Archive for September 2012

Who’s Next? World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Preview

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

The Judge

Michael Heath  - 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

Michael Heath – 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Judge

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

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

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

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


The Contenders for Junior Champion

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

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

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

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

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


The Contenders for Intermediate Champion



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

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


The Contenders for Senior Champion



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

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


Life is Not All Black and White



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


The Bullvine Bottom Line

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

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

GOLDEN-OAKS PERK RAE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

Golden Oaks Farm, former owners, and Adolf Langhout, current owner, are justifiably proud of the achievements of GOLDEN-OAKS PERK RAE – Red-ET EX-90. Perk Rae is an 8thgeneration EX and she is a red Roxy.  She has 7 EX sisters. Her sire, Burket-Falls Perk-Red, is a breeding product of Burket Falls Farms in Pennsylvania where the 270-head herd is 80% polled.  With that family line behind and beside her and strengths that include protein (+16kg) daughter fertility (103), milking speed (107) and temperament (106), it isn’t surprising that she is a contender for 2012 Golden Dam.



Perk Rae is a Prolific Embryo Producer

Perk is impressive in her own right as a long bodied cow with power and dairy strength. She supports all of that with an excellent udder and outstanding feet and legs. She was on a continual flush program at Golden Oaks, performed by Sunshine Genetics of Whitewater, WI and recently has milking daughters from Alexander, Goldwyn and Shaquille. Perk Rae flushed really well and sold more than 100 of her embryos around the world.  (Read – What Comes First the Chicken or the Egg?) With ten years in their breeding program she had a total of 81 registered direct offspring including 10 VG and one EX-92.

GOLDEN-OAKS DUR RAE1 VG-89-3YR-CAN – daughter of Perk Rae

GOLDEN-OAKS DUR RAE1 VG-89-3YR-CAN – daughter of Perk Rae

Perk’s Imposing Number of Daughters Also Perform on the Plus Side

What is distinctive about Perk Rae is her capacity to transmit her quality to the next generation. Perk Rae has Very Good daughters by Vince, Mr. Burns and Durham.  They all have high production. Her best daughter, by Durham, is Golden-Oaks Dur Rae1.  She earned the maximum score VG89 as a three year old.  Her production at three years was 13,530kg, 3.4% fat and 3.2% protein. Golden Oaks is working with a Goldwyn daughter who as a GTPI of +1910. As well, she has 8 VG daughters in the USA.

Perk Rae’s Sons Considerably Improve the Breed

Perk Rae has numerous sons including Mr Perky at ABS Global, Rocco P at ABC Genetics and Parkson at Trans-World Genetics. Grandsons in AI include Ventur Proxy PP-Red – homozygous polled Red Mitey P x VG Durham x Perk Rae at DairyBullsOnline (Read – They’re Sold on Polled).  In particular there is considerable enthusiasm for the polled and red daughters of Golden Oaks Rocco-Red (Redman x Perk Rae).

Perk Rae Mates Well

Nate Janssen, Dairy Operations Manager of Golden Oaks, reports that the best matings on Perk Rae have been Redman, Durham and Goldwyn.  “A lot of Perks best descendants are from her Redman daughters.”  Durham worked well, as mentioned previously, with a 92 pt daughter by him.  Nate adds, “Goldwyn helped bring a little more angularity and style into the picture.”  He outlines a two-part marketing strategy.

GOLDEN-OAKS PEACH-P-ET VG-85-2YR-CAN - daughter of Perk Rae

GOLDEN-OAKS PEACH-P-ET VG-85-2YR-CAN – daughter of Perk Rae

Perk Rae And Her Family Are In Demand in the Market

“Although we like to keep red in the picture, there is a market for high polled B&W animals, so we are using some of the top B&W as well and protecting for milk and health traits.”  Presently there is large demand. “At our farm we have a PP Colt Daughter that we are currently flushing to fill contracts.  We also have a polled Shamrock daughter that is 2000 GTPI.” There are progeny by over twenty-five different sires registered in North America and Europe.

SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* – sister to dam of Perk Rae

SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* – sister to dam of Perk Rae

There are Many Perks to Working with Perk Rae

Perk Rae is also the winner of the 2012 Red Impact Award from Holstein International.  Second in family to win this award.  Her dam’s sister, Scientific Debutant Rae, won it in 2010.  In 2011, going under the hammer for $20,000 Perk Rae was the top seller at the National Red & White Convention Sale. Presently, Perk Raw is owned by Adolf Langhout of the Netherlands who plans to keep Perk Rae-Red at Sunshine Genetics in Wisconsin and export her genetics around the world where her descendants are continuing to garner attention. “It is very interesting that two direct daughters and one granddaughter are selling in the World Classic Sale at World Dairy Expo this year!”

The Perk Rae Advantages.  She’s Polled. She’s Red.

New owner A.L.H Genetics is happy with their purchase. Embryos imported from embryos purchased previously resulted in a VG-86 Lawn Boy heifer in the Netherlands and the popular Lawn Boy son Lewitan PP at Mastrrind in Germany. The unique polled and red qualities of Perk Rae mean that her owners have sold her genetics all over the world. (Read – Polled Genetics: Way of the Future or Passing Fad?) “Since she is red, high type, deep pedigree, and polled, with a unique sire, there are endless markets!”  He happily points out the obvious, “There are not many excellent cows that are red as well as polled.”

Do you think Perk Rae deserves to win our 2012 Golden Dam Contest?  Let us know. Your vote counts.


7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion

Everyone loves winning.  No one enters a competition to finish last.  Regardless of who you are every purebred dairy breeder dreams of winning supreme champion at World Dairy Expo.  Your dream of walking in the spotlight, on the colored shavings, with everyone applauding you, starts with choosing the right sires.

Logic would tell you that you take top 10 PTAT sires or Conformation sires and away you go.  However, we all know what wins in the barn does not win in the ring.  That is because the relative importance/weights are different in each area of the Dairy Cow Scorecard.  Therefore, instead of your typical classification weightings that make up the basis of PTAT and Conformation indexes (Udder 40%, Dairy Strength 25%, Feet & Legs 20% and Frame 15%) we decided to place more emphasis on traits that make a difference in the show ring to come up with our short list of sires to use (Udder 35%, Feet & Legs 13%, Stature 13, Strength 13%, Body Depth 14%, Dairy Form 13%). For those of you who think great show cows don’t produce as well we recommend you read Show Cows: All Type and No Action)

We then went to Genomics.  Yes genomics for show cattle.  Many confuse the word genomics and TPI or LPI index when actually genomics is just a more accurate and earlier-in-life method of evaluating or predicting a sire’s ability to transmit improvement for that specific trait or composite.  Therefore, it can actually be a huge tool for breeder who is looking to breed great show cattle.  In the case of young sires, we were also careful to make sure we did not use sires with type genomic traits lower than their parent averages, as our previous analysis showed us (Read – 7 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Use Sires with DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages).

Let`s get a better understanding of  what sires will help you win that elusive prize of breeding the next great show cow.  The following are the lucky seven sires we would recommend in order to breed the next supreme champion.  Having said that, we admit that all great breeding is two parts homework, one part intuition, and three parts luck.  Let`s start with the homework.




It’s no fluke that MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD EX-90-4YR-USA is probably the next generation of great show bulls available today.  Combining  Goldwyn on Durham would normally be enough but added to that his dam is the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94 (the full sister to the recently deceased World Champion Shoremar S Alicia EX-97).  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.




If you don’t want to use Atwood himself, how about one of his sons?  Possessing the highest values of all the bulls on our list for stature (5.09), PINE-SHELTER CLAY WOOD will give you that punch of stature needed for show cows.  Not surprisingly since his third dam is none other than 2003 World Dairy Expo Champion, PINE-SHELTER CHEYENNE EX-95-3E-USA DOM. Expect Wood to sire a very balanced cow that needs to be used on cows that have deep ribs and deep heals.  He will give you those big wide rear udders that can do wonders when the judge is standing behind you making those critical decisions.




Possessing the highest genomic values for most conformation traits is GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE VG-87-1YR-CAN.  (Not to be confused with the Facebook sensation He is One Ugly Dude)  This Atwood son from SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN has unbelievable genomic values for all major conformation traits, well above his expected parent averages.  This is opposite to the situation for most recently proven Claynook bred bulls, whose PAs exceed their genomic values and whose indexes dropped in a major way from when they were sampled to when they were proven.  (Read – The Hot House Effect On Sire Sampling).  Dude has the genomic values to back it up.  Expect Dude to sire breed leading mammary system improvement and loads of dairy strength, though he will need to be protected on high pins.


REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* - dam of Bradnick

REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* – dam of Bradnick

For those of you who want a sire other than Atwood and Atwood sons, I offer up the next two selections.  In REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK VG-87-2YR-USA you have no Goldwyn blood at all.  From the REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* (2012 Golden Dam Finalist) family, by way of a VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* Shottle daughter REGANCREST BREYA, and sired by GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ EX-94-6YR-USA ST’12.  Breya is the former #3 PTAT Cow in the breed and continues the strong legacy that Barbie started.  In Bradnick you get a sire who is over 3 points on all composites except Dairy Comp where he is at 2.92.  In every major type trait Bradnick’s DGV’s are higher than expected from his parents.




As the  REGANCREST S BRAXTON EX-95-5YR-USA son of the #4 GTPI RC cow, SCIENTIFIC GOLD DIOR RAE-ET *RC EX-92-4YR-USA DOM, SCIENTIFIC B DEFIANT is doubly blessed as his is also a red carrier.  Of course Dior Rae is from none other the great show winning SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE-ET  EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, tracing back to the Queen of the Breed herself GLENRIDGE CITATION ROXY EX-CAN EX-97-4E-USA GMD 6*.  In Defiant you get a sire stack of Braxton from a Goldwyn from Durham that just drips dairy strength.  Expect Defiant to sire extremely tall framey cows that have strong, snug, shallow udders.  However, you may want to protect him on the cleanliness of bone as well as slight curved legs.


CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 - dam of Airlift

CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 – dam of Airlift

Coming in at #2 is another Atwood son CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT.  While the female side of this cow family may not have won any major shows, they do have generation after generation of outstanding strength, frames and feet and legs, tracing back to the same bloodlines as the great CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN.  Combine that with Atwood’s udders and you have the potential for greatness.  Expect Airlift to sire extreme feet and leg improvement as well as rumps.  For the line breeding fans out there, Airlift would make a great cross with your Goldwyn’s.  Bringing the needed rump and dairy strength improvement many Goldwyn’s need.  However, much like Allen, you may not want to use him on cattle that are extremely straight legged.  Airlift also makes a great option for those looking to sire show-winning calves as Airlift is almost over 4 points on all major type traits outside of mammary system.




Leading the way, but surely not a surprise, is MR ATWOOD BROKAW.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall (4.85 Stature) and have the necessary frame (3.89 Body Comp), dairyness (3.06 Dairy Comp) and bolted on udders (3.77 Udder Comp) to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.

Side Note on Goldwyn

For those of you wondering how we could leave probably the most dominant show sire of the past decade BRAEDALE GOLDWYN GP-84-8YR-CAN EXTRA’05 GM’12 off of the list.  Here is our explanation.  While there is no question that Goldwyn is a great sire, and a fantastic type improvement sire, we argue that part of his success came through opportunity as much as through genetic ability.  Since Goldwyn was used on so many cattle including the top type cattle in the breed, because of his outstanding proof, he had far more opportunity than most other sires to leave his mark.  While he has not disappointed, his sons, such as Atwood and his grandsons as in Defiant, have now surpassed him.

The Bottom Line

The truth is everyone loves a winner.  That`s the simple truth.  Ask yourself, “How many times have you seen a packed house to hear the naming of the top new TPI or LPI sire?”  This is not to say that you can’t strive for both.  (Read – Show Cows: All Type and No Action?)  Nevertheless, everyone would love to breed the next great show cow.  That starts with using the correct sires.  In then means using the bloodlines that have proven they have done it before.  We have chosen Brokaw as the greatest sire for show type improvement.  Of course, as is the case with all mating decisions, you need to make sure the sire you choose crosses well and is a corrective mating with the cow you are breeding.

