Archive for Seagull Bay Dairy

“Breeding for Efficient Production and a Healthy Herd” with Greg Andersen from Seagull Bay – 2014 Holstein USA Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder

There isn’t anything much better than being recognized by your peers for being outstanding in your chosen field. Just this past June at the Holstein Association USA’s Annual Convention, Greg Andersen was awarded the 2014 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder Award. Greg, manager and one of the owners of Seagull Bay Dairy, American Falls, Idaho, would be the first to acknowledge the tremendous support he receives from his family as he carries on the family tradition of breeding outstanding Holsteins. (For more on Seagull Bay Dairy and the Andersen Family read Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist and JOHN ANDERSEN – COMMERCIAL and PEDIGREE – Building a Field of Dreams) The Bullvine decided to dig deeper and find out more about how Greg sees breeding Holsteins in the future. We are confident that you will find Greg’s thoughts interesting.

A Strong Base – Holstein and Family

Seagull Bay Dairy, established in 1980 by Greg’s parents Alan and Norma, has a reputation for using genetics and management to grow their herd and breeding stock sales.  Seagull Bay (Read more Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy) has been awarded both Progressive Breeders Registry and Progressive Genetic Herd awards on numerous occasions. College educated, Brigham Young in Animal Science and Business, Greg became the manager at Seagull Bay in 2006 and has moved the herd ahead rapidly to the point that only very highly rate bulls are used and breed leading heifers are the focus for producing embryos for sale and the herd’s next generations.

greg-andersen and family

The first family for Greg is his wife Gwen and their five children Lydia, Wyatt, Amy, Dallin and Corbin all showing great interest in their education, community (church, 4H and service groups), farm and Holsteins.  Greg has three brothers involved in the dairy industry. Ben operates the 1600 cow commercial milking herd which includes both crossbreeding and females used as ET recipients. John manages Double A Dairy and with his family, owns Triple Crown Genetics (Read more: JOHN ANDERSEN – COMMERCIAL and PEDIGREE – Building a Field of Dreams). And Brandon, manager for the Double A Dairy calf ranch, also breeds Holsteins under the Andercrest prefix. No doubt when Alan and Norma’s family hold a celebration, discussion on how to return the most profit from dairying could be lively.

“Efficient production from a healthy herd” is the Seagull Bay Slogan

Greg expands upon the above slogan as follows “I believe that cows with moderate stature but adequate width and strength and the ability to produce high total pounds of protein will be desirable and profitable for dairy businesses throughout the world for many generations. Calving ability, udder quality and fertility will, of course, also be imperative. The modern Holstein, as well as the cow of the future, will need to be able to produce large quantities of milk solids while still maintaining healthy body condition.” Seagull Bay, like many many other herds, sells their milk for cheese processing and so their farm gate price is very dependent upon the pounds of protein shipped. As a result, PTA’s for protein is important for the males and females they include in their breeding program.

Seagull Bay’s slogan and emphasis on fitness traits comes from experience.  Popular A.I. plus proven sires used 10+ years ago left them very disappointed. Greg describes is as follows – “Those kind of sires perpetuated a long list of health and utility issues that have taken several generations to begin to correct.” Greg expands on Seagull Bay’s success on breeding for fitness and utility – “through breeding and selection we now have a core group of elite Holsteins that possess the traits that we highly value.” The July 2014 herd production average at Seagull Bay and Andersen Dairy was 85 pounds of 3.9% fat and 3.2% protein milk. That is 6 pounds of fat + protein per cow per day. The goal is to do that every day of the year. For Bullvine articles on breeders that share Greg’s approach read about North Florida Holsteins (Read more: NORTH FLORIDA HOLSTEINS. Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable!!) and Rosy-Lane Holsteins (Read more: ROSY-LANE HOLSTEINS – “Don’t Follow the Herd!”)

Seagull Bay Works to High Genomic Standards

Simply stated the history of Seagull Bay has been to purchase high genetic females and develop families around them. Two cows that come quickly to mind are Lynmead Celsius Minnow and Ammon-Peachy Shauna. Both families have produced outstanding daughters and sons. Combining both these families resulted in the popular and highly ranked sire, Seagull Bay Supersire.

