From my ringside perch at the Royal Holstein Show two weeks ago I heard knowledgeable Holstein breeders remarking, “There are seven breeders’ herds lined up out there and they’re all good ones! Wow!” Their amazement was echoed by Judge McKinven. (Read more – The 2012 Royal Winter Fair Holstein Show – One of the greatest stories ever told) When giving his reasons for his placing he pointed out lack of maturity in some entries or less uniformity in others but he opened with the comment. “It is great to see seven high quality Breeder Herds’” and then he led the crowd in an enthusiastic round of applause.
Wilhelmina’s Herd In the Royal Ring
Watching the exhibitors carefully place their animals, I mused to myself that that it really is quite an achievement to reach this top level with three exceptional animals. No doubt there were seven stories (or more) for each of the seven herds. Wouldn’t you know one of those stories fell on my attentive ears as we were walking back to the cattle barn and Dr David Chalack mentioned that all three of Rocky Mountain’s animals, although young, were daughters and in fact full sisters from Raeland Leduc Wilhelmina. Can you believe it? Not only three from one herd but three from one cow. Talk about dam good genes (Oops that’s another writer’s byline). For now let’s look back at how Wilhelmina got her start.
Wilhelmina’s (almost) Royal Beginnings
From Rae Stadder we found out that Wilhelmina’s great grand dam came to the Stadder’s because she was too late in gestation to travel as a bred heifer to Ohio. The story as Rae relates it goes like this. “My dad, Blake Stadder, travelled in our area with cattle buyer, Ken Brown from Ohio. One day they bought 4 bred heifers from a dairy farmer in Walpole and when it came time to ship them the Marquis Ned heifer, Wilhelmina’s great grand dam, was too close to calving to take the truck ride to Ohio. Dad agreed to take her for the price Mr Brown had paid for her.” Not headed to the party. Now that’s a Cinderella story for sure! Especially when you hear that this was not the typical Ned. “She was dairy and had a super udder – classifying VG and milking well’. Rae continues on with the history behind Wilhelmina “We bred the Ned to Unique, another Marquis son and that double cross to Marquis seemed to put into the family excellent feet & legs, high fat, stature, great udders, great reproduction and more heifers than bulls calves.” The line began and continued. “No matter what bulls were later used on the family all those traits came through”. Eventually, the family developed to comprise 35% of the Raeland Herd, with many family members the prominent cows in the herd in 2012. The Stadders then used Lincoln, Red Marker and Leduc to come up with Wilhelmina.
Wilhelmina Becomes the Wildcard
Wilhelmina was the first family member sold by Rae. In the spring of 2002, Ken Empey and Brent Howe came to Raeland seeking consignments for The Shore Spring Sale and were impressed with Wilhelmina. By this time, she was a tall dairy, good legged year old, so off to the sale she went. And, unlike her grandmother, she made it all the way there. She was bought and moved to Alberta ownership where she classified VG85 and producer 7602 kg milk 4.0%F and 3.3%P.
Go West and Win Young Wilhelmina
Dr David Chalack relayed the following to us “Wilhelmina was one of the first purchases made by RockyMountain. The year was 2004 and she was the winning Jr 3yr old at the Calgary Spring Show. We bought her that day and she went on to be Res All-Canadian Jr 3 yr old. She returned to the Calgary Spring Show in 2005 and was Grand Champion as a 4 yr old. For RockyMountain she has shown her power as a transmitter of outstanding type and high butterfat. For RockyMountain she has had 2 Superior Lactations, classify EX92-2E and to date she has 26 daughters that carry the RockyMountain prefix. Of those twenty-six, 23 are owned by 23 different breeders. Sound business breeding on RockyMountain’s part – breed great animals and merchandise them to have a revenue center beyond the milk cheque. It was interesting for me to learn that Rocky Mountain is waiting to implant Goldwyn and Braxton embryos in December to produce more heifers to be born in September 2013. Yes more Wilhelmina show heifers will be seen in the future.
Wilhelmina’s Royal Family
Every cow has a best mate and for Wilhelmina that mate is Goldwyn (Read more – Goldwyn first ever to cross 1000 EX daughters in Canada). To date there are nine Goldwyn daughters with seven in lactation classifying EX94, VG89, VG88 (2 yr), 2 VG86 (2 yr) & 2 GP (2 yr). In first lactation they averaged Mammary VG85, Feet & Legs VG86, Dairy Strength VG86, Rump VG87 and 9252 kg M (305D) 4.0%F & 3.3%P. Like Dr Chalack says “she never misses producing tall, dairy, good uddered Goldwyns”. No wonder RockyMountain is producing more Goldwyn x Wilhelmina daughters.
Wilhelmina All The Way
Years of observation and experience, would lead any judicious cattle fan to conclude that one cow cannot produce a winning breeder’s herd all on her own. Especially, at a show of the quality of The Royal. At least, that’s what you would have said until November 2012. Wilhelmina along with her best mate did it this year. The members of the RockyMountain Breeder’s Herd was 3rd Jr 2 yr old Goldwyn Winnie (VG88 2yr), 3 yr old Golden Winnie (VG86 2yr) and 4 yr old Gold Winter (EX94 4yr).
Bullvine Bottom Line
QUESTION: Can one cow make a Breeder’s Herd all on her own?
ANSWER: Yes! Wilhelmina can.
NEXT QUESTION: Could an entirely new group of full sisters win at a future Royal?
OBVIOUS ANSWER: Of course. Where’s there’s a Wilhelmina, there’s a way!