For those of you looking for a more balanced breeding approach, check out The Top 12 Holstein Young Sires to Use for Maximum Genetic Gain.


GILLETTE BLITZ 2ND WIND – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

The race is on and Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind is challenging the competition.  From Ferme Gillette in Embrun Ontario 2nd Wind has claimed worldwide recognition for her winning achievements in every area of the Holstein Breed. With an outstanding list of awards, including 2011 Canadian Holstein Cow of the Year, she now targets the title of 2012 Golden Dam.

2nd Wind Follows the Family Role Model



For fans of the amazing Braedale Gypsy Grand Family it is no surprise to see 2nd Wind ready for the competition.  What would you expect from her tremendous pedigree which traces back two generations to the 2003 Cow of the Year Braedale Gypsy Grand (VG-88-5yr 37*).

2nd Wind Shows That She Has Strength in Numbers

For years she 2nd Wind has topped the GLPI/LPI lists no less than five times in a row from 2005 and 2006. She has taken first place on the LPI list a total of six times in all.  In May, August and November of 2006 she was the leader for type. And in a business that is built on milk, her name has been at the top of the milk production list three times.

  • Best 305: 2yr. 15,004 kg M 535 kg F 3.6% 449 kg P 3.0% BCAs 372-354-348 – 50% over herdmates.
  • Lifetime: 2 lacts: 31,317 kg M 1,231 kg F 3.9% 981 kg P 3.1%
  • 1 Superior Lactation.  2nd Jr. 3-Yr.-Old (Best Udder) Québec Spring Show 2005

2nd Wind Goes the Second Mile

But above and beyond all of these conspicuous numbers she impresses in the race to recognition as the Golden Dam of the Holstein Breed. No less than five times she has been the index leading dam of top 1000 GLPI daughters. In the past eight proof rounds she has never had less than nine daughters appear on the list and in 2010 she had fourteen on the list!

2nd Wind Unmatched as Mother of Sons



2nd Wind has set the benchmark so high as a mother of Class Extra sons that she is in a class all by herself.  As the dam of no less than five Class Extra sons she has done what has never been done before.  Her Class Extra sons are Gillette Windbrook, Gillette Windhammer, Gillette Stanleycup, Gillette Wildthing, and Gillette Willrock.  These five sires were in the top 30 in the North American LPI list and also in the top 30 in Japan, where 2nd Wind is owned with T-Wave. Holsteins. She has three other active proven sons who are extremely popular among Japanese breeders.  Closer to home, in the December 2011 LPI listing Stanleycup and Windhammer — identical split embryo Bolton sons — ranked as the number one conformation sires at +19.

2nd Wind is A First Rate Mate

Her outstanding achievements are possible because of her exceptional mating history.  Eric Patenaude speaks positively as he highlights this side of her story, “Every mating has worked well.” He goes on to point out that Bolton has been by far the best. “2nd Sleep and 2nd Motivation, two full sisters, are both 89 points and 2ndRain (deceased split sister of Sleep) was 87 and would probably have moved up to 89 as well.” Her Bolton sons are the Class Extra sires, Gillette Windhammer and Gillette Stanley Cup.



2nd Wind’s Daughters Can Carry the Torch Too

2nd Wind has been able to pass the genetic torch to her daughter Gillette Bolton 2nd Sleep (VG-89-4yr) and her granddaughter Gillette S Planet 2nd Snooze (Recently Sold in the Gillette Visions 2012 Sale). Sleep was #1 in August 2010 and Snooze (VG-86-2yr) was #2 GLPI in December 2011.  It doesn’t stop there.  2nd Wind has 10 daughters over +2000 GLPI in Canada. Eric has already been quoted regarding these two. “They are just beautiful to look at with big dairy frames, tremendous will to milk and those incredible udders which have become 2nd Wind’s trademark.” No doubt these were the reasons why 2nd Wind was IVF’d to Bolton.  “We now have 5 more beautiful heifers to work with.”

GILLETTE S PLANET 2ND SNOOZE VG-86-2YR-CAN - Grand Daughter by Planet

GILLETTE S PLANET 2ND SNOOZE VG-86-2YR-CAN – Grand Daughter by Planet

2nd Wind has a Winning Strategy

Every opportunity for success is taken by 2nd Wind’s owners. “When it comes to flushing the daughters and granddaughters we try to use the best young sire available, which is either the highest one with numbers, or, if that one doesn’t appeal to us, we use one we truly believe in. At the moment we’re using Galaxy, McCutchen, Supersire, and Brawler.” Other bulls are being used as well. Eric provides the following update. “Also one of R-Z BAXTER CARAMEL’s son by Snowman called Caraminator who’s GPA LPI is 3055 with a DGV of 3211and a Windbrook son from Goldwyn Jenny called Jessic. This bull has a DGV of 2415 with a +21 for type!”

2nd Wind Ready for the Future

2nd Wind does not rest on her laurels and neither do her owners. “Now we’re mostly working with daughters of her two Boltons 2nd Sleep and 2nd Motivation  as well as daughters from her granddaughter 2nd Snooze.  2nd Wind has a couple of sweet daughters by Lauthority that we will probably flush soon.” For now she has come home to Gillette from the IVF station. But there are more plans ahead. “Her progeny from trans-ova are starting to calve out.  So far these are Garrets and Supers and they are calving out with 2nd Wind’s trademark, awesome udders. We have Evolves calving out soon too!”

 2nd Wind Goes Beyond the Finish Line

Many expect that 2nd Wind’s presence will have impact worldwide.  Eric Patenaude sums up 2nd Wind’s ongoing success. “Her genes will have impact for many years to come and her name will appear in the major pedigrees of the world.”  A success story indeed for owners, Gillette and T-Wave.  With 2nd Wind the real story may be that the best is yet to come.

Do you think 2nd Wind deserves to win our 2012 Golden Dam Contest?  Let us know. Your vote counts.


Bonnie Mohr – Science and Art Together Creates a Holstein Love Story

“Okay people, please clap or do something, because this seems very awkward to me” This is how artist, Bonnie Mohr, describes the long pause of silence that was the initial reaction of the large crowd present for the June 29th unveiling of the Ideal True Type Holstein Bull and Cow paintings  at the Holstein USA annual meeting. .”I am much more at ease in my studio or with a small group of people.” Explains the well-known agricultural artist but she needn’t have worried. As with any supreme achievement the first reaction is one of awe. The crowd was initially busy studying the paintings but then broke into enthusiastic and sustained applause.  Still, Bonnie is modest, “I think they were well received…”

Bonnie Mohr -  Ideal True Type Holstein Cow

Ideal True Type Holstein Cow

Bonnie Mohr - Ideal True Type Holstein Bull

Ideal True Type Holstein Bull

 Everyone loves to look at beautiful cattle and, as you would expect, the paintings indeed were well received. As summer slips into fall, we begin looking forward to the show season and parades of beautiful cows to celebrate.  Of course, if you can’t wait for Madison or the Royal Winter Fair, there is an alternative.  At The Bullvine we have celebrated graduations, engagements, new homes and new babies with the beautiful animals painted by Bonnie Mohr. And now with these commissioned paintings, Bonnie turns cow science into cow art for everyone to collect, admire and strive for.

Celebration of Cows

Celebration of Cows

A labour of love.  The paintings were commissioned by Holstein Association USA. Discussions about what the new Model cow and bull would look like began at World Dairy Expo in 2011.  She outlines the process. “The month of December was preliminary painting sketches, and January through June 1st was spent painting the two pieces.  Since they were very large -each painting measures 36” x 48” – and with extreme detail in the animals, it took longer than a normal painting time.  I would guess I averaged 30-40 hours per week of painting time from January 1st to June 1st.”

Bonnie Mohr - Ideal True Type Holstein Cow

Ideal True Type Holstein Cow – The Beginning

Matchmaking. From the outside, it might seem unusual for an artist to work with input from others or, in this case, the True Type Model Panel.  However Bonnie says that was never a problem. “Because of my extensive background in the dairy industry, it seemed as though we were both on the same page from the beginning.  Input from the committee was necessary, so I would have a clear vision of what they wanted.  The more detail and information I could get up front, the better the paintings I would produce.”

Bonnie Mohr - Ideal True Type Holstein Bull

Ideal True Type Holstein Bull – The Beginning

A Brush with Great Expectations. Bonnie does acknowledge that there were some changes from her usual routine. “Normally I would start with some loose background and then get to the main subject.  In this case, I painted the animals each to about a 75% completion point to be sure we could really focus on them against a white background.” There were other differences too. She shares her experience. “I would have to say that the size of these paintings did throw me for a loop.  I have never painted so large, and I did underestimate the amount of time they would take.  Also, any time you are working on a commission, there is a certain level of added stress, because you know in the end, it has to be exactly what the committee is expecting.”

Bonnie Mohr - A love story

Bonnie Mohr – A love story

A love story. Looking back, Bonnie points out that the experience continued to evolve beyond the routine and developed into a very special project.  A highlight of the commissioning came about when she made the decision to name the Bull and Cow, Romeo and Juliet.  “Because I spent so much time with these paintings, they just seemed to come alive the more I worked on them.  They became REAL to me, and it just seemed like the right thing to do…give them names.”  Bonnie isn’t sure what came first: the naming of the subjects or the way the two paintings related, not only to her, but to each other. “They honestly seemed to connect to each other as well, and I think I accomplished my goal of making them seem like a real nice couple – as though they could be married.  And so….thus came the names Romeo & Juliet.”

Bonnie Mohr - Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect.    “I did have pictures of both cows and bulls to work from as I created these New Models.  All of the animals I studied from and the pictures that I worked from, had key points of exceptional correctness, and it was very helpful for me to use them in creating the Models.” And so, from part science and part art, models were created for everyone to aspire to.  Of course when we see Romeo and Juliet they appear to be right at home. “The committee and I collectively arrived at an outdoor, ‘anywhere USA’ setting, that resembled summer and a sense of pasture.  We all felt this would be a typical and natural setting for the animals.”

Bonnie Mohr - Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet

Where there any difficult moments with Romeo and Juliet?  Seeing the twosome in all their glory it is hard to imagine that there were moments that were less than romantic but Bonnie assures us that there were. |” Absolutely.  I have mentioned this before…and I’m not sure why, but Romeo almost seemed to paint himself.  He just came together beautifully and I had very little trouble making him ‘work’.  Juliet was my bigger challenge.  Probably the mammary system and milk well veining is where I struggled the most.  Too much veining, not enough veining, too much length to the fore udder and then too little, too small of a teat – make it bigger, and then a little plumper…..”  Every cattle breeder can relate to Bonnie’s goal.

Bonnie Mohr - Desire for Perfection

Desire for Perfection

Desire for Perfection

“The committee was great in their advice and direction…I personally as an artist just struggled with getting it just right.”  It wasn’t easy.  “When you study cow pictures….they can look a thousand different ways, depending on how closely the udder is shaved, how much sunlight they are photographed in, how much milk they have, etc., etc.  And I wanted to try and paint the universal look, that every dairy farmer would be happy with…milky enough and yet strong in type, and so I would have to say this was definitely my biggest challenge. “In the same way that the total environment affects everyone who raises cattle, this project went beyond simply painting the models themselves. “ Making sure the backgrounds on the two paintings were fairly matched and similar was the other challenge, because they were so large and painted over a 5 month period.  Every time you mix new paint, you have new colors… I had to go back and rematch or repaint some things to be sure they had a similar thread all the way through.” A labour of love.

Bonnie Mohr - A Brush with Great Expectations

There’s love behind the Scenes Too!

There’s love behind the Scenes Too!

“My husband John has been the biggest influence in my career.” says Bonnie as she looks back on the inspiration for her successful vocation. “He has supported and believed in me from day 1.  He believed in me more than I believed in myself some days.  He is the reason I kept painting, even when I really wasn’t sure this whole ‘painting thing’ would work out.  Other than that, I give God the thanks and credit for the skills I have been blessed with and the determination to know that hard work can pay off.”


And so, in painting the True Type Models, Bonnie crosses an item off of her Bucket List. “No doubt she will face her next goals with the same enthusiasm, “I will always love cows and will continue to think of new ways to paint them!”  A Holstein Love Story continues ……..