Shauna in the front pasture at Seagullbay this past spring. 5 years old. Due again this winter.

Shauna in the front pasture at Seagullbay this past spring. 5 years old. Due again this winter.

Over the past six months Greg has used seventeen sires, all genomic rated, in his ET program. Three are Seagull Bay bred – Supersire, Silver and Secretariat. Six are Mogul and five of his sons. One is the breed leading gTPI polled sire, Powerball-P, and the remainder are leading sons of other high genomic sires.  The averages for these seventeen sires are very high and are sure to help keep Seagull Bay as a prominent name in Holsteins. Note the very high CM$ average. Seagull-Bay Silver tops the group with 2621 gTPI and 3.28 PTAT.  Uecker Supersire Jospuer is highest for fat + protein at 211 pounds. And MR Mogul Delta 1427 is highest for CM$ at 1115.

Table 1 – Recent Seagull Bay Service Sires

Averages (17x) 2490 895 967 90 70 2.57

At the present time, all the Seagull Bay donors are heifers. Their impressive averages are listed below. The leading lady of this group EDG Hallie Uno Heather with CM$ 935, 7.2 PL, 2.64 SCS and 2.4 DPR. Two of the eight are from the Shauna Family, and one is from Pine-Tree Dorcy Alexa II. So donors used in the past continue to contribute to the current Seagull Bay breeding program. Three of the current eight donors are sired by Uno, two by Supersire, two by Jacey and one by Mogul.

Table 2 – Seagull Bay’s Current Donors (all heifers)

Average (8x) 815 884 5.7 2.65 1.6

Tall Cows Not a Requirement

Greg sums up his sire selection as follows. “I mostly select high NM$ and gTPI sires. However, sires that have similar gTPI and NM$ values can, of course, get to those values in very different ways. In general, I choose sires over 60 pounds PTAP, above 0 for DPR and below 8 SCE. I will often not use a sire that is over 2.5 STA with preference given to sires less than 2.0 STA. The McCutchen sons are often high for STA, so I haven’t used them as mating sires with the exception of using Kingboy one time on one donor.”

Helpful Tools

Like all progressive breeders, Greg is always searching for new information. He shares useful advice: “ is the most user-friendly site available to look up sire information from my experience. The new Enlight program from Holstein USA and Zoetis could also be a helpful tool for analyzing genetic trends in our herd in the future.”

Leading to the Future

It is clear to see why Greg was selected as the 2014 Distinguished Young Holstein Breeder when he provides thoughts such as the ones that follow.

“We hope to continue to be a supplier of good bulls into the AI market for many years to some. We’d like to sell or lease at least 30 young bulls to various AI companies annually. We have four young bulls right now in our hutches with NM$ values between 900 and 1148. Long term I hope that there are many Seagull Bay sires with very good and highly reliable proofs with thousands of daughters throughout the world. I hope that at least one Seagull Bay sire will reach the Millionaire milestone.”

Greg expands on the future. “Genomic and IVF technologies will continue to help accelerate the genetic advancement of dairy breeds. It is true that many of the genomic values are over-estimated, however by-and-large we have seen that genomic predictions are pretty good at identifying which heifers ought to be donors and which heifers ought to be bred AI or used as a recipient. The same is true for males. The high number of males and females tested each month with gTPIs over 2500 does not surprise me nor does it bother me.”

Seagull-bay Shauna Saturn VG-85 VG MS

Seagull-bay Shauna Saturn VG-85 VG MS

At Seagull-Bay, Greg sees great promise for two heifers. “Soon to enter our donor group will be Seagull-Bay Somthngroyal-ET. For me, she is the most exciting heifer we’ve ever had on our farm. Somthngroyal is a Jacey x VG86 Seagull-Bay Shauna Saturn x Shauna with 926 NM$, 1060 CM$, 75 PTAP, 96 PTAF, 2.62 SCS, 2.0 DPR, 5.0 PL, 6.9CE and 2.22 PTAT. Noteworthy as well is a polled Ohare-P daughter from a VG86 Observer x VG Shottle x EX Seagull-Bay Manat Mirage (Granddam of Robust) with gTPI 2306 and 63 PTAP.’

