Archive for October 2012

Quality Holsteins – Well-Deserved Congratulations

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

Quality Shows to Win



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



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

Quality Winners Don’t Happen by Coincidence

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

Winning today (vs. winning tomorrow)


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

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



The Quality Strategy

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

Change is Part of the Breeding Business

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

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



Genomics Is a Quality Tool

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


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

Type Leads the Way

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

Quality Formula Based on Hard Work

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



Only Elite Breeding will have Value in the Future

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

Quality Focuses on Success

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

The Bullvine Bottom Line

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

COW CANCER: Truth or Consequences?

Hopefully we are all beginning to face the fact that health issues in the dairy population have flown under the radar for far too long. Johnes, Leucosis and E Coli are three, all independent of each other, that come to mind easily.  The other day something came across my desk that raised more concern. A recent article out of UK reports that young women having IVF treatment are at ‘higher risk of breast cancer’. It goes on to say that the Australian study has found that , “Women who have IVF in their twenties are up to 50 per cent more likely to develop breast cancer.” The key alarm raised is that “the use of strong hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs during fertility treatment as hyperstimulation can be fatal.” Granted this is talking about women in the human population but we have all experienced the parallels between ourselves and the girls in the barn. The article was well balanced and cautioned against making assumptions, concluding that “A lot more work would be needed before we can say definitively whether these results are true or not.” Only good can come from further study.

Now from the bovine side.  It stimulates a series of questions and considerations. Recently the dairy industry has recorded deaths of some high profile cows due to cancer.  Rainyridge Talent Barbara, Shoremar S Alicia, Winterbay Goldwyn Lotto.  When you add to that list others such as Comestar Goldwyn Lilac, dying in her prime, and then consider all the more ordinary cows, both yours and mine, that don’t make headlines, you can begin to think that this could be serious. The first question needs to be asked, “Does IVF increase cancer risk in cows?” Of course, you can’t stop there. My mind is rolling out questions such as these:

  • Is there currently any research being done into cancer in bovines?
  • Could this be a thesis – for a university student?
  •  How could we get a comparable study of cancer deaths in the bovine population?
  • Which age group in the bovine population has the largest number of deaths from cancer?
  • Are younger cattle dying more frequently of cancer?  Is there an association with IVF?
  • How many older cows are dying of cancer? How would we know?
  •  Is there a link between the cancer and the very early age that heifers receive IVF treatment?
  • What age group or sub-section of the bovine population is at the least risk of death due to cancer?

In human medicine it has been reported by Dr Linda Giudice, President-Elect of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, that: “The development of breast cancer is linked to oestrogen exposure and the longer one is exposed, the greater the risk.” Could this also be true in bovines?


As with any of the issues that face the dairy industry, the first step is recognizing the need. The next step is finding an able and willing leader. Of course, that means you can’t start with denial because that helps no one. It’s okay to say, “This is going to be difficult.” And it’s productive to point out, “We don’t know all, or even any, of the answers yet.” If we tell it like it is, we may not know where we are going  but at least we are not standing still.

Read the original article that sparked these questions.

2012 Golden Dam: The Results are In!

The Holstein industry’s hottest, newest contest looking for the complete cow didn’t disappoint.  With over 2000 votes cast, there was certainly a lot of interest in this inaugural competition.

First we would like to thank the  judges: Roger Turner, Brian Leslie, Larry Schirm, and Alessandro Ravanelli.  Their analysis of the 2012 Golden Dam Finalists combined with your votes  determined the 2012  winner. As Judge Alessandro Ravanelli explains “We are in the genomic era and when we have to do a ranking of the  great cows that Bullvine has nominated as GOLDEN DAM, we have to look at not only what the cows did  but, also, at what they could do in the  future.”  No easy task and we thank these gentlemen for the much needed assistance.

Without further ado, here are the top 5:




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.  As Judge Ravanelli says, “I think that SHAUNA is only just started to show us what she is able to transmit to her progeny!”  Judge Turner points out Shauna’s outstanding track record of high Genomic results that includes the ability to produce progeny that top the GPA TPI lists but they also do well on the Canadian lists with 13 of her progeny over +3000 GPA LPI.  The future is very bright for this budding superstar. As one voter, Greg Tiller, comments “As breeders we are always looking for the next generation. Shauna ticks the box.”




The “million dollar cow” Lila Z got lots of attention from both breeders and our judges.   Judge Schirm describes  Lila Z as  “A true model of what the Holstein Breed can offer”.  Judge Turner highlights her outstanding performance of type, genetics, pedigree and genomics. 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.  Judge Leslie adds “I have always been a fan of this cow. I had the pleasure of judging her at the Canadian Convention Show in 07 where I made her Reserve Grand.” Of course he is not alone as Lila Z 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.  One reader, Brian Waldner, comments “She is a genetic powerhouse! The family of Lila Z is adding great males and females to the breed that will have positive impact for years to come.”




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.  For Judge Leslie “At this point with sons like Atwood & Aftershock her influence is there, but for me those I have above her have even more proof at this stage.”  Judge Schirm adds that in Atlee and her progeny “Type and Quality comes together into the Modern True Type Model Holstein Cow.” That is well proven in Atlee 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 is also able to pass it on with daughters that 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. As one reader, Spike Lamoreaux, points out that Atlee was a “trend setter not a trend follower. Though she passed away fairly young her impact on the Holstein breed is legendary.”




We think Judge Schirm sums it up the best “Barbie is time proven and an Icon for type in the breed.”As Judge Turner points out Barbie transmitted great genetics on to her daughters, sons and granddaughters. With her own granddaughter being on the list Regancrest S Chassity EX 92 tells you the level of impact Barbie has had. Judge Leslie adds “With 14 Ex daughters & a son like Braxton how can you deny her?”  By 2010 she had an unheard of 8 EX and 19 VG daughters. Three of her daughters have held the number one Cow PTAT position and at least eleven have made it to the top twenty-five PTAT Cow ranking. One reader, Ian Crosbie comments “If Brood Cow was defined in the dictionary, Regancrest PR Barbie would be located just below.” Of special note is that Barbie is the only cow that all the judges had in their top 5




It’s unanimous GILLETTE BLITZ 2ND WIND VG-88-3YR-CAN 35* is our 2012 Golden Dam.  As judge Schirm points out “few cows have ever had such success for high ranking sons.” 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 Gypsy Grand family that seems to do it with ease.  Judge Turner adds “tremendous results in proven sires ranked in Canada in combination with outstanding females.”  2nd Wind has 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. One voter, Justin Crowley, comments that she is “by far the most influential cow in the past 3 years! “ Judge Leslie points out “simply a wonderful line of the breed’s very best cows. For me the 2nd Wind cow is a standout, her own performance as a producer, then the performance of her daughters, but more importantly her incredible sons! They are among the best bulls in the breed. They leave the kind of cows dairy farmers all over the world like – powerful, productive cows. It is the fact that she has so many top sons that puts her on top for me.”  Well Brian, we could have not said it better ourselves.

Ferme Gillette, as well as François Vermette who nominated 2nd Wind, will receive a 10 x 14 digital portrait of 2nd Wind. As well Ferme Gillette will receive a jacket commemorating the achievement.

A Breakdown of the Scoring, Voting and Final Results


The Bullvine Bottom Line

We would like to give special thanks to all those who helped us pull this inaugural competition together.  Thanks to the breeders and owners of all of these final animals who helped us compile the articles. Thanks to the discerning judges who helped us evaluate these fine animals. Last but not least, thanks to you, the dairy breeders, who in commanding form got out and voted for your favorites.

Dairy Cattle Photography: Ethics and Copyright

Yesterday I let my enthusiasm get the better of me and posted a picture on Facebook that I shouldn’t have posted.  The picture was a compilation of cattle parts from some of the greatest cows in the breed.  The response to the image was insane.  There were over 300 people trying to guess what parts were what, with not one comment on the ethics of the photo.  However, what I failed to realize is that in the image there were some mistakes, and for that I am sorry.

What mistakes you might ask?  Well it really comes down to three points: 1) The background of the image was a signature background of a well known photographer 2) The original images were copyright 3) The effect it could have on the perception of livestock photography.

Every Artist Has Their Signature

Just like Picasso had his Cubist movement, Michelangelo had his Mannerist style and Leonardo da Vinci had his constant experimentation with new techniques.  Every artist has their signature approach or technique that tells you instantly that it is one of his or her pieces of work.

For dairy cattle photographers that typically comes down to their signature background.  For Patty Jones, it is her Royal background that is different from Vickie Fletcher’s Royal background and Cybil Fisher has her Madison background.  Each one tells the viewer that the image is instantly their piece of work.

In the image I created, I had not changed the background from that of Cybil’s Madison background, and for that I am sorry.  Especially when I am the one who wrote the article about how and why to change backgrounds (read – Has Photo Enhancement Gone Too Far?). As someone who greatly appreciates the work that these artists do, I worked too fast and overlooked this key element.  When one of the photographers brought this to my attention, my heart instantly sank.  I know how much work these photographers do in building their brand and, unintentionally, I had kind of slapped Cybil in the face.  I apologized profusely when she and I connected on the phone.

Photo Copy Right

Always a touchy subject with any artist is the rights to their work.  These photographers work very hard and spend many days and even weeks at a time on the road to provide a great service to the industry.  When someone takes off or removes credit from their work it can be very disheartening.

In the image in question, we removed the photo credit as it was actually the work of three different photographers and would not be accurate to put just one back on.  Since the image was more than 50% altered it technically did not qualify as one original piece of work and we did not, on the image, give the credit on it because of that.  We were expecting to give the credit with the article we planned to publish explaining why we created the image – Digital True Type Model – and explain that the image was altered not for exposure reasons but rather to help further our discussion of what the ideal cow looks like.

My benchmark for photo credit goes like this – unless the cow, bull or animals themselves have been altered in any way, photo credit should always be given.  Since the image in question at its very core was an intentional alteration of the animals, I did not want to include the integrity of the photographer in the end results, and hence no photo credit.

Photo Manipulation

Photo manipulation for the purposes of deception is 100% wrong.  Anyone who alters an image with the intent of deception is not a professional photographer or marketer and brings great disservice to the industry.

In altering this image we did not do so for any purpose of deception but rather for the purpose of education.  Everyone knows the technology exists to alter images.  We see it in the movies when people are walking on Mars or in magazines when super models are so airbrushed that you would not even recognize them in their day-to-day lives.  There is no question that it can be done.

In the dairy industry it seems to be a taboo subject.  No one wants to acknowledge it and address it.  The problem is that, by not doing so, the issue has only gotten larger and larger.  It also has led to a wide variance in each photographer’s line on what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and, in the end all photographers tend to be painted with the same dirtied brush.

In talking with some of the photographers that I hold in the highest regard about this issue, the subject always comes up that there are no technical guidelines about what is acceptable and what is not.  There is not an accreditation process to ensure that the photographers and marketers in the industry all abide by the same guidelines.

I have heard this often enough, and am offering to help establish, champion, and fund such a process so that the great work that many of these photographers do is not diminished by the few.  In saying such I would be reaching out to each of the major photographers, getting their input and seeing how we can establish such an organization.  Those I know their integrity is above reproach will be eager to join, and those that are not, will quickly identify themselves to all.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We all do things out of excitement that, looking back on, we wish we could do differently.  This is certainly one of those incidents for me.  In the past, when people have challenged my opinions or comments, I have stood my ground as I knew exactly how I felt and where I needed to hold my position (Read – The Bullvine – Under Fire).  On this issue, when certain aspects were brought to light, I instantly took action before even speaking with the photographers in question, because I knew I was wrong and for that I am very sorry.

A Preview of the 2012 World Dairy Conference Seminars

For Holsten Canada the logistics of organizing a World Conference are huge. The organizers faced this challenge by starting several years in advance to forecast what would be of interest to delegates, where to find the experts and in many ways they had to work in the dark. Then add to that the fact that the Internet and our 24-7 connected economy has turned old methods of sharing information on its head. Now, farmers are not only out-standing in their fields, they are outstanding with a smart phone in their hands. No longer are seminar audiences motivated by overheads and dry paper presentations. Presenters will be using IPADs and even the audience will be “linked up”.

A Fork Full or the Whole Load?

While 18 speakers in 1 ½ days seems like a lot to absorb, in reality it’s a hyper-compressed overview of the issues, challenges and potential facing “Holsteins Today for a Better Tomorrow”. On the one hand, it’s an opportunity to see the future through the eyes of the best in the business. On the other hand, it could be a mind numbing experience. It’s up to you to pick and choose and know what you`re hungry for.

What do you know? What do you need to know?

The social aspect of the conference is a perfectly good reason to attend and develop personal relationships that you can build on later but don’t forget that there is also the opportunity to add dairy business insights and scientific expertise to your resources. Today we will briefly preview the highlights of the sessions.

SESSION 1: It`s a Genomics Talk and Bull Session by The Know it Alls!

After four years of genomics, there is growing data to support or contradict the experts. Entitled The Genomics Revolution, three speakers from France, Australia and Canada will cover the following topics and The Bullvine will pose questions that need to be answered.

Session 2 Impact of Genomics on the Industry

  • How Genomics is changing the Business and Services of Associations – Josef Pott
    This is a hot topic in today’s dairy industry. A recent article in the Bullvine (Select Sires vs Semex: A Contrast In Cooperatives) generated discussion and raised even more questions. From the services side it would be interesting to know if there a cost effective way to include genomic and parentage testing with every registration?
  • Making More Profitable Holsteins (Male Selection) – Marjorie Faust
    There are always lots of questions in this goal setting topic which is of economic interest to every dairy breeder. Here’s a way to get your questions about how to get your bulls in a row and look toward a healthy bottom line (see the Bullvine article Going Off the Map).
  • Using Genotyped Cows to Enhance Reliability of Genomic EBV –Sander de Roos
    This topic stirred the interest of more than one of us at the Bullvine. We look forward to a description of the planned study and would like to know from which countries will the inclusion of cow performance be studied?

We’ve only looked at two of the six sessions and might be forgiven for saying “Wow! Let’s not bite off more than we can chew!” However, here’s a question for you? “When you think back to the last ten years of your dairy business, how much of what you haven’t achieved is due to missed opportunities – the technology you didn’t use, the heats you missed, or the heifers that didn’t make it to the milking string. Missed opportunities often rise out of lack of information, not being prepared or reluctance to try something new. The third session might be the one you need most.

SESSION 3: Improving Reproduction Using New Technologies

Getting our cows to reproduce is the foundation that our dairy businesses are built on. It’s so obvious that sometimes we are distracted by other issues of the moment. But if we are driven to make a positive difference in the business of making milk, reproduction has to go to the top of the priority list. It doesn’t matter how much milk the cows make if we are having problems making cows.

SESSION 4: Improving Our Cow’s Health & Welfare

There have been many who feel their concerns about healthy cattle are falling on deaf ears. We live in denial of the coming health crisis and hope that we will be lucky and miss being put out of business by the next bovine disease. Even if we can practice what I call sand box farming (that`s where you can bury your heads until the problem goes away) the problem is your money goes away too! Health is not just important it`s imperative. And even if the BIG ONE doesn`t get you, the little details of cattle health management could. Remember, on the human side 100,000 North Americans check into a hospital every year … and don`t check out because of infections or other illnesses caused by the system. Barns have systems too. The expectation is that that`s the best place to be. Check out these conference speakers, if you`re ready to shake off the sand.

Where’s YOUR Beaten Path? To the Milkhouse. To the Bank. To Retirement.
Dairy farming isn`t something you take up for the short term. It requires commitment, stamina and money. That said over time we tend to get into familiar routines and the path, or rut, becomes well worn. With our heads hunkered down we may lose sight of the goals we were originally aiming for. If we haven`t planned for the future, we may not have one. The way we use our resources and the products we produce matter to the industry, our customers and our families. What matters to you?

