Articles of interest to Breeders

***************

 

Wally Lindskoog article US Jersey Journal March 1990 Arlinda Holsteins

An article about one of the great Holstein breeders.

----------------------------------------

 

1942 Great bull contest 

A copy of the first Great bull contest. These bulls were the best of the best before WW2 in the Jersey breed.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Mister Jester Pinn  A  US Jersey bulls story from the 1950's.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Learning aAa in The Netherlands   An account of Tracey's start down the path of becoming New Zealand's first aAa accredited Analyser with her trip to the Netherlands.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Eight Belles The story of line breeding in the Race horse industry of the USA

 ---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Breeding the Jersey at Home
by T.F. Le Ruez

.World Jersey Cattle Bureau. Ninth International Conference held on the Island of Jersey from 13th to 21st May, 1979

 

 

First of all, let us remember that we live in a tiny Island, where land is scarce and its prosperity over the years has depended on intensive farming. Although often taking second place to the Jersey Potato, the Jersey Cow has adapted to this and was bred to produce a lot of milk with the minimum amount of food. Her true value is in producing the largest return per acre. She also has to be presentable and respond to our system of tethering or more modern-day methods.
In compiling this short paper, I feel that I have to look back to nearly a century, when serious consideration to breeding on the best bloodlines was already in practice. At that time Mr. J.P. Marett of St. Saviour was instrumental in breeding through a black cow named "Sultane", two animals which have had a tremendous influence on the breed, namely "Golden Lad" and "Oxford Lass".
The bull "Golden Lad", subsequently bought by my grandfather, Mr. Francis Le Brocq, stood for service at the farm where I now live, until he was exported to England. This bull dominated the scene for several years through his progeny and his blood came through the "Golden Ferns", "Nobles" and "Volunteers" and their descendants to this day. It has been said that practically every living cow or bull in Jersey is descended from him. The cow "Oxford Lass", bred by Mr. G.P. Perredes, was closely related to "Golden Lad" through her sire. She was foundress of the Oxford family, which was closely bred and developed through the years by the Mourant family, producing the great "Sybils Gamboge", who traced seven times out of a possible eight to the same animal "Oxford Lass".

This breeding was followed by the late Mr. E.C. Perredes, who bred "Sybil`s Successpr", "Lady Oxfordia", "Oxfordia Oxford Lad" and many other intensively line-bred animals until his death some twelve years ago. Several breeders on the Island have carried on these bloodlines with success, without losing the dairy qualities and stamina of this strain; although it must be said that periodically Mr. Perredes would seek an outcross bull, such as "Lord of the Isle", "Favourite Volunteer" and "Fountain Natalie`s Dazzler" to mention just three. The latter, bred to the intensively bred Oxford cow, "Munifordia`s Oxfordia 2nd" produced "Munifordia`s Oxfordia 4th", twice 2.000 gallon cow. This calculated risk proved successful, but unfortunately Mr. Perredes did not live to see the result. At the dispersal sale of his herd, it was my privilege to purchase the dam, carrying the calf "Munifordia`s Oxfordia 4th". If an outcross is made, the resultant progeny should be bred back to the old line.
"Oxford Lass" also played her part in the building up of the Design family. The late Mr. J.A. Perree, having purchased the cow "Oxford Triumph", a double grand-daughter of "Oxford Lass", bred her to "Golden Fern`s Noble" and she produced the three full brothers "Fern Oxford Noble 1st, 2nd and 3rd". The latter being the sire of "Design`s Fern Oxford". These lines have been developed in the eastern part of the Island by the late Mr. T. Renouf and others, and also by the late Mr. Anley  Richardson whose skill and devotion as a breeder, produced the "lynn`s", so ably carried on by his sons today. These, and many other breeders, which I could mention, had a flair for breeding or in other words, the "eye" for a cow, and bred to their own theory.
Let us remember that with a number of bulls available and disease-free herds, the breeder in Jersey has had, and still has, a distinct privilege of using the bull of his choice.