In talking about the future, Greg is a big picture thinker. He provides the following global perspective. “We live in a growing world and we will continue to need to produce more animal protein from a resource base that will grow at a slower pace than the growing demand. There will likely be 9 billion people on this planet by the year 2050. Genetics, biotechnology, animal nutrition, etc. must continue to advance in a way that improves both the quality of our products and the efficiency in which they are produced.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Greg Andersen takes a global approach to breeding and all aspects of dairying and how they will impact feeding our world’s growing population. Without a doubt, it can be said that Greg is a man on a mission to make this a better dairy world. The Bullvine considers Greg to be the type of leader our industry needs.




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JOHN ANDERSEN – COMMERCIAL and PEDIGREE – Building a Field of Dreams

We all know the old saying, “East is east and West is west and never the twain shall meet”.  The dairy business has traditionally seen irreconcilable differences in the areas of commercial dairy vs. registered dairy; corporate farms vs. family farms; genomics vs. proven; corporate owners vs. family ownership; employee goals vs. owner strategies.  Of course, it’s the exceptions to the rule that show us how to push the envelope and create new successes in an industry that is under constant pressure to be profitable and sustainable. John Andersen brings many of these disparities together in his passion for dairying and in doing so is building a playing field most dairy breeders can only dream of.

John & Caroline Andersen Family

John & Caroline Andersen Family

Taking Care of Business

Some might see it as trying to keep too many balls in the air at once or a tricky balancing act but for John it is neither.  He sees running a thriving commercial herd and breeding elite genetics as two sides of the same dairy business coin. As Manager at Double A Dairy in Jerome, Idaho he is more than comfortable with a two pronged approach. “I do believe that it is possible to have the best of both worlds and this is what we are trying to accomplish.” John feels the key to success for both visions is still built on the same firm foundation. “Have a passion for whatever it is that you choose to do.  Do something that you look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work.”

Double A Dairy

Double A Dairy

Genomics Is the Game Changer

The Double A Dairy in Jerome Idaho is owned by the Aardema family, and John Andersen is the manager.  The 13000 cow Double A Dairy is recognized as one of the largest users of genomic tests on a commercial scale “Genomics has changed the game and whether you like it or not, I believe it is here to stay and will continue to become more reliable.” says John Andersen who, with his team runs genomic tests to sort out high and lower end genetics. “It is not the end all say all, but it is an important tool that gives us additional information to make decisions in our day to day business.”

Lifelong Learning and Earning In the Dairy Industry

Although the ready acceptance of genomics as a tool for a commercial dairy may seem somewhat unexpected, it’s not out of line with John’s dairy background. “I grew up on Seagull Bay Dairy (500 cows), our family dairy operation located in American Falls, Idaho.  I went to college at BYU (Brigham Young University) in Provo where I got my degree in Ag Business and a minor in Business.  While at college, I worked as a herdsman at the University’s 600 cow dairy where I helped manage the breeding and Embryo Transfer program.  We worked with a good number of high index cows and sold a fair number of bulls to stud from the University herd.  After my Junior year of college, I spent a full summer in the central valley of California working as an intern with Monsanto.  It gave me the opportunity to spend time on a number of different large dairies.  After graduation, I returned home to manage Seagull Bay beginning in January of 2000.” It was an enjoyable way to develop a career and John was evidently gathering invaluable experience.  (Read more: Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy)

DOUBLE A DAIRY.  Specialized and Organized

John explains how things changed in 2005. “After spending five years at Seagull Bay, I took the opportunity to work with the Aardema Group in Jerome, Idaho.  We milk a total of 26,000 cows on six different facilities.  More than half of the cows are milked at Double A dairy (14,000 Holsteins) and the remainder of the dairies milk Jerseys.  70% of the cows at Double A are housed in freestall barns while the other 30% are housed in open lots with shades.  Double A has four Double 50 parallel milk parlors.  We also have a centralized calving facility dedicated to caring for dry and close-up cows and heifers.  All heifer calves are kept and raised at our calf ranch up to six months of age and then sent to our heifer feed lot where they are housed up to a month before calving when they are send back to the calving facility.”