Be sure to check out Bonnie Mohr studio’s Facebook page where you can help them reach 3,000 likes and be entered in a draw for a framed print valued at $200, as well as check out their website for more extraordinary fine art from rural America .


You’re Fired: The Future of the Sire Analyst

Do artificial insemination companies still need to pay high priced sire analysts to run the roads being nothing more than glorified tail hair pullers?  There once was a time when the skill of the sire analysts was the biggest differentiator an A.I. company had.  However, things have changed and the question now becomes,”Is the role even needed anymore?”

I am not trying to say that the current crop of sire analysts are not as good as some of their predecessors.  What I am saying is that, with the introduction of genomics, the role of the sire analyst has all but been replaced.  Or has it?

Who shot the sire analyst?

Technology has replaced the sire analysts and genomics is the smoking gun.  Gone are the days where a sire analyst could chose to contract a cow because he had confidence in her or the breeding program.  Also gone are the days when it was the sire analyst’s job to identify which cows are the real deal and which ones are just smoke and mirrors (read The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling and Has Genomics Knocked out Hot House Herds).

Now more than ever it’s a numbers game.  Now it isn’t who can sample the most bulls, but rather with genomics, it is simply a matter of whether the numbers add up.  There once was a time if a cow was not at least an 87+ point cow she would never even get a second look from an A.I. company.  Now we are seeing bulls being sampled from Good Plus 2yr olds or even maiden heifers (Read – Is Good Plus Good Enough?)

What is a sire analyst to do?

As A.I. companies are being forced to get lean in order to keep operation cost down, you notice fewer sire analysts running the roads.  Many new A.I. companies don’t even have people in these roles.  So what are these soon to be unemployed, self-confident analysts to do?  Well rest assured the smart ones will learn to adapt.  Moreover, the others will quickly learn Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.  It’s no longer about how great a cattle judge they are.  Today it will come down to three things:

  • How well they negotiate contracts
    the first thing I would do is train every single one of these individuals on how to become the best negotiators they can be.  The future of their A.I. companies depends on how well these front line individuals can procure top cattle and negotiate the best value deal they can.  The power has shifted and it’s no longer breeders being excited that an A.I. company is even speaking to them, it has now become a bidding war (Read Top 10 Questions to Ask Before You Sign That A.I. Contract).  I would even recommend that sires analysts get paid 100% based on the deals they negotiate.  Much like in sales those that are great will rise to the top and make a lot of money, and those that can’t will find themselves going pretty hungry.
  • How well they build relationships
    The best way to become an expert negotiator is to be able to build great relationships.  When any parties sit down to work out a deal, it comes down to who you know and trust.  All things being equal, the breeders who own the cattle with the top genomics are going to make a deal with individuals that they know and trust.  If they can’t trust you, no amount of “extras” are going to make up for the lack of it.
  • No longer an expert cattle evaluator they are now breeding advisers
    For years sire analysts have been put on pedestals as these great evaluators of cattle, and many where.  In many cases top breeders are just as smart or even smarter at doing this. Today that particular skill is not as relevant as it once was.  The evaluation part is being done by the “number crunchers” back at the office (aka the geneticists).  However, a great way for A.I. companies to get a head start on their competition is to help breeders breed the next generation of great ones.  Share the wealth of knowledge that the “number crunchers” provide with the partner herds that you are looking to sample from, so that you can become that trusted adviser that will give the edge when it becomes contract negotiation time.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Would I fire all the sire analysts?  Yes, if they can’t adapt and become relationship builders and trusted advisers who know how to negotiate a win-win deal for both sides.  The predictability and reliability that genomics has brought to the industry has taken the role of sire selection from an art form to a very calculated science.  Those sire analysts that recognize this and adapt will thrive.  Those that don’t should start polishing their resumes.

BROEKS MBM ELSA – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

It’s a Cinder-ELSA Story! Of course, she has royal bloodlines.  Her grand-dam was EVER-GREEN-VIEW ELSIE EX-92-2E-USA GMD DOM the “Queen of Ever-Green” or aka Ever-Green-View dairy farm in Waldo, Wisconsin.  So “once upon a time” Harry Broekhuis from the Netherlands felt his dreams would come true with Elsie’s American-born daughter, Aaron Elsie. He made an offer but returned home empty handed.  But like many persistent cattlemen – and princes too – he did not give up.  He asked again, this time for embryos.  Too late.  The only ones they had were from BW Marshall and had been sold to Czechoslovakia.  Still not defeated, Broekhuis goes to Czechoslovakia and chooses the best calf from the two females that were born. Purchased for 6000 euros she is taken back to the Netherlands. And that of course is our heroine, BROEKS MBM ELSA EX-90-5YR-NLD, 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.

ELSA’s Intercontinental Rise



Success came early for Elsa.  She classified with the maximum score VG89 as a 2yr old and had high production too. She recorded 12,613 kg milk in 305 days with 4.1% Fat and 3.2% protein. An exceptional 47% above herd average!  In 2009 she was nominated for Global Cow of the Year and when she was nominated again the next year she was crowned, 2010 Global Cow of the Year!

ELSA Enchanted



It was enchantment with Elsa’s grand-dam that started this story.  But others have fallen under the Elsa spell too.  Elsa’s dam sold for $100,000.  After Harry Broekhuis secured his Elsa, other breeders grew interested.  Eventually Jacob Bearda, another Dutch breeder, became a partner in Elsa. Currently Elsa is owned by World Wide Sires Germany where Hubertus Diers proudly lists three more special attributes:  “a really good type cow, very tall, over 160 cm and scored EX-90 on her 2nd calf in Holland”. Throughout this fairy-tale like journey, Elsa has produced many daughters in many countries where her global influence continues to rise. For example, all her daughters that were tested for genomics in the Netherlands have become bull dams.

Elsa’s Royal Flush to Shottle

FG ELSA 12 VG88 2YR -Daughter of Elsa

FG ELSA 12 VG88 2YR -Daughter of Elsa

To this day Elsa continues to be a successful donor cow but, to date, her best flush was the one to Shottle. That flush produced seven daughters and all are VG with genomic proofs over 2200 TPI The show ring has also felt Elsa’s presence through one of her Shottle daughters.   FG ELSA 12, a VG88 2yr old  was Junior 2 Champion at both the Ambt-Delden Show and at Saasveld in 2010, and stood 5th at the Dutch National Show.  She is owned by Oelhorst Holsteins.

Elsa’s Son Snowman Also Reigns



In the Elsa`s story, Snowman, stands above the rest as the prince of her offspring.  FLEVO GENETICS SNOWMAN is an internationally popular O-Man son, with high breeding values in Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands – the countries where he was sampled. Adding to the mystique of the story is the fact that, although Snowman had a very short lifetime and produced only a limited amount of semen, whenever he appeared on the Interbull lists in 2010 he held court in the top three. This happened in nine countries: the US, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Another crowning achievement when you consider that these are different indexes! One more command performance to be noted:  In Canada on the August 2012 young bull and heifer lists Snowman had five of the top 10 bulls and four of the top 10 heifers. Producing Snowman is definitely Elsa’s crowning achievement.  But even more interesting is the global recognition that has taken place since he joined the family!

ELSA’S Royal Family Looks Good and Gives Command Performances


  • BROEKS MADISON (Shottle) VG89 – 2yr (NLD)
    2-01  (305) 12,778 kg 4.3F 3.3P
  • RR ELISA (Shottle) VG87 – 4yr (DEU)
    3-10 (305) 17,604 kg 4.2F 3.6P
  • BROEKS ELFER (Jefferson) VG87 – 2yr (GBR)
    2-09  (305) 11,753 kg 3.1F 2.9P
  • BROEKS ELSIE 2 (Oman) VG86 – 2yr (GBR)
    2-01 (305) 12,198 kg 4.5F 3.4P
  • ESMERALDA (Shottle) VG86 – 2yr (DEU)
    2-04 (305) 12,507 kg 3.7F 3.3P
  • BROEKS ELSIE 3 (Oman) VG86 – 2yr (GBR)
    2-00 (305) 11,189 kg 4.1F 3.7P

In 2010 MBM Elsa had over 25 VG 2-year-olds in Europe and has added to that total since then! They impress on many levels from remarkable production to great show results.  They also excel on type scores and breeding values.


    MLPI +3110  Milk +3180 kg  (DVG LPI +3117)
    MTPI +2182 Milk +2147 lbs. PTAT +2.21
  • O-BOY (Oman)
    MLPI +1927  Milk +2364 kg  Fat +70 kg Protein +77 kg
    MTPI +1903 Milk +1730 lbs. PTAT +0.89
  • BROEKS MANTON (Bolton)
    MLPI +1814  Milk +2579 kg Fat +62 kg Protein +71 kg
    MTPI +1834 Milk +2141 lbs. PTAT +1.87
    MLPI +1664   Milk +2554 kg Fat +52 kg Protein +59 kg
    MTPI +1771  Milk  +1245 lbs. PTAT +2.37
  • BROEKS ROUEL (Roumare)
    GLPI  + 1445  Milk +1313 kg Conf +7 F/L +9
    MTPI +1733  Milk +992 lbs. PTAT +2.16

Happily ELSA Ever After

Elsa is owned by World Wide Sires Germany and is currently being flushed. Now this princess is a queen on her own. Her legacy continues.  Happily-  ELSA – ever after!

Do you think Elsa deserves to win our 2012 Golden Dam Contest?  Let us know. Your vote counts.

The Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires To Use for Maximum Genetic Gain

Confused on what group of genomic young sires to use for your breeding program?  Not sure which sires are the real deals and which ones are just smoke and mirrors (read The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling)?  We decided to take a closer look at the top 100 genomic young sires from around the world to determine just which ones are worth using and which ones you are better forgetting.

Based on our analysis of the early genomic sires that  received indexes, we first removed all sires from our list that didn’t have DGV’s available or higher than their parent average for the traits we judge as important (read 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Genomic Sires With DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages).  Then instead of just giving you the highest list based on their GPA TPI or GPA LPI we decided to look for sires that fit certain needs.  They are overall performers, production, durability, health and fertility and conformation.  The following are the results.

Overall Performance Improvement



While bulls like Amighetti Numero Uno may top the GPA TPI list, we are looking for a more needs approach.  The following are the sires we would recommend when looking for a genomic young sire to provide overall performance improvement.

    This Robust son from 2012 Golden Dam Finalist AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA, really is a genomic wonder.  Not only does he have the highest genomic values in the breed for production but he also has great functional type and health traits to go with it.  Here you have a sire that is over 2500 lbs. for milk, with positive component deviations, 2.50 for type, and over 7 for productive life.  He really is the complete package.
    From the LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94-CAN 14* (also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) family comes, the CDN GPA LPI topper VELTHUIS LET IT SNOW.  While possessing 500 lbs. less production and half the productive life of that of Supersire, this Snowman son has outstanding type composites and the genomic test to make up the difference for those of you that do not want to sacrifice overall type.  I would protect Let It Snow on the health and fertility side a little.
    I am always looking for sires whose genomic tests blow out their expected values, and ROSYLANE-LLC ALTALEO does that by almost 19%.  AltaLeo does not top any  GPA TPI or GPA LPI lists, but he does seem to far exceed the values you would expect from an AltaMeteor from a not very well known Nifty (Bombay x Zebo) daughter.  For those of you who like to take flyers on bulls who just seem to be extreme, AltaLeo is the sire for you.  While he does need to be protected on rump and dairy strength, for those that are willing to take the risk, they may find the reward is well worth it.

Production Improvement



For those of you that are more commercially focused or maybe those of you who have not focused enough on production and the milk check is showing it, here are our recommendations other than Supersire for genomic young sires to use to gain the greatest production increase:

    PHOENIX is a Planet from DE-SU 7902 GP-81-2YR-USA DOM, whose dam De-Su Oman 6121 VG-86-2YR-USA DOM GMD has over 20 daughters on the locator list and is the dam of De-Su Observer, one of the early top genomic sires.  Phoenix combines outstanding production and components with strong conformation.  Though a Planet x Bolton cross may raise some concerns about rumps, Phoenix should inherit his maternal line’s rumps and be okay.  The area of strong concern that he does need protected on is his health and fertility traits, specifically his daughter fertility and milking speed.
    Lightsnow also from the LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94-CAN 14* family is a Snowman from the well-known Planet daughter MS CHARTROISE LORELEI VG-87-2YR-CAN.  Lightsnow offers 160 lbs. of combined fat and protein, offering breeders a quick punch of components while not having to sacrifice production.  While needing to be protected a little on some of the health and fertility traits, Lightsnow offers outstanding production improvement with a very balanced type offering.

