Whether the topic is stocks, real estate or cattle breeding, it is important to do your homework and capitalize on the information available to you. That is what Dominique and Kathy Merminod owner operators of Misty Springs Holsteins did with their best investment decision to date. “Investing in Willsona Freelance Sizzle at the Gen-I-Beq sale has certainly been the most profitable.”
Look at Pedigrees from Both Sides of the Family
Profits are the obvious measure of success for any area of investing but the Merminods of Little Britain Ontario add. “The investment into the Aldonhill Brilliance Red family has been the most consistently rewarding investment. This would be both on the male and female side of the equation.” This double payback is a recurring theme when the couple report on the successes they have achieved. “Consistent breeding patterns within the family both on the maternal and paternal side of the pedigree are important to us. From the animal themselves we look for a good balance of dairy strength and open rib.”
Learn from the Past … avoid the “If Only” regrets
The learning curve in cattle investing is steep. Occasionally you assess where you stand and perhaps think of modifications you might wish you’d made. The Merminods look at their investments analytically. “There aren’t really any of them that we wish we could have back. Every one of them has taught us something along the way and has had an impact on the decisions that we make today. We were runner up bidder on embryos from an Online embryo sale from Diamond Genetics. If we had only bid higher, we could have had animals from Snowman’s family very early.” Experience builds the confidence to take those risks.
The Right Partners …. A Marriage Made in Heaven
Some cattle investors mitigate the risk involved by working with partners. “We do so cautiously” is how Kathy and Dominique assess their philosophy in this area. “If we are working with partners, we look for someone who is like-minded and shares the same breeding goals that we have.” This husband and wife team sums it up in their own terms. “The problem with partners is that it is very much like a marriage without the benefits that keep it exciting!”
The View From the Far Side of Genomics
Genomics has had a tremendous impact on the industry. The Merminods explain their approach. “We use Genomics as we would any other tool. We still look for consistency within the family and a balance of type and production. Genomics gives us an opportunity to increase the tools that we have at our disposal to make the selections for heifers and in selecting bulls to use. We don’t rely strictly on the numbers or select for only a few select traits. For us, balance and consistency are still of paramount importance. The industry is still in the early stages of learning how to use genomic information and there are many mistakes to make along the way. It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring. We feel that using strictly young sires to stack numbers is not the way to go and could end up costing the industry as a whole and set the industry back in its breeding advances. We feel that there will be a shift of emphasis from health traits back to conformation because it seems that with the emphasis the way it currently is, and the numbers coming in the way we see them coming, we are going to lose in the area of conformation.”
The potential for investing in dairy cattle is growing every day. The Merminods have advice for new breeders who are starting to invest. “Look for an animal whose family transmits both on the female and male side of the pedigree. Chose an animal that you can breed from. Don’t be afraid to purchase the sister with the second highest genomics, she may the one who transmits. Make sure that the investment isn’t more then you can afford to lose.”
THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE
“There has been a shift in focus to health traits and genomic information. The average cow today is the equivalent of what would have been considered to be the highest level in past years. Make sure you do your homework and really examine all aspects of the pedigree.” Dominique and Kathy Merminod, Misty Springs Holsteins
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