The late Mr. N.J. Perree, who developed the Day Dreams, practised very close breeding. He told me one day that even if he bred out, he always tried to breed to a bull, whose dam was by a Day Dream bull. As an example, by breeding "Day Dream 76" to "Browny`s Designer", whose dam was by "Dreaming Pioneer", he produced "Dreaming Victor", sire of "Itaska`s Fillpail Dream", (1.000 lb Fat cow) and many other top cows. The Design -Day Dream cross has been most satisfactory, and proven by many breeders including Mr. J.E. Gaudin, producing "Design Victorious Dreamer" and other noted animals.
I do not wish to dwell any longer on the past but I wanted to establish how line-breeding to good families has been the way to success both on TYPE and PRODUCTION. Invariably, the bulls or cows, which have stood out over the years, in many cases, are double grandsons or grand-daughters of some outstanding animal.
New strains have evolved through careful breeding; to mention just a few; the Natalies family was developed by the late Dr. Stapleton, whose ambition was to increase the butterfat content. Unfortunately he did not live to see the full success of his efforts, as shown in the recent successes in the herd of Mr. L.J. Rondel, who has produced three generations of 1.000 lb. butterfat cows, and also in my own herd. The Itaska Fillpails and the old-established Ceres bloodlines together with the introduction of "Brilliant of Oaklands has produced the present day "Dazzlers". These bloodlines blended with the "Louise" strain, which we have bred for over eighty years, produced the bull "Browny`s Louise Sparkler", so successfully used in Her Majesty the Queen`s Herd at Windsor, as well as many other note-worthy animals.
It is significant, that when good herds are dispersed, the strain often disappears unless some interested breeder takes them up and follows the owner`s line of breeding. Unfortunately, through not keeping up the family name when registering an animal, it`s identity can be lost, for example, the famous cow "Supreme Vedas Design" is a direct maternal descendant of the old "Willonyx" strain successfully bred by the Avrill family.
Experience has shown that the best animals are not necessarily out of Champions either for production or type, but from good cow families with no serious fault on either side of their pedigrees, and I may say that in personal  experience, the best breeding bulls that we have ever had, would never have sold on paper or perhaps would not even have been allowed to be  registered or qualified. They were kept because of the knowledge of their background. On such bull was "Ceres Royal" who was one of the first Medal of Merit bulls in Jersey. Another sired a heifer which gave 19.000 lb. of milk with her first calf and went on to produce 23.000 lb of milk in one year in South Africa.
At this point, I would say that any breeder who works with his cows, is the best judge of which bulls to keep and should be given every encouragement. He should be allowed to prove his theories and after all, he is the one to lose if he proves wrong.
Another theory not accepted by everyone but which is favoured by breeders on the Island, is to retain a bull from a first-calf heifer if she is good and has the proper background. The feeling is that she is more full-blooded and consequently will breed more true to type.It must be said that some of the good cows, from whom several bulls have been used, the first ones have been the best, although there are exceptions of good bulls coming from old cows, notably "Rush Fern Oxford Junior".

This brings me to the subject of present days methods of proving bulls on the contemporary comparison of their first calf daughters.
Are we attaching too much importance to this?
This cuts right across the concept of what breeders on the Island have been taught from an early age: Not to push heifers especially at calving and through their first lactation, to prevent undue stress on the udder in order to preserve them for a long life in the herd - particularly significant with more modern methods.
Some of the very best bulls have produced daughters which were rather slow to mature, perhaps rather disappointing with their first lactation but which blossomed out and became high producers later, keeping their udder attachments longer than those who matured quickly. As I look around, I see cows of eight to ten years of age giving fifty to sixty pounds of milk a day, still with wellattached udders, by bulls who were scrapped because they were minus on the results of their first-calf daughters.
Therefore I would like to see more follow-up on second and subsequent lactations before potentially good bulls are condemned. Surely a long, useful life in the herd is important together with such qualities as regular calving, ease of milking and an even temperament!
Two of the first cows to produce over 1.000 lb butterfat in Jersey, only produced 6.000 lb. of milk on their first lactation and yet one of them, "Itaska`s Fillpail Dream", which I have already referred to, gave 17.797 lb. milk and 1127 lb. butterfat in he eight lactation at the age of eleven. The other "Spring Louise" gave 17.540 lb. of milk and 966 lb. fat at ten years of age and in her next lactation at eleven, she went on  to produce 17.777 lb. milk at 5.8% and 1.027 lb. butterfat. Both these cows retained their udder attachments till their death.
If I may be allowed to quote the 1st Mr. Ben Cooper, speaking at a Dairy Conference in Wales in September 1977 as saying, "You must not delude yourselves that you will get an extra 100 gallons by using a plus 100 bull. It just does not happen like that! Cow families are much more important".
If this applies to Friesians, it surely applies to Jerseys!
With fewer breeders at the present day and more use of AI, it was felt that there was a danger of losing some of our bloodlines. I was not of this opinion. But any possible danger that there may have been, has been overcome by the joint support of the Department of Agriculture and the Breed Society, who have formed a Livestock Advisory Panel. With their help, semen from proven bulls is stored and also aid is given to proving promising young bulls. Thought is also being given to storing semen from bulls sold for export, if he buyer and seller are agreeable.
Most of the well-known strains are still in very good hands and old strains are being revived by some of the younger breeders and I feel that there is still quite a lot of genetic material which has not yet been tapped. There are still several herds on the Island, where no showing or even recording is done and within them are some very good animals of first-class breeding, which have not been exploited. Remember "Brampton Basilua" came from such a herd in Jersey, many years ago.

