this chatter could compare to what was to follow around Calbrett Goldwyn Layla EX-95.  Normally, when it’s time for the mature cow class, it comes down to which cow has had held up to the wear and tear.  However, this year at Ontario Summer Show, things were a little different.  The winning mature cow was a 3rd calf 7 year old.  This became a subject that was very polarizing to breeders at ringside and especially online.  She was shown perfectly by the great showman David Dyment.  He always seems to know how to make a cow stand out.  There is no question that Layla catches your eye.  She is extremely dairy and strong and looked the part.  She did handily win the class.  The part that shocked many was when Judge Bruce Mode went on to name Goldwyn Layla Grand Champion of the show.  We are certainly fans of judges who take bold moves here at the Bullvine (Read more: Dairy Show Judging – It Takes Courage)

The reaction online was certainly mixed.  Almost instantly, there were comments being posted either in agreement or disagreement.  Questions starting coming in about just how good did she look and did she need extra help in order to make it to the ring?  It’s not unusual for these rumors to swirl around champions. And stories — true and false — begin to be shared. Today they’re shared instantly!! Call it marketing.  Call it borderline ethical.  The concern is there, especially for young breeders who are looking to get into the marketing of elite cattle genetics.  If the concerns are true, what message does this send to them?  Here we may have a cow being rewarded for all the wrong reasons.  Will she contend at Madison or the Royal?  Will she even be there?  Moreover, how is she beating a cow that has the potential to become one of the greatest of all time?

Changing the Conversation

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for the conversation to change to a more positive note.  This year’s International Intrigue Sale hosted by Ferme Blondin was certainly a positive for the industry.  (Read more: International Intrigue: Forget the Records It’s About the People and International Intrigue at Ferme Blondin Sale Results 2013).  While the sale didn’t have some big name World Dairy Expo Grand or Intermediate Champion contender, it certainly did have a strong line up with many outstanding individuals.  Extremely popular online was Jacobs Sid Bamba, a Sid from World Dairy Expo contender Jacobs Goldwyn Britany EX-96 who sold for $50,000 and Ms C-Haven Oman Kool-ET (VG-87-2YR), the former number one gTPI “Man-O-Man” daughter in the U.S. and second highest protein cow at +80, who sold for $92,000.

Jacobs Sid Bamba

Jacobs Sid Bamba
A Sid from World Dairy Expo contender Jacobs Goldwyn Britany EX-96
Sold for $50,000 at the International Intrigue Sale

While Layla selling to Comestar and Ponderosa for $125,000 at the Cormdale Summer Sale on Monday (Read more: Cormdale Summer Sale Results) re-ignited the conversation, I thought we would have a quieter time for the rest of the week.  However, that certainly was not the case.  Normally it’s my personal opinion editorial pieces that get us here at The Bullvine in trouble.  This time it was our interview with Don Bennink (Read more: North Florida Holsteins: Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable!!)  that took the conversation in a different direction and to completely new levels.  This time is wasn’t just the small segment of the marketplace that follow the shows, but rather it was the dairy community at large who felt the need to let their opinions be known.  There is no question that Don’s opinions about type classification, type evaluations and how they predict longevity have fueled this    polarizing subject.  .  As a strong supporter of type classification, it has caused mixed thoughts in my own head (Read more: The Truth About Type and Longevity) and has generated some amazing conversation on Facebook.

