Welcome to December 2014 at The Bullvine.  It is the final month of another exciting year and time to pick a dozen articles for “Editor’s Choice 2014”.  I hope you will join me in looking back at which articles exploded out of the gate, which ones won our reader’s hearts and which ones brought attention to agriculture and the dairy industry.

12. MAKING IT BIG! World Dairy Expo and The Royal!

A single dairy class may only take up half an hour – a whole show one day — but in terms of breeding, buying, planning, fitting, travelling, preparing and follow-up, dairy shows represent a significant investment of time and money. It is no surprise then that huge numbers of our readers follow The Bullvine reports from across North America and around the world (Read more: International Holstein Show – World Dairy Expo 2014, Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show 2014 and International Red & White Show – World Dairy Expo 2014 ). Like our readers, we enjoy the showcase opportunities that World Dairy Expo and the Royal Winter Fair provide.  Live attendance, broadcasting and connecting with cows and breeders is what we like best. Bringing our readers as close as they can get to the show, without being with us on the scene, easily makes our top 12 picks of 2014. Thus both these North American showcases make our list of top picks.

11. ROSY-LANE HOLSTEINS – “Don’t Follow the Herd”

It’s not enough to know who the big show winners and top selling animals are. Dairy breeders are looking to understand, not only what got them to these lofty positions but also, how exceptional dairies are winners at producing milk.  They want to know the decisions that were made before the award went on the mantel and the money went into the bank.  Dairy breeders everywhere study the stories of great entrepreneurs like Quality Holsteins and Don Bennink. Lloyd and Daphne Holterman at Rosy-Lane Holsteins would tell you it isn’t a matter of one person or one ingredient.  They would say that success comes from a functioning partnership of people, teamwork and strategic planning. (Read more: ROSY-LANE HOLSTEINS – “Don’t Follow the Herd!”). This was a great interview and stands out as an example of how following your dairy breeding vision leads to success.

10.  The 10 Outlier Sires that Will Accelerate Genetic Gain

Recommendations on which sires to use always draws the attention of Bullvine readers. When our articles combine, not only list toppers but also important topics like reducing inbreeding, they draw increased attention (Read more: The 10 Outlier Sires that will Accelerate Your Genetic Gain the Fastest). These are the posts that our readers often refer back to, when discussing which bulls can offer the most genetic advancement. This article rang the bell with many breeders.

9. Why Braedale Goldwyn Wasn’t a Great Sire of Sons

An important part of what we do involves opening up discussion about what is not working too! When we identified Goldwyn, undoubtedly the greatest sire of show winning daughters, as less than a great sire of sons it generated many comments. The theory put forward in this article will be something bull breeders are likely to pay close attention to in years to come. (Read more: Why Braedale Goldwyn Wasn’t a Great Sire of Sons)

8. The 7 Most Influential Holstein Brood Cows of the Modern Era

Second only to bull lists are articles that turn the spotlight on cows. The seven cows included in this article cover all areas of breeding from show winners, to red, to polled, to dams of AI sons (Read more: The 7 Most Influential Holstein Brood Cows of the Modern Era). It is every breeders dream to breed one such cow. Clearly there is not a common definition of what makes an outstanding brood cow. This look back at the most influential cows may provide inspiration for those to come.

7. 50 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows

For a second year, the Bullvine provided a list of sires using our Bullvine Efficiency Index (BEI). This index rewards bulls that sire cows that get the job done in the milking parlor after consuming the feed at the bunk. This approach to selecting sires has caught on with many of our readers. New or novel breeding strategies, although not always popular, definitely catch the attention of our readers and we enjoy the discussion and feedback that is generated.  (Read more: 50 Sires that will Produce Feed Efficient Cows)

6. Look Who’s Talking – Dairy Slang

We regularly cover the major issues, the controversial ones and those that everyone finds difficult. That’s why it is sometimes fun to take a look at the lighter side of the dairy industry.  So much of our time is focused on words, grammar, spell checking and expression, it was a special treat to look at dairying from the spoken word side. (Read more: Dairy Slang: 22 Phrases that mean different things to dairy breeders) It then continued with conversations on The Bullvine’s new platform ‘The Milk House’ (Read more: Introducing The Milk House – Dairy Breeder Networking on Facebook). Dairy breeders from New Zealand and Australia helped bring us up to speed on the lingo used by our counterparts from ‘Down Under”.  (Read more: Australian Dairy Slang – They say things a little differently down under)

THE TOP FIVE PICKS

Like many who follow The Bullvine, although motivated by dairying, we too are most inspired by people.  That is why our top five picks are based on people from the dairy industry. We are inspired by the personal stories, the amazing achievements and the many ways that real life people face the challenges of growing a 21st Century dairy. Although focused on cows, the dairy industry is, at its heart, all about the people.