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen, we shall be seeking the same answers at the next Conference, still realising that two and two still do not always make four.
Of one thing, I feel confident, however, and that is that whatever is required of the Jersey cow in the future, she will adapt to it nad will never let us down if we ae loyal to her and treat her right!.

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

aAa Farmers Club Meeting Ė

November 26, 2011, Swifterbant, the Netherlands

Bill Weeks, the father of aAa, grew up in Vermont about 1,000 miles east of Illinois. But he started his cattle analysis in Northern Illinois in 1950. While doing analysis, he also assisted a wealthy inventor Mr. Roy Champagne select foundation for his Chambric herd. He later, in 1957, became herd manager at Chambric while still doing analysis. So for about 10 years I lived in the same general area as Bill and through Holstein activities I had quite regular contact with him.

I feel very privileged to have known Bill Weeks since 1956 and also to know most of his associates in America. When I first met him I was a new employee of about 3 weeks at Ravenglen Farm. I like to kid that I was the man in charge because I was in charge of throwing down silage, sweeping the barn floors, cleaning out gutters and box pens. In other words I was new there and low man on the crew.

Bill Weeks came to analyze and I was sure curious to know what this was all about. I was allowed to shirk some of my chores to watch. I didnít really grasp how uncommon Bill was until the 64 cows were analyzed and we went into the calf barn to look at calves. At that time Ravenglen was using mainly 3 bulls. The manager Earl Moeller (who later in life became an aAa analyzer) would tell Bill the sire of a calf and Bill would tell us the dam or we would name the dam and he would pick the sire. We did 15 calves like this and he was correct on 12. The other 3 he said he could not identify the dam when he was told the sire but he never made one mistake. I thought he must be a witch doctor but I have witnessed similar things so many times since that I just came to expect it from Bill. Since that time I have never missed a chance to learn from this brilliant cowman. One man said to me, "Bill has forgotten more than most of us will ever know about cows." I said you are sure wrong about that because I donít think Bill ever forgot anything.

My breeding goal at Mil-R-Mor has been the same for 50 years. We try to breed cows that will classify Excellent and produce 200,000 lbs. of 4% milk because we believe that kind of a cow is a "labor efficient, profitable cow." If you think about it that is exactly what aAa is trying to do. "Breed a labor efficient, profitable cow." That makes aAa one of the most useful tools available to me to reach my goal. However, I have to admit, I have never had my herd analyzed by an official aAa analyzer. People ask me often, "Why donít you use aAa?" My answer is I use it every day and every time I make a mating. Now that I am 78 years old I think I may start having my herd officially analyzed because I find I am getting lazier and I donít spend nearly enough time mating my cows.

We have found at Mil-R-Mor that cattle resulting from careful matings will routinely exceed their predicted pedigree index level. This tells me index may be useful but a correct mating is more useful. I have never had any training as an analyzer but I think I understand it well enough that I have had excellent results at home. But I would never feel qualified to do any other cattle.