Longevity Improvement



For those of you that are looking to breed cattle that last lactation after lactation or maybe you have having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation we recommend the genomic young sires:

    As the #2 sire for productive life (NO-FLA AltaSecure is #1) BLUE-HORIZON ALTASUPLEX offers significant longevity improvement.  Unlike AltaSecure this Super son combines that high productive life with over 1400lbs of milk, and 3.00 points on type.  While he does need to be protected %F, dairy strength and rumps, AltaSuplex offers extreme functional conformation improvement that you would expect from a great grandson of BUDJON-JK ENCORE ELECTRA EX-95-2E-USA DOM GMD 3*.
    Following closely behind AltaSuplex for #2 on the top genomic longevity list is Doorman, a Bookem from a Shottle that completes 8 generations of VG+ with 31*.  Doorman offers a more complete package with not needing protected on much as he is over 1300 kgs of Milk, plus on both his component deviations, and double digits for all major type traits.  In fact his DGV for conformation and mammary system are among the very best in the breed at +22.  While the family may not be a household name yet,  Doorman could be the sire that changes that as he even converts well onto the US system with a GTPI of +2465, PTAT +4.72 and almost a 1000 lbs of Milk and over 100 lbs of combined fat and protein.
    There hasn’t been a  better  brood cow for type and longevity recently  than 2012 Golden Dam Finalist REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*.  Now this trend continues with her grand daughter, and fellow 2012 Golden Dam Finalist REGANCREST S CHASSITY EX-92-4YR-USA DOM, and also Chassity’s Goldwyn daughter, and Cashmoney’s dam MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN.  Not only does Cashmoney have an extremely well known female side to his pedigree, his sire stack is nothing to laugh at either.  He combines OBSERVER x GOLDWYN x SHOTTLE x CHAMPION x DURHAM, and from a longevity standpoint he’s the best there is on the list.  Cashmoney really is the real deal though I would protect him on strength and rumps.

Health and Fertility Improvement

One area that is not getting enough attention by most breeders is health and fertility. While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equals more profits many of the top ranking sires actually have negative values for health and fertility.  The following are a couple of specialist sires that should help you change that:

    Possessing no Planet, Shottle or Goldwyn in his pedigree S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM has some of the highest DGV’s for health and fertility.  Lithium is from one of the top genomic cows in the breed, GLEN-TOCTIN BOLT LUCILLE VG-87-DOM.  Combining high herd life, low Somatic Cell counts and high daughter fertility with over 1600 lbs of milk, 110 of fat and protein and 2.5 points on type makes Lithium a great choice when looking for improvement.  It is interesting to note that his DGV’s for health and fertility are almost 8% higher than the next highest sire (BRANDT-VIEW ALTAOTIS) and 50% higher than his own official index, indicating that he really is the sire to use when wanting to address this area that has flown under the radar far too long.
    With his low Somatic Cell Score (2.72), strong udders (2.54 Udder comp.), quick milking speed (106), and high daughter fertility (110 CDN 2 US) Krunch is a breed leader when it comes to health and fertility. Tracing back to WA-DEL RC BLCKSTR MARTHA EX-93-2E-USA GMD DOM 2* combines his strong female lineage with outstanding health and fertility sire stack Freddie x Goldwyn x Zade x Mtoto x Formation x Blackstar.  Though he very much needs to be protected for strength and rumps.

Type Improvement



There is no question that some of us put too much emphasis on type improvement when it comes to selecting bulls, especially when many type traits have such low heritability (read Is Your Breeding Strategy A “Field of Dreams”?).  The following sires in addition to Let It Snow and Doorman, will offer you the potential to breed a great show animal.

    Tied with Doorman for some of the highest type genomics in the breed is MR ATWOOD BROKAW.  Which should come as no surprise as in Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and reserve Int. Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to sire extreme udders and dairy strength, but will need to be protected on rumps from time to time.
    Also from the of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* family, but this time from a VG-88-3YR-USA DOM   1* Shottle daughter REGANCREST BREYA, and sired by GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ EX-94-6YR-USA ST’12 comes Bradnick.  Breya is the former #3 PTAT Cow in the breed and continues the strong legacy that Barbie started.  In Bradnick you get a sire who is over 3 points on all composites except dairy comp. where he is at 2.92.  In every major type trait Bradnick’s DGV’s are higher than expected and offers more balance than Brokaw who does need to be protected on Rumps.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Anyone can just pick a sire from a top of the GPA TPI or GPA LPI list and call themselves breeders.  But there is more to it than that. Breeding great cattle is part art form part science and you need to have both parts in balance.  It takes careful consideration generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why instead of just giving you a list of the top 10 we tried to provide you the insight into which sires will provide you the maximum gain in each specific area.

The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics


Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.




AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

Ammon-Peachey Shauna is an attention-getting star at Seagull Bay Dairy, and a finalist in our 2012 Golden Dam contest. Nevertheless, owner Greg Anderson happily shares the spotlight with others in Shauna’s past, “Congratulations to Shauna’s breeders Mike and Jill Ammon and G Sheldon Peachey for breeding such a fine cow.  The Steiner family of Pine-Tree Dairy also deserves credit for developing the cow family behind Shauna – the Rudy Missy family – into one of the most sought-after bloodlines in the Holstein breed.” That’s where Shauna’s bright story begins.



Shauna`s Got Pedigree Credentials

Shauna originates from the very well respected Wesswood-HC Rudy Missy family. Her excellent sire stack is Planet x Shottle x O Man x Rudolph x Elton x Mandingo. The potential for greatness was there.  On the female side, Shauna’s dam, Sheen, is both DOM and 1 Star, showing her appeal in both USA and Canada.  As well her full sister Shana is VG87 – 2 yr (CAN) and is the #5 GLPI cow at +3400. Her Million sister is VG85 – 2 yr (CAN) and her GLPI is +2022.

AMMON-PEACHEY SHANA VG-87-2YR-CAN VG-86-2YR-USA  DOM - Full sister to Shauna

AMMON-PEACHEY SHANA VG-87-2YR-CAN VG-86-2YR-USA DOM – Full sister to Shauna

PINE-TREE MARTHA SHEEN VG-86-3YR-USA    DOM   1* - Dam of Shauna


Shauna is Flushed with Success

Shauna also excelled as an IVF donor as a heifer.  With 16 sons and 10 daughters, she has shown that she is able to produce and reproduce simultaneously. While working on her first lactation, Shauna produced a very high number of embryos. A rare thing these days.

Shauna Transmits Son-Shine!

Proud owner, Seagull Bay Dairy, reports that “seven of her sons have already been used as contract mating sires, due to their elite TPI and LPI rankings and extreme milk, fat and protein.

Her top-6 sons average +3853 DGV LPI 2445 GTPI 2172 PTAM 72 PTAP .02% 87 PTAF .04%.

  • Supersire (Robust)      Leads the breed in Net Merit and is #2 for GTPI.
  • Headliner (Robust)      3.27 for PTAT and 96 lbs for PTA lbs Fat
  • Shaw (Freddie)            over +2907kg milk and #5 for GLPI
  • Sargeant (Freddie)       +92kg fat, +85kg protein and 2.62 SCS

It doesn’t stop there.  Both breeders and AI companies are putting great trust in Shauna’s ability to produce elite genetics. Greg informs us that “Her top eleven sons are all scheduled for A.I. sampling.” He notes that “Shauna’s Snowman sons will be available soon from Select Sires and Shauna’s Windbrook son Seagull Bay Phantom is currently being used as a mating sire for Semex.” It easy to see why, taking the average of Shauna’s top eleven sons by various sires -Robust; Snowman; Windbrook; Gerard; Pluto; Super- produces these exciting numbers:

  • PTAM 1950
  • PTAP 65
  • P% +.03
  • PTAF 78
  • F% +.03

Greg concludes that it will be very satisfying “to see Shauna sons used on many of the top females of the breed.”  Shauna`s daughters, full sisters to the high ranking sons, also have high numbers with the top two being:  Shauna Saturn (Saturn) +3689 DGV LPI and Miss America (Robust) +3655 DGV LPI.

Shauna Pays Back the Investment

Shauna’s glowing reputation also pays off on the bottom line.  Her progeny are becoming sought after and that’s good news for Seagull Bay Dairy.  Greg updates a couple of sale results. “Last fall we sold Shauna’s high GTPI daughters; one by Robust for $165,000 to Tranquility AG and TAG, and one by Man-O-Man for $87,000 to Elite Dairy Genomics.”

Shauna Generates Genomics

Those who are using genomic results for both selection and breeding will find Shauna is one of the premier genomic transmitters of elite production. Greg looks back. “Shauna was genomic tested as a calf along with her two full sisters, to aid us in making our choice from the pick of a flush at the 2008 Eastern Elite Sale.” Once again, Shauna produced shining results.”Shauna’s genomics were first released in August of 2009 and she ranked as the Number 4 heifer in the breed. She remained in the top 15 for most of 2010 as well.”

Shauna`s Got it All

Greg goes on to report “For us, Shauna is the total package. In addition to making a very impressive 2 yr old record and her VG classification – Shauna transmits her best qualities to her offspring. Not only does she have genomic superiority but she also has production and exceptional type.  News spread fast when she scored VG-87 with VG-88 mammary system when she was only 60 days fresh.  When she was only 100 days in milk she was producing 129 lb. That`s when Shauna’s star-power really started to light up. We had a lot of calls to seller her privately or publicly.”

Shauna Sets the Example

It is exciting for everyone around her to see Shauna’s legacy continue to build.  Her front-running genomic results are the engine that drives her powerful transmission but for Greg Anderson at Seagull Bay Dairy her attraction is much more focused, “Shauna exemplifies exactly the type of cow we strive to breed for.”

Do you think Shauna deserves to win our 2012 Golden Dam Contest?  Let us know. Your vote counts.

Young Sire Sampling: Are we headed in the correct direction?

The Bullvine decided to take a closer look at the top (2012 August) 100 GLPI Canadian Holstein young bulls. To make it more informative the analysis is by groups of 25. It is important to recognize that the average reliability values for these genomically tested young bulls are between 64% and 69% almost as high as some new release bulls in the past. Behind us are the days when young bulls indexes were 33% to 37% reliable and posed a much greater risk due to low reliability.

Production – all breeders are also milk producers

Young Bulls Average Rating

GLPI GroupMilk (kgs)Fat (kgs)% FatProtein (kgs)% Protein
1 to 25+2303+96+0.10+86+0.11
26 to 50+2016+92+0.17+78+0.12
51 to 75+2012+84+0.09+74+0.09
76 to 100+1885+85+0.13+69+0.10

The top 100 GLPI young bulls are truly an elite group with production index values compared to recently proven sires of 98%RK for milk, 99%RK for fat and 99% RK for protein yields. An interesting note is how the top twenty-five stand out ten percent above the others, while each group afterwards drops by about 5-6%. A much greater variation than all other traits.

Type – important to predicting durability

Young Bulls Average Rating

GLPI GroupCONF (overall)MammaryFeet & LegsDairy StrengthRump
1 to 25+11.5+11.1+8.4+6.5+5.7
26 to 50+9.9+9.2+6.9+5.1+5.8
51 to 75+11.6+10.7+8.8+6.8+6.0
75 to 100+10.6+10.1+8.1+6.0+6.8

On average the type indexes of these top 100 GLPI young bulls are very high. The equivalent to a 98%RK for CONF for the recently proven sires. Note that the 26 to 50 group have the lowest type trait indexes to go along with high fat and protein especially for % Fat and % protein. In many cases, the bulls in the 26 to 50 group are the full or half brothers to the 1 to 25 group, who may have gotten more components but are not as high for CONF and Mammary.