SESSION 5: Ensuring Farm Sustainability

SESSION 6: Getting More Out of Milk


In the business of dairy farming, knowledge is power. Are you milking it for all it’s worth?

(For more information on the 2012 World Holstein Conference go to

LASTING LEGACY: A Tribute to Rainyridge Talent Barbara

Many Holstein cows have made their mark on history. In October, household name, Rainyridge Talent Barbara joined that list and many were sad to hear of her passing.  Barbara was a great example of show type and production in one great package.  (Read more – Show Cows – All Type and No Action) Her most recent owners, River Valley Dairy, posted this tribute: “We congratulate her breeders and those that have worked over the years to develop her. Her legacy as the foundation of River Valley’s Holstein program will hopefully live on for generations through her Goldwyn daughters that will be born in April.” Join us as we look back at this great cow.



Talent Barbara’s Pedigree Ranks Excellent for Four Generations

Barbara was bred for strong type from the Rainyridge Tony Beauty family and she was from a strong sire stack: Talent x Outside x Milan x Tony. She is the fourth generation of Excellent. Steven Boerchers of Rainyridge Holsteins and Optimal Genetics, admits to the thrill of  riding the popularity wave of Rainyridge Tony Beauty but adds, “Other than breeding Beauty, we had no direct involvement with her success.” He goes on to note that this changed with the arrival of Barbara. “This time we could really take credit in her achievements.  You never anticipate something like that happening twice.  It is a testament to the family.” (Read more about Beauty – The 8 Greatest North American Show Cows of All-Time)

RAINYRIDGE TONY BEAUTY EX-5E-CAN 9* - 3rd dam of Barbara

RAINYRIDGE TONY BEAUTY EX-5E-CAN 9* – 3rd dam of Barbara

Talent Barbara’s Got Show Appeal

Several owners have shared in the successes of Talent Barbara outlined in the following list.

  • 2011 Honorable Mention All-American Aged Cow
  • 2010 Unanimous, All-American 5-Year-Old
  • 2010 Unanimous All-Canadian 5-Year-Old
  • 2010 First, 5-Year-Old, International Holstein Show, World Dairy Expo
  • 2010 First, 5-Year-Old, 2010 Royal Winter Fair
  • 2008 Nominated, All-American Jr. 3-Year-Old
  • 2008 Nominated All-Canadian Jr. 3-Year-Old

Undoubtedly, there would have been many memorable moments on this tremendous path of achievements.  Steven Boerchers feels that the most memorable experience for Rainyridge Holsteins was not a singular event. ”My greatest achievement with Barbara was after Madison in 2008 and came in two parts.  We were 5th in the Jr. 3-Year-Old class, with me on the halter and came out of nowhere and we got noticed. Anyone will tell you that is a great achievement. Right after Expo we were at the Westerner Championship in Red Deer and we won our class but had to go into Intermediate Champion against Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy, who at that time was 1st Jr. 2-Year-Old from Madison and had a lot of hype behind her. We beat her for Intermediate Champion that day and we were the crowd favorite too!  That was my proudest moment with Barbara.”

The second part of the story happened two years later. “In 2010 in the Championship class at Madison everybody talked about how great she looked in the ring and suddenly we got sent to the rail. I  remember hearing silence and also sighs of relief from competitors beside me in the ring and gasps of disbelief in the air. After that she was the most talked about cow in the barns but in the best way any cow not in the top 3 of Madison could be talked about. I will never forget that.” A tribute given by the breeder who worked with Barbara and recognized the respect she was earning.

Talent Barbara Has Outstanding Production Power

The following records show that Rainyridge Talent Barbara proved that she was more than just a show winner.

  • 2-05 (298D) 11,213 4.1%F 3.2% P BCA 267-295-268 +65 +94 +66
  • 3-04 (305D) 13,762 3.6% F 3.2% P BCA 308 298 303 +111 +110 +105

Talent Barbara’s Got Great Classification

The following list of classification results for Barbara shows that she just kept getting better with age.  

  • 2-06 VG86
  • 3-01 VG 88
  • 3-09 VG 89
  • 5-01 EX 93
  • 5-04 EX 94
  • 5-07 EX 95

Barbara the Brood Cow is Off to a Great Start

Barbara already has six VG daughters in Canada.  David Jordan, marketing manager at River Valley Dairy gives this update. “We have 6 Goldwyn daughters coming in April and are very excited about the potential of that mating.”



Barbara Sets Herself Apart as an Attention Getter

Steven Boercher describes what made Barbara a household name. “Barbara had all the things any marketer wanted in 2008 when she was nominated All-Canadian and All-American as a Jr 3. Her pedigree, RC status, high conventional LPI and nominations both sides of the border made her very easy to market. It was not really until the genomic era came full term that this show cow proved she could produce offspring in both the show and the genomic world. That is what really set her apart from many other cow families. He goes on speaking in cowman terms, “She was such a respected cow because she looked the same day-in and day-out, hair up or hair down in the wash rack or in the pack. She made great looking calves that now are great cows. She was a very strong transmitter of her red gene and she could pass high genomic numbers to offspring that in the end made people from all parts of the industry remember her name.”



David Jordan assesses that “It’s no wonder that one of the industry’s most influential cow men, Ernie Kueffner and the type-breeding specialists and marketing guru Tim Abbott at St. Jacobs took such an interest in Barbara. She had it all and hit every market”

Her Impact is What Attracted River Valley Dairy

Jordan goes on to say, “Barbara was a household name and what we refer to as a Cow of Impact™.  Our focus at River Valley is on cows that can make a difference and leave an unforgettable impact on the industry.  Barbara fit that criteria extremely well with her unique ability to hit the Type, Red, and Genomic crossover categories.  It has been astonishing and humbling to witness firsthand the popularity of Barbara – and we feel so privileged for her to have called River Valley home.”

The Story Continues for Talent Barbara

“The day we decided to buy Rainyridge Talent Barbara is a day we’ll never forget.” says David Jordan. He goes on, “But what sticks out more, now, is what the folks at Rainyridge have referred to as ‘Barbara Fever’. The excitement that Barbara created for River Valley was unbelievable. She was a celebrity and we are honored to have been her agent, even for a short time.  The story with Barbara didn’t end the way we hoped it would; but, as with any great novel, there is always a twist and the really great stories often have a sequel. It is the new chapters of the book of iconic Barbara we are excited the write.” He is referring to the philosophy of River Valley Dairy. “At the core of our breeding program we believe in working with Cows of Impact™ that will deliver Genetics to Believe In™.  To us that means understanding the marketplace and what our customers want and delivering something to them that they will be satisfied with and believe in time and time again. In carrying out this breeding philosophy, we have a cell line started on Barbara and we may make the decision to clone her in the future.”

The River Valley Way

Sometimes out of adversity, we get to learn important lessons from great cattle breeders. David explains, “Our experiences are really in the Jersey market, where the show-winning and genomic index sides of the business are very different. We have worked hard to be multi-dimensional in our approach by understanding and developing both sides of the market as we have crafted River Valley’s brand footprint.  We want to buy, breed and develop both show-stopping animals and genetic-powerhouses that will matter to producers around the world. And that is why Barbara made so much sense for our expanding program.”

River Valley was formed in 2006 and Jordan explains how they have been approaching managing their genetics. “In both the show and index sides of our business we want people to know our animals are presented ethically and honestly. Anyone that works with us knows that the cow stands on her own merits. Great cows just need the opportunity to do great things, he notes.  “In our breeding program, we tend to use more proven sires or young bulls from deep, successful cow families on the type side. With high-indexing animals we use more young g-code sires; however, on both sides of the business we always try to balance production and beauty in a good way.  Not every mating you make will produce a show winner or genomic superstar so we have to be able to make it work milking all of them .”

This is great information that is added to when he looks at crossover cows and matings. “It would be great to have genomic-ranking cows that compete well at major shows however that is often the exception to the rule.  However, when it happens, those cows have the ability to bring all sides of the industry together. But on the flip side you have to be very careful that you don’t make something no one wants.  There is a really fine line there.”

AVONLEA IATOLA VICTORIA VG-89-2YR - owned by River Valley Dairy

AVONLEA IATOLA VICTORIA VG-89-2YR – owned by River Valley Dairy
First place, Jr. Two-Year-Old and Honorable Mention Intermediate Champion, 2012 International Jersey Show at World Dairy Expo

Great Cow Families. Great Breeder Families. Great Advice.

Great cow families are the foundation to build great cow herds.  In this business, it is easily recognized that Rainyridge Talent Barbara came from one of the great cow families.

Rainyridge: “You need patience. It won’t happen on the first cross and you have to use well rounded bulls to achieve a cow capable of achieving as much as Barbara.  Talent at that time was not as one sided as the Talent we know today. He was high for production as well as type. It is important to keep both in mind.”

River Valley: “Take your time. Lay out a plan and follow it the best you know how. Be willing to invest – not only dollars, but time and believe in yourself. Recruit the best team that you can and ask others for advice – but always make your own decisions as you are the one that lives with the results in the end. And finally don’t compromise on what you want to achieve – the great thing about the future is you have the opportunity to create it, everyday.”

Undoubtedly with this kind of commitment, planning and vision the legacy of Rainyridge Talent Barbara will live on.

The 8 Greatest North American Show Cows of All-Time

Coming off what might have been one of the greatest World Dairy Expo’s of All-Time (Read –World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle For The Ages), there seems to be great debate about how some cows stack up in the All-Time rankings.  To help determine how we would rank the greatest North American Holstein show cows of all time, we looked at their head to head match ups as well as overall accomplishments and dominance in their era and developed the following list:




VANDYK-K INTEGRITY PARADISE EX-96-2E-USA DOM 3* – Photo by Kathy Debruin



  • GRAND MADISON 2002, 2000
  • 1ST 4-YR MADISON 2000




QUALITY B C FRANTISCO EX-96-3E-CAN 18* – Photo by Patty Jones


  • GRAND ROYAL 2005, 2004

Reasons: Both Paradise (Madison) and Frantisco (Royal) were only able to win twice in their home country at a time when the border was closed. But Frantisco does win the battle when it comes to total All-American or All-Canadian awards so she wins this close battle.








  • GRAND ROYAL 1994, 1992

Reasons: Since Frantisco never having won at Madison, the edge goes to Whitney for winning on both sides of the border.







  • ALL-CANADIAN 5-YR 2009
  • GRAND MADISON 2010, 2009

Reasons: Very close battle between Frosty and Whitney, both cows where Supreme at Madison twice, but the nod goes to Frosty for for doing it against stiffer competition (see Rose below).




THRULANE JAMES ROSE EX-97-2E-CAN 2* – Photo by Vicki Fletcher



  • GRAND ROYAL 2009, 2008, 2006

Reasons: Head to head these cows split with Frosty winning Madison and Rose winning the Royal, but Rose gets the edge for being able to win on both sides of the border.




ACME STAR LILY EX-2E-CAN EX-94-4YR-USA 8* – Photo by Patty Jones



  • GRAND ROYAL 1999, 1998, 1997

Reasons: Close battle, with both cows having 4 Grand Championships at the Royal or Madison. The edge goes to Lily with the 1 more All-Canadian nod.




RAINYRIDGE TONY BEAUTY EX-5E-CAN 9* – Photo by Patty Jones



  • ALL-CANADIAN MATURE COW 1999, 1995, 1993, 1992
  • ALL-AMERICAN MATURE COW 1999, 1995, 1992
  • GRAND ROYAL 1993
  • RES.GRAND ROYAL 1999,1995

Reasons: Very close battle even though they split their head to head battle, Beauty was 8 times All-Canadian or All-American where Lily was only 4 times.




BROOKVIEW TONY CHARITY EX-CAN EX-97-5YR-USA DOM 13* – Photo by Maggie Murphy



  • ALL-CANADIAN 1987, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982
  • ALL-AMERICAN 1987, 1985, 1984, 1982
  • GRAND ROYAL 1987, 1985, 1984, 1983
  • GRAND MADISON 1987, 1985, 1984, 1983

Reasons: No comparison. Charity was never defeated in her class and 8 times was Grand at Madison or the Royal. She was incredible perfection!

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While I am sure you can debate which cows were actually better than others, the only way to fairly compare them is to look at how they did head to head in their prime.  If that was not possible as the cows are from different eras then you have to then look at total accomplishments.  The one thing for sure is that Brookview Tony Charity’s accomplishments are by far the greatest of all time and may never be equaled again.


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The 8 Greatest Show Cattle of All Time - Wallpaper

The 8 Greatest Show Cattle of All Time – Wallpaper

GOING OFF THE MAP: 14 Outcross Holstein Sires That Don’t Include GPS

With the increased genetic similarity coming from genomic selection and the accelerated rate of genetic advancement, the need to pay attention to outcross sires is important. Never before has it been so difficult to find outcross sires, even though there is a much larger global marketplace. As the world genetics market has grown, the variance in genetic offerings has actually decreased. In most countries genetic indexes are either getting more and more similar or breeders are starting to speak a more common language such as TPI or Net Merit.

As a follow up to our The Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires to Use for Maximum Genetic Gain, we decided to look for outcross sires either proven or genomic test sires that would offer breeders the maximum genetic gain while providing needed diversity. The word outcross or what constitutes an outcross sire can be tricky depending on where you are located. For our purposes, we are calling an outcross sire something that comes off the GPS map, or the Goldwyn, Planet, and Shottle map, if you will. That means that they do not have any of these three great sires anywhere in the 1st or 2nd generation of their pedigree.

Please note that we did leave Man-O-Man and his sons in our list because we felt that in relation to the total population base he received limited use due to his limited semen supply. He was used fairly heavily for contract matings but has only 393 daughters in his production proof and 190 daughters in his type proof in the USA

Overall Performance Improvement

While there is no question Man-O-Man offers outstanding overall genetic gain in a relative outcross package, here are some other sires to consider when looking for overall performance improvement:

  • LEOTHE DEXTERMAN (Man-O-Man x AltaBaxter)
    If you cannot get Man-O-Man, why not go for what is arguably his best son, LEOTHE DEXTERMAN? DEXTERMAN offers outstanding component improvement, though he should not be expected to significantly improve overall production. Not surprising considering his dam LEOTHE BAXTER DAPHNEE VG-86-2YR-CAN just squeezed out 10,799 kgs in a 365-day record. DEXTERMAN’s maternal line shows generation after generation of solid conformation with average production. Look for DEXTERMAN to offer solid durability and health traits with balanced conformation. DEXTERMAN will fit the bill when looking for extreme component improvement. Look for him to breed much as his maternal line strong conformation, outstanding components, but needs protected on overall production.
  • MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE (Massey x Boliver)
    If you are looking for more of an outcross or have used lots of Man-O-Man try MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE. MAURICE and his Dorcy brother MOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL offer a great outcross option. MAURICE has high TPI, NM$ and Type scores making him a great option for overall performance. Though based on his genomic numbers you will need to protect him on dairy strength and a little on rumps.
  • CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY (Mascol x Bret)
    If you are looking for a proven sire option, you cannot go wrong with CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY. The current #1 daughter proven sire in the US, MASSEY breeds long-lasting cows that work well in all environments. Watch for MASSEY to sire even better production numbers than his proof would indicate, as well as being a little dairier and stronger than expected, but he will need to be protected on Rumps.
  • ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE (Bolton x O man)
    For those looking for a bloodline not as well known to North American breeders, try ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE. With a dam that has a MACE index of over +4000 MLPI, it can be new territory for many breeders to use a MACE sire that is so high. Concerns that his proof is all parent average and genomics are not unusual. However, when it comes to MASACLESE. his daughters are actually backing up what his family and genomics would indicate. His young sire proof estimates (65% Genomics and 35% Parent Average) would be +3019 MLPI and his MACE proof has him at+ 2972, telling you that, while his daughters are slightly lower, they are not far off. Look for MASCALESE to transmit outstanding balance and type though do be careful on his component percentages.