When I was asked to speak to this group my first thoughts were to talk about the value of sound matings. Then it occurred to me I would be talking to a group of aAa supporters and users who are already mating experts and for me to tell them how to do it would be like the student instructing the teacher. So today I will confine most of my talk to the direction I think dairy cows should move and some ways to do it. But before I get to that I will briefly comment on my mating philosophy. Good type and will to milk are both essential but type is  most important. It is easy to breed will to milk into a frail cow with bad legs and a deep udder but she wonít survive long enough to harvest much return. The cow we need to breed is the regular calving, high producing mature cow. Thatís hard work and we must develop a cow suited to do it efficiently. Thatís a balanced cow, a free-moving, aggressive, athletic cow that has the strength and agility to cope with her surroundings without stress or injury.

It is important to analyze each individual and make matings that keep them moving in the direction we want. I find studying any previous offspring helps to fine-tune the mating. Some cows will routinely transmit things you canít see in the cow herself but if you study the pedigree you can usually see where it comes from and correct for it.

Today I will often be referring to the added profit from a regular calving, good producing mature cow. Of course I realize that all of you good cowmen know why she is so much more profitable but I want to document it one more time.

I have calculated income for a hypothetical cow that calves at two years, produces 25,000 pounds of milk, and follows the normal ME curve through five annual lactations. The chart below shows the profit at each birthday starting at 3 years when she has completed her first lactation. I have used my current approximate prices. I say approximate because feed and milk prices jump around so fast one can never nail down an exact figure.

1. Cost to produce milk $16/cwt (Ä25/100kg)

2. Milk price $22/cwt (Ä35/100kg)

3. Cost to raise a replacement heifer $1800 (Ä1300)

Age Production in the previous year (lbs) Gross Value(USD) Net value less cost of production (USD) Days since birth Total net income since birth Net income/day of life Annual net income/year of life since birth
3 25000 5500 1500 1095 1500 1.37 500
4 26700 5874 1602 1460 3102 2.12 776
5 28475 6265 1709 1825 4811 2.64 962
6 30148 6633 1809 2190 6620 3.02 1103
7 29940 6587 1796 2555 8416 3.29 1202

 

When this chart is continued to ten lactations, the net income per day of life continues to increase each lactation. This is one of those rare things where a little is good and a lot more is a lot better. Stop at whatever point you wish and it is better than any previous point. Below is a chart that features the real value of multi-lactation cows. It shows production income less $1,800 rearing costs. Total Net Income Each Previous Lactation Total net income less $1800 rearing costs
3 years 1,500 -300
4 years 1,602 1,302
5 years 1,709 1,709
6 years 1,809 1,809
7 years 1,796 1,796

 

fIgures from the above chart shows that if you milked 100 1st and 2nd lactation cows your annual net profit would be $50,100. If you milked 100 3rd, 4th, and 5th lactation cows, your annual net profit would be $177,100. Thatís $127,000 more net profit per year or $1,270 more net profit per cow. Thatís nearly $10,600 more net income per month. I hope this chart has established the tremendous advantage of a 5 or more lactation cow over a two-lactation cow.

When we mate our cows the goal is almost always to produce a calf that will develop into a high-producing, regular calving mature cow.

If we donít select that kind of a cow today for our foundation female, bull mother, and ET donor, can we reasonably expect to produce that kind of profitable cow tomorrow?

Genomics is the current buzz-word in the dairy world. It is an amazing technology and I believe we should all take full advantage of it. But perhaps just as important we should not let genomics take advantage of us. Genomics is a wonderful new tool, but it is a tool and not the finished product. We should not get so excited that we let genomic numbers determine the absolute value of our cattle. That can only be accurately determined after actual performance. We of course should use genomics among other tools to help us breed the high-profit cow.

It is a regrettable detriment to our breed that once again, sharp marketers have successfully transferred the value of cattle from the actual proven high-performance animals to the high predicted index. This encourages marketers to just mate high-index sires with high-index females regardless of the balance or correctness of the mating. These kinds of matings will of course produce high-index offspring that currently can be sold very profitably while young and untested, but in most cases they will not perform at their high predicted level because of some weakness not considered in the mating choice.

If you question this last line, just try to name the very top performance mature cows or bulls in the last three decades that descend from the very top index matings of their day. I think you will have a headache before you get to ten. If we are paying attention to results, this surely tells us that just adding the numbers doesnít make the best cows.

Does that make indexes and genomics bad? Of course not! Indexes and genomics are probably the two best breeding tools we have had since production testing and classification. But none of those tools are a finished product; they are only tools to help us make a better finished product. These tools are all wonderful building material but neither one of them individually nor are all of them together the finished product. Putting the most value on the tools and not the finished product is not the most productive way to improve the breed.

For the good of the breed and the breeders, I think we must try to steer the industry to get the most value on the best finished product, the actual high performance animals. If the value is only determined by the performance of the resulting offspring, then this will encourage thoughtful, intelligent matings that build a better and better breed. This challenges and encourages breeders to use all the programs (including genomics) as well as their own experience to breed a high performance animal that will be valued by her proven merit and not just a prediction. When the best actual performance animals in the breed donít have higher value than the predicted high performance animal, then that is the same as choosing the winner before the race begins, which gives less incentive to try.

"Mendelís Law" states that like begets like three times out of four. Mendel proved that many years ago and it remains true today.

Thatís where extended pedigrees enter the picture. They can tell us what the ancestors were like and what the offspring from that pedigree may be like three times out of four. Breed associations have existed for many years because their very useful main purpose is to provide breeders with complete, unbiased records that allow us to make informed breeding decisions. We should make full use of pedigrees.

When I was a kid, a pedigree was our only selection tool and A.I. was not available. The good breeders all had the same common sense selection criteria for bull mothers. The 3 nearest dams should all have 4 or more records that increased each year. This showed calving interval and if records increased each year that showed they were trouble free, healthy cows. Care was always taken to select a bull that had strengths to compliment the most common weakness in the herd. Without A.I. it was impossible to mate each cow. So it was kind of like aAa on a herd basis rather than individual.

A quick look at a complete extended pedigree tells most of what we need to know to make a good decision. It tells wear-ability and reproductive level by the number of lactations and calving intervals. It tells producing ability, component levels, and type traits. If the lactations are uniform and increase the expected ME amount the cows were very likely healthy, trouble-free cows and one can reasonably expect them to transmit that.

We know using extended pedigrees works well so I am not willing yet to throw away what we have learned so far. If the pedigree contains the regular calving, high producing mature cows, I want more just like, and the genomics look good (and I can see why the genomics look good) then I have faith I will get good results. If the genomics look good but the pedigree is lacking proven performance or has questionable performance, I treat it as suspect and put it on the wait and see list.

I am not saying the genomics is wrong, but if the pedigree doesnít contain the kind of cows I want I donít yet see reason to believe high genomic numbers will fix that.

Remember Mendelís law. Three times out of four you will likely get the average of the pedigree but one time may be different. Hereís where genomics can really help. It can hopefully tell whether the animal is better or worse than the average of the pedigree and perhaps even how much better or worse. It is just as important to know the worst as it is the best one. If you are lucky this 4th one will be better than average. If you are very, very lucky the 4th one may have inherited an unusually high percent of the best genes from the pedigree and the animal will perform even better than the pedigree indicates.

Time will tell if in fact genomics can sort that great one from the masses. I really do think the potential may be there to do it because genomics looks at what genes the animal actually inherited versus pedigree index which could only tell what genes the animal may inherit on average. Genomic indexes are so much more comprehensive than pedigree index and much more individualized.

In the past with a large group of animals, pedigree index predicted the average fairly close but it could not identify that individual outlier. We all hope genomics will be able to do that but it is not a proven fact yet.

So what do we do right now?

My plan is to be cautious. I will continue to select the pedigrees I want first and then fine-tune that with genomics.

As breeders we must keep our eye on the goal and thatís hard to do because there are so many distractions along the way. It is important to remember that the goal is still a regular-calving, high-producing mature cow. Although almost all breeders agree on that goal, incomplete genetic rankings, current fads, and the forces of marketing constantly bend our thinking which causes us to often compromise our daily choices of sires and foundation females.

I donít want to be accused of putting down the value of genomics. I really believe it will