Functional Traits – important but they have lower heritability’s

Young Bulls Average Rating

GLPI GroupHerd LifeDaughter FertilitySCSAverage H&F contribution to DGV LPI
1 to 25110992.6757
26 to 501101002.7185
51 to 751101002.7388
76 to 1001111012.70124

The average Herd Life and SCS ratings for these bulls are very good, positively contributing to H&F augmenting the GLPI values. However it must be noted that the Daughter Fertility ratings are only average detracting from the overall GLPI values for these bulls. Daughter Fertility is a trait that is primarily affected by non-genetic factors, but has a significant impact on the bottom line of any operation. The breed needs to be concerned because daughter fertility is not likely to see any significant gain genetically by using these bulls. As we all know more pregnancies equals more profits. Definitely more attention and more research needs to be given to the genetic evaluations and genetic merit of the breed for Daughter Fertility.

GLPI – the combination of production, durability and health/fertility

Young Bulls Average Rating

1 to 25+3218+3459+2784+3089+2599
26 to 50+2978+3127+2730+3191+2047
51 to 75+2900+3097+2592+2960+2052
76 to 100+2831+2960+2674+3056+2196

These top 100 GLPI young bulls are truly outstanding! They are exceeding by 982 LPI points the value required for a recently proven sire to get a 99%RK for GLPI. This was not even dreamed possible before there were genomic analysis using SNIP technology. Note that the Parent Average LPI’s are lower than GLPI’s and DGV LPI’s and are very close to being the same for all four groupings. It is in fact the young bulls DGV’s that put them in the top 100. They have full and half siblings that have lower DGV’s.  This supports our previous analysis of 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Genomic Sires With DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Average.  The AI sire analysts have made very good use to the DGV’s after initially identifying bulls from their pedigrees, and then sampling those who’s DGV’s exceed their Parent Average LPI’s by a goodly amount. Think about it, the average of the top 100 young bulls at +2982  GLPI, and there is only one Canadian proven sire above that level. It should be noted that the dams/ DGV LPI’s for the first grouping far exceed the other three groupings.  Even if you factor in for a slight decrease in values, the top 25 would still all rank higher than the highest current proven sire.

Pedigrees – more similar than desired

Inbreeding is a concern that must be addressed as the top 100 GLPI young bulls are from a limited number of parents (Read more – Inbreeding: Does Genomics Affect The Balancing Act?).

Sires of Young Bulls

The five sires with the most sons are:

  • Oman Oman 28%
  • Snowman 20%
  • Planet 10%
  • Observer 10%
  • Freddie 7%
  • Other 25%

With Oman Oman, Snowman and Freddie all Oman sons inbreeding must be watched. 82% of the young bulls are sired by daughter proven bulls and 22% are sired by genomic young sires.

Dams of Young Bulls

The sires of the young bulls’ dams most prevalent on the list are:

  • Planet 25%
  • Shottle 23%
  • Goldwyn 18%
  • Bolton 13%
  • Baxter 7%
  • Other 14%

The dams with the most young bulls are:

  • Gen-I-Beq Shottle Bombi – 5
  • Comestar Goldwyn Lilac – 4
  • Sandy-Valley Planet Sapphire – 3
  • Marbri Baxter Brandy – 3
  • Sully Planet Manitoba – 3
  • Ten dams with two young bulls each
  • Sixty-two dams with one young bull each

Definitely there is more pedigree variability amongst the dams than the sires of these young bulls. All dams are milking cows. Five dams are below +2000 GLPI, 33 dams are below +2000 DGV LPI and 6 dams do not have DGV LPIs as they reside outside North America.


The bull owners for the top 100 GLPI young bulls are:

  • Semex – 64%
  • Alta Genetics – 10%
  • Genervations – 10%
  • Select Sires – 6%
  • CRI – 5%
  • Other – 5%

NAAB – top 100 USA GTPI young bulls

The Bullvine is not able to do as  extensive an analysis on the NAAB list as the DGV TPIs are not available for analysis. Below are the average ratings for the top 100 young bulls. Note this group is similar to the Canadian one hundred young bulls – again a significant concern is that fertility is not high.

  • Milk +1503 lbs.
  • Fat +71 lbs. +0.06%
  • Protein +55 lbs. +0.04%
  • PTAT +2.93
  • UDC +2.57
  • FLC +2.06
  • Productive Life +6.3
  • DPR 0.7
  • SCS 2.68
  • Net Merit +774
  • TPI +2395

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The use of genomic testing has provided  a very significant opportunity to increase the rate of genetic improvement in herds that use North American sampled Holstein bulls (read more – The Genomic Advancement Race – The Battle For Genetic Supremacy). The top 100 GLPI young Canadian bulls are the equivalent to over 99%RK for recently proven sires. Congratulations to the breeders and breeding companies for using the genomic results to produce the young bulls. Thank you to the breeders who use the top young bulls. A bright future is ahead.

The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics


Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

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The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling

Since the Bullvine started in February (and even before), I have had many dedicated breeders ask me ‘Why do the Artificial Insemination companies keep going back to the same herds for young bulls when few if any bulls from those herds ever make it to active proven status?”’ That prompted me to ask – is that true?

Answering the tough questions

For many breeders it can be hard to determine which herds they should use young sires from and which ones they shouldn’t. For many AI companies, and sire analysts they have had their thoughts about which herds are hot and which ones are not, but never had the numbers to prove it. This has us asking has genomics truly eliminated the hothouse effect in sire sampling (read more – Has Genomics Knocked Out Hot House Herds). In true Bullvine style we decided to tackle this tough question to help breeders have confidence in which genomic tested young sires to use. We first took a look at all the herds that had more than one sire receive their first official proof in the August 2012 proof run.

Here is what we found:


In comparing the columns here is what we found:

HerdCountDGV vs. OfficialPA vs. OfficialGPA Vs. Official

(For a complete listing of sires and calculations click here)

In wanting to see if the Aug ’12 results were just a point in time for these herds or if it was truly reflective, we decided to look at all the bulls proven since the introduction of genomics (Aug 2009) from these same eight herds. Here is what we found:


Again comparing the columns here is what we found:

HerdCountDGV vs. OfficialPA vs. OfficialGPA Vs. Official

(For a complete listing of sires and calculations click here)

Let the numbers do the talking

In studying proven bulls we found that most of them fall within the range for difference between the individual bull’s parent averages and official proof of 150-200 LPI points. And for most of the herds hear falling within that same range.

To go deeper and identify which sires are the best sires to sample, and for breeders to use and which sires should not be sampled or used we took a closer look at how DGV’s, Parent Averages and GPA LPI’s compared to their Estimated Daughter Performance*. Here is what we found:

HerdCountEDP*EDP vs. OfficialDGV vs. EDPPA vs. EDPGPA vs. EDP

*Please note to calculate Estimated Daughter Performance we took each sire’s official proof and back solved considering his DGV and PA using the published CDN formulas and weightings.

These results are consistent with our previous findings that DGV’s are by far the most accurate indicator of which sires you should use/sample. As well, why you should not use sires that have DGV’s below their parent averages (read more – 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Genomic Sires With DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

For both breeders and A.I. companies it can be very challenging trying to figure out which genomic tested sires to use and which breeding programs they should consider investing in. As we have found out the numbers tell the whole truth. Genomic results do give us very reliable information. While it may be true that for some of herds it can be said that they breed better female than male bloodlines. Nevertheless, that does not fully explain why A.I. companies have continued to sample bulls from some herds. It also does not justify why sire sampling herds should be asked to take on the risk in their herd improvement programs. As one of my breeder friends often tells me – use the best, cull or ignore the rest.

The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics


Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

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The Bloom Is On Oconnors Goldwyn Jasmine

There is always something worth celebrating on a dairy farm.  At Suntor Holsteins, owned by Fred and Ruth Sundborg and family located southwest of Montreal and 20 minutes north of the New York Border this is doubly true this August.  Although, we caught up to him just before a rehearsal for his brother’s wedding, Kevin (son of Fred and Ruth) was also happy to celebrate the blooming of OCONNORS GOLDWYN JASMINE EX-92-CAN.




We don’t know all the details of the happy wedding but we are getting up to date on Jasmine. Kevin wasn’t at the Royal the year his Dad purchased Jasmine at the 2007 Sale of Stars, who’s dam he had seen at Oconner’s and loved her massive frame. However since then, he has been right at her side over the five years that she has made her name OCONNORS GOLDWYN JASMINE EX-92 MS-95 one that is recognized. Let’s start by noting that she is the Goldwyn sister to Oconnors Jay who was the 2nd highest new release bull in August 2012 coming in at #6 GLPI.

Looking back at the purchase Kevin explains what attracted them to her. “That was before the ‘genomic-era’, but Jasmine was by the magic Goldwyn x Durham cross.  Her dam was a massive –framed Durham who my Dad saw before calving at O’Connor’s and Jasmine herself was a very correct-fancy heifer.”   Suntor Holsteins, who earned their Master Breeder Shield in 2000, are always looking to improve their herd. “We genomically tested Jasmine right away, as she had A.I. interest, and she came back very close to her actual PA LPI, and was very high for type.”


Jasmine continues to Bloom

“Since she calved as a 2yr old and is now fresh for the 3rd time, she has really performed.” Kevin reports enthusiastically. “She has grown, moved up in production, moved up in classification and has given us great offspring.” Is it any wonder that he says, “We are more than pleased by what she has done for us.”





Jasmine is Productive

As a heifer Jasmine was flushed to Onward and bred to Ashlar. “Two bulls went to Semex.”  And there were more good things to come. “Fresh as a 2yr old, I wanted to breed her to a high index bull. Man-O-Man was just released so we used him.” That done “We also flushed her to Shottle and Wildthing.” In the barn Kevin notes, “We are currently milking Man-O-Mans, a Shottle and an Onward from Jasmine. She is currently projected 5-03 14,513 kg BCA 291-392-276 SCC 8,000.”


Jasmine Attracts Attention

“Besides selling to A.I., we have sold Shottle embryos to Europe and Wildthing embryos to Australia, to breeders who enjoy working with strong cow families.”


Jasmine Crosses Well

There is much for this cattle breeder to be happy about when discussing Jasmine. “The safest cross was to Shottle, her daughter Josina VG 2 yr MS86, exemplifies the best of her sire and dam.” But there is another side to Kevin’s excitement regarding Jasmine. “The best cross in my opinion was to OMan OMan. Combining a high index bull to a high type female has resulted in Suntor Man O Man Jelena VG 2 yr MS86.” So what’s the big news? “Jelena is our highest genomic animal (Aug ’12 +2157 GTPI +3.13 PTAT, +2828 DGV LPI +16 Conf.) and has passed this to her offspring.”


Jasmine Breeds Amazing Results

As we venture down the path of genomic testing, it is exciting to learn of the success stories. “Jelena’s son by Willrock is going to Semex.” That’s good news but there’s more to come.” Jelena’s sons by Epic came back with amazing results. The highest was 4107 DGV LPI 20 Conf, 2488 GTPI 3.7 PTAT.”  Exciting indeed. Kevin continues to list the highlights, “Jelena herself (Jasmine’s daughter) is consigned to the Sale of Stars.”  She too has loads of marketing ability. “She has “sire stack and genomics (especially CONF +14) but most importantly is PROVEN to transmit high genomics.” He is referring to the Epic bull and the fact that the Willrock is the highest Semex has tested. It isn’t any wonder that Kevin sums everything up by saying, “Jelena is the type I have hoped to breed and we are excited to have her as a consignment to the Sale of Stars.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

Success in the dairy business is achieved in many different ways but, most often, it starts with a good family.  As Suntor Holsteins expands their dairy herd and, more importantly, their extended family we offer congratulations on their achievements and wish them “All the best as you keep on growing!”

Gillette Visions 2012: Lots to watch for

Heading to the Gillette Visions 2012 Sale next week?  Wanting to invest in some great cattle?  I am answering “Yes!” to both questions. However, before I go to what is sure to be a great sale, I am going to analyze the lots that catch my eye so I can decide which would be good ones to invest in.  While I am sure Lot 1, Gillette S Planet 2nd Snooze VG-86 2Yr will sell very well.  I am looking for the lots that maybe won’t be the sale toppers but offer great value to those looking to get started in investing in top cattle.  The following are my 10 lots that “look-good-on-paper”.  It will be interesting to see if they have the goods on sight too. (Note: Click here for full sales results, photo’s and analysis).(Read Top Three Things To Consider when Investing In High  Genomic Heifers And 6 Ways to Invest $50,000 in Dairy Cattle Genetics).