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 Man-O-Man for overall production, and genomic sires MAURICE & DEXTERMAN for components to use to gain the greatest production increase:

  • DE-SU ALTAGOALMAN (Bolton x O man)
    ALTAGOALMAN is a proven sire from the high Genomic Index De-Su herd. With a PA MLPI of +1960 and DGV MLPI of +2710, ALTAGOALMAN’s official proof MLPI is +2887, indicating that his daughters are significantly outperforming PA expectations for both type and production traits. Though ALTAGOALMAN will sire outstanding production both his genomic proof and his daughter information would indicate that he needs to be protected on dairy strength.
  • UFM-DUBS ALTAESQUIRE (O man x AltaSam)
    Another proven sires option is ALTAESQUIRE. ALTAESQUIRE’s 2nd crop daughters seem to be outperforming his first crop proof. Watch for ALTAESQUIRE to sire more production, components as well as better mammary systems than his current proof would indicate. Currently ALTAESQUIRE’s proof is held back significantly by his low parent average MLPI of +1763, that is 1171 points lower than his current official MLPI proof of +2934. With the addition of more daughters watch for his official CDN proof to have him among the top 2-3 LPI spots. While offering dairy strength and rump improvement ALTAESQUIRE needs to be used cautiously on mammary systems and feet and legs, but if you are looking to put a production punch in a good uddered and legged cow/heifer ALTAESQUIRE will do the trick.

Longevity Improvement

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

  • RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT (Dorcy x Boliver)
    RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT just spells longevity (Dorcy x Boliver x Outside x Rudolph), he was bred to deliver long lasting daughters. With outstanding Herd Life/Productive Life, breed leading mammary systems scores and strong Feet and Legs scores, DELIGENT is a longevity specialist, though he does need to be somewhat protected for dairy strength. Look for DELIGENT to combine this longevity with strong production and type numbers.
    From the same family as MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE comes the Dorcy son MOGUL. Much like MAURICE, MOGUL combines high TPI, NM$ and Type scores as well as breed leading longevity scores. With a PL +7.1, +3.29 UDC. +3.13 FLC, +1.22BD and +1.62 Dairyness, MOGUL really is the complete longevity package. Combine that with over +1,000 lbs. of milk and plus components and MOGUL daughters will be producing for many years.
  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY (Bolton x Bret)
    Well if you don’t want to use genomic young sires, you can always use the sire that is producing those sons, COYNE-FARMS DORCY. While DORCY’s actual daughter numbers are slightly below his Genomic and Parent averages (Read – The Effect Genomics has On the August 2012 New Release Daughter Proven Sires) he is proving to be an outstanding longevity improvement sire, both through his sons and daughters. Breeders interested in a Bolton son from an outcross pedigree, top-notch udders, very good feet & legs and functional traits may consider DORCY. Dairy Strength and Rump are only slightly above breed norms.
  • BERTAIOLA MINCIO (Bolton x Boss Iron)
    For breeders looking to go a little further off the GPS map, there is BERTAIOLA MINCIO. This high fertility Bolton son combines high type with great production, which is resulting in outstanding results in his current daughter performance. Watch for MINICO to sire great udders and feet & legs though you may want to watch him on somatic cell score.

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 especially the GPS sires actually have negative values for health and fertility. The following are a couple of specialist sires that should help you change that:

  • ALL-RIEHL PAXTON (O Man x Rudolph)
    While ALL-RIEHL PAXTON has a little older sire stack, he does possess the highest combined values for Somatic Cell Score, Udder Depth, Milking Speed, Daughter Fertility and Lactation Persistency. PAXTON daughters are shallow uddered with strong rear attachments and walk on strong feet and legs. While not big, or deep bodied they do possess good width of chest and nice slopey rumps. For those looking for show type and angularity, PAXTON is not the sire for you, but for those looking for easy to manage daughters that have long term profitability PAXTON will do the trick.
  • S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM (Domain x Bolton)
    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 genomic young 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.

Type Improvement

Finding a top type sire that has no Goldwyn in it’s pedigree is next to impossible (Read – 7 Sire to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion). Finding ones with no Planet or Shottle as well was almost ridiculous. In addition to MOGUL and MINICO, you could also consider:

  • SIEMERS TOYS HERO 9701 (Toystory x Durham)
    While HERO’s pedigree does not have some of the big time show cow’s like many of the other popular type sires in the breed today, he does have strong genomic test results for Conformation, and specifically udders. Look for HERO to sire extremely shallow udders that have strong ligaments though he could be protected a little on teat placement. While larger than average, HERO will not sire your big tall show winners with the deep ribs, instead he offers wide rumps that have slightly high pins and average chest width. He really is an udder specialist with average legs and dairy strength.
  • TOC-FARM DUPLEX GLAUCO (Duplex x Allen)
    For those looking for a more well-known pedigree there is TOC-FARM DUPLEX GLAUCO. His dam, TOC-FARM ALLEN AMYLY EX-96-ITA, was All World Cow in 2008. She herself is from the great breeding cow, SUNNYLODGE SKYCHIEF AMY EX-95-2E-GBR 5*. Look for GLAUCO to sire tall deep-bodied cows with wide chests and strong udders. His big boxcar rumps will catch many breeders’ eyes, though you may want to protect him on rump angle a little.

 The Bullvine Bottom Line

Choosing the correct sire can be challenging enough. Finding a sire that also offers an outcross from the main GPS (Goldwyn, Planet, Shottle) sires can be almost impossible. That is why we compiled these 14 sires to bring to light some outcross pedigrees that many breeders may not have heard of. Hope this helps you find your way to your best outcross bull.

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.




The Bullvine – The Party is Over!

You don’t have to be the 3rd basemen for the New York Yankees to feel  the power of public scrutiny.  Nor do you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company to know that, when company performance is down,  your job is on the line.  Yet, in the dairy industry, some leading breeders and exhibitors, as well as executives from some producer service companies (AI, Breeds, Milk Recording, etc.) seem to think they should be immune from any level of public scrutiny.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this has happened.  If you read any of the dairy breeder publications, you always read about how wonderful everyone one is,  how each bull is amazing, each herd is perfect and each executive is gifted.  Well, that is quite simply not the case.  With the exception of the bulls, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.  We are only human.  We make mistakes. It`s only a problem, when we refuse to acknowledge them (Read – The Bullvine – Under Fire).

Be Prepared to Get Knocked Off That Pedestal

For years we have placed industry people on pedestals: from  breeders and directors to  company and association executives.   People were afraid to challenge those in the leadership spotlight and certainly, not publically.  The problem is by letting them build these “larger than life” personas; we have actually been hurting the industry more than helping it.

We Built This Monster Together

We have allowed our perception of good manners to interfere with common sense.  The dairy publications were afraid that the breeders would stop advertising with them.  That the A.I. Company would cancel their advertising contract, if they hinted that a bull was not perfect.  This is part of the reason we started the Bullvine.  We noticed that there was nowhere for breeders to go to get more facts or other opinions.  That’s why in our coverage of the World Dairy Expo we told it as we saw it (Read – World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages).  Or when we looked at how two different A.I. cooperatives where operating, we had to test our own resolve (Select Sires vs. Semex – A Contrast in Cooperatives).  It’s not to sell more subscriptions.  Heck we currently aren’t selling anything.  It’s because we believe it helps the industry to tell it like it is and generate meaningful discussion.  In today’s business world accountability, sharing all the facts and the right to speak freely and honesty are a must.  So why not in the dairy industry?

We are all Role Models

I can’t tell you the number of times, I have seen 4-H youth try to emulate one of the “big wig” show people and actually do a far worse job in the ring than if they had just stuck to the basics and worked at making their calf look the best they could instead of trying to be “cool”.

The same is true in copying some of the “big time” breeders.  Your average local breeder sees them doing something, so they think they need to do it as well.  The modeling can occur in the show ring, on classification day, on picture day, on herd recording day, during a speech, in print ads and the list goes on and on.  Some actions hurt the industry much more than they help it.  When it comes to show ethics or hothouse herds, we can see personal gain cause industry pain.  (Read – The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling)

There are some great ones as well

I am not trying to say that all people are bad.  Actually, I would say it is exactly the other way around and that  most of them are really great people. As with anything,  the actions of a few can hurt it for the rest and this happens even though I sincerely believe that the people I have met in the dairy industry are some of the highest quality people in the world.

I am trying to say that, in order for the breed to advance, in order for us to inform and to educate the next generation, we need to make sure that we are all held accountable for our actions.  That is why at the Bullvine, we tell it like it is.  Not because we are wanting to create controversy, but rather because we want to keep moving forward.  We want  to give breeders the facts.   The more we inform, learn,  educate and share, the greater the industry will be.

“Who the $%&* am I?”

When many of these bad apples or self-serving individuals try to get in my face, they tend to say the same thing “Who the $%&* do you think you are?”  Well the answer is I am nobody.  I am just the guy who cares enough, and is thick skinned enough,  to go to the effort to share my thoughts as well as the thoughts of some of the most progressive people in the industry who every day share with me.  Like everyone the Bullvine benefits by hearing diverse opinion.  We are here to start conversation, not control it. Moreover, reading the Bullvine is your choice.

I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the greats.  People like Lowell Lindsay, Bert Stewart, Doug Blair, David Chalack and Albert Cormier.  I have enjoyed picking the brains of some guys that I believe are among the next generation of greats, like Dave Eastman, Barclay Phoenix, the Patenaude`s  at Gillette, the Loewith`s at Summitholm and the Dyment’s at Glen Drummond.  Do I think all these people are perfect? Heck no, no one is.  Do all of them agree 100% with what I have to say?  I sure hope not.  However, the thing I love about all these people is that they are willing to speak their minds.

Lessons Learned Outside of the Dairy Industry

It was in working with Ken Blanchard, one of the greatest people I have ever met in my life, and the bestselling business author of all-time, that I learned that managers and leaders should not focus on the negative.  We need to “catch people doing things right” as well.  That is why the Bullvine tries to share stories, insights and perspectives with its readers (Read more – Marketing Lessons From Glen Drummond Aero Flower, Christ Nurse – Standing Tall and What PETA Does Not Know About Dairy Cattle)

In addition, what I have learned from working with some great corporations outside the dairy industry is that you seek out as many opportunities to learn as you can, and take pieces from here and there and do your best at bringing it together into a clear plan.  That is why at the Bullvine we are always looking for new people to interview or exchange ideas with.  We welcome new perspectives on  the top issues that  other publications  do not  touch.  We want to help breeders develop a plan that will help them achieve their goals.  We want to make people think.  We believe that everyone has a brain, and we respect our readers  enough to challenge their  thought processes. We won`t simply feed you the same old garbage.  We all know garbage in, garbage out.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

So the next time you read something in the Bullvine that is not all fluff and roses, or questions or challenges policies, positions, plans or actions, please remember we are not doing it to cause controversy, but rather because we believe that open discussion is the best way for the industry to grow, develop and move forward.  That`s success!


REGANCREST S CHASSITY – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

When REGANCREST S CHASSITY EX-92-4YR-USA DOM caught the eye of Scott Courtney and he put her on his wish list that`s when this timely story began. As fate would have it, he later was working a sale where she was selling and made the first timely decision to partner on her purchase.  During his ownership he reports that Chassity was not only was a great animal to work with but she flushed well and continued to attract significant attention and new owners Ernie Kueffner and David Dyment.  More flushes followed to such bulls as Million, Alexander, Planet, Sanchez and Atwood.  By the time the International Intrigue Sale came along in August 2009 the foundation for success had been laid.  The Chassity package sold in 2009 for 1.5 million dollars and the timing was exactly right for Chassity to make money and make history.  Her sale price was capturing the headlines the same year that genomics was revolutionizing the breeding scene.  Genomics and Chassity became synonymous with success for Chassity`s current owners The Chassity Syndicate LLC of Illinois.




Chassity Checks Out From Family Line to Topline

Like many great cows Chassity pulls it all together.  Jeff Butler, a member of the Chassity Syndicate, describes her in winning terms,” She’s a big cow standing 63 inches, with a wide rump, hard top, a wide chest, and walks up hill. And of course she has a beautiful udder. “This comes naturally when you consider that Chassity is a sixth generation Excellent from the renowned Barbie family. Looking back there is her Granddam Barbie EX92.  Then her dam Champion Cinderella EX92.  Then Chassity herself EX92.  Chassity has a full sister Celebrity VG89, owned in Canada, who is 2* Brood Cow and a bull dam.



Chassity’s Records Are First Class

Chassity was VG 88 as a two year old and then went EX 92. She was the number 4 Shottle in the United States and #13 cow with CTPI of 2317. She had another headlining year in 2011, when she tied with Ralma Christmas Fudge for Global Cow of the Year.  She puts up outstanding numbers with 4-00 (305d) 17,513 4.5F 3.2P.

REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* - 2nd dam of Chassity

REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* – 2nd dam of Chassity

Chassity Produces in the Pail and at the Bank

Chassity’s list of offspring reads like a healthy bank statement.  From Goldwyn, she produced Gold Chip and Goldwyn Cash. Cash went on to make Cashmoney, Cashcoin, Cash-O, and Casher!  With these offspring, Chassity is definitely in the money and, while she`s unforgettable for the exceptional 1.5 million dollar sale price at Intrigue in Aug. 2009, her financial story didn`t stop there.  In the Destination Vegas Sale, in December of the same year, her daughter Chassity Goldwyn Cash was the world’s top-selling individual, being purchased for $205,000.   At the World Classic sale in Madison a Planet daughter, MS Courtlane UR-S Candy VG85, sold to Regancrest.  Earlier in the summer a Domain granddaughter of Chassity, sold for a high price through the Skyline Holstein sale in Germany. She sold to Koepon. Chassity’s name continues to be a guaranteed bank machine at sales worldwide.

MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN - daugher of Chassity

MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN – daughter of Chassity

Chassity`s Daughters Dominate

As of September 2012 Chassity has 63 daughters from 24 different sires setting new records and earning breed leading numbers of their own, especially for type. For her current owners “the largest demand these days is driven by the progeny of Chassity’s Goldwyn daughter Cash and Chassity`s Snowman Daughters.” Courtlane UR Chassity, the 8th generation EX was Chassity’s first EX daughter! She is the dam of Cameron +2356 GTPI and other sons in A.I. MS Chassity PLN Chaching is Chassity’s Planet daughter  GLPI +2282, VG86 2yrs 2-05 (305D) 14,115kg 3.6F 3.1P. This cow also has sons going into AI. Her daughter MS Chassity Goldwyn Cash VG87 2yr GLPI +2277 has a record of 2-04 (305D) 15,491kg milk, 4.1F and 3.2P.  She has two Observer sons owned by Jetstream Genetics – Cash Money GLPI +3385 and Cash Coin GTPI +2495. In the 2012 World Classic Sale in Madison a first choice female lot from Cash sold for $39,000. Chassity`s four highest genomic tested daughters are sired by Snowman: Snow Carrie DGV +3142 DGV LPI +3142; Snowman Clea GLPI +3021; Snow Caitlyn GLPI +2922 and Snow Corissa GLPI +2811. In cattle breeding, it takes progeny to continue making money and at Butlerview they report that “Chassity is a great embryo producer and so are her daughters”

Chassity’s Sons are Super

Chassity has numerous sons in A.I. In September her 39 sons are sired by 14 different sires. MR Chassity Gold Chip (Goldwyn X Chassity) was the No. 2 genomic sire in the US in 2010. His GTPI was 2414 and his PTAT was +4.47.  There are full brothers Calvin (Select Sires) and Charlie (Semex). MR Chassity Coach with 2312 GTPI and 3.00 PTAT is the highest of Chassity’s Planet sons. Another top son, MR Chassity Carson (Observer x Chassity) has a GTPI +2225 (08/12). In December 2011, MR Chassity GW Casino (Goldwyn X Chassity) GLPI was +2744 and his CONF +14. Colt 45 (Colt P-Red X Chassity) is the result of demand for red and polled, so they got a red carrier polled. Colt’s GTPI is +2364 Dec of 2011. His PTAT is +3.78 and his PL is +5.1.