Seagull-Bay Manat Mirage-ET EX-90 EX 93 MS GMD DOM Mirage has 1 EX and 26 VG daughters Granddam of Roylane Socra Robust #2 NM proven sire

Seagull-Bay Manat Mirage-ET EX-90 EX 93 MS GMD DOM
Mirage has 1 EX and 26 VG daughters
Granddam of Roylane Socra Robust #2 NM proven sire

MIRAGE and MIRROR.  Reflections on Building Breeding Success

Over time, breeding cattle provides its own reward system since your successes meet you (or not) in the milkhouse every day.  John Andersen looks at two who rose to the top of his list. “After returning home from college to manage Seagull Bay, I had the opportunity to breed Seagull-Bay Manat Mirage-ET and her daughter Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror-ET.  Mirage was flushed to Oman as a two yr old.  She was a medium sized cow with an excellent mammary and great feet and legs.  High production was a strength of the Minnow family.  Oman brought many of the health traits and calving ease that the breed was desperate for at the time and so it seemed like a logical mating. Mirror was purchased by Roylane in our 2005 sale and went on to have as big an impact in the genomic era as any cow I can think of through daughters, granddaughters, and great granddaughters that have topped the CTPI cow lists and GTPI heifers lists.” And John sees that this family will make more contributions in the future. “Mirror’s son Robust and grandson SuperSire will continue to influence the breed for years to come.  Last year, I had the opportunity to purchase Mirror back from Roylane, and she is now housed at Double A.  Even at nearly ten Yrs old, she continues to make high testing offspring.  She recently had a Deductive bull go to Semex who is +2403 GTPI, and she just had a daughter, Triplecrown Alright 756, sired by Alright come back at +2537 GTPI +868 NM  80F 64P.  Mirror also has a granddaughter in the Double A herd sired by Niagra and out of the EX full sister to Robust that is EX-92 as a 3 yr old and was the 1st place Sr. 3 at the Utah State show and 3rd place Sr. 3 at the Western Spring National.”

Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror  VG-86 DOM

Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror VG-86 DOM
Dam of Roylane Socra Robust


It is obvious that John Andersen enjoys the challenges inherent in running a large commercial operation and encourages others to take the same opportunity. “There is plenty of demand in the dairy industry for leaders with good work ethics and common sense.”  The triple talents of ethics, common sense and passion have served John Andersen well for several decades to this day and in 2005 he further rounded out his dairy breeding vision. “Triple Crown Genetics came about when I left Seagull Bay in 2005, I wanted to stay involved in the registered cattle and genetics side of the business and continue to work with elite genetics.  Triple Crown Genetics was formed in September of 2005 as a partnership between myself, Seagull Bay, and Jordan Leak.  In 2010, I took over 100% ownership of Triple Crown and all cattle that I own are registered under the Triplecrown prefix.”

COWS AND BULLS.  The Highlights.

There have been special cows to highlight John’s breeding journey.

Triplecrown Uno 602-ET

Triplecrown Uno 602-ET
Numero Uno x T-C-G Jeeves Milley-ET EX-90 x Seagull-Bay Lauden Megan-ET VG-87
+2428 GTPI, +88 Fat +32 Protein +2.53 PTAT


Numero Uno x Ammon-Peachey Shauna-ET VG-87
+2390 GPTI +1187 Milk +3.08 PTAT

  • TRIPLECROWN JACEY 556-ET (Jacey x Jeeves x Laudan back to Minnow family)
  • SEAGULL-BAY MOGUL 1723-ET (Mogul x Observer x Shottle x Toystory x Oman Mirna)
  • AARDEMA FREDDIE 1994-ET (#1 Freddie in the breed at +2414 GTPI)

The Genomic Bull Story at Double A

“I started using high genomic bulls at about 40-50% of our usage as soon as they were made available and was at 99% within about two years.”  I will occasionally go back and use a proven bull that I missed as a genomic bull if I really like him.  Massey was an example of this.  Freddie has been one of my favorite bulls that I have used in the past five years and am excited about the Robusts that we are now milking as well as the Moguls that are starting to freshen now. We currently genomic test the top 25% of our heifers each month based on parent average (about 150 head/month).