First catching my eye is the heifer with the highest direct genomics in the sale GILLETTE EPIC JINGLE (DGV LPI +3768).  Jingle’s DGV for LPI is over 1000 points higher than her parent average, telling you she got the best of GILLETTE SHOTTLE JEWELL VG-86-3YR CAN (Maternal sister to Gillette Jordan) and GENERVATIONS EPIC (A sire that seems to consistently leave progeny with DGV’s higher than the parent average).  Epic should bring the feet and leg improvement that Jewell needs, though I will be looking closely at this calf to see if she has enough dairy strength.  While Jewell scores well for dairy strength, the sire stack indicates that this could be her challenge.



Dam of lot 61 - BENNER PLANET JAKOVA GP-83-2YR

Dam of lot 61 – BENNER PLANET JAKOVA GP-83-2YR

Next to catch my eye is the heifer with the highest official genomic evaluation in the sale DONNANDALE EPIC JAYLO (GLPI + 3536).  From the #3 LPI cow in Canada, BENNER PLANET JAKOVA GP-83-2YR, Epic is a nice cross on Jakova as you notice, both by her genetics and classification that she needs the rump and mammary system improvement that Epic will provide.  Epic also brings the much-needed attention to health and fertility that is gaining importance to many breeders around the world.  While the GP-83-2yr old score on Jakova might scare some away, given the herd that she is in, and the way the industry is heading, (Read more – Is Good Plus Good Enough) it does not concern me.



Dam of lot 10 - R-Z BAXTER CARAMEL VG-89-2YR-CAN

Dam of lot 10 – R-Z BAXTER CARAMEL VG-89-2YR-CAN

Catching my eye for her outstanding and unique sire stack (Sudan x Baxter x Goldwyn x Justice) is MARYCLERC SUDAN CARAMINE the Sudan daughter of R-Z BAXTER CARAMEL VG-89-2YR-CAN.  From the heart of the Ralma Christmas Fudge Family (Read more 2012 Golden Dam), this pedigree has it all, production, durability, and health and fertility.  Combine that with a dam who is the 3rd generation VG-89-2yr and you have a potent breeding package.



3rd dam of lot 8 & 9 - RALMA CHRISTMAS COOKIE VG-89-3YR-USA DOM

3rd dam of lot 8 & 9 – RALMA CHRISTMAS COOKIE VG-89-3YR-USA DOM

Possessing the highest sire stack in the sale are Caramine’s sisters by Snowman, CLEROLI SNOWMAN CARAMILK and her full sister GILLETTE SNOWMAN CASSIDY. Giving the edge to Caramilk, I would be most interested in the one that possesses the best rump. That is the one type area in this cross that concerns me. For that and the health and fertility aspects I would give an edge to the Sudan mating on Baxter Caramel (see preceding selection).





For those of you looking for a more immediate impact there is RALMA-RH MANOMAN BANJO.  Also from the Ralma Christmas Fudge Family ((Read more 2012 Golden Dam), Banjo is fresh and if living up to expectations should look amazing.  In Banjo you get a fresh 2yr old that is ready to rock and roll.  Her DGV’s are 342 points over current GPA LPI, so the potential for great things to come is there.  I am sure she will be generating loads of attention, I will be closely looking at her feet and legs to see if she can outperform her pedigree in this area.



2nd dam of lot 20 - REGANCREST G BROCADE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM

2nd dam of lot 20 – REGANCREST G BROCADE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM

I have been watching the storyline for FARNEAR BROCADE P BUFFY for a while now (Read – Shooting for Planet Buffy) and this cross of Windbrook has me very intrigued.  CLEROLI MP WINDBROOK BLUFFY DGV LPI of +3365 is 870 points higher than her parent average (2495).  In this pedigree you go right back into the heart of one of the greatest breeding cows in the world today REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92 GMD DOM (Read – 2012 Golden Dam Finalists).  I am always looking for animals that are extremes and there is no question that Windbrook Buffy has gotten the best that Windbrook and Brocade P Buffy have to offer.  I also like this cross because Planet has tremendous health traits and Windbrook would protect the feet and legs and add strength.



2nd dam of lot 22 - REGANCREST G BRIZELDA EX-90-4YR-USA DOM

2nd dam of lot 22 – REGANCREST G BRIZELDA EX-90-4YR-USA DOM

Continuing in the Regancrest breeding comes LESPERRON BOULDER BREEZEL the Boulder daughter of REGANCREST-I SANCHEZ BREEZE VG-86-2YR.  Breeze’s dam REGANCREST G BRIZELDA is one of the top PTAT cows in the world.  She of course is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92 GMD DOM.  What catches my attention with Breezel is, not only how much her DGV’s are higher than her PA’s (2472 vs. 2154), but also how insanely high her DGV’s for conformation are (+22 Conf.).  There really is no question that she has the ability to continue Barbie’s ability to transmit great conformation.  It’s something this family does like clockwork.





A sleeper lot for me might be MIDLEE EXPLODE VICTORIE.  While Victorie’s dam APPLERIDGE GOLDWYN VICK VG-87 is not a household name and I have expressed my concerns about Explode in the past (Read – Eight Proven Holstein Sires To Watch For or To Watch Out For), this lot  still gets my attention.  She possesses strong production, durability, health and fertility numbers and  has  good honest breeding, generation after generation tracing back to SUNNYLODGE CHIEF VICK ET VG-86-2YR-CAN 31*.  If you are looking for a good breeding cow family, this may be the cost effective lot for you.



2nd dam of lot 59 - DE-SU 7051 VG-88-6YR-USA DOM

2nd dam of lot 59 – DE-SU 7051 VG-88-6YR-USA DOM

Rounding out this epic list (pun intended) is LOOKOUT-PESCE EPIC NEVIS.  I have been looking for ways to get into the De-Su breeding program and Nevis provides that, since she is an Epic daughter of DE-SU 9842.  This heifer is a genomic triple threat possessing production, durability and health and fertility.  With her Supersonic sister selling for $46,000 in the Island Heat Wave sale and Nevis having the higher DGV’s, it will be interesting to see what she brings.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

While I still want to see each of these lots (plus some others) live, these are the ones that stand out as having the greatest potential return for the investment dollar.  And hey, if you’re at the sale, come over and say, “Hi!”   I always enjoy talking with passionate dairy breeders.

To get your copy of the catalogue click here.



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Managing to Make More Milk

Depending where you live, the last several years have put many pressures on dairy profitability.  Margins are becoming slim to non-existent for some farms in 2012. Previously, one of the positive aspects of dairy farming was that dairy cows are good converters of by-products and low-cost feedstuffs that would otherwise be discarded.  In today’s, challenged marketplace even these feeds are becoming more costly.


It’s Time to Look at Feed Conversion

Now the dairy industry must take a lesson from poultry, swine and beef who focus on feed efficiency in producing eggs, chicken, pork and beef.  It’s time for dairy to focus on the conversion of feed to edible products.


The FE (Feed Efficiency) Formula

FE = Milk or FCM or ECM / dry matter intake

Feed efficiency in the dairy industry has traditionally been measured as some measure of milk production (actual milk, fat-corrected milk (FCM) or energy-corrected milk (ECM) as a ratio to dry matter intake.


The FCR (Feed Conversion Formula)

FCR = dry matter intake / lbs. of milk fat + lbs. of milk protein

The above is a new measure for feed conversion ratio (FCR), which is a measure of the pounds of feed (DM) that it takes to produce 1 pound of milk components.


Feed Efficiency is Not ONLY about FEED!

It would seem obvious that feed related factors would be most important when you set out to increase feed efficiency.  Nutritionists and consultants draw our attention to forage digestibility, feed particle size, protein levels, fat levels, starch levels and certain feed additives that can affect feed efficiency. This is what they know.  This is what we can control.

However, there are factors beyond feed that we can look at such as environmental factors and our own management inputs. Some environmental factors can be more difficult to control than others.  It is difficult to be 100% in charge of the effects of heat stress, average days in milk, lactation number, acidosis and heat stress.  Each one of these will affect feed conversion. But there are other environmental and management factors that we can target in our effort to improve feed conversion.

MANAGING TO MAKE MORE MILK: Do you help or hinder your cows?

Variability in management practices can greatly affect production, components and dry matter intake and, thus, feed efficiency. Researchers point to a survey which was undertaken on 3000 cows in 47 herds that were fed the same diet.  Results show that there was a 27 pound difference in production (i.e. the difference between 47 pounds and 74 pounds of milk), even when fed the same ration.


Cow Comfort Should Not Be the Last Resort

A recent area under consideration for feed efficiency is cow comfort. Cow comfort issues can affect milk production and components, reproduction and general health. While most of the research has shown increases in production with improved cow comfort, generally production or component increases translate into improvements in feed efficiency. There are excellent studies on the effects of stall design on milk production and cow health.


Less Stocking density = More Milk

Too many cows in one area and the number of stalls per cow can have an effect on feed conversion. Cows in crowded conditions tend to eat faster and ruminate less. The larger numbers can directly relate to more pathogen load in the area. More pathogens can be as simple as more teat end exposure to pathogens. In the long term cows can share more serious illness and immune suppression. The previously mentioned Spanish study, attributed a 32 percent of the production variability to stocking density and determined that each 10 percent reduction in cows per stall equaled 1.7 lbs more milk per cow.


Less Lameness = More Milk

Lameness can dramatically affect production, health and reproduction. However, even cows that are mildly lame (cows that walk with shortened strides, an arched back and a slight limp) can have reduced production and feed efficiency.

Researchers have shown even cows with a lameness score of 3 (mildly lame, 1 to 5 scale with 5 being severely lame), can have 3 to 5 lbs less production (greater than 900 lbs per lactation) vs. sound cows (score 1). Key point – Even mild lameness can negatively impact production and feed efficiency.


More Lying time = More Milk

Cows need time to lie down. This priority can consume around 12 hours of a cow`s day and cows will sacrifice eating time for lying time.  The Miner Institute in New York conducted a series of studies that showed an increase of 2 to 3.5 lbs of additional milk for each additional hour of lying time. More rest = More dollars.

Less Time Away from the Pen = More Milk

Minimizing time outside the pen is important to maximize cows’ time for resting, eating and drinking. Time away from the pen for milking can have an effect on production. In an extreme example of this, a study from the University of Nebraska compared the effect of three versus six hours per day away from the pen for milking. When time away from the pen was reduced, second-plus lactation cows gained two additional hours of resting time and 5 lbs of milk and first-lactation heifers gained an additional four hours of rest and 8 lbs of milk.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

These are only a few of the factors that have an impact on our cattle and their production levels. Knowing how to balance the need for resting, drinking, exercise, feeding and general comfort can have as much or more impact on feed efficiency than feed related factors alone. It only makes sense to control what we have some control over.

Golden Dam 2012 Finalists

Choosing the greatest dam in the world can be very challenging.  Choosing from over 100 nominations that our readers put forward can be almost impossible.  Nevertheless the Bullvine staff is up to the challenge and here are the finalists.

We need your help to assist our official judges, Roger Turner, Brian Leslie, Larry Schirm, and Allessandro Ravanelli.  Your vote counts.  You can win great prizes.  So get out and vote.  (For full contest details visit Golden Dam 2012)

So here, in alphabetical order, are the ten finalists:




When it comes to consistently putting out top genomic animals that have DGV’s that are higher than their parent averages, you cannot beat AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA.  The added bonus is not only do Shauna’s progeny top the GPA TPI lists but they also do well on the Canadian lists with 13 of her progeny over +3000 GPA LPI.  Shauna seems to be a cow that can do it all.  Her Robust son, Supersire is the #1 Net Merit sire and the #2 GPA TPI sire.  Again Shauna is a cow that flushes well and she has a great photo to market from!