IMPACT – Chassity Raises Conformation

Chassity shines for her ability to introduce type to the population and is used worldwide. This Golden Dam nomination has proven herself from all angles!  According to the Chassity Syndicate, “She makes high GTPI bulls that make excellent calves.  Along with making high GTPI and great bulls, her daughters and grand-daughters are making a large impact on the breed.  Chassity is from a proven cow family and Chassity herself is a proven transmitter!”

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


A Wake-up Call to All A.I. Companies

Lately, there has been a great deal of discussion regarding March 2013 when dairy breeders will be able to genomically test their own bulls.  (Read – How Genomics Is Killing the Dairy Industry)  One thing for sure is that it is forcing many Artificial Insemination companies to re-think their corporate strategy.

Probably one of the greatest areas for executives at the AI companies to look at for examples on how to position their companies is the retail industry.  There are many similarities between A.I. and retail, especially considering the need for product differentiation as well as being a service organization.  Three great retail examples to look at are Wal-Mart, Apple, and Amazon.


If you look at the large artificial insemination companies, you can already see that many of them are heading toward the Wal-Mart model, where they try to offer the highest quality product at “always low prices.”  Companies like Alta Genetics, ABS Global, Accelerated, and CRI have identified the largest portion of the marketplace, the commercial producer.  This is where they can sell the highest volume semen and maximize profit not through the semen prices they charge but rather through how efficiently they can operate.

Similar to the Wal-Mart, one stop shopping model, many of these A.I. organizations now try to be a complete solution to their customers offering such services as, herd health, feed & nutrition in addition to their genetic and reproductive services.

When it comes to their genetic offerings, the key here is that they are selling shelf space.  No longer is it as much about the product they are selling, as it is about the complete package they are trying to offer to the commercial breeder.  That means that they are looking to provide  a consistent product rather than seeking  to have the #1 TPI or LPI sire.  Therefore, they do not have to go out and source the top sires but, rather, they need to provide consistent reliable genetics that can help advance their commercial partner herds.  This means they will not have to get as aggressive on their lease deals and can still focus on their efficiencies and volumes as opposed to the ultra-aggressive sourcing of top gPA TPI and gPA LPI sires.

Once the world’s most dominating retail entity, there is no question that the Wal-Mart model works, Although  it was once believed that only one company could survive and thrive in the ultra-competitive big box store world.  The recent performance of companies like Target does hold out some hope for the many A.I. companies looking to battle for this large market segment.


In  contrast to the Wal-Mart model is Apple.  The most admired company in the world has built its market position through developing, marketing and direct selling their own unique product to what most would consider a niche market.  They key part to this model is having a very clear vision who your marketplace is and developing an extremely differentiated product in the eyes of their customers. A.I. companies that seem to be emulating this model are GenerVations with their work with the Lylehaven Lila Z and Wabash-Way Evett families, JetStream Genetics with their work with Regancrest  S Chassity, and Select Sires through their Aggressive Reproductive Technologies (ART) program, though to a much larger audience that the first two (Read – Select Sires vs Semex: A contrast in Cooperatives).

Similar to how Apple has received widespread criticism for some of their own business practices, companies like Select Sires have received criticism for owning females (Read –Should A.I. Companies Own Females ). Though as the Apple model demonstrates you need to have a distinctive product in order to survive. The biggest thing that all three of these companies have learned is that, in order to compete in this ultra-competitive marketplace, they need to cost effectively source their genetics.  That means producing their own sires and accelerating their rate of genetic advancement so that they can have a product that is unique in the marketplace. (Read – The Genomic Advancement Rate – The Battle for Genetic Supremacy)

There are two main lessons I think many of these A.I. companies can learn.  First always be innovative and at the front of the marketplace.  If you are not pushing the front end of product development/sire sampling, you will fall behind your competitors and get lost in no man’s land.  The second lesson is that you have to control the license to your product.  Apple has never allowed other companies to come in and license their product.  They also did not create the iPhone or iPad and then the next day let their competitors take their products and designs and create their own versions knock off versions.  Companies that did allow this to happen, like Microsoft, have developed much larger market share, but have fallen on financial challenges. For A.I. companies that means you need to control your young sire sampling so that you have the next generation of genetics before your competitors do.  While some would say that is not fair, in order for these companies to compete they have no option but to do so.  While having negative sentiment in a small segment of  the marketplace is not ideal, the risk of not having a differentiated product is a much bigger gamble.

More recently, I have seen the emergence of online semen retailers akin to the model.  Companies like DairyBullsOnline in North America and Dairy Daughters in the UK, are able to compete not on their size and scale, or their own distinctive product (though DairyBullsOnline does have a strong segment in the polled and red and white market) but rather through their efficiencies.  These companies do not have large facilities with great numbers of staff, but rather they are extremely efficient in their operations and source their product direct from breeders or smaller A.I. organizations.  Leveraging technology both on the web as well as for shipping semen internationally these companies are able to operate at much higher efficiency, passing benefits back to the producers and the breeders they source their genetics from.  Despite what they lack in market share, they are able to attract unique genetics through offering seed stock breeders a much higher royalty percentage.

The interesting part about this model is that Amazon was able to stay competitive and fight off many competitors by developing private labels and exclusive marketing arrangements, including being the online e-tailer for many large retail companies.  As many of the organizations are forced to get more efficient will they be able to reduce costs and develop their own platforms that will take away the advantage these companies have?  You can already see it in the retail world with traditional companies like Wal-Mart and Best Buy committing significant resources to their web properties.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The artificial insemination world is changing very rapidly.  While many companies have already identified what part of the market segment they are going to try to occupy, others seem to be taking a sit and wait approach.  The problem is, if they have not already identified whether they are going to be a Wal-Mart, Apple, or Amazon, it is too late, as many of the other companies already have a significant head start.

REGANCREST-PR BARBIE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

REGANCREST-PR BARBIE is often referred to as the premier brood cow in the Holstein world for type. Barbie and three of her daughters have all topped the USA Cow PTAT list. As a result, many descendants have brought high prices at public auction and in private treaty sales. Barbie spent her entire career under the ownership of her breeder, Regancrest Holsteins in Iowa, but her descendants have traveled the world.



Her Pedigree is an Alignment of Stars

Born in 2001, Barbie brought together the two main cow families at Regancrest. Her sire Durham, EX90 and Gold Metal, was known for siring udders and show cows. He was the very best son of the great SNOW-N DENISES DELLIA EX-95-2E-USA GMD DOM 5* that Regancrest also brought to fame. On her dam’s side, Barbie is the eighth generation of Regancrest breeding, which started from the Regan purchased cow ZUBES ORMSBY FAYNE EX90. Barbie’s dam, REGANCREST JUROR BRINA, like Barbie scored EX92 and earned GMD status. In fact Barbie was the fifth generation of Excellents with the Regancrest prefix. Her sire stack is Durham x Juror x Aerostar x Chief Mark x Board Chairman. All well-known and well-respected sires.

Barbie’s dam, Brina, EX92 and GMD, made records to 15,772 kg milk 3.6%F and 3.0%P at 4yrs of age.  As well, Brina had eight other Durham daughters including Bliss VG89 (2yrs), Bianca EX92 3E and Bunny EX93, who crossed extremely well with Goldwyn.

Walkway Chief Mark appears three times in Barbie’s pedigree. Her third dam, REGANCREST MARK CHAIRMAN BEA EX-91-2E-USA GMD DOM, was sired by Chief Mark; her sire’s dam (Dellia) was Chief Mark’s very best daughter; and the dam of her maternal grandsire (Juror) was sired by Chief Mark.  With that much Chief Mark influence, it is relatively easy to see where her width, depth of rear rib, smoothly blending fore udder and boxcar rump came from.

Barbie Shone in Milking Form

Barbie calved at 2-06 and produced (305D) 12,120 kg milk 3.9%F 3.0%P and classified high VG. In 2004 she was nominated All-American Jr 3 Year Old after being Intermediate and Reserve Grand at Minnesota State Fair and 5th at World Dairy Expo. She was raised in score to Ex92 after calving for a second time. In 2010 Global Cow of the Year Competition Barbie was nominated, was the Readers Choice and placed second. Barbie was #1 PTAT Cow. Her indexes were CTPI 2178 and PTAP 4.50. Her star shone brightly.

Barbie’s Progeny Excelled

REGANCREST G BROCADE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM - daughter of Barbie

REGANCREST G BROCADE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM – daughter of Barbie

When looking at Barbie’s progeny, it is not about the performance of Barbie’s more than 27 daughters it is about how many to feature. Shottle followed closely by Goldwyn were her best mates. All but one of her daughters have classified VG in their first lactations. By 2010 she had an unheard of 8 EX and 19 VG daughters. Three of her daughters have held the number one Cow PTAT position and at least eleven have made it to the top twenty-five PTAT Cow ranking.

Barbie’s Dolls Consistently Excel

REGANCREST G BRIZELDA EX-90-4YR-USA DOM - daughter of Barbie

REGANCREST G BRIZELDA EX-90-4YR-USA DOM – daughter of Barbie

REGANCREST G BEDAZZLE EX-91-5YR-USA DOM (Goldwyn) was the first Barbie daughter to be #1 PTAT Cow and was sold to Seimers Holsteins. REGANCREST CINDERELLA EX-92-2E-USA DOM GMD 4* (Champion) is the dam of many top daughters including REGANCREST S CHASSITY  EX-92-4YR-USA DOM the dam of numerous high genomic sons (Chassity is also a Golden Dam Nominee, she will be reported on soon in the Bullvine).  Chassity and her 14 offspring sold for $1.5. REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* (Shottle) was a former #1 PTAT Cow.  REGANCREST G BROCADE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM (Goldwyn), another former #1 PTAT Cow, sold with offspring for $900,000. REGANCREST BARBARA EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD (Shottle) made it to #31 CTPI Cow and was first 2yr old and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Iowa State Fair. REGANCREST G BRIZELDA EX-90-4YR-USA DOM (Goldwyn) produced 4-04 (305D) 14,864 kg milk 4.0F 3.4P.  REGANCREST MAC BIKAS VG-87-2YR-USA is the dam of the high genomic type sire MR ATWOOD BROKAW (Read- 7 Sires to Use In Order To Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion). Following on from these and other Barbie daughters there are numerous granddaughters that have topped lists and topped sales.

REGANCREST MAC BIKAS VG-87-2YR-USA - daughter of Barbie

REGANCREST MAC BIKAS VG-87-2YR-USA – daughter of Barbie

Barbie’s Sons Line Up Well Too

Five Barbie sons were proven in AI. REGANCREST S BRAXTON EX-95-5YR-USA (Shottle) was returned to active service by Select Sires based on his above average milk yield and superior type (PTAT 3.57) proofs. Baltimor (Shottle), Birk (Toystory) and Bonzai (Dundee) were all proven in Canada and all achieved Superior Type proofs. Mr Blackjack (Dundee) achieved PTAT 2.12 in the USA. There are many grandsons, great grandsons and great great grandsons now being used widely based on their genomic indexes. These sons make another long list of stars for Barbie, which includes Bradnick, Branson, Brokow, Cameron, Carson, Cashcoin, Cashmoney, Circuit, Colt 45, and Gold Chip.

Barbie Breeds True for Type.  She is the Holstein Breed Icon.

High rankings for PTAT are something Barbie and her descendants achieve with ease. With many grand and great granddaughters and grandsons are now receiving high genomic indexes for type, production and functional traits, it appears that Barbie’s legacy of great udders, excellent dairy strength, high classification scores and global demand will continue.

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


Marketing Lessons from Glen Drummond Aero Flower

Growing up as family friends with Roger and Betty Dyment, owners of Glen Drummond, I had  front row seats for  the development, marketing and promotion of GLEN DRUMMOND AERO FLOWER VG-88-3YR-CAN 18*.  In reality this was the first cow family where  I was able  to see firsthand what it takes to be a top performing index family.  The lessons I learned in watching the development and promotion of Aero Flower and her descendants have been the most educational I have ever had when it comes to marketing dairy cattle.



When you put Aero Flower up against many of the greats, you may say her numbers don’t compare.  She never produced  an EX daughter or a breed leading bull, she is considered by many to be one of the greats.  Why is that?  Well in my opinion it is because there have been no better marketers of dairy cattle than the Dyments.  I am even seeing the same trends again with a DES-Y-GEN PLANET SILK *RDC VG-87, being marketed by Roger and Betty’s son David and Dymentholm Genetics.

The following are the two biggest marketing lessons I learned from Aero Flower and the Dyments:

Spot the Trends

The great hockey player Wayne Gretzky always said don’t go to where the puck is but rather, see where the puck is going and go there.  Roger and Betty knew this better than anyone.  Even when their cows were not  at the top of the LPI list, they were able to spot trends that would differentiate them from the rest of the marketplace.

First of all, the most forward thinking thing they did started with mating of Aero Flower’s mother to Aerostar which, at the time, was extremely aggressive and unconventional.  The breeding philosophy on their farm was to breed cattle that would score high on the LPI index while still  resembling  show cattle, thus creating the whole package and a product that was a stand-out in the market. They also had the added aspect of her carrying  red factor, something un-heard of in the market at the time. They were ahead of the trend.



In today’s instance David has seen the trend towards polled and was one of the first to use polled genetics on one of his top cattle, DES-Y-GEN PLANET SILK *RDC VG-87 VG-88 MS.  David purchased Silk at 9 months of age. She was one of the highest red carriers in the breed and traced back to Aero Flower through GLEN DRUMMOND SPLENDOR VG-86-2YR-CAN 36* who had been purchased from Glen Drummond as a top consignment in the Sale of Stars. While Silk is not at the top of the TPI list like say AMMON-PEACHY SHAUNA or many of the cattle at De-Su, she is ahead of the trend when it comes to marketability.  David has kept Planet Silk ahead of the curve by combining both high index, Red Factor and polled in one complete package.  Her sons and daughters dominate the top of the Red and the RC list (GTPI).  Her son DYMENTHOLM S SYMPATICO is one of the highest GTPI and GLPI active bulls in the breed.  She has a red and white polled son (DYMENTHOLM SUNVIEW STARGAZER) that will be available soon that will rank near the top of the list – if not at the top – once he’s released for red polled bulls .

Everyone Loves To Make Money



There is no better marketing magnet than a sale topper.  While ads are pretty and maybe a few people might notice them, articles about your cattle, especially articles about your cattle topping big sales are what really get people talking.  In my corporate life we call this earned media versus paidmedia.

Everyone loves to make money and, if they see others making money, they want to get in on it as well.  So when breeders  consistently see your cow family topping big sales they take notice.  This is something that the Dyments knew better than anyone.  You do not  see one of their animals being a lesser light in a sale.  If they are consigning an animal to a sale, they are doing so expecting that she will bring top dollar in that sale.  Dyments were never afraid to make the tough decision to protect the reputation of their cow family.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Great marketing of dairy cattle is not about who can have the prettiest ad.  People may get awareness of your cattle through an ad but it will not make them reach in to their pockets and spend their hard earned dollar.  Instead, breeders like to spend money when they see that there is money to be made.  That means you need to spend more  time working on the public relations aspect of your marketing program than  you do on your ads.  The biggest thing I learned from the marketing of Aero Flower and now with the marketing of Planet Silk is that perception is reality.  If breeders believe there is money to be made in your cow family, they will spend their money. If not, no amount of marketing or glossy magazine ads will get you to the top.



