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Editors’ Choice – The Top 12 of 2012

With 10 months in at The Bullvine and a New Year just beginning,  this is a timely opportunity to revisit our Top 12 Favorite Stories of 2012 and tell you why we loved them so much.

These aren’t necessarily the highest-traffic stories (The Top 10 of 2012 – The most read articles of the year) although in some cases they did attract a lot of attention.  More importantly, they are the stories that best represent what we try to deliver to our Bullvine readers every day:  real stories, features, and analysis about the people, cows, issues and trends that are shaping the dairy industry in North America and around the world.

These are the ones that kept us up at night and got us out of bed in the morning!  We know that when we are engaged, you will be too! Read on for our favorites of 2012!

12. Early to Bed Early to Rise Work Like Mad and Advertise

“These days, dairy producers need to have as much confidence in handling their advertising as they do when handling their high-producing cows.” We like this article for its relevance to modern dairy producers. Just as important as what you feed your dairy cattle, what you feed your customers in terms of information can make or break your bottom line. Social media has overtaken our industry. (Read more – How Social Media is Changing the Holstein World).  What tech gadget did YOU get or give for Christmas? Unlike other advertising trends these ones are here to stay and growing more and more relevant to marketing success.


11. Which Is Your Most Profitable Cow

“Every farmer and every farm has their own individual situation. One type of cow is not the most profitable for everyone. But it is important that every cattle breeder takes the time to decide which, for them personally, is the most profitable cow. And then it’s equally important that they take the next step and breed for that type of cow. Your reality is the source for your profit.”  This is a message that The Bullvine feels is both informative and timely.  With a changing industry, global economics and advancements in genetics and technology finding the profitable cow is crucial to every producer.


10. Don Schwartz: Love What You Do and Do the Best You Can

“This was our favorite story to put together this year”.  That is saying a lot when you consider that The Bullvine provided the opportunity to interview Cristy Nurse (Read more – Cristy Nurse: From Show Ring Beauty to World Class Rower and  Cristy Nurse: Standing Tall) and Bonnie Mohr (Read more – Bonnie Mohr: Science and Art Together Creates a Holstein Love Story) – who are both amazing role models for the industry.  In the case of Don Schwartz it was the unassuming way in which he has dedicated himself to the cows he works with that stood out for us.  His passion shows in the cattle he guides from birth to the show ring — and home again. The 2012 Curtis Clark Award Winner is a fine example, like Cristy and Bonnie, of how far you can go by loving what you do and doing your best every day!


9. The Bullvine – The Party is Over

From the outset The Bullvine has stated our belief that open discussion is the best way for the industry to grow, develop and move forward.” This article reiterates that. One supporter wrote, “If only there were more people in our industries who adopted the same attitude. Don’t shy away from it, reveal it, raise it, discuss it and come out the other side better informed, more empowered, more engaged, and much stronger!”  Will do!


8. Holstein vs. Jersey: Which Breed is More Profitable?

There are many questions that are relevant to today’s dairy industry and this article is one example that we have taken a look at. Profitability is the driving force of a sustainable industry and weaves its way through many of our articles on investing in genomics, robotics and management articles that consider the money-makers and money-wasters in today’s dairy business. Of course, it’s always relevant to keep our minds and eyes open to more than “black and white”.


7. Gone But Not Forgotten.

Seventh place on my top 12 list is occupied by cows who have left a legacy for the dairy industry despite passing on much too soon for those who raised and loved them.  Rainyridge Talent Barbara (Read more: LASTING LEGACY:  A Tribute to Rainyridge Talent Barbara) and Sweet Pepper Black Francesca (Read more:  The Magic of Francesca) are two stories that are the cornerstone for why breeders dedicate their lives to dairy cattle breeding.


6. Talk About Money!

The Bullvine takes seriously its role in providing information to breeders to help them make informed decisions. We enjoy the research and analysis that provides a basis for articles that are relevant and useful. Our investment articles are consistently among the most popular and, for us, bring this article in at number 6 (Read more: Top 6 ways to invest $50000 in Dairy Cattle Genetics).