Just When You Think It’s All Over

Just when I think that it’s all over, and that we can now settle down to a holiday long weekend with the family, a completely new fire erupts.  One of our news items from the weekend about how the Whitaker family of Georgia had the unfortunate occurrence of having one of their trusted employees  suspected of illegal activities leading to 40+ cop cars, and SWAT personnel in cooperation with the family descending on the farm.  This led to the finding of several guns, marijuana and methamphetamines, which investigators estimated could be worth $50,000.  While this is certainly unfortunate for a great family who are strong members of the dairy community, the reaction to the news article we collated “FBI Storms Whitaker Farm For Drug Bust”, certainly caused a commotion on Facebook with a few breeders who felt the title did a disservice to this family.  Yet another example of the power and speed of social media.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.  Dairy farmers have never been short on having them.  The difference is that, through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, breeders can now share their opinion with thousands instantly instead only with a few local breeders.  You no longer have to call several breeders to find out what happened at the show or sale.  You don’t even have to wait for it to be printed in one of the old school magazines.  Things are happening in real time and the news is now coming to you, instead of you having to go and find it.  One of the biggest changes we have noticed since starting the Bullvine is how many breeders no longer go to the news sections of the dairy publications anymore.  They now watch their Facebook news feed and if there is an article or news item of interest that has been shared by a fellow breeder or company they follow, they go ahead and read it.  No longer do they have to surf through many sites just to find the few tidbits they would be interested in.  Now they can get it all in their Facebook news stream complete with the ability to share their opinion with their friends and fellow breeders.  It is truly shocking the speed of Social Media and how it has affected the dairy industry.

For those of you wanting a little guidance check out “The Dairy Breeders Guide to Facebook”.


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?



To learn how to get your farm on Facebook download this free guide.




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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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.


Quality Cattle Look Good Every Day

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

For years the comments have been made that show cows look very different in the ring than they do most other days of the year.  I have heard breeders make comments about some great show cows that look All-World in the show ring and not even All-County in the barn.  One of the biggest changes I have noticed in the past 10 years is how much this situation has changed.

More and more we are seeing cattle with consistent show pedigrees or type winning the shows.  Does that mean that there are not as many “freaks” out there?  Or, does it mean that show ethics and better management practices have led to the top genetic animals rising to the top?  I think the latter is true.

Here are two great examples from my recent visit to Quality Holsteins


This past week Flansco was scored EX-95 and I wanted to check her out.  Flansco is the first third generation EX-95-CDN cow.  Her dam was QUALITY GIBSON FINSCO who was HM. ALL-ONTARIO 5-YR 2008 & 2ND 5-YR ON DISCOVERY 2008 and her 2nd dam was none other than QUALITY B C FRANTISCO EX-96-3E-CAN 18* and 2 time Royal Grand Champion as well as the 2005 Holstein Canada Cow of the Year.  So there is no question that Flansco has a female line as well as strong type sire stack (Goldwyn x Gibson x Charles) behind her

Therefore it is certainly not surprising that I was able to get this great udder shot.  After all, Flansco won grand at the recent Autumn Opportunity show (Read more – Autumn Opportunity Holsteins Show Results)

QUALITY GOLDWYN FLANSCO - EX-95-CAN  Grand CHAMPION 2012 AUTUMN OPPORUNITY SHOW  (Taken at the 20012 Autumn Opportunity Show 17/10/2012)


She looked this good when I visited just before milking time

QUALITY GOLDWYN FLANSCO - EX-95-CAN  1st 3rd Generation EX-95-CDN Cow in the world  (Taken at the farm just before milking time 11/30/2012)



It’s also not surprising that, when I took a quick peek at Rae Lynn, the recent 2nd Sr. 2yr Old from the Royal (Read more – The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the greatest stories ever told!), I got this shot

Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR 2nd Senior 2yr old RAWF 2012  (Taken at the 2012 Royal Winter Fair (09/11/2012)

She looked just as good on an average day on the farm

Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR 2nd Senior 2yr old RAWF 2012  (Taken at the farm just before milking time 11/30/2012)

It’s obvious Rae Lynn has the complete package.  Her dam is an EX 2E Champion sister to the 2011 Royal Winter Fair and Madison Supreme Champion EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY, from the great STADACONA OUTSIDE ABEL VG-88-4YR-CAN 29*.  Rae Lynn is also in the top 10 in Canada for her EBV for Conformation.  However, as we all know it takes more than just great genetics to win at the big shows.  More is exactly what these two cows have.  The care they receive from the team at Quality Holsteins (Read more – Quality Holsteins – Well-Deserved Congratulations) and key team member Don Schwartz (Read more – Don Schwartz: “Love what you do and do the best you can!”) is second to none.  It’s for that reason these cows that have the great genetics are all able to fulfill their potential.  It is also the reason why these cows look so amazing day in and day out.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Gone are the days when you could take a complete meat bag cow to a show and expect her to do well.  Between the progress in show ethics and in how we evaluate cows, the cream really is rising to the top.  For me there is nothing better than going to the herds where  these top cows reside and seeing that they look just as good in the barn as they did in the show ring…..well with a little more sh*t on them.