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The Bullvine – Under Fire

Recently we here at the Bullvine have come under some fire for some comments that we have made.  The reaction to what we have said, while not unexpected, does cause us some concern and we feel  the need to address it before it goes too far.

What Makes Us Different

By all accounts this year’s World Dairy Expo was one for the ages. The cattle were great and seeing so many people was excellent.  The response from  many breeders was unbelievable.  We were inundated with people coming up to tell  us how much they enjoy  reading the Bullvine.  The consistent message was “I read it every morning.” “I think about it in the barn.” “I just love how you tell it like it is and no bull.”

It was  exactly that aspect that  lead to some of our most interesting conversations at Madison.  While most people loved and appreciated it when we shared  our true opinion, there were also those that did not appreciate our “as we see it” comments and, in fact, felt that we had no right to make such comments.  They also felt the need to try to force their opinion on us.

What  they don’t realize is that the whole reason we started the Bullvine was not to be a billboard or promoter of whoever will pay us the most money, but rather to actually be something different – to be that voice that is willing to tell it like it is.  (Read more about us) Moreover, judging by the amount of support we have received both online and at Madison, that is exactly what everyone looks for in the Bullvine.

We Are Passionate

There is nothing better in life than to earn a living doing what you are passionate about.  We at the Bullvine  are passionate  about the dairy industry.  Whom  do you know that would commit well over $200,000 in time, resources and cash into starting an online forum for dairy breeders to gain insight, and debate all the aspects that make the dairy industry great, with no current cash return at all?

In staying true to our passion and values, I have held off many requests to advertise on our site as we feel that it would break the level of trust that our readers have put in us.   I am searching for ways to generate revenue for the Bullvine that does not affect our credibility as an unbiased source.

Why We Do It?

When I think about why I, with, my mother Karen, and father Murray, run the Bullvine there are three main points.  It’s not to get rich.  It’s not to be some sort of tabloid.  Rather we seek to help inform  the average breeder about the many great opportunities to advance their herds and take their passion for dairy breeding to a  new level.

We are not writing for those  who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars  at the big sales. We are not writing for the A.I. companies that will spend massive dollars with us in advertising. We do it for  average breeders, who buy semen at full price.  The ones who buy some embryos from time to time.  The ones who see all the potential that genomics has but hesitate to take the risk  and buy that high index heifer because first they want to be sure it will work.  Every day we are working to find those bloodlines that make the smart investment (read – Gillette Visions 2012 – Lots to watch for) and the sires that will help breeders  accelerate their breeding programs (Read – The Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires To Use for Maximum Genetic Gain) so that they can be “in the know” like the ones  who spend the big bucks.


Over the years we have built many great friendships in the dairy industry and, at times, those very friendships have tested our resolve to our mission (Read – The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling). Sometimes we have to share results from our  analysis that may not be  that great for people that we know, respect and call friends.  It has put our internal resolve to the test.  It’s not easy to go to events like Dairy Expo and see people that we have known for 10, 20, 30 years turn a cold shoulder to us because of what we wrote (read Select Sires vs. Semex – A Contrast in Cooperatives) even though we know that what we said was correct and needed to be said. To see people we would have called friends, snub us for our reporting  is not easy.  It truly tests our commitment to what we have started.  But we can assure you, we remain committed.

Does it make me feel good saying the dairy breeding industry as we know it will be dead in under 5 years (Read – How Genomics is Killing  The Dairy Cattle Breeding Industry)? This is an industry I love that I have grown up in. My parents, siblings and many of my best friends work in the industry and  it may not even exist? No!  That doesn’t feel good.  But I had to step back, put my businessman hat on and say “What is the smart business move for A.I. companies to do?” and then predict from there.  This type of strategy development is something I have been very fortunate to do for companies like, Deloitte, Avaya, and Dlink and  for my main company and find it somewhat easier there  because I am not as emotionally  invested as I am in the dairy industry.  I feel that by saying it, educating breeders and discussing it, maybe, just maybe, we can prevent it from happening.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

When I sit and talk to many of the top seed stock producers who are at the forefront of the industry, they all make the same comments “You know what you’re saying  is not rocket science.” “For the most part, this isn’t anything that we don‘t know.” “It’s great  that you are willing to say it and put proof to it”.  Exactly!  We don’t believe we are saying anything that most of the in-crowd don’t know.  What we are doing is bringing to light what many other breeders already know or suspect.  We also don’t expect everyone to agree with what everything we say.

Why do we do it?  Well that answer is simple.  We do it so that when your average “salt of the earth” breeders take that jump and invest $30,000, $40,000 or even $100,000,  which could be  a significant portion of their  hard earned money, they can do so being confident they are making  an informed  decision, for their farm and their families.  We may save one of them from making a mistake. We may even help more of them make money.  That’s why it’s worth it! That’s why we do it.

Don’t agree with us?  Let us know – we believe that feedback is the only way we can improve.  So please give us your feedback. (Fill out the space below or email us at

RALMA CHRISTMAS FUDGE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

Ralma Christmas Fudge was a special 2001 Christmas Day gift for Ralma Holsteins.  With consistently high indexing progeny and as a 2012 Golden Dam contender is the gift that keeps on giving.



Christmas Fudge Starts with Ralma Recipe for Success

The foundation cow behind Fudge, Yendora Jaque Pioneer, was purchased as a heifer in the 1970’s by Mark Schmitt and his father for $890.  The Schmitt family, owners of Ralma Holsteins achieved an EX score on Pioneer and by constructive breeding moved her family into elite status.

RALMA JUROR FAITH EX91 - dam of Fudge

RALMA JUROR FAITH EX91 – dam of Fudge

Christmas Fudge’s dam, RALMA JUROR FAITH EX91, significantly moved the family ahead.  In addition to Christmas Fudge, there were two other Durham daughters, Frisky VG88 2 yrs, 13,109 kg in 305 days, 4.5%F and 3.5%P and Fireball EX92 2yrs 13,032 kg in 305 days, 4.0% F and 3.3 %P. Both of these cows have established strong cow families with progeny selling for high prices and embryos sold globally. Juror Faith is applauded for her dairy frame, sound mammary system and an ability to produce high volumes of milk over 4.3% F.”

Christmas Fudge Shares Great Ingredients

Fudge’s immediate sire stack is Durham x Juror x Leadman x Melwood.  Each of these sires adds their own specialities to the mix that produced Fudge: show type, longevity, high utility and high fat yields. Christmas Fudge classified VG88 in her first lactation and produced 12,433kg in 305 days, 4.1% F and 3.2% P.

Fudge flushed very well for Ralma produced many progeny and embryos were sold to eager buyers wishing to be part of this great cow.  Shema Holsteins have owned Fudge recently and by IVF have produced many daughters yet to be heard from by many popular bulls, including Atwood, Goldwyn, Mac, Alexander and Big Apple-Red.

The Best of Christmas Fudge

To date Fudge has produced seven Excellent daughters.  Quite likely there are more to come because there are some that are VG87 and 88 that are under three years of age.



One of her daughters, RALMA CHRISTMAS COOKIE VG-89-3YR-USA DOM  is hailed by many as Oman’s best conformation daughter.  Cookie definitely serves up the best of Oman, Fudge and Durham. She scored VG89 in her first lactation and produced 11,0222 kg in 305 days, 4.5%F and 3.3.% P. Cookie has three Goldwyn daughters scored Ex93, VG88 and VG88 in their first lactations they averaged 12,680 kg in 305 days, 4.5% Fand 3.4% P.  As well there three Goldwyn sons were sampled at Select Sires and Alta Genetics.


RALMA-RH MANOMAN BANJO VG-88-2YR-CAN – grand daughter of Fudge

Fudge’s daughter Goldwyn Clarinet is EX90 as a 4 year old produced 15,694 kg in 305 days, 4.4% F and 3.3% P.  Clarinet’s Man-O-Man daughter, RALMA-RH MANOMAN BANJO recently classified VG88 at 2yrs and topped the September 2012 Gillette Visions Sale at $131,000 (Read – Gillette Visions 2012 Sale – Great People, Great Cattle = Great Results).

Fudge’s offspring incorporate another popular genetic variation in the form of her great grandson, Sandy-Valley Colt P-Red, who traces back to Fudge through his Bolton dam Crystal and Sept Storm granddam, Crimson. Fudge’s other Excellent daughters are by Goldwyn, Finley, Sept Storm and Shottle.  One EX Finley daughter produced Shottle Camouflage VG88 who topped a Planet Sale at $101,000.

Male Line from Fudge Gets Sweeter All the Time

Fudge has had many sons enter A.I. Three Oman sons (full brothers to Cookie) are high ranking in the Netherlands (Cricket) and United States (Focus & Crest). In addition her Goldwyn son, Confirm, also ranks well in the United States.

It appears that grandsons of Fudge, from Fudge daughters, are going to make a major impact in the world of Holstein breeding.  Many are ranked high genomically.  Some of these grandsons include Gold Crown, Goldwyn Coach, Shottle Chariot and (Ramos) Cassino.  As mentioned previously, Colt P-Red is getting considerable use as a sire of sons to produce red and polled progeny.

Fudge and Her Daughters Consistently Serve Up the Best

When you look at the numbers you see that Fudge and many of her family, not just one or two of them, are unique in the way that they are consistently high for type, milk yield, components and functional traits. Christmas Fudge is indeed a prolific and gifted contender for the title of 2012 Golden Dam.

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


How Genomics is Killing the Dairy Cattle Breeding Industry

There is no question that the introduction of genomics to the dairy cattle industry has greatly accelerated the rate of genetic advancement (Read – The Genomic Advancement Rate – The Battle for Genetic Supremacy) and could kill the seed stock industry as we know it. Read on.

The Introduction

When artificial insemination companies first started using genomics to help identify which bulls had the genetics to excel and which bulls didn’t, it had the following effects

The number of young bulls needing to be sampled decreased.

The number of young bulls needing to be sampled decreased.

The cost of procurement went up slightly since their are capped leases and actually less risk.  Some bulls where still purchased outright

The cost of procurement went up slightly since their are capped leases and actually less risk. Some bulls where still purchased outright

Bull sampling costs decreased due to needing to sample less bulls and not having to pay as many incentives.

Bull sampling costs decreased due to needing to sample less bulls and not having to pay as many incentives.

Semen prices have gone from being paid to use it, to costing as much as a daughter proven sire

Average semen price has increased greatly.  As young sire semen prices have gone from being paid to use it, to costing as much as a daughter proven sire

Due to the increase in average semen price revenues have gone up sharply

Due to the increase in average semen price revenues have gone up sharply

With increased revenue (young sire semen price) and decreased expenses (cost of sampling) profits have gone up significantly

With increased revenue (young sire semen price) and decreased expenses (cost of sampling) profits have gone up significantly

What will happen in March 2013

As of March 2013, breeders will have the ability to test their own bulls before negotiating the deal with the A.I. company, resulting in a much greater negotiating position for bull breeders. The estimated effects are as follows:

The number of young sires sampled will not change

The number of young sires sampled will not change

The cost to actually sample a sire will stay low

The cost to actually sample a sire will stay low

With open ended leases and increased competition the cost of procurement could go way up and could even hit the $1M mark per proven bull.

With open ended leases and increased competition the cost of procurement could go way up and could even hit the $1M mark per proven bull.

Semen sales price will not change

Semen sales price will not change

Revenue will stay the same

Revenue will stay the same

With greatly increased procurement expenses profits will decrease drastically

With greatly increased procurement expenses profits will decrease drastically

How Will A.I. Companies React?

There are not substantial enough profit margins in the A.I. industry to support such a change in profitability. As a result, A.I. companies will be forced to do the following:

  • Increase semen price
    Since they now have greater expenses, A.I. companies will be forced to increase price. As demonstrated in many other industries, the market will not respond favourably to this and ultimately will drive prices back down.
    END RESULT: No change
  • Cap contracts
    So if A.I. companies cannot increase revenues they will have to try and cut their costs. The procurement of sires will become the major expense they will look to control. One way to do this will be to cap bull contracts. However, as the NHL has shown us, even if they could introduce a cap, some members will break that rule and other breeders will not stand for it.
    END RESULT: No change
  • Produce their own product line
    If A.I. companies cannot buy the bulls at a cheaper price, then they will have to go and buy females and produce their own product. This will lead to cheaper acquisition costs. A.I. companies can now buy the females for $50,000 to $250,000 and only need to have that female produce one son. That will still be cheaper than leasing the sire on an open lease. This also allows them to have greater control of their bloodlines, accelerate their genetic advancement and develop their own distinctive product.
    END RESULT: Cheaper product development costs and a distinctive product.

What does this mean to the average seed stock producer?

For the initial stage, when A.I. companies are buying into the female side, prices will rise. Once they have the base genetics, they will not need to buy any more and they will stop buying. (Read – Should A.I. Companies Own Females and Select Sires v.s. Semex – A Contrast In Cooperatives)

If you look at the current substantial increase in the prices of genomic heifers, you will notice that it is the current seed stock breeders who are buying and trying to get ahead. The money for this is not coming as much from the female side as it is from the current or future revenue potential from the semen lease deals. These people will be out of the market as more and more A.I. companies STOP leasing from these bull breeders because they are now producing their own genetics.

This will leave the seed stock breeder with a product or cattle that do not top the lists like they used to. Also, now the A.I. companies will not release their new high genomic sires until they have mated them on all their own females first. This will give A.I. companies a substantial advantage in generating list toppers. Bull breeders, on the other hand, will not have the lease deals that they currently enjoy, so they will not have any revenues from the sale of high index animals.

I believe that the show market will survive, since they are not as dependent on genetic advancement alone since they use a combination of genetics, management and chance. This is something I will explain further in a future article.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The introduction of genomics first started off by generating greater profits for A.I. companies. Currently it is contributing to greater sales for seed stock producers. Ultimately it will lead to decreasing profits for A.I. companies and they will seek to regain control. The only way to do that will be to control product development —-it will either be do that or go broke. This will lead to the industry becoming dominated by whatever players are able to build the largest self-contained genetic pool and advance their genetics ahead of everyone else’s.

What can the average seed stock producer do? (Watch for the answer in a future article.)


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics


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

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MD DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

The first achievement of MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* was when she caught the attention of good cattle men. She was purchased by Fosters (North Carolina) as a young calf at the Maryland Convention Sale.  That is where eventual owner, Mike Heath of Heath Holsteins, first saw her and couldn’t get her out of his mind. He bought her the following year.

The Right Heifer – The Right Pedigree – The Right Partnership



For $20,000 Heath was able to work with Atlee.  The first step in the process was taken when she classified Very Good-85 as a two-year old. The partnership of Heath, Jason Lloyd and Rick Allyn got together to see if they could make money marketing and showing Atlee. She didn`t disappoint when she won her class in the Massachusetts State show.  At Madison she placed 15th in the senior two-year-old class and then, less than a week after calving as a three year old, MD-Delight Durham Atlee was named Reserve Intermediate Champion of the 2005 International Holstein Show.

Atlee Makes a Name for Herself with the help of Her Team

It was that great start in the showring that kick-started Atlee to international recognition. Heath, Allyn and Lloyd pulled together and their teamwork saw her through calving, show preparation and the rise to stardom at Madison. It`s not difficult to imagine the enthusiasm these cow men had for this descendant of the Adeen family.

Atlee`s Pedigree is Showy and Productive


MS KINGSTEAD CHIEF ADEEN EX-94-2E-USA DOM 2* – 2nd dam of Atlee

Show type is written all over Atlee`s pedigree. Her granddam (MS KINGSTEAD CHIEF ADEEN EX-94-2E-USA DOM 2*), great aunt (SHOREMARE S ALICA EX-97-3E-USA 6*) and great granddam (AITKENBRAE STARBUCK ADAEX-94-2E-USA DOM 4*) all have been All-American, All-Canadian or Grand Champion at Major Shows. Her dam was not shown but classified Very Good 88 during her first lactation. Additionally Atlee`s sire stack Goldwyn x Storm x Skychief x Starbuck has very high conformation numbers and above average production.