We then select a few elite females each month that will enter our IVF and flush program based on genomic results.  We do OPU on farm every Monday with 10-12 Holstein and Jersey donors.  All collection and transfers are done in-house, and we ship Oocytes to a lab for fertilization.  We are considering to start genomic testing all new females in the next couple months.

 “I feel that we will make faster genetic improvement by using groups of high genomic bulls than we would by using only high proven sires, although if someone isn’t comfortable using the genomic bulls, there is nothing wrong with using good proven sires.” There is not any one trait that will keep a bull off of the list if he is good enough in other areas.  Traits I look at closely that I am trying to maintain or improve in the herd:  Milk, # Protein, PL, DPR, SCS, CE, UDC, FLC and Stature.  I try to have different sire stacks among the group of bulls we are using.”

Sires being used on the herd currently:  Troy, Stoic, Emerald, Speaker, Pure, El Bombero, SuperSire, Yoder, Jacey, Tango, Deductive. Current IVF mating sires:  Troy, Pure, Yoder, Silver, Delta, JoSuper, Desired, Powerball, AltaSpring. John takes a look further back in the breeding program. “A few of the bulls that have had a big impact on our herd pre-genomic era were Oman, Die Hard, Boliver, and Shottle to name a few.”


I like the fact that the breed is putting more emphasis on production in the TPI formula, but would prefer that some of the emphasis were taken away from PTAT rather than some of the health traits.  The main problem I have with PTAT is that I feel it is too heavily correlated with stature.  Stature is a trait that continues to increase at an increasing rate within the Holstein breed, and I think it is a must that we slow it down considerably.

“My concern is that too many of the top gTPI bulls right now are over 3 pts on stature and to me this is a red flag.” 

“I have always said that there is no right or wrong way to breed cows, but you need to have an end goal in mind.” 

Quite often you get the best understanding of what motivates a particular dairy breeder, by tuning in on the advice they give others.  John Andersen has a well-thought out guidance to share. “If you want to market bulls, heifers, or embryos, it is important to remember what the market is demanding.  My opinion is that the bull market is what drives the registered genetics market, and the producers that are purchasing the majority of the semen are driving the bull market.” Further emphasizing the need for keeping the end goal in mind, John refers to his passion for the show ring. “We like to show as a family”, so on occasion I will make a mating with the goal of making a show winner.  Some of those sires that I use with the show mating in mind are bulls that I would never use in my commercial herd.”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

“Technology has continued to advance at a rapid rate and it has changed the way we dairy and breed cattle.”  Having said that, John doesn’t feel that it is time for anyone to rest on their dairy laurels.  “We need to continue to help make improvements to the Holstein cow so that she is the cow that dairymen feel is the most profitable to milk.” Thank you John Andersen and congratulations to Double A Dairy and Triple Crown Genetics for the fine examples of doing exactly that!




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Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy

The Andersen Family of American Falls, Idaho knows what it means to focus on family generations. Thirty-five family members strong. Including twenty-five grandchildren, they have the perfect resources to build a dairy team. Currently that effort is headed by Dad Alan, who is the CEO and Mom Norma, the CFO. Son Greg manages Seagull Bay Dairy which is a 600 cow freestall operation with about 80 registered Holsteins while son Ben manages a 1500 cow commercial operation, Andersen Dairy, Inc. which supplies 1800 replacement heifers for both dairy operations.


GENERATING BUSINESS: Built on Generous Goals

With thirty years experience, Alan knows exactly what their success has been built on, “Our goal is to breed elite sires and females that will benefit other breeders and commercial dairymen as well as ourselves.” This strong focus on the people side of the business complements the cattle knowledge that is the foundation of Seagull Bay Dairy. “We like cows that excel in production of milk components (pounds of protein and fat), have quality mammary systems, and are low maintenance.” By each of these measures, the family business is topping the charts but, in the end, it always comes back to people, “We like to sell animals that can make a nice profit for their new owners and generate repeat business that will last for generations.”