Don Schwartz is definitely a gentleman and a quiet one at that.  Don opens up when talking about cows but is very humble when speaking of his own success.  As the 26th recipient of the Curtis Clark Achievement Award he declares quite simply, “This is a wonderful honour.” Like Curtis Clark himself, Don does not seek the spotlight. “It was the last thing I was thinking of.”  Being called to the show ring during the 2 yr old class was both “a surprise” and “a bit of a funny story.”

“It was All a Blur”

Looking back on how he learned of the award Don says, “Apparently Ari told my brother David at nine on show morning and the crew also knew.  The big question was how they would get me to the ring.” Don is definitely most happy to be the guy in the barn. He goes on, “The two year old had gone out and someone called out that she was having trouble and I had to get to the ring. I grabbed an antihistamine and a needle and took off.” It’s been reported that Don could have won the running with the bulls in Pamplona he was moving so fast!” He continues the story. “When I got there I looked at her to see if she was hiving up or reacting.  She seemed okay. I couldn’t understand it!” And then the conspiracy continued. “Ari said, ‘I just wanted you to be here to see her show.’ Still confused, I replied, “I’ll take her back to the barn.’ Ari said, ‘Let Manuel take her, you stay here.’ As the plot thickened, Don was still in the dark, “I thought that was really strange. Then I looked around and Steve Fraser and Gary Vanderpost were nearby.” A light went off. “I asked, ‘I didn’t win that award did I?’ Gary squeezed me so hard I couldn’t believe it! The next thing I knew I was joining that amazing lineup.” Don says he has no idea what they actually said about him over the microphone. With only 4 minutes to prepare himself, he concludes, “The rest is all a blur!”

DON SCHWARTZ Curtis Clark Achievement Winner

Family Role Models and Lifelong Friends

Clearly moved by receiving this recognition from such respected peers, Don says “I never dreamed of such a thing. From day one it has always been about my passion for dairy cattle.” His admiration for his father Jim inspired his lifelong desire to be a farm manager.  “At home we showed a Guernsey Herd. Hank Vanderpost was herdsman there for 15 years.   Tannery Hill Farms earned 23 Breeder and Exhibitor Banners.” In his usual understated style he says, “That was quite a thing.” Indeed, for Don, it laid the foundation for what would lead him to his future career.

“I had the opportunity to be around the best showmen of all breeds.  I learned from the respect that was given to these ‘guys in overalls’ that they were important people. I have always tried to learn from the best.” 

He points to his 23 years with Quality Holsteins and what it means to him. (Read more – Quality Holsteins – Well-Deserved Congratulations)  “The passion and dedication of Paul – the perfectionism for fine detail of Ari – they both reinforce what I believe in.” It has been a wonderful team says this modest man who feels that his role is to fill in the blanks. “I love to see the udders bag up and feed to fill the frame.  I want them to eat as much as they can.” He enthusiastically expands, “I like to develop the cow.  I do all the feet and trim them three or four times before showing – always planning ahead for who will be there on the day and who isn’t quite ready.”

“Keep An Open Mind”

The annual trip to “The Royal” is a never-miss-family-tradition.  Although, it may seem that it’s easy, there is always something to learn.  Don advises those who aspire to winning. “I think the best thing you can do is to keep an open mind.  When you’re working at shows always look back afterwards at what worked and what didn’t.  I model myself after others who are willing to try things.  When you try new ideas some might think it’s crazy but it’s always best to keep an open mind.”

He has coped with many challenges in his years in the trenches of cattle preparation.  You never know what surprises will pop up.  Your window of opportunity may be only 30 days from calving to the show ring as Don reports it was with Valleyville Rae Lynn. No wonder he was pleased that they met the challenge and was second place two year old at the Royal.

Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR  2nd Senior 2yr old RAWF 2012

Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR
Under Don’s watchful care

“The Goldwyn Factor”

Over the years, Don could have written a veritable how-to book on cattle preparation.  In that time, he has witnessed many changes. He gives one example. “There’s what I call, the Goldwyn Factor.  Udders are so much better. Cows are more dairy.  Commercial breeders can appreciate the cows that are winning in the show ring today.”  This improvement has impacted preparation of cattle. This year’s 2 yr old, Rae Lynn is an example. “I only had 11 hours of milk in that cow.  People walking by were commenting. “They’re not going to have enough milk in the cow.” He chuckles, “They were probably wondering if they should have trusted this guy to get the job done?” The show ring results support the confidence in Don, with a resounding, “Absolutely!”


Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR 2nd Senior 2yr old RAWF 2012

Valleyville Rae Lynn VG-89-2YR
2nd Senior 2yr old RAWF 2012
2ND SR.2-YR ROYAL 2012

Winning Spirit.  Winning Record.

Don points with pride to previous Curtis Clark Award winners, such as Harold Patterson. “I was so honored to be in that lineup and shake his hand.  I’m sad that Milking Shorthorns are out of the Royal! Think of the great ones, you’ll never see!” Like this man whom Don admires, the sheer volume of successes of the Quality show strings sets him apart as exceptional too. “I love to develop each cow.” This hands-on, 24-7 dedication has contributed to 20 Quality Breeder’s Herds and a record setting seven All-Canadian awards.” It’s no surprise to hear that his favorite thing to do on his day off is to “drop in on my neighbours and look at their cows before milking.”


GRAND ROYAL 2005, 2004

“It’s always all about the cows” 

Don admits that he never considered any other career. “I always admired a good cow, whether it was a good Jersey or Ayrshire.” He affirms his passion for Holsteins and then adds, “I can be happy to see a great Brown Swiss too.  That’s what I love about the Royal. I get the chance to socialize as much with Jerseys as with Holsteins.”  If you want to gets his enthusiasm really overflowing, talk to Don about the many, many cows that are his favourites. “Of course there is Quality BC Frantisco (Ex-96-3E-18*) and Quality Astre Felice (ex-27*). Quality Carlton Pam (Ex-97-6E-3*) and Quality Leadman Lady have also won his permanent affections, although Lady’s life was cut short when she was struck by lightning.



“Home Bred Makes Me Happy”

Don has seen many changes over his years preparing for the show ring. “I miss that you don’t see as many herds like Spring Farms and Romandale .. the homebred herds.” He respects herds like Ferme Jacob and explains,” That is what I love about Quality Holsteins.  People think of you as a breeder first.”  He is amazed at some aspects of the modern cattle breeding business. “Now days it’s kind of funny.  You read who won Madison and two days later she’s sold to someone else.” This accepting and adaptable guy says, “That’s okay but for me I love taking care of homebred cows. From the day they are born until they are famous, I take pride in the success of our homebred herd.” He would never criticize other’s paths. “It’s great to have a good eye for a cow and I like to make great purchases” but this Curtis Clark winner admits, “I want to look back on the success of the cow and her mother and her grandmother before her. That is the true measure of what success means to me.”  He proudly points out how the offspring from Frantisco and Astre Felice are making their way to the winners circle today.


Grand daughter of Frantisco

Not Just Show Day But Every Day

Even though Don always sets his personal standards very high, he is humbled to be with the smart business men and cattle men who have preceded him as Curtis Clark winners. “I’m the barn guy 24-7 at the barn. I have no desire to be a leadsman but I take pride in taking show cows home after the show and having them look as good as they did at the show.” Like Gerald Coughlin who Don admires he says, “I’m happy to be in the trenches.” Regardless of what challenges face Don he feels that the cows are a blessing that will see him through. “If I have a tragedy, or people are sick … or when my Dad died when I was thirteen … I always know I can go out to the barn, where the cows are calm, and I will feel their calmness.” Unconditional love works both ways.

Don being presented the 2012 Curtis Clark Achievement Award

Don being presented the 2012 Curtis Clark Achievement Award

Gentle Man. Powerful Example.

Son Randy signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a non-draft free agent in January 2009.

Son Randy signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as a non-draft free agent in January 2009.