Atlee’s Stats Add Up

Most notable is that Atlee was Reserve Intermediate Champion at the 2005 International Holstein Show. A great follow up to placing 15th as a Senior Two Year Old in 2004. In her second lactation Atlee scored Excellent-92. That is the maximum score achievable for a second lactation cow. In two lactations she produced 35,265 kgs of milk, 5.0% Fat and 3.3% protein.

Atlee Goes Beyond Pure Gold to Simply Magical 

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie – Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

Lafontaine AFTERSHOCK Arrie – Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

The magical cross – often referred to as “golden” is the one to Braedale Goldwyn because it resulted in many sons and daughters who are making significant contributions to the breed. That golden Goldwyn flush not only resulted in the current number one proven type sire , Atwood (PTAT 4.16) but also produced Alta Amazing (PTAT 3.77 ), Avalanche (PTAT 3.48) and Atlantic (PTAT 3.02) in the USA. Four sons above 3.0 PTAT.  This is a “first” ever group. In Canada the flush produced Atticus (CONF +14) and Attic (CONF+11) both awarded Superior Type in 2012. Atlee’s Shottle son, Aftershock, is now officially proven in Canada at CONF +16 and he sired the Junior Champion and Reserve Junior Champion at the International Holstein Show 2012. Yet another Goldwyn son, Ridgefield Delete (PTAT 3.52) is superior proven in Spain. Genomic evaluations for type have played a significant role in Atlee’s sons being used extensively. Before being proven, Atwood was the number one genomically tested bull for type.

Atlee’s Daughters Rise to the Top Everywhere

MS ATLEES GOLDWYN ARIEL EX-92 EX-MS - daughter of Atlee

MS ATLEES GOLDWYN ARIEL EX-92 EX-MS – daughter of Atlee

Atlee’s Goldwyn daughters are also outstanding. In the USA Ariel EX92 was Reserve All-American Junior 2 yr old in 2009 and subsequently sold for $1.5 million dollars for her, eleven daughters, six sons and four pregnancies.  Abigail EX91 has had many daughters sell for high prices. Arista VG88 has had daughters top many sales.  Avery VG87 2yr has many daughters and granddaughters near the top of the index lists. Ava VG88 2yr is on an extensive flushing program.  In Canada Albany VG87 2yrs, already has four VG two year olds.  In the UK, Golden Atlee VG87 and Gold Atlee VG88 are the foundation for new cow families in that country.


MS ATLEES SHOTTLE AUBRY VG-88 EX-MS- daughter of Atlee

Other high Atlee daughters include Aubry, her only Shottle daughter, who has many high genomic sons and daughters. Arlene VG86 (Adam) is a foundation for a new family at Reagancrest, Farnear and Siemers. Autumn (Roy) was the winning fall calf at the 2007 International Holstein Show and All-American Fall Calf and in 2008 was the All-American Milking Fall Yearling.


BVK ATWOOD ABRIANNA VG-89-2YR – 1st Jr. 2yr WDE 2012

BVK Atwood Ariana VG89-2yr is an Atwood daughter with a double dose of Adeen genetics. Recently she placed first in the Junior 2yr old class at the 2012 International Holstein Show after being Intermediate Champion at the 2012 Illinois State Holstein Show.

Atlee Had A Short Career But is Making A Colossal Impact

Unfortunately cancer claimed Atlee early in life but not before she had been flushed extensively. Her offspring, both sons and daughters, continue to build the outstanding legacy of this Golden Dam Finalist.

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


World Dairy Expo Winners: Investment Worthy

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

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




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




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




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


4yr old class - WDE 2012

4yr old class – WDE 2012

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




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

The Bottom Line

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



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World Dairy Expo 2012 Holstein Show – A Battle for the Ages

Pre-billed as being one of the greatest shows in history (Read – Who’s Next?  World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Preview) the 2012 World Dairy Expo Holstein Show was one for the record books.  There was the battle of two EX-97 point cows….the Rejoice vs. Monique battle ….. and there was the bull stud battle.

Judge Michael Heath (Right) and associate David Dyment (Left)

Judge Michael Heath (Right) and associate David Dyment (Left)

First I have to say the judging job that Michael Heath did was outstanding.  From his consistent pattern of selection to his extremely lively reasons, Michael did an amazing job.  Every set of reasons had some “extra” bit of color.  It started with the first class of the day where he noted that the winning heifer, Siemers Gwyn Glam Thisup, was more attractive than a hot woman. It continued through to his Intermediate Champion reasons when he said “I like looking at these cows like I love looking at good looking women”.  He did a great job of being both entertaining and informative.  More important was the quality of judging Michael did with the support of Associate Judge, David Dyment.  There was a very clear consistent pattern which always included great udders, clean wide front ends and animals that could handle their legs well.  All of these were a must have if you wanted to be a class winner.

The Results

Nowhere were these requirements clearer than in the parade of class winners for Junior Champion.  Every class winner was a great example of the exact kind of animal that Michael was looking for (For a full listing of placements click here).  The best one was the Junior Champion, Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie, owned by West Coast Holsteins. Pre-billed as an early favorite, Arrie is an amazing heifer. As Michael pointed out, “It is really hard to find any faults in this heifer.  She is big, open ribbed and has clean feet and legs and depth of body over the spring yearling. She has a cleaner and flatter bone in the hock area and I just cannot leave out this Spring Calf from the champion heifer parade.  She has a great future ahead of her.”

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie - Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

Lafontaine Aftershock Arrie – Junior Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

Following closely behind Arrie for Reserve Junior Champion was another Aftershock daughter Jaslyn Aftershock Avila.  “The winning Junior Yearling from Lookout, Purple-Fever, Halbach & Borba is an extremely long and correct dairy heifer.”  One of the things that also became very clear in Judge Heath’s placings was that a heifer had to look good both in line as well on the move.  Those heifers that fell apart in line found themselves getting moved down the line.  Michael wanted heifers that looked great at all times.

The Bull Stud Battle

Starting the day in the milking classes was R-E-W Happy Go Lucky recently purchased by Buttlerview (Owner of Jet Stream Genetics, and shown by Roger Turner) from VELTHUIS, ARDROSS and SJENDI.  Rumours had been flying around about the estimated sale price as well as how great she was.  Well Happy Go Lucky didn’t disappoint.  This heifer looked amazing and every part the kind of cow that could mature into the future great one.  Following closely behind her in the Milking Yearling class, was a Semex Walk of Fame member Brackley Farm Chelios Cherrio owned by Milk Source Genetics and shown by Brian Carscadden.

Milking Yearling Class - World Dairy Expo 2012

Milking Yearling Class – World Dairy Expo 2012

Linebred for Greatness

Drawing a lot of attention in the Jr. 2 year old class was the linebred BVK Atwood Arianna (Atwood x Ms Kingstead Chief Adeen (also 2nd dam of Atwood)).   I say line-bred because, of course, it is line-breeding when it works and inbreeding when it fails. In the case of Arianna there is no question it worked.  She was followed closely by fellow Goldwyn daughter Joleena Gold Pourinrain, and then by two Sanchez daughters, MS Ken-Dren Sanchez Feather and Roquet Jasmine Sanchez.

Jr 2 year old class - 2012 World Dairy Expo

Jr 2 year old class – 2012 World Dairy Expo

2nd Generation of Greatness

The Sr. 2 year old class was a much-contested battle.  It is interesting to note that both the winner Butz-Butler Gold Barbara and the 2nd place cow, Pappys Goldwyn Rave, are from two very legendary cow families (the Regancrest Brassillia family and the Markwell Durham Raven family). They were followed by Ehrke Ytina Gold Atheina (Best bred and owned) and then Kingsmill Ashylns Annisa,  the daughter of another legendary cow  – Tri-Day Ashlyn.

Butz-Butler Gold Barbara - World Dairy Expo 2012

Butz-Butler Gold Barbara – World Dairy Expo 2012

Immediately catching your attention, when she walked into the ring for the Jr. 3 year old class, was Arethusa Jasper Velour.  This big, open ribbed, wide rumped cow is a true eye catcher and on this day was undeniable. This Jasper from a Goldwyn will surely have many show breeders rushing home to breed their Goldwyns to Jasper.  Coming in 2nd in the class was Jacobs Goldwyn Valana.  This silky black cow edged out fellow Goldwyn Robrook Goldwyn Cameron. It was an extremely deep class.

Arethusa Jasper Velour (Right) and Jacobs Goldwyn Valana (left) - World Dairy Expo 2012

Arethusa Jasper Velour (Right) and Jacobs Goldwyn Valana (left) – World Dairy Expo 2012

Round 1 – Rejoice vs. Monique

The Sr. 3 year old class was pre-billed to be the great Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice going head to head with International Intrigue sale topper Crookview Goldwyn Monique (Read – International Intrigue: The Secret Is Exposed).  The battle never really materialized.  While both cows did make it to the ring, Rejoice, just didn’t look the part today.  She did not seem comfortable on her legs and never got that “class winning stroll” that we all saw last year and Judge Heath stated that her udder looked “too mature for a senior 3 year old”. She placed sixth.

Sr 3yr old class - World Dairy Expo 2012

Sr 3yr old class – World Dairy Expo 2012

Monique on the other hand, looked every ounce the great cow that everyone who has seen her had talked about.  She is an amazing cow as Judge Health said “She has one of the most awesome cages I have ever seen. She has great openness and slope of rib and a great mammary system.”  This cow is sure to reach legendary status for all those in attendance.  It’s the awesome frame and great udder that also lead to Monique being the Intermediate Champion followed by Butz-Butler Gold Barbara and R-E-W Happy Go Lucky. The three cows made an outstanding lineup with each one cut from the same cloth.  They are all big open ribbed, dairy cows with great mammary systems and the cleanliness and mobility that Judge Health demanded.

Cookview Goldwyn Monique (Right ) and Whittier Farms Jasp Kinetic (Left) - World Dairy Expo 2012

Cookview Goldwyn Monique (Right ) and Whittier Farms Jasp Kinetic (Left) – World Dairy Expo 2012

Goldwyn Continues to Dominate

Sticking to his pattern, Judge Health won the 4 year old class with T-Triple-T Gold Prize edging out Jacobs Jasper Abella from Ferme Jacobs.  Ferme Jacobs has built quite the following as a result of great marketing tactics such as their World Dairy Expo videos which give breeders great insight into everything it takes to exhibit at such a massive show (Click here to check out the videos).

4yr olds - World Dairy Expo 2012

4yr olds – World Dairy Expo 2012

Once more Braedale Goldwyn, the Premier Sire of the show, struck with another class winner. The 5 year old class led off with Wendon Goldwyn Allie.  Allie was followed by another Goldwyn, Scientific Gold Dana Rae.  Like the senior 2 year old class winners, Allie is also from a very famous type cow family Scientific Debutante Rae, tracing back to the Queen of the Breed, Glenridge Citation Roxy.

The Big Battle

As the 6 year & older old class entered the ring, a hush come over the crowd.  Here was the much anticipated battle between RF Goldwyn Hailey and Harvue Roy Frosty.  Hailey dominated the 2012 Expo Quebec (Read – The Story Behind How Two Full Sisters Dominated Expo Quebec) after spending 2011 in the shadow of World Dairy Expo 2011’s Supreme Champion, Eastside Lewisdale Goldwyn Missy. Now she was up against the 2010 and 2009 World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, the great Frosty.

In pre-scouting the show, I went to see how both Hailey and Frosty were settling in. Hailey looked fantastic. While checking out the string from Ducketts, I and my parents were asked to leave “their barn”.  Apparently they did not appreciate comments made in the Bullvine saying that, for Lot 2 of the 2012 World Classic, “FUSTEAD GOLDWYN GUTHRIE would supply the “mobility” that Frosty needed (Read more –The Investors Guide to World Dairy Expo).  Obviously the comment was supported by others as Frosty’s heifer sold for $17,500; just over half what Hailey’s daughter sold for (read World Classic Highlights).

As for Frosty, things did not move on so smoothly.  When she entered the show ring, she just didn’t want to demonstrate that usual “stroll” that she has become famous for.  Instead of commanding everyone’s attention for good reasons, she caught everyone eye for the wrong reasons.  Frosty just wasn’t at her best and battled showman Michael Duckett the whole way, and ended up 6th in this great class.

Harvue Roy Frosty - World Dairy Expo 2012

Harvue Roy Frosty – World Dairy Expo 2012

We understand that for Duckett`s the success of both Frosty and Craigcrest Rubies Gold Rejoice bring out very strong emotions, especially when under such pressure to perform.  Over the years I have learned the hard way, how you conduct yourself in these critical moments will guide your future success.

At the end of the day, many asked why Frosty had entered the ring?  My response is how could the owners have known that she would simply refuse to lead and not stroll as she has so many times in the past?  While her fore udder did not blend as smoothly to her massive frame as it had in the past, the real issue was that she did not lead well hence highlighting her mobility issues.  Unless she had been a challenge walking to the ring, it would have been really hard to predict what happened.

As I watched Mike and  Frosty struggle, instead of feeling good about the karma that been bestowed upon them, I actually felt pain for Michael, and I am sure all those back in the barn who had put so much effort into getting her to the ring.

It’s All about Hailey

Aged Cow Class - World Dairy Expo 2012

Aged Cow Class – World Dairy Expo 2012

With Frosty out of the picture, the class was Hailey’s for the taking and man did she take it.  As Judge Heath put it “This cow just loves to show”.  Continuing where she left off last year, Hailey looked amazing.  Many wondered, “If Missy had been back, could she have beat Hailey?” While it’s great to speculate, there is no question that on this day Hailey was not going to be defeated.  She simply looked that good.  Her extreme balance and correctness will have her generating her own legendary status.

Quality People Get Quality Results

125,000 lbs class - World Dairy Expo 2012

125,000 lbs class – World Dairy Expo 2012

I have had the opportunity to know Adam Hoddgins for many years.  Over the years I have gained a great respect for Adam, both for his ability to spot and manage great cattle as well as the fact that he is a really nice guy to talk to.  That is why, when Starbrite Lyster Lindsay, won the 125,000 lbs. Class I let out my loudest cheer of the day.  Not because I thought she was going on to be Grand, or because I thought it was a close battle between her and 2nd place, Savage-Leigh Leona, but more because I love to see good things happen to good people.

The Rest of the Story

RF Goldwyn Hailey - Grand Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

RF Goldwyn Hailey – Grand Champion World Dairy Expo 2012

At this point,  with all the big battles over,  it almost seemed like a formality for Hailey to be named Grand, followed by Monique and the 2nd place aged cow, the amazing uddered, Boulet Goldwyn Chalou . Yet, continuing with his great style, Judge Heath entertained and endeared himself to the spectators who will long remember the 2012 World Dairy Expo and the 394 animals as one of the greatest cow shows in history.


Does Genomics Belong in The Show Ring?

In our recent article about the 7 Sires to Use In Order To Breed The Next World Dairy Expo Champion we highlighted six test sires and one proven sire as the best sires to use in order to breed the next generation of great show cattle. The response to this article has been insane.  First from a readership perspective we had over 10,000 people reading the article in the first 2 days alone.   Of even greater interest were the reactions that breeders had to this article (over 200 comments on Facebook, Twitter and our website).  Many breeders felt that genomics had nothing to do with the show ring.  Instead they felt that it was more important to stick to proven sires when mating their top type cattle.