Seagull Bay Dairy has had outstanding success.  Let’s look at Shauna, Daphne and Minnow who are three outstanding examples:




Alan starts the role-call of the generations with Ammon-Peachey Shauna who is a VG-87 Planet X VG-86 Shottle X VG-86 Oman X EX-92 Rudy Missy. Shauna is probably the top genomic bull mother in the breed right now with her top 6 sons averaging over 2450 gtpi and 3500 GLPI. Of five sons now released, she has two top 5 GTPI (Seagull-Bay Supersire & Seagull-Bay Headliner) and two top 5 GLPI (Seagull-Bay Sargent & Seagull-Bay Shaw). Her two snowman sons (Seagull-Bay Platinum & Seagull-Bay Diamond) 2512 GTPI & 3728 GLPI will be a year old this summer. Shauna has a total of 13 sons already accepted into AI with eight of them coming available later this year. Of course, this generates a ripple effect for Andersen’s dairy business, “Shauna and her daughters are undoubtedly our most sought-after females at this time. We have requests for embryos or sale consignments weekly.” Keeping up with demand is a great problem to have. “Shauna’s only Windbrook daughter (Seagull-Bay WNBRK Sunday) sells as Lot #1 in the Canadian National Convention Sale April 19th.” Looking ahead he reports, “Shauna’s oldest daughters will begin flushing in the next couple of months. We have daughters here from Shauna by Snowman, Robust, Plato and Gerard.”






Alan then moves on to another performer, Pine-Tree Sharla Daphne (VG-87 2yr). Daphne is also from the Rudy Missy’s and is the #1 GTPI Die-Hard of the breed. She boasts a sire stack of Die-Hard X DOM Shottle X VG-87 Outside X EX-92 Rudy Missy. For Alan her popularity is based on three things, “She offers a unique pedigree with nearly 3 PTAT points and is milking very well.”


THE MINNOW FAMILY: Big Momentum with Minnow

You might think these first two cows could justifiably explain why Seagull Bay is showing up more and more frequently on top dairy breeders’ radar. However, the growing generations of great cattle don’t stop there and Alan shares another notable success story. “We are proud to have developed the Minnow cow family here at Seagull Bay. Lynmead Celsius Minnow (EX 91) had a lifetime total of 255,000 lbs and produced 49,500 lbs as a 4 year old.” He goes on to explain the developing generations which is the Andersen family breeding goal. “Minnow has transmitted outstanding production and type through several generations of her offspring. We now have nine and ten generation VG & EX lines in the Minnow family. Since purchasing Minnow as a milking two year old in 1994 her offspring have consistently risen to the top at Seagull Bay and in several other herds through the years. Just a few highlights include her granddaughter Seagull-Bay Oman May EX-92 as one of Oman’s highest scoring daughters. Oman May is the dam of Seagull-Bay May Pauline, the (VG-86 EX MS) Planet that is the #11 NM cow of the breed.” These are excellent stats in everyone’s measure, but there are more to come. “Minnow’s daughter Seagull-Bay Manat Mirage is the dam of 1 EX and 19 VG daughters so far at Roorda Dairy in Iowa. From the December GTPI lists you could find Mirage and Minnow in 10 of the top 25 GTPI females of the breed. Six females were sired by Mirages grandson Robust while 4 heifers were from the #1 GTPI cow in December Roylane Shot Mindy (VG 85 Shottle X VG-86 Oman X EX Mirage X EX 91Minnow).” Great stats but, lest you think Minnow family members are only on the genomic charts, Alan adds these great numbers, “Mirage’s Oman son Seagull Bay Mano is the current #17 proven sire andMirage is the grand dam of Major (7HO9471) who is the #8 UDC bull of the breed. The currentU.S. cow lists show 3 Minnow family members in the top 50: Roylane Shot MIndy #3, Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror #11 (@ 7 years old), and Seagull-Bay May Pauline #43.” This family has got what it takes and buyers are happily demanding to be part of the success which Seagull Bay strives to meet. “From the Minnow family we have Roorda Observer Majic15272 (GTPI 2422) who is now being flushed. Also flushing are 2 daughters of T-C-G Shottle Minnow (VG-89 1st lactation and All-Idaho Sr. 2) Shottle X VG-87 Toystory X VG-87 Oman X EX Mirage X EX-91 Minnow) by Super (GTPI 2257) and Observer (GTPI 2203).”