With emotion in his voice, Don shares a family concern that the “Royal” cattle tradition could end with him and his brother David, whom he admires and respects as a mentor too.  It’s been talked about by his son and daughter.  Son Randy had been drafted by The Blue Jays baseball team and is now married and teaching in Florida and daughter Erin manages a marina in Parry Sound.  He talks so proudly of them and concedes that “perhaps” their success is part of that 24-7 gene that he has passed on. “Oh my wife has that too!” he enthuses. “Linda works in the Quality Seed business.  She is a tremendously hard worker.” He pauses to recall how happy Linda was when he came home with his award.”I never saw her cry so much ” he says with modest amazement. “It was an emotional moment for both of us.”  When Don called his mother with the good news her voice was also filled with emotion when she said, “Look what my boys have done!” There may be new places and different careers, but Don and Linda needn’t doubt that the Schwartz family legacy lives on.

The Bullvine Bottom Line.

Following the example of other special men in overalls, Don Schwartz is a very special man himself.  He is a fine example of how far you can go by loving what you do and doing your best every day.

It is a pleasure to extend heartfelt congratulations to Don Schwartz the 2012 Curtis Clark Achievement Award Winner!



“Congratulations on winning!” That’s one of the nicest things you can hear when you show cattle.  Congratulations  is fine for winning the lottery or celebrating a birthday, but “well deserved” is reserved for people who put in the effort and the time and took the risk to get somewhere. Today we are looking at why the success of Paul and Ari Ekstein of Quality Farms Ltd. in Woodbridge, Ontario is well-deserved

Quality Shows to Win



Quality Holsteins is at the forefront of dairy cattle breeding and showing and Ari Ekstein of Quality Farms Ltd. attributes much of that to one cow, QUALITY B C FRANTISCO EX-96-3E-CAN 18*(Read more – The 8 Greatest North American Show Cows of All-Time). “Frantisco is having a great impact on our herd.  There is no doubt that the two years that she was Grand at the Royal the Quality herd became more famous in the world.  Her greatest impact is through her daughters and granddaughters (Read – Great Show Cows Can They Pass It On).  This family is one of the most consistent breeding families in the world.  The success of this family has helped keep Quality in the forefront of the Holstein industry. Both the Grand and Reserve grand cows at this year’s Autumn Opportunity go back to the Frantisco family.” (Read – Autumn Opportunity Holstein Show Results)



QUALITY GOLDWYN FLANSCO EX-94-CAN – GRAND AUTUMN OPP. 2012 – Grand daughter of Frantisco

Quality Winners Don’t Happen by Coincidence

You can’t count on luck or chance in cattle breeding. You have to make a plan and stick to it.  When you breed show cows, you’ve got to prove it with winners at the major shows.  Ari is familiar with analyzing and planning for show success. “There is no doubt that WDE is one of the greatest shows in the world.” However he points out that Quality’s plan was different.  “The last time we exhibited at Madison was with Quality Astro Sheri.  She was second prize three year old in 1988. We are only a half an hour from the Royal and we decided to continuously show there rather than Madison.”  They have had tremendous success at the Royal.  Perhaps this will be doubled in the future as Ari reports “You will see Quality at Madison again in the next few years.” Obviously, the key is to know where you’re showing and how to win there.

Winning today (vs. winning tomorrow)


QUALITY GIBSON FINSCO EX-95-3E-CAN 4* – HM. ALL-ONTARIO 5-YR 2008 – dam of Flansco and daughter of Frantisco

There can be high excitement and frustrating disappointments in the show ring … but everything you do today has an impact on tomorrow’s successes.  Quality’s winners, in the barn and in the show ring, start before each cow is mated. Current stars in their lineup are,Quality Goldwyn Flansco, Quality Gibson Finsco, Quality Gibson Ficoe, Quality Gibson Fantisco, Quality Carlton Pam, Quality Gold Danzi, Pine-Tree Finley Minnie and Valleyville Rae Lynn.



The Quality Strategy

“We try to breed the best type cow possible that will milk easy with no health issues.  We are very particular in what bulls we use and we try and make sure we make the best mating every time.  We love great type cows and we will continue to try and breed a “champion” cow every time.” Quality sets the benchmark high.