Ignorance Is Not the Answer

This actually demonstrated to me that awareness of what genomics is and how to use it is desperately needed.  Far too many breeders confuse genomics with the index system.  Genomics is not a kin to Holstein USA’s TPI formula or the Canadian LPI formula.  Rather, it is tool to use in order to predict each sires ability to transmit a certain trait.

Given that the genetic information for every animal is contained in its DNA, technology now makes it possible to predict a sire’s ability to transmit certain characteristics to their progeny.  It has nothing to do with the relative weights or importance of one trait over another.  Rather it is solely about a sire’s ability to transmit that specific trait.  How you use that information and what weights you put on some traits over others is entirely up to you.

Less Science more Cow Talk

So that is all fine and good.  It sounds very scientific but what does it mean at the show ring level?  Let me take a stab at that in “show speak.”  It doesn’t take much to know that some show cows are “managed” into greatness and others are bred for it.  We have all seen the ones that on the average day look like they are a lucky to be “all-barn” let alone “all-world.”  Those cows are the ones that I call managed into greatness.  Then there are those other cows that have the complete package.  They come from a strong type pedigree that and are sired by a sire who has proven to deliver top show cattle.  These are the cattle that are bred to be great.



A great example of this is last year’s World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion, EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY EX-95-CAN.  Missy comes from a strong type sire stack with a dam that has sired 35 daughters all have scored GP+, with 33 of them being VG+.  No doubt that Missy’s dam, STADACONA OUTSIDE ABEL VG-88-4YR-CAN 29* is great at breading type cattle.  In addition to that if you look at Missy’s own genomic test you will notice that she scores well above breed averages for type traits.

Another great example of a show cow that also has the genomic test to back it up are MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Of course, we all know Atlee as the All-American Sr. 3yr from 2005 where she also won Reserve Intermediate Champion at WDE.  However, we also know Atlee as the dam of the top type sire MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD EX-90-4YR-USA.  If you look at Atwood’s CDN type proof you see the following.

Conformation Mammary System Feet & Legs Dairy Strength Rump
Official Proof 18 16 14 15 3
DGV 19 16 14 15 2
Parent Average 17 15 11 13 8
Estimated Daughter Performance 18 15 15 15 3

What you will notice is that his genomic test is the closest to his actual daughter performance.  Rather than looking at the sires in his pedigree, or the performance of his maternal line (which by the way is one of the strongest type pedigrees in the world today), it’s his genomic test that would have accurately predicted that his rumps would not have been as strong as expected, and that his feet and legs would be better than expected.  This is very valuable insight, when trying to breed the next great show cow.

So how does that help me breed a great one?

It’s great that we can show that genomics validates what we already know about sires like Atwood and great show cows like Missy and Atlee.  However, how can we use that to help us to breed the next great show cow?  To answer that question let’s take at two high genomic test type sires, MR ATWOOD BROKAW and CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT.


MR ATWOOD BROKAW is the Atwood son of REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  No question that from all angles Brokaw has it all.

Conformation Mammary System Feet & Legs Dairy Strength Rump
Official Proof 20 17 9 18 7
DGV 22 19 9 21 7
Parent Average 15 14 10 11 4

What we notice from his genomic test is that we can expect Brokaw to be far greater at transmitting dairy strength than his pedigree would indicate.


Then there is CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT the Atwood son from the same family as CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN.

Conformation Mammary System Feet & Legs Dairy Strength Rump
Official Proof 17 12 18 16 16
DGV 19 12 21 18 21
Parent Average 15 12 11 13 4

What we notice here is that Airlift will sire rumps that are light years better than his pedigree would indicate while needing to be cautious on his mammary systems.  Something that anyone who use enough Allen in their herd would attest to.  What genomics does is it gives us this insight light years sooner that waiting for 100’s of daughters to help prove it out.  That can be all the edge you need in breeding the next great show cow.


Do you think this is all hogwash?

Well let’s take a look at the current undisputed show ring champion BRAEDALE GOLDWYN GP-84-8YR-CAN    EXTRA’05 GM’12.  Here is a sire that by his own conformation would have never been considered potential for greatness in the show ring.  A sire that by his maternal line of high classifying cattle had no great show history to them at all.  So let’s look at the numbers:

Conformation Mammary System Feet & Legs Dairy Strength Rump
Official Proof 12 11 13 7 3
DGV 10 9 13 6 4
Parent Average 5 5 -1 4 2
Estimated Daughter Performance 14 13 13 8 3

As you can see by the numbers, Goldwyn’s direct genomic values would have predicted his type prowess long before anyone would have suspected it.  This is especially true in regards to feet & legs.  Something no one would have expected from a James son.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We all know that to win in the show ring it takes more than just great genetics.  It takes genetics, management, and luck.  Slacking on any parts of these means that you have to go “outside” the rules in order to make things happen.  Instead of putting yourself in that precarious position, stick to what has been proven to work and use the best genomic sires available.


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.




MARKWELL DURHAM DAISY – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

MARKWELL DURHAM DAISY EX-92 GMD DOM is the 4th generation of Markwell breeding.  The foundation cow was a Tony EX94 4E followed by Chief Mark EX92, 4E, Blackstar (The great MARKWELL BSTAR E RAVEN) EX95, 3E and a EX-92 4E DOM GMD Luke EX92.  This nomination for 2012 Golden Dam got the best from all the parts and that is certainly saying something.  Her sire, Regancrest Elton Durham, was the American Show bull of his time.  Her dam, MARKWELL LUKE RAPTURE EX92, 4E, Gold Medal Dam, 4 Star was one of the top daughters of the Luke bull and had nine excellent daughters, including Daisy.  Daisy’s grand- dam, MARKWELL BLACKSTAR RAVEN, who had 23 Excellent daughters, was one of the most respected Blackstars ever and her name is known around the world.

Daisy Was Hand-Picked From a Well-Known Family of Late Bloomers

Daisy is currently owned by Adolph Langhout of A-L-H Holsteins who wanted to buy into the well-known Raven family.  He did his homework and knew that although the Raven family are not massive cows as two year olds they continue to grow and produce as they get older.  Statistics show that they start out at 22,000 lbs. to 25000 lbs. two year olds and by the time they are mature they`re producing 35,000 plus!  They classify VG as two year olds and EX 92-94 at maturity.  Good things come to those who wait for late bloomers.

Young Daisy is Golden in the Show Ring



At World Dairy Expo in 2002, Daisy was named Honorable Mention Intermediate Champion.  She went on to be Honorable Mention All-American Senior 2 YR Old.  However, Daisy is multi-talented with high production, fitness, longevity and outstanding type.  She was Excellent 92 in her second lactation.

Daisy’s Daughters Also Dazzle

A-L-H DESTINY VG-87-3YR-USA DOM GMD  - daugher of Daisy

A-L-H DESTINY VG-87-3YR-USA DOM GMD – daugher of Daisy

Like their mother, Daisy’s daughters also milk, show and reproduce.  Her O Man daughter, A-L-H DESTINY VG-87-3YR-USA DOM GMD, is nominated for International Cow of the Year in 2012.  Obviously Daisy transmits her best.  Her Goldwyn son DANILLO claimed first place in the Netherlands April 2012 proof run with a very balanced proof.  With a full brother, GOLDDAY also making a promising debut based on his genomic tests.  Destiny also produced the sought-after bull dams HEIDENSKIPSTER GOLDWYN DESTINY VG-86, REGAN-ALH G DESTINI VG-88 (By Goldwyn), and REGAN-ALH BLVR DIVINA VG-87 (by Boliver).

 Daisy Has Rising Sons

The best cross for Daisy was O Man.  That produced two daughters that became bull dams in their own right and Daisy has three highly proven Oman sons –  A-L-H DAKOTA in The Netherlands, A-L-H DUKE in Germany and A-L-H OSAKA in Spain.  Initially her sons shone and now her grandsons are shining brighter.  The next great cross was Goldwyn and now her Goldwyn grandson, mentioned earlier, Danillo ranks high in the Netherlands and grandson Goldday ranks near the top in Germany.

Daisy’s Family Grew Genomics

Daisy attracted attention because of her family and sire stack.  With the advent of genomics, it has been shown that the family also possesses very high genomic values.  This has been a plus for owners of sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters.

Daisy Continues Sowing the Seeds of Success

MARKWELL BSTAR E RAVEN EX-95-3E-USA GMD DOM 5* - 2nd dam of Daisy

MARKWELL BSTAR E RAVEN EX-95-3E-USA GMD DOM 5* – 2nd dam of Daisy

Daisy’s grand dam Raven came second for International Cow of the Year.  Daisy herself came third in 2011 in a close placing for International Cow of the Year.  Destiny is nominated this year for 2012 International cow of the year.

Daisy Impacts Holstein Field of Dreams

Daisy took the Raven family from well-respected in western USA to international demand for her progeny.  From being recommended as “possibly” having the potential to be as good as Raven herself, Daisy has gone on to do exactly that!  Definitely Daisy is a Golden Dam contender.

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


Select Sires vs. Semex – A Contrast in Cooperatives

While many would think that all farmer-owned cooperatives would have the same challenges and the same mandates, there could no greater contrast than the approaches taken by Select Sires and Semex.  Select Sires is a federation of nine farmer-owned-and-controlled cooperative and Semex is a partnership of three breeder owned cooperatives.  So structurally they are quite similar with perhaps some significant differences in mandates.  However these two artificial insemination companies are headed in very different directions when it comes to approaches to communications and product development.

The Art of Sire Sampling

GLEN-TOCTIN BOLT LUCILLE VG-87 - one of the dams selected for the ART program

one of the dams selected for the ART program and dam of S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM

There no question that how an AI company defines its genetic mission, contracts young sires and proves bulls will greatly affect the profitability of the company.  In 2009, the Select Sires board saw the writing on the wall with genomics, the new tool on the scene.  The Board directed management to find new and better ways of procuring additional high-ranking, uniquely bred genetics in the most cost effect manner possible.  This lead to the development of Aggressive Reproductive Technologies (ARTTM), a program that involves the ownership of a small group of elite females (Read – Should A.I. Companies Own Females).  The females were purchased with plans to purposely breed them to create new and unique genetics for Select Sires, a product that would help differentiate them in the marketplace.

While Select insist that “the bulls resulting from the ART program compliment, not replace, bull calves that we continue to purchase from seed-stock producers” explains Jeff Ziegler, Genomics Program Manager at Select Sires.  Semex, on the other hand, have made it very clear that they have “no interest in owning females” and decided that they would stick to what they know best, sire sampling, and let the breeders specialize in breeding the cattle.  That may be a great brand position with their traditional seed-stock breeders, but if they cannot procure and prove they have the top genetics, it will mean nothing and prove to be a very costly mistake.

The Golden Rule – He Who Has The Bulls Has The Power



So how has this been working out?  Seventeen of the top new 200 new release females for October are members of the ART program at Select Sires (Read – Top 200 New Release Females for October).  In fact, this is a growing trend with 10/200 in September and 8/200 in July.  There are also early genomic young sires making their mark, including MOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL (purchased as an embryo) who is already being used as a sire of sons.  Two recent success stories from the female ownership side of ART are S-S-I BOOKEM MORGAN and S-S-I LITHIUM. Both are top 10 bulls on Holstein USA’s August active genomic young sires for GTPI at +2495 and +2470,respectively.

However, Select Sires ability to perform at an A+ level does not just come from the ART program.  In recent August 2012 sire summary, Select Sires leads the industry with 36 sires on Holstein USA’s Top 100 Total Performance Index (TPI) list with at least 97 percent reliability for milk and type.  In addition, Select Sires is home to 10 sires over +3.00 for PTAT including the new #1 Type sire, MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD EX-90.  They own the No. 1 TPI sire above 97% reliability for milk and type, Ensenada Taboo Planet EX-90-GM.  The future is also looking bright with 24 of the top 50 GTPI active genomic young sires coming from the Select Sires Super SamplerTM lineup.

So how has Semex policy of partnering with top breeders instead of owning females being working for them?  According to our analysis of the August 2012 New Release sires in Canada, a few of Semex’s partner herds have not been delivering the product.  Two key Semex partner herds Stanton’s and Claynook saw nine sires proven with an average drop of 418 LPI points when compared to the GPA LPI’s.  Those same two herds have seen an average drop of 635 points on over 40 bulls since the introduction of genomics back in August 2009 (Read – The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling).

In fact, Select Sires owns the #1 LPI sire, Ensenada Taboo Planet EX-90-GM.  Even in the market where Semex dominates in the number of young sires sampled it only have five out of the top 10 GPA LPI young sires from the August 2012 release.  Remember they sample over 70% of the sires in Canada.   and they only has three of the top 30 GPA TPI sires.  By comparison GenerVations, which has been very active in the ownership of females, has four of the top 30 GPA LPI sires and they sample a small fraction of the sires that Semex does.

No Longer a Dictatorship –It Is Now A Two Way Conversation

In today’s business world, if you don’t have a better product, you had better do a great job of marketing your product.  For years, Semex has been able to market and sell based on the ‘Canadian Kind’.  However, genomic evaluations has pretty much all but removed any customer loyalty and regional advantages that may have existed for AI companies in the past. Breeding programs have been adjusted by most major AI companies so they can deliver product that will satisfy breeders individual breeding strategies.  AI companies, the world over, have had to redefine their business model  over the past few years and rebranding has had to be addressed. Recent print ads and website changes would suggest that without the top of the list product to sell Semex has started to rebrand itself.

Yet, as the world becomes more social,  information, access to it and the ways the product will generate more customer profit as driving forces in today’s dairy cattle breeding world. It is no longer about control it is about accurate and new information.  It’s about open two-way discussion.  No longer can you dictate what people are to think, but rather you need to engage them in open honest conversations.

In the Bullvine’s recent articles about 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo ChampionThe Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires To Use for Maximum Genetic Gain and The Sensational 6 Top 6 North American Genomic Holsteins We Would Invest In, Select Sires not only allowed us to share it with their readers they actually posted it themselves on Facebook and Tweeted it as well.  Semex either deleted our posts or did not even respond.  It’s no wonder that Select Sires has the larger social following.  Gone are the days when the one who pays the most control’s the media, as is evident by us here at the Bullvine.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The marketing place is evolving, those companies that evolve and adjust will survive and thrive, those that don’t will fizzle out.  I am not saying that Semex needs to run out and buy females, nor am I a saying that Select Sires is doing everything correctly.  However, there are some significant differences in how these two companies procure and market their genetic products. These differences are leading the two companies in very different directions.

LYLEHAVEN LILA Z – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist

LYLEHAVEN LILA Z comes from a long line of great genetics that have prepared her to be contender for 2012 Golden Dam.  Her grand-dam THIERSANT LILI STARBUCK EX-94 5E has 22 daughters who are high for yield and type. Her dam LYLEHAVEN FORM LAURA Ex-94 3E has 14 high conformation and high production daughters including a remarkable 5 full sisters to Lila Z.



Lila Z Magnifies Success for Multiple Owners

Lylehaven Lila Z has changed ownership on no less than seven separate occasions. Up to the present time more than thirteen breeders have owned shares in this record breaking cow.  Lila Z is currently owned by Rich Vanderwal, Cedarwal Farms Limited (Abbotsford, BC) and the Donaldson Family, Bradner Farms (Abbotsford, BC). Rich Vanderwal sums up the interest that led to their purchase. He says, “We admired Lila Z as a valuable show cow and a great breed ambassador”  (Read more – Lylehaven Lila Z: Was she really worth $1.15 Million)

Zero in on Lila Z’s Numbers

Those who work with Lila Z find that she impresses in the barn and on the books. Rich Vanderwal points out that “her greatest strengths are her frame, her dairyness and the great mammaries she passes on to on her progeny.”  Lila Z’s numbers clearly support this analysis. She is EX-94 (third lactation) and a fourth generation Ex-94. Lila is a 14 Star Brood Cow. In 3 lactations she produced 75,385 kgs milk 3.9%F 3.4%. She has 1 Super 3 and 3 Superior Lactations. As well, Lila Z was All-Canadian- Junior Yearling & Jr 2 Yr Old and HM All Canadian 4 Yr Old & 5 Yr Old.