In 2009 Elsa impressed breeders with her many daughters with remarkable production, type scores, breeding values, genomics and show results.  In 2010 her breeding achievements were equally as strong helping her earn the 2010 Global Cow of the Year Award.  Daughter success includes FG ESLA 12 VG-88 as a 2 yr. old and who is also dam of Broeks Bolton Else VG-86.  Of course you cannot forget her extremely popular son Flevo Genetics Snowman.





Being the dam of five class extra sons is no small accomplishment.  Nevertheless it is not a surprise for GILLETTE BLITZ 2ND WIND who is from the Braedale Gyspy Grand family that seems to do it with ease.  2nd Wind is also able to achieve it on the female side with 10 daughters over +2000 GLPI in her native Canada.  This six times number one LPI cow has been able to pass the torch to her daughter Gillette Bolton 2nd Sleep and her granddaughter Gillette S Planet 2nd Snooze.





Perk Rae is an 8th generation EX, and she is a Red Roxy.  On top of that she is polled.  What more could you ask for? She has a Durham daughter scored EX-92, as well as 8 VG daughters.  Perk Rae has been a popular contract cow with sons in AI and embryos exported around the world.  Perk Rae has seven EX sisters and her dam is an EX Rubens sister to Scientific Debutant Rae.  She is also the winner of the 2012 Red Impact Award from Holstein International.





The “million dollar cow” Lila Z has now produced 11 VG first lactation daughters. She was All-Canadian Jr Yearling, Jr. 2 YR, and HM Int. Champion at the 2004 Royal.  As well she was Int. Champion at Quebec Spring show in 2005. She was Reserve Grand three times:  at the Atlantic Spring Show in 2007, Ontario Summer Show 2007, and Autumn Opportunity Show in 2008.  Lila Z daughters include Goldwyn Lilac VG-89, Comestar Goldwyn Lala VG-87, the dams of Genervations Lexor and Gen-I-Beq Lavaman, former #1 and #2 genomic sires in Canada.





Daisy does it all.  She has high production, fitness, longevity and outstanding type.  This Excellent Durham granddaughter of Markwell Bstar Raven EX-95, who as a young cow made many waves at Madison, also transmits it all.  Numerous daughters, granddaughters and their sons distinguish themselves in the genomic rankings.  As a bull dam in 2010, Daisy had some fabulous results with the high-ranking O-Man sons Dakota (the Netherlands), Duke (Germany), and Osaka (Spain).  In 2012, Daisy’s first progeny sampled grandson, Danillo, provided an impressive sequel with top position in the Netherlands.





Atlee’s sons, with their super-high genomic numbers for type, the bulls Atwood (by Goldwyn), AltaAmazing (by Goldwyn), and Aftershock (by Shottle) are now as well known in the Holstein industry as any daughter-proven sires.  Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning reserve Int. champion at Madison in 2005.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94 (the full sister to World Champion Shoremar S Alicia EX-97).  Atlee’s daughters include Madison Junior Champion MS Atlees Roy Autumn VG-89, MS Atlees Gold Abigal VG-89, MS Atlees Goldwyn Ariel VG-89, who sold for $1.5 million, and the outstanding MS Atlees Shottle Aubry.





In addition to 7 EX daughters, Fudge is dam of the proven O-Man sons Cricket (Netherlands) and Focus (US), as well as the Goldwyn son Confirm (US).  Her grandsons include Gold Crown and Goldwyn Coach (from her O-Man daughter Christmas Cookie), Shottle Chariot (out of her EX Finely), and Twin-B Cassino, (a high genomic Ramos out of her Shottle daughter). Her show winning September daughter Crystal EX-93 had a full sister that is the dam of the Bolton mother of Sandy-Valley Colt P-Red.





REGANCREST PR BARBIE is the sixth generation of the Regancrest breeding program combining both the Dellias and the Brinas.  Eleven of her daughters are ranked in the top 25 of the American type index list.  Barbie’s offspring consistently generate top prices at international sales. In 2009, granddaughter and fellow finalist, Regancrest S Chassity EX 92, sold in a package with her offspring for $1.5 million. Barbie is the dam of 14 EX & 16 VG daughters and one of the breed’s leading type sires – Braxton EX-95.





Chassity was the world’s top selling cow of 2009, selling along with offspring for $1.5 million. In 2010, Chassity’s daughter Goldwyn Cash was the world’s top-selling individual, being purchased for $205,000.  The full brother to Cash, Mr. Chassity Gold Chip, has been the #2 GTPI sire in the US.  Sky-high genomic numbers on Chassity’s progeny, especially for type, help keep this granddaughter of Regancrest PR Barbie constantly in the news and helped her tie for the 2011 Global Cow of the Year.


The Bullvine Bottom Line

This year’s finalists represent a great cross section of the Holstein breed.  We have some of the greatest cow families in the history of the breed as well as some of the ones that are still starting to make their mark.  Which cow do you think has had the greatest impact?  Let us know. Your vote counts.

The Sensational 6 Top North American Genomic Holsteins We Would Invest In

Having trouble figuring out who genomic cattle are worth investing in?  Not sure what cows are the real deal and which ones are smoke and mirrors?  The Bullvine decided to imagine we had $1,000,000 to invest in genomic cattle.  With that incentive, what cows would we invest in?  The following is the top six North American high genomic cattle we would choose.

To ensure that we would be making a wise investment, we looked at the following three key factors: genetic merit, marketability, and flush history.  We took the top GLPI cows as well as the top GTPI cows and considered their Direct Genomic Values (DGV’s), Their 4 generation sire stack, and their family’s ability to outperform their predicted transmitting ability generation after generation.  Once we had our short list of cattle that we knew could be the sound genetic base, we then said, which of these cattle are the most marketable?  Do they have a great photo to market from?  Never underestimate the value of a great photo (read Patty Jones: Picture Perfect!)  Is the family consistently selling animals for high dollars at the top sales?  (Check here for the latest sale results)  And lastly, through personal experience, we know that the greatest animal in the world means nothing, if she cannot flush well (read What Comes First The Chicken Or The Egg).

The following is our million dollar-shopping list.




There is nothing more marketable than being #1.  Combine that with the marketability of one of the top sires in the world on the top side and Lila Z on the bottom side and you have OCONNORS PLANET LUCIA.  Proof that this family is hot is the recent sale of Mapel Wood Sudan Licorice at the International Intrigue sale for $200,000 (read more International Intrigue – The Secret Exposed ) What is also evident, and very key, is that this family can flush.  Looking at Lucia’s progeny shows multiple daughters by each cross. This is a strong indicator that Lucia is a profit machine.




While being #1 in Canada is nice, being #1 in the USA is even better.  That honor goes to LADYS-MANOR PL SHAKIRA.  We are still waiting to see that great 2yr old photo that will put her marketability over the top.  Of course, being the full sister to Shamrock, former #1 genomic sire of the breed, does not hurt.  Purchased for $50,000 by De-Su Holsteins at the 2010 National Convention Sale, Shakira is already paying dividends with 10 daughters on the top genomic lists.




If you can’t be #1 then at least be the top sire producing family in the world.  That honour goes to the Braedale Gypsy Grand family and is represented by GILLETTE S PLANET 2ND SNOOZE on our list.  Planet 2nd Snooze completes 5 generations of proven bull mothers.  With sires such as Windrook, Windhammer, Stanleycup, Goodluck, Final Cut, Freelance and of course Goldwyn coming from this maternal line, their ability to produce top sires is almost unprecedented.  Unlike the challenge with some members of the Gypsy Grand family, Planet 2nd Snooze appears to be a pretty good flusher with 3+ progeny being registered from each cross.




When it comes to consistently putting out top genomic animals that have DGV’s that are higher than their parent averages, you cannot beat AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA.  The added bonus is not only do Shauna’s progeny top the GPA TPI lists but they also do well on the Canadian lists with 13 of her progeny over +3000 GPA LPI.  Shauna really seems to be a cow that can do it all. Her Robust son, Supersire is the #1 Net Merit sire and the #2 GPA TPI sire.  Again Shauna is a cow that flushes well and, man, does she have a great photo to market from!




How many top 100 GLPI cows can say they come from 4 generations of EX dams?  MS Planet Cheri can.  Combining a strong type sire stack (Planet, Goldwyn, Durham, Charles, Chief Mark) with consistent production has led to Cheri being the #2 DGV LPI cow in Canada who is scored VG or higher.  Purchased by Zimmer and Wendon in the Magic of Maui Complete Dispersal for $78,000, Cheri is still needing to prove that she’s a significant flusher, but with a pick already selling for $23,000 at the International Intrigue sale, she is well on her way to paying the bills.




When it comes to marketability, you cannot beat MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH.  The full sister to one of the most popular genomics sires in the world, MR Chassity Gold Chip at Select Sires, she is also the dam of the popular FARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHMONEY at Jetstream genetics.  Goldwyn Cash is in high demand, not to mention the popularity that is coming from her brother MR CHASSITY COLT 45 RC the #1 RC Polled Bull in the world.  This family just drips marketability.  Goldwyn Cash’s dam REGANCREST S CHASSITY, completes 7 generations of EX with Goldwyn Cash well on her way to being the 8th.  It’s a marketer’s dream, combining high genomics with the Regancrest name. What more could you ask for?

The Bullvine Bottom Line

In order to maximize your return on investment, you really do need to buy into cows that are the triple threat.  They need to be on the top of the genomic lists with a great pedigree, but they also need to have a great photo and ability to flush.  Sacrifice any of these factors and you are limiting your million dollar potential.

What is your top list?  Please share in comments box below.



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Heat Detection: An Exercise in Fertility

Milk is only Part of the Equation

When it comes to what we have learned about raising and managing dairy cows, you could make milk production a study all on its own.  In many ways we have done exactly that. We have spent so much of our focus on selecting genetics for improved milk production, that now we have fertility issues.  You don’t have a profitable dairy farm if you leave out that ability to cycle reproductively, breed successfully and put healthy calves safely on the ground. These are three vital components to a dairy cow’s productive performance.  Focusing on milk has, over time, disrupted the cow’s ability to do these foundation steps successfully. Today’s cow is out of balance.  We need to get back to the basics.  Which starts with getting pregnant. Which starts with detecting heats.

The Heat is On. We’re not making the grade.

Heat detection is the most important factor in determining the number of pregnancies a herd produces in any period of time. Anything, and everything, you put into being more effective in this area will result in your herd achieving higher fertility ratings. Herd statistics, farm profitability and reproductive efficiency are seriously affected by the level of effectiveness of estrus detection.  The report card from farm to farm varies widely and many are not achieving high marks here. You have to realize it’s still zero whether you miss the pregnancy through fertility or mismanagement.

Do your Homework.

Five ways to affect your heat detection are:

  • Watch their Behavior: Activity measures of estrus. Use observances, pedometers or accelerometers.
  • Measure their Hormones:  Hormone levels such as progesterone can be detected in blood and also in milk.
  • Take their Temperature: Changes temperature indicators can be measured in milk and vaginal mucous.
  • Veterinary Diagnosis: Go to the experts and use palpation or ultrasound scanning.
  • Synchronize Them:  Take out the variable of missed estrus by using a fixed time insemination.

Fertility 101.  Get it right every time.  Go to the head of the class.

Developing excellent visual heat detection technique can make your herd a lot of money – if you can correctly identify the signs of estrous.  If a cow shows three or more of the following signs, there is a good chance she could be in heat.

  1. Standing and mounting behavior
  2. Bawling
  3. Head butting
  4. Chin pressing
  5. Butt sniffing
  6. Bright, alert appearance
  7. Reduced appétit
  8. Lower milk yield
  9. Swollen vulva
  10. Mucus discharge

Early morning, noon and late evening observations for 20 minutes each are necessary to observe more than 90 percent of the heats in a herd. During hot weather, watch animals earlier and later each day. During cool weather, the middle of the day is generally the best time to watch. Grouping cows that are ready for breeding or recently bred is another way to make the best use of observation time.

Cows tend to be more active on dirt or pasture and should be watched for heat activity while off concrete surfaces.  Increased activity will not occur in cramped cubicles or on slippery surfaces. Also, carefully watch cows the first 30 minutes they are turned out to pasture or an exercise lot. Activity is low during feeding and milking times.