Seagull-Bay Oman May EX-92

Seagull-Bay Oman May EX-92


YOUNG SIRE or PROVEN BULL? Know When the Time is Right Says Andersen

A recurring question among dairy breeders is whether to use young sires or proven bulls. “We use both young sires and proven bulls on our top cow families.” Says Alan Andersen. “If you look closely at Shauna’s offspring most all of them are sired by daughter proven bulls. Now that Shauna has increased in reliability with a great score and production record, we are more comfortable mating her with young sires. We use the young sires to accelerate the genetic progress while realizing there is risk as well as reward.” Timely decision making is working for Seagull Bay.

Proven Sires currently used at Seagull Bay Dairy: Planet, Man-O-Man

Young sires currently used at Seagull Bay Dairy: Supersire, Headliner, Sargeant, Shaw, Numero Uno, Mogul, Lithium, Mayfield, McKutcheon, Lexor, Punch


ANALYZING GENOMIC RISKS: Potential Genetic Progress vs. Potential Genetic Regret

In the same way that all breeding tools are scrutinized by the Seagull Bay team, genomics is carefully considered, “While we believe that the top group of genomic sires will be better than the current top group of proven sires, the obvious risk is that a chosen mating sire for our top females will turn out to be a disappointment. If a hot genomic bull falls out of favor when milking daughters enter his proof, then you have a hole in a previously solid pedigree.” The Andersen’s identify the possible impact of this risk but go on to say,” We continue to use genomic young sires as mating sires because we believe the potential genetic progress outweighs the potential failures. On a cow like Shauna, through IVF we are able to use several different young sires in order to lessen the risk involved if we were only using 2 or 3 different sires to breed the next generation of Shaunas.” Careful planning.


SIRE SELECTION: Pedigrees and Predicted Linears

The same care is taking in choosing sires. “Simply speaking, we use the highest bulls available that have pedigrees and predicted linears that match well with our donors. We also use bulls that have pedigrees that we are excited about. For example, we never used the Facebook bull because his dam is sired by Airraid. While Airraid sires great udders and great components, his stillbirth percent is so high that

we wouldn’t use him even though his TPI is extreme. We will also use the predicted linear of a young bull to protect a cow in an area that needs attention. Young bulls with strong maternal lines will also receive an advantage over bulls with similar indexes but less proven cow families. We used Robust on Shauna because we knew the cows behind him so well that it gave us confidence in him. So far it looks like a great decision and we are pleased to have two breed leading bulls (Supersire & Headliner) and two outstanding heifers (Miss America & Miss Universe) with Seagull Bay on both sides of the pedigree.”


GENOMIC PROGRESS: Seagull Bay Dairy is Flying Toward the Future

This family team is generous in sharing their experience with cattle breeders. Alan warns against following trends. “I wouldn’t advise breeders to change their breeding philosophy too much if what they are doing now is working and bringing them satisfaction. I foresee the genomic predictions continuing to improve. While I think the breed is benefiting from an increased rate of genetic progress with genomic predictions, I also appreciate breeding from strong maternal cow families with several generations of high producing VG & EX cows. The top young sires could have hundreds of daughters in their first crop proof so the production and type data from these daughters will help in the genomic predictions of all bulls. Top sires with outcross pedigrees will continue to be very important as well. As genetic progress accelerates with genomics so will the increase in the breed’s inbreeding percentages. If someone would like to try using genomic young sires then I would advise them to use several sires and try to match complementary pedigrees and linears. Remember that the reliabilities of genomic sires are better than just a parent average but are still well below daughter proven bulls with over 100 daughters. Certainly their proofs will change over time. We just don’t know how great of a change will occur.”



Mating the best available sires to the best available females will on average produce the elite of the next generation. We enjoy working with good cows and always strive to make the next generation better not only for ourselves but for the breeders we do business withAlan Andersen, Seagull Bay Dairy, Idaho.


To learn more about some of Seagull Bay’s top sires check out our analysis of the Top Genomic TPI sires, and the Top Genomic LPI sires.

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