Lila Z has a Living Legacy


OCONNORS PLANET LUCIA VG-86-2YR-CAN – grand daughter of Lila Z
#1 GLPI Cow in Canada -8/12

Obviously Lila Z has what it takes and has become a media sensation but Rich Vanderwal feels she goes well beyond the headlines.  “Lila Z is no longer just a million dollar cow with a nice pedigree and show winnings.  She is the premier brood cow at the top of the Holstein breed.” He elaborates on what makes her unique. “Lila Z is a bull dam in her own right but now her daughters and granddaughters are producing bulls (Lavaman, Lexor and now Let it Snow) that are topping the genomics list for the last 2 years  and an own granddaughter is now #1 GLPI cow in Canada (Lucia – one the sensational 6 top north American genomic Holsteins we would invest in), with high genomic sons on the way.” This has been part of the reason why her progeny and descendants are commanding high prices at sales all over the world. Rich points out, “Lila Z’s influence now extends into most herds in Canada and internationally.”

 53 Desirable Lila Zs



There are 5 daughters of Lila Z which feature in Canada’s Top 75 GLPI cows. “Goldwyn has been the golden cross on her so far producing daughters that are All Canadian, Star Brood Cows and valuable bull dams” says Vanderwal. The numbers are excellent for them too. Seven of her eight Goldwyn daughters were VG as 2 yr olds with high production. Goldwyn Lilac is nominated for the 2012 International Cow of the Year. Her first EX daughter is by Shottle however over thirty of her daughters are young and have not calved in for the first time. Cederwal and Bradner are using many high genomic sires on Lila Z flushes at this time.

Great Way to Get Some Zzzz’s

Embryos from Lila Z’s descendents are routinely offered for sale, privately or through public auction. Her high genomic grandsons are being used as flush sires by many breeders around the world. Acecroft in the UK have so far produced 93 registered progeny of Goldwyn Zulu.

Lila Z’s Rising Sons

So far Lila Z has 5 Ex and 4 VG sons. One is Class Extra and one is Superior Production. Her sons routinely transmit great length of body and ultra long dairy necks, with tremendous frames that have the balance and style associated with Lila Z.

Lila Z Delivers the Genomics

Lila Z just naturally rises to the top of whatever list breeders measure by.  Rich explains.  “Since we (Cederwal & Bradner) purchased her she has also proven to be a terrific transmitter when evaluated by genomics also.” However he notes that this isn’t the first reason buyers considered the purchase of Lila Z, “She was never bought or sold on genomics. It has been a bonus to the owners of her progeny that the science of genomics later confirmed her true transmitting ability. (Read – Lessons Learned: 6 Dairy Cattle Investment Secrets Revealed)Lila Z and her daughters are now in that very unique group of cows that demand respect as proven transmitters – the package of genomics backed by a truly reputable cow family.” (Read more – Top Three Things To Consider When Investing In High Genomic Heifers)

Lila Z is Ready for Her Close Up

“We are thrilled to be able to be involved with such a famous and significant brood cow” Undoubtedly past owners felt the same way as her growing star power continuously attracted attention.  With a touch of mystery Rich advises, “Look for her to make a cameo appearance at the Genetics by Design Sale in November 2012.”  Obviously the new owners continue to believe that Lila Z’s story is “still beginning”.

The Ongoing Impact of Lylehaven Lila Z

Lila Z`s owners, past and present, love to expand on the major influence of Lila Z and her progeny.  David Eastman notes that “Not since the days of Laurie Sheik, has so much faith and confidence been put in one cow family.”  Rich Vanderwal emphatically concludes, “Lila Z’s contribution to the Holstein breed will rank her as the #1 brood cow of this era.”

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


The Investor’s Guide to World Dairy Expo

With so much excitement and major sales during the week of World Dairy Expo it can be easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm.  To help potential investors or to guide those who love studying the market, here are 15 lots we will be watching during the two major sales (Planet Holstein and World Dairy Classic 2012).

Planet Holstein Sale

Date: October 4th 2012
Location: Sheraton Hotel



KAMPS-HOLLOW ALTITUDE EX-95-DOM - maternal sister to lot 1

KAMPS-HOLLOW ALTITUDE EX-95-DOM – maternal sister to lot 1

This HUNSBERGER ALCHEMY daughter has it all. High GTPI (+2335), Red and maternal sister to KHW REGIMENT APPLE-RED EX-95-USA the 1st Aged Cow and Senior & Grand Champion R&W of World Dairy Expo 2011.Their dam KAMPS-HOLLOW ALTITUDE EX-95-DOM has had every bull put into stud make the active proven line-up. She already has three family members in the top 10 GTPI *RC and Red lists (SCIENTIFIC THE BIG APPLE-ET *RC, KHW SHAMROCK ARALYN-ET *RC, and FAR-R-LA ANAHEIM ANGELIE-ET *RC) with herself being the #3 Red GTPI heifer in the USA. With this cross, you can expect this heifer to have an extremely well attached udder. Alchemy is a good mating on Altitude as she has proven to produce progeny with a touch straighter leg. It also appears to be a good corrective mating for the rump structure.



RI-VAL-RE SHTLE WENDI VG-88 - Full sister to the 2nd dam of lot 2

RI-VAL-RE SHTLE WENDI VG-88 – Full sister to the 2nd dam of lot 2

In RI-VAL-RE ALCHEMY NIKOLE you get the #1 GTPI *RC or Red female, and the #1 $NM *RC or Red. However, unlike Adeline, this cross of Alchemy on RI-VAL-RE SUPER NIKE does cause me some concerns in what her rump will be like and as well concerns on cleanliness of bone. Though she does rank as the #1 *RC or Red and will have plenty of demand for embryos f, you still need to make sure that she has the potential to be a VG 2yr old. However, this heifer does have a nice balance of production, durability and health & fertility.  Also from a marketing perspective, when the only picture you have to use is the full sister to the 2nd dam, that causes me concerns.





When COOKVIEW GOLDWYN MONIQUE VG-89-3YR-CAN sold for $490,000 at the International Intrigue Sale she sent notice that she is a serious contender for years to come (Read – International Intrigue – The Secret Is Exposed).  Her wins at Quebec Spring Show, NY Spring International, and Ontario Spring Discovery demonstrated that she is a contender for it all this year.  While Atwood makes a logical cross of high type cow with hottest new type sire, I have some concern on this cross from a rump perspective.  Yes by the numbers the rumps are a corrective cross, but I am worried that with so much Goldwyn blood that you are liable to get high pins or low pins instead of the happy median.  Physical inspection will answer this question.  Nevertheless, if Monique gets the care you know she will at Butlerview and if the heifer does combine the best of both parents, you could be buying into something pretty special. (Also note that her Windbrook daughter is set to sell in the 2012 Sale of Stars at the Royal)





Fresh from their sale topping consignment at the Gillette Visions 2012 sale with RALMA-RH MANOMAN BANJO VG-88-2yr (Read Gillette Visions 2012 Sale – Great People, Great Cattle = Great Results) comes another high index heifer from Lookout and Pesce, this time tracing back to SNOW-N DENISIS DELLIA.  LOOKOUT PESCE EPIC HUE is the #2 GLPI heifer in Canada and the #1 Epic in the world.  In Hue you have a heifer that has a DGV LPI of +4362, some 43% higher than her already outstanding parent average.  Her major conformation traits show many in the +20’s which alone is something unheard of.  Combine that with over 2000 kg’s of milk and positive components and Hue really is the complete genetic package.  As long as she looks the part, this heifer could be a really special package for someone ready to make a splash in the index market.  As far as the dam’s ability to turn out, after seeing how Banjo turned out and the level of care they get at Lookout, there is very little risk here.  (Her full full sister that is not genomic tested yet LOOKOUT EPIC HALO sells in the 2012 Sale of Stars at the Royal)



COOKIECUTTER MOM HALO VG-87-2YR - dam of lot 7&8

COOKIECUTTER MOM HALO VG-87-2YR – dam of lot 7&8

Another one to watch from the Dellia family will be COOKIECUTTER MOG HANKER and COOKIECUTTER SHMRK HAZE (Who was originally scheduled to sell in the International Intrigue sale).  Sired by Mogul and Shamrock respectively these heifers are from COOKIECUTTER MOM HALO VG-87-2yr (Who also is set to sell at the 2012 Sale of Stars at the Royal), the dam of COOKIECUTTER PETRON HALOGEN the #1 GTPI bull in the breed (GTPI +2690).  Just like Hue (Lot #9) these heifers have it all:  production genomic test and type.  As far as genomic tests go these heifers are toss-ups to choose between.  You will have to go old school to figure it out.  Use your eyes to determine which one has enough frame and rump structure to score VG as a 2yr old.  (Note also selling in the World Classic sale is their Supersonic sister who has slightly lower genomic numbers).





FUSTEAD MOGUL LANA is the #24 GTPI heifer in the breed.  Lana is the Mogul sister to S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM the breeds #2 GTPI bull with progeny on the ground.  She has no Planet, Shottle or Goldwyn in her pedigree.  Lana possesses outstanding production, durability, and health and fertility numbers though they’re not quite as high as her full sister FUSTEAD MOGUL LILAC (whose numbers are about 7% higher).  Her genomic test would indicate that she should easily live up to expectations though I will be looking to see if she has enough body depth and frame  to go VG as a 2yr.




AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA - 2nd dam of lot 11

AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA – 2nd dam of lot 11

For those of you looking to get into the hottest genomic families in the world, AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA this is a great opportunity. There is no doubt that Robust has been the best mating on Shauna (Read – Ammon-Peachy Shauna – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) and DE-SU BKM MCCUTCHEN is a great follow up cross, combining two of the biggest index families in the world. With eight females to choose from you are pretty much guaranteed to get a list topper.







With so much selective mating, it’s getting harder to find list toppers that are outcrosses to the major bloodlines.  In BUTZ-HILL OH MY-MY you get no Shottle, Bolton, or Planet in the pedigree and DGV for LPI over 3400.  On top of that her 3rd dam is none other than EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY EX-95-CAN. This cross is a great blend of production, durability and health & fertility.  Though watch for her to have slightly less type than expected.  A close inspection of the heifer will reveal if she is a potential VG 2yr old, and if she passes, you may have an extremely rare genetic package.  (Note also selling in the World Classic sale is her Shamrock sister who has slightly lower genomic numbers).



World Classic 2012

Date: October 5th, 2012
Location: Alliante Energy Center
Catalogue –



RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97  - dam of lot 1

RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97 – dam of lot 1

With her full sister RF GOLDWYN HALONA VG-88-2YR-CAN, RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97 sent notice to the world at this year’s Expo Quebec (Read – The Story Behind How Two Full Sisters Dominated Expo Quebec) that she is more than just a fluke and that there really is  great breeding behind this 3rd generation EX.  After spending last year in Missy’s shadow, she will be a strong contender to win it all (Read – Who’s Next? World Dairy Expo Holstein Show Preview).  Selling in the classic sale is her Pine-Tree Sid daughter.  While Goldwyn has proven to be a great cross on Hailey’s dam MELLHOLM LOUIE HANAH EX-92-2E CAN 2 combining the chest width, body depth and pin width of Hanah on the bone quality and set of legs and the proven ability to sire show winners of Goldwyn.  The question becomes, “Is Sid the correct cross on Hailey?”  There is no doubt that the heifer should have a bolted on udder, so it really comes down to her legs, dairyness and frame.  The real question then becomes “does she have the legs to be the next generation of great show cow?”



HARVUE ROY FROSTY EX-97 - dam of lot 2

HARVUE ROY FROSTY EX-97 – dam of lot 2

Selling as the second lot is the daughter of the other expected contender for Grand Champion in the Holstein show HARVUE ROY FROSTY EX-97.  However, for Frosty this is become second nature to her, as she has been Supreme at Madison in 2009 and 2010.  It`s interesting to surmise, how the daughter of Hailey drew lot 1 status compared to the daughter of the already ‘been there done that’ HARVUE ROY FROSTY EX-97?  Maybe it is because of the calve’s actual conformation?  This cross causes me the same concerns as the Atwood out of COOKVIEW GOLDWYN MONIQUE VG-89-3YR-CAN (Lot 1 in the Planet Holstein Sale), in that  you may have too much Goldwyn in the pedigree?  While there is no doubt that Goldwyn has been the most dominant show sire of the past decade, I am wondering if his son FUSTEAD GOLDWYN GUTHRIE will bring the needed mobility that this cross needs.





What happens when you combine probably the most popular young show cow in the world, CRAIGCREST RUBIES GOLD REJOICE VG-89-2YR-CAN with what could be the next great type sire, REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK (read more – 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion)?The answer is  you get CRAIGCREST REJOICE AYAME.  While there has been much discussion among show breeders if they should use high type genomic young sires on great show cows, that is exactly what Elgin Craig did with this mating.  On paper, it is an amazing cross.  The heifer has Parent Averages in the double digits for all major type traits.  While many might argue that Rejoice did not need much improvement, Bradnick does bring the rump improvement that was needed based on sire stack.  In addition, what a sire stack it is, Bradnick x Goldwyn x Dundee, that is a potent type stack.  If this heifer lives up to her sire stack, she could be a very special one in her own right.





For those of you that would prefer to invest in a little more established show stack, there is Morsan Miss Demeanour.  Demeanour is an Aftershock from EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY EX-95-CAN.  Here you get a proven sire that is (+16 Conformation, +3.32 PTAT) from last year’s Supreme Champion.  However, it will be interesting to see if this heifer will have enough frame and capacity to compete at the highest levels.




LOT 46 – DE-SU ECOYNE 2043

DE-SU 7091 - 2nd dam of lot 46

DE-SU 7091 – 2nd dam of lot 46

For those of you looking for an index fix, there is DE-SU ECOYNE 2043.  With a GPA TPI of +2501 and GPA LPI of +3642 this heifer is one of the highest anywhere in the world (#19 GTPI in the USA).  Those not 100% confident in genomics may call this a risky play (The French maternal brother to CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY and cow family still to prove itself on the proven sire side).  This heifer has DGV values 9% higher than her already world leading indexes (DGV LPI +3967).  She has some of the highest production, durability and health & fertility numbers I have ever seen, but it is the type cross that has me concerned.  There is no doubt this heifer will have an outstanding udder.  I will be watching to see what how clean her legs are as well as how much frame she has.  These are both limiting factors of her dam and sire. (Also note that since so little marketing has been done of the family you will be pulling the bulk of the work yourself.  The numbers are great, but that is only half of the story).



SCIENTIFIC DELUXE RAE EX-91 - dam of lot 48

SCIENTIFIC DELUXE RAE EX-91 – dam of lot 48

For those that want to dial the genomic dial back a notch, and kick it a little more old school, have a look at SPEEK-NJ ATWD DELLA RAE.  Here you have a marriage of the Adeens and the Roxies.  The number of World Dairy Expo winners in this pedigree is outstanding.  You have a potent type sire stack with the genomic test to back it all up.  The interesting part about this lot is that it’s not only her that is up for sale.  They are also offering 11 pregnancies, so you are able to kick start your program in a big hurry.  Therefore, if you believe in the heifer, you are able to hit the ground running.  It will be interesting to see what price will be paid for such a large package from a virgin heifer who is not an index topper.



In all the excitement of World Dairy Expo there will be money flying everywhere.  From the show cows that will sell in the barn to the many animals selling in these and other sales a, there will certainly be lots to talk about.  For those who are wanting to get a head start or just see what all the hype is about, these lots will make sure your basis are covered.



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