Report Card:  Don’t manage to “fail”

Use a test to diagnose pregnancy.  There are accuracy differences and challenges with each method.  Here are three:

  1. Ultrasound
  2. Palpation
  3. Blood based pregnancy test

Do you know the rate at which your heifers become pregnant? Under poor reproductive management the service rate is 40 percent and a conception rate of 50 percent.  By contrast, the rate at which heifers become pregnant under excellent reproductive management measures out at a service rate of 90 percent and conception rate of 70 percent. The 40 percent service rate means 20% are in calf. The 70 percent service rate means 63% are in calf. In any classroom, a difference of 43% is humongous or, as the teacher would say, huge!

Although the average age at first calving can be 25.4 months for the poor-management group of heifers, more than 25 percent of the heifers will not calve until after 26 months of age and 10 percent of the heifers will not calve until after 28 months of age. Clearly, the average age at calving is not truly reflecting an underlying reproductive problem. But, more important, 95 percent of heifers subjected to excellent reproductive management will calve before 25 months of age!

Economics also supports the fact that you must improve results in this area. If each day open costs around $3-$4, then each heat missed costs $63-$84. And, remember semen, drugs and extra labour costs are over and above that $3-$4 per day.  This can be very costly in a herd of dairy cows. Catching heats is the first step to getting animals bred.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

None of the preceding information is new to people who work with dairy cows but obviously we forget to put it into practice. Practice makes perfect.  Heat detection makes profit. Go to school on your herd.

We Will Rock You – Let’s Help Holstein Canada Choose the Theme Song for The Championship Class at the Royal

Holstein Canada has announced an exciting new contest for the National Black and White Holstein Show at this year’s Royal Winter Fair. As a way to excite the crowd in anticipation of naming the Grand Champion at the National Black and White Holstein Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, the theme song “Stand Up for the Champions” has been played in recent years. For the first-time ever, Holstein Canada is asking Holstein enthusiasts to submit their vote for a NEW THEME SONG to replace “Stand Up for the Champions” for this year’s upcoming Black and White Holstein Show.

The Top 10 List

In order to help you get some ideas for what song you think should be played before the announcing of the grand champion we have prepared our Top 10 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show Champion Theme Songs.

#10 “Lose Yourself” –  Eminem

There is something about a white wrapper that just spells dairy cattle.  But “Lose Yourself” by Eminem has lyrics that are very catchy and is about winning a rap contest. It is also one of the best winning songs of all time.


#9 “2012 Champion” – T-Haddy

Originally created as a tribute to the New England Patriots before the 2012 Super Bowl, T-Haddy’s 2012 Champion is a great tribute to a great team.  Even though they did end up losing to the Giants.


#8 “Everyone’s a Winner” – Hot Chocolate

Maybe not to make anyone feel left out they should play “Everyone’s  A Winner”, by Hot Chocolate so that those who are not chosen for Grand Champion honours will still feel good about being in the parade of class winners.


#7 “The Winner Takes it All” – Abba

As I learned during frosh week in university, when I cranked “Dancing Queen” and over 50 hot women came to my dorm room, nothing brings a crowd to their feet better than Abba.


#6 Chariots of Fire – Vangelis

Maybe it’s the classic marketer in movies, or the fact that so many great moments in the movies have been set to it, but I am sure “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis will be sure to set a great mood for naming of the grand champion.


#5 Star Wars Throne Room Theme Song

There is just something about “The Throne Room” song from the Star War’s movies that just has a grand effect on all those in attendance.


#4 “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor

This one really gets the pulse pumping and the crowd on the feet and it still ranks as one of the best fight songs of all time.  If it’s good enough for Rocky, is it not good enough for the Royal?


#3 “All I Do Is Win” – DJ Khaled

Pretty simple, it’s all about winning, and no one get’s that better than DJ Khaled.  While the lyrics are a little racy for the Holstein show ring, there is no question this song gets the point of showing at this level.


#2 “Simply the Best” – Tina Turner

What better title for a song could you have for a parade of class winners than Tina Turner’s “Simply The Best”?


#1 We are the Champions – Queen

Probably one of the greatest rock anthems of all time would also be one of the best options to close out what seems to be one of the greatest editions of the Royal in history.


Other Great Song Ideas

For the Curtis Clark award maybe a little “Hall of Fame” by The Script talking about the great achievements that can be achieved behind the scenes.

Then there is Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best” for the Junior Champion parade to bring out the Karate Kid in all of us.

Or maybe to open the show a little Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle”


And of course to end the show there is the Semisonic song “Closing Time”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

No matter what song is ultimately chosen for this year’s Royal Winter Fair, it’s a great idea from Holstein Canada.  Don’t miss your chance to submit your vote for a NEW THEME SONG.  It’s a “win-win” for everybody!

8 Ways to Ensure Calves Remain Alive and Thrive

We have all said at one time or another, “If only we took as good care of ourselves as we do of our cows!” However, we may be a little less precise in our care of newborn calves.  It might mean we need to change our protocols so that these newborns get the same attention to detail as our human babies. 

  1. Clear the airway: Remove mucous from around the mouth and nose, assisting the calf to breath.  Inserting a piece of straw into the nasal cavity or pouring some cold water on the calf’s head should initiate a gasping reflex to promote respiration.
  2. Dry off the calf:  The dam, if she is well and able, will dry the calf.  If she needs assistance, or if you are moving the calf immediately, you can handle the drying by using a clean, dry towel. The vigorous message provided while drying around the shoulders and neck encourages respiration and helps the calf to regulate its body temperature.  As water evaporates, heat is removed, which can lead the calf vulnerable to chilling. In cold weather provide blankets.
  3. Provide Calf Comfort:  Even more than with cows, calf bedding needs to be clean and thick. Thickness is important because the bedding must be thick enough that the newborn is not exposed to all the bacteria underneath.  Take a look at the calving area and you will see that newborn calves do not land in a sterile environment.  The entire area cradles bacteria as well as brand new calves.
  4. Feed adequate colostrum.  Once the calf is breathing well, colostrum should be administered. According to DCHA Gold Standards (Colostrum Management), colostrums equaling 10% of body weight should be fed in the first four hours of life.  It not only provides the calf with disease-fighting antibodies, but it also increases the calf’s blood volume and improves blood circulation.
  5. Use a colostrometer to evaluate quality.  Cattle managers are well aware of the benefits of good quality colostrum.  The question is, “How do you evaluate your colostrum?” Experience tells us that if it’s yellow and thick … it’s probably good.  But is that true? We can’t wait to see if the calf responds well and yet we may be saving poor quality colostrums based on visual assessment alone. Having a trusted and accurate source is well worth the investment in a colostrometer.
  6. Use a meat thermometer. Some sources advise using a meat thermometer to determine if the refrigerator where you store your colostrum is working properly and if your hot water heater is working properly. You can’t just assume because either of these feel cold or hot to the touch that they are working at the most effective temperature. The same attention to detail that you use in cleaning the milk pipelines in the milking parlour needs to be applied to the measureable temperatures that are used in care of your calves.
  7. Special Care: Calves from a difficult calving may need to be moved and handled with extra care. Surviving alive may not be enough to guarantee a healthy growing period for that newborn calf. Extra attention will save time, labour and medication if spent wisely in these early hours and days.
  8. Clean the calf cart!  Clean the calf pails!  Clean the calf bottle! Clean the esophageal tube!

The Bullvine Bottom Line:

When it comes to raising calves it’s the first little details that pay off in big returns later. See that your calves remain alive and thrive!

Ebyholme – The End of an Era

Ebyholme Goldwyn Marcia - Ebyholme Complete Dispersal Top Seller

Ebyholme Goldwyn Marcia – Ebyholme Complete Dispersal Top Seller

It’s with sadness that I watched my first definition of a dairy breeder herd sell on Friday.  I have had the opportunity to get to know Clarence, Don, Brian as well as the many family members that have helped make Ebyholme one of the greatest homebred herds in the country.  Their passion for cattle and their talents as cattlemen are of the highest level.  It’s because of that that watching the Ebyholme prefix come to an end brought a tear to my eye.

How it all began

You cannot go far in the Kitchener, Ontario area without running into the name Eby.  That’s probably because Kitchener’s original name was Ebytown because of the number of Ebys who came there in the early 1800’s.  Starting from it’s roots as part of the Ebydale herd started by his father Edwin, Clarence started the Ebyholme herd in 1957 when he and Doris made the decision to farm on their own.

Since the very beginning, the herd has been known for its long row of tall, framey cows, rather than for any particular prima donna, just a picture of consistency from top to bottom for type and production.  Over the year, any visitors left the farm, somewhat amazed, thinking that they had just seen one of the best homebred herds in the country.

The Foundation of Ebyholme

This three time master breeder herd got it’s start from three main cow families: Ebydale Snow Peggy B (VG-2*): Braeside Benefactor May (EX-3*): and a dam-daughter pair that Clarence had purchased from his cousin, Howard Eby, Eby-Manor Duke Retainer Patsy (VG) and Eby-Manor Shamrock Patsy (EX).In 1991, Clarence’s and sons Don and Brian who had joined the farm in 1967, purchased Oak Ridges Bella (EX) for $27,000 at the Oak Ridges’ Dispersal.  From Bella came Oak Ridges Beverly (EX-2E), who would become the fifth generation member of the Ganaraska Belle (EX) family to classify Excellent in Canada (Later joined by Ebyholme Bubbles EX-92-4E, Ebyholme Leader Babe EX-2E ).  In 1999, Ebyholme Lindy Bella (EX) became the sixth generation, joined by Ebyholme Leader Beauty (EX) to become the 2nd 6th generation excellent.  Who then produced the 7th generation excellent, Ebyholme Lindy Beautiful (EX-2E) in 2006.  Not surprisingly, thirty-five descendants of the Bell family grossed over $143,000 (over 27% of the sale total) in the sale on Friday.

Hillcroft Leader Melanie  EX-96-3E-USA      2*

Hillcroft Leader Melanie EX-96-3E-USA 2*

Another big contributor to the recent sale was Hillcroft Leader Melanie (EX-96), who Don and Brian had purchased from a somewhat reluctant seller, Robert Miller, as a bred heifer in February 2001.  I can still remember when they had purchased her.  Jeff Stephens had told me he had seen one that could be a great one, but was having troubles getting the deal done.  Well Don and Brian did get the deal done and Jeff was correct as Melanie went on to be a 2 time All-American and 2004 Madison Grand champion.  Thirteen descendants of Hillcroft Leader Melanie averaged $6938 in the sale. Including Ebyholme Goldwyn Mellow (VG-89) from a 4E-92 Gibson, then Hillcroft Leader Melanie(3E-96), then 3 VG dams. She was purchased by Yvonne Sicard, Pierre Boulet and Richardo Boulet, PQ

Is it the end of breeder herds?

For me, growing up, there were a few cornerstones when it came to breeder herds.  Fradon Holsteins of Frank and Don Donkers, Dupasquir Holsteins of Oscar and Eric Dupasquier, and Ebyholme Holsteins. The interest in cattle, some international travel, a few family romances and other community involvement provided the opportunity to get to know all of these families quite well.  Two of three now have held dispersals. What this tells The Bullvine is that times are a changing.  , There is not always a next generation to continue the legacy.

What happens next?

I am confident that the we have not heard the last of the Eby name.  Rob (son of Brian) and his wife Julie, from the great Pleasant Nook Jersey’s, purchased the sale topper  Ebyholme Goldwyn Marcia  EX 94 2E for $31,500.  Having grown up and competed against both Rob and Julie there is no denying the level of talent and passion they have for dairy breeding.  From Rob winning grand champion at Hays Classic as an intermediate showman to Julie’s perennial success showing “them Jersey’s” there is no question the Eby name has more to come.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

You will not see an Ebyholme heifer on top of the index lists or Ebyholme following the latest trend.  Don and Brian, like their father Clarence and grandfather Edwin before them, took great care to protect every mating they made.  They made sure that they focused each time on finding that perfect mate that would deliver the consistency, frame and longevity they so desired.  We may be sad at the passing of an icon we can be enthusiastic about the future. With many of the local breeders who they had supported for many years purchasing animals in the sale and Rob and Julie purchasing the sale topper, there is more than likely a 4th Master Breeder Shield destined for Ebyholme.  They have shared their legacy.

For a complete sale recap click here

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