Change is Part of the Breeding Business

Everyone must find a way to deal with change and usually it starts with recognizing that it is happening. “I am sure everybody involved in this industry will tell you that genomics has had a huge impact in the value of cattle.”

Ari feels it isn’t’t just the sales ring but also the show ring that has seen change. “We have also seen a dramatic change in the style of today’s show winners. Goldwyn has set the new standard in today’s show ring.” says Ari, who then goes on to point out the benefits brought to the dairy industry because of evolving genetics. “Today’s modern dairy genetics have also bred cows that are profitable because they have the ability to milk throughout their lactation.  The days of cows peaking in the first three months and barely milking in their last three months should come to an end.”



Genomics Is a Quality Tool

Ari reports that Quality Holsteins uses genomics. “We have concentrated more on the bulls that combine the extremely high type with high production and health traits.” This may surprise those who feel genomics and type are mutually exclusive.  The top 10 bulls that Ari lists are: Windbrook, Sid, Goldchip, Fever, Dempsey, Braxton, Atwood, Brokaw, Bradnick, Brawler. When you break down their attributes you see that they are all high type and that there is a 70/30 split between proven and genomic sires.  (Read more – Does Genomics Belong in The Show Ring and 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion)


PINE-TREE FINLEY MINNIE EX-91-CAN DOM 2* – Dam of PINE-TREE SID – Owned by Quality Holsteins

Type Leads the Way

Ari points out that even with genomics, he focuses on type. “We believe that type is still very important and we refuse to give up type for the sake of numbers.  Whether you are a commercial breeder or someone who is trying to breed a show cow, the better typed cows are always worth more. When you go to a commercial sale barn the better typed cows always sell for more than the poor typed cows. Needless to say the cow in first is usually worth more than the one in 10th.”

Quality Formula Based on Hard Work

You could be forgiven for assuming that it has been easy for Quality Holsteins to achieve their outstanding show ring success.  After all they are in the winner’s circle year after year.  Sometimes we forget that the hard work really begins long before the ribbon is awarded. There is no book, “The Lazy Man’s Way to Champions!” Ari attributes success to this finely honed formula: “The combination of dedication, hard work and passion from the Ekstein family and some of the best employees in the world has contributed to our success.”



Only Elite Breeding will have Value in the Future

Experienced in the seed industry as well as the dairy industry, Ari knows that all businesses evolve with changing markets. Ari points out where the future is headed. “The farms keep getting bigger and the importance of high producing, healthy typey cows continues.” Rather than fret about this and worry about the impact, Ari analyzes what lies ahead. “As we move forward we will see that only the true elite animals will hold their value.  Anything that is rare will always be valuable. The extremely high genomic animals and the great show cows of the breed will always be valuable.  It is very hard to breed both of these and the cows in between will not increase in value.” Simply put, when all of your competitors are busy increasing value by cutting prices, Ari points out that you can actually increase your returns by breeding only the cows that are valued in the marketplace.

Quality Focuses on Success

Sometimes we assume that if we just copy the bull selection of an elite breeder like Quality Farms Ltd., our herd will rise in the rankings too.  Ari’s advice disproves this simplistic idea. “I think it is important to realize what your goal is as a breeder, and make sure you focus on what your idea of success is.” You have to know your herd, your cow and yourself before you make even one mating decision. Of course, there are some basic rules to follow. “It is very important to try and breed from the most consistent breeding families in the breed.” Ari says. “There are many good cows with good pedigrees but very few have the ability to consistently breed.” The third piece of advice is probably the most important, “Once you realize what family you want to focus on it is equally as important to use the right bulls.  Making the proper mating is very important and do not just use a bull because he has a good proof.  It is important to use the bull that is the best mating for each cow or heifer you are breeding.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

You might think a breeding discussion with Quality Holsteins would boil down to a choice between genomics or type.  Again, the assumption would be wrong.  The Quality answer is that, based on your own clear goals, there is something of value in the proper use of both tools. The real foundation of success Ari points out is that,”The will to succeed, devotion and hard work will eventually pay off.” That’s when the title “Quality” is well-deserved.


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