5. Answering the Tough Questions.

Every day we are faced with new ideas, financial challenges and, on occasion, the impact of Mother Nature on our day to day dairying success.  It isn`t the Bullvine`s style to fly below the radar or to deny the obvious.  Whether it`s providing a needed wakeup call  or asking a tough questions about Genomics, the Show Ring, hot house or high priced cattle or Industry leadership, we bring the issues to the table for discussion and debate.  One of our favorites earns 5th place – (Read more: $750 Semen Are You Crazy?”)  because it took a different angle on this new approach to dairy cattle semen selling.


4. The Perfect Holstein Cow.

If frequency of discussion was the only measure, this article on envisioning the perfect Holstein cow would be out in front by a country mile.  It is a topic that we never tire of at The Bullvine.  With experience in classification, true-type model designing and day-by-day cattle management, it is the “impossible dream” that eludes our grasp.  That doesn’t mean that we won’t try every scientific, photographic or genetic tool to bring it within our impassioned reach! And we WILL talk and write about it!!


3. The Story Behind the Story.

There are many obvious stories to write about: the winner at the cattle show; the top seller at the Auction; the list of industry Award Winners and so on. However, for the Bullvine, the real excitement comes from learning what goes on “behind barn doors” as we say!  By far one of our favorite articles was the one from this year’s Royal describing the touching events for the Eby family in “The 2012 Royal Winter Fairy Holstein Show – One of the Greatest Stories Ever Told”.  While it rises to the top, we are constantly impressed by the dedication, commitment and expertise of the dairy breeders we meet. Quality Holsteins (Read more: Quality Holsteins – Well Deserved Congratulations) and (Read more: Top 10 most Influential Holstein Breeders of All-Time) are great examples. It is the personal stories they shared with us that make our work a pleasure every day.


2. If it Matters, It Produces Controversy.

We continually ask ourselves, “What really matters to the dairy breeders who read the Bullvine?”  Sometimes the answers take us into areas that may be deemed politically incorrect or even none of our business. Great! Obviously, we receive (and accept) criticism especially when it leads to open and transparent discussion of these issues. When we look at industry leaders, we definitely raise hackles (Read more: Semex – The Rise and Fall of a Semen Empire). Our readers give us feedback: “I for one enjoy the service you provide. While I do not always agree with you, you always make me think” “Unfortunately truth is not always popular and frequently contradicts the institutional consensus.” and, most encouraging, “Your articles and subject are great.  I’m so damned tired of hearing the same old thing from others.” “I read The Bullvine first thing every morning and think about it, while I do chores!” Perfect!


This brings us to #1 on our Editors’ Choice list of favourites.


#1 Now That’s Timely.

Anyone involved in journalism will tell you that the Holy Grail of article writing is timeliness. At the Bullvine we strive to provide news in a way that is relevant to where you are RIGHT NOW!  Sometimes we burn the midnight oil.  Quite often we see the sun rise while we click away on our computers. It is all worth it when it works for YOU!

For these reasons our favorite article of 2012 was (Read more: Who’s Next? World Dairy Expo: Holstein Show Preview).  This choice may surprise many.  While, to some it was controversial, it comes in at number one because it met our top three criteria of timeliness, usefulness and relevance.

As we seated ourselves early on the morning of the Holstein Show at World Dairy Expo, I received a tap on my shoulder. The couple in the seats behind us had noticed our Bullvine logo on our jackets. As we introduced ourselves the gentleman pulled a paper out of his pocket. It was the article previewing World Dairy Expo.  He had printed it off and brought it with him. He updated us throughout the show on our insights.   We were right on and he followed up with comments, when he returned home. This interaction and dialogue happens often whether its auction sales, cattle shows or predictions of rising stars in genomics or the next proof run!

Input from our readers will always be #1 with The Bullvine.



At the end of the day — or at the beginning – we love what we do.  Your passion and enthusiasm for dairy breeding inspires everyone The Bullvine.  We are grateful to Len Vis, the breeder-friend who didn’t hesitate to be the first breeder to interview with us (Read more: “Mapel Wood Farms – Invest in the Best! Forget the Rest!) and are thrilled at the growing network of breeders, experts and enthusiasts who share with us regularly. We will continue to look for our best story ever!  It’s coming soon and will definitely be shared on The Bullvine.

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