5. FORGET KATE – The Dairy Industry has Kassidy Upton

The fact that the  interview with Kassidy Upton caught fire among Bullvine followers, was no surprise in an industry that values the success of its young members most of all. The celebrity level success that this young lady is attracting will inspire young people from inside and outside of agriculture (Read more: Forget Kate – The Dairy Industry Has Kassidy Upton). For dairy folks it is especially encouraging that Kassidy feels that her farm background has contributed to her achievements – not only in international competition but also in landing an acting role.  Certainly not everyone expects a girl from a dairy background to rise to the top of the Miss Teen Canada Globe competition or to win a part in a movie. It is unexpected until you learn the whole story. That is why it was one of my favorite picks and inspired us to continue to seek out articles on the ways agricultural is building a positive image through role models like Kassidy Upton.

4. BONS HOLSTEINS “The Type That Wins”

“Bons-Holsteins is a home bred farm.  In the last 60 years we never bought a cow, heifer or embryo.” Thus begins a fascinating international story that, remarkably, also includes a significant amount of showring success. Nico Bons explains how family teamwork has successfully propelled them toward the shared dream of “breeding a European Grand Champion.” The emphasis on show type has been a winning breeding formula for this family in The Netherlands and we learn that – worldwide – there is a common passion for dairying that unites dairy breeders.  (Read more: Bons-Holsteins: The Type that Wins!)

3.  JOHN ANDERSEN “Building a Field of Dreams”

For the John Andersen family, dairy farming is a family affair. The unique part of this story is the way in which they have managed to balance family life while building a dairy business and managing a very large milking herd. Furthermore, they have brought both commercial and pedigree dairy farming together in a successful manner that many would consider an unlikely combination. Here is an entire family – multi-generations with a full-range of dairy skills – who are focused on dairying and setting a model for the industry (Read more: JOHN ANDERSEN – COMMERCIAL and PEDIGREE – Building a Field of Dreams).

Facing Impossible Odds

Sometimes the odds seem insurmountable.  The top two Editors’ Picks for 2014 certainly fall into that category.

2.  SAVE FRANK AND MARJORIE MEYERS FARM – “The Army is at the Gate and this Farmer’s Number is UP”

Here was a story that inspired The Bullvine to rally the troops in a call to action. Ironically, the call to action was one that we hoped would stop actual military troops from taking over a family farm. The battle for the Meyers family to be allowed to stay on their farm seemed doomed from the start.  Too little.  Too late.  The opposition was too big.  And – in the end — the outcry became enormous too, as the story spread and many took up the cry for a fair resolution to this travesty. Nevertheless, despite the support from thousands, the Meyers were evicted. The numbers didn’t count except to Frank Meyers (Read more: Save Frank & Marjorie Meyers Farm – The Army Is At The Gate & This Farmers Number Is Up!).

1.  WHY THE DAIRY COMMUNITY IS THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD

Sometimes all you can do is pull together, pray and offer support.  That is what became the unifying force for everyone touched by the events that forever changed the lives of Patricia Stiles and Reese Burdette. Seven months ago Patricia saved her grand-daughter Reese from a fire.  She too suffered burns. Both faced a fight for their lives. That fight goes on to this day. It is a tough struggle. (Read more: Why the Dairy Community is the Greatest in the World…)

The great thing about communities is that they pull together, when times are tough.  The dairy community – the agricultural community – and all those who identified themselves as part of a community that could reach out to Patricia and Reese — did that and continue to do so.  So many months of struggle and setback. Many more months to go.  As we enter into the Christmas season, let us be thankful that these lives were spared.  Help and prayers are needed now – perhaps more than ever – as this courageous family faces the long road ahead.  Patricia and Reese have won our hearts. We sincerely appreciate the grace of their families and thank them for keeping updates coming, despite how hard that has to be for everyone involved. We thank all those in the worldwide community who through prayers and fundraising are providing ongoing positive support. That is why the dairy community is the greatest in the world.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

At the end of each dairy day, we can’t guarantee that everything is perfect.  But we love what we do and dairying will always be our passion. We care for our families, our cattle and our community. Here at The Bullvine we are thrilled that you have made The Bullvine part of your online home, and that you use this platform to express yourselves, far and wide, around the globe. We’re growing together in dairying and look forward to continuing our conversations with you in 2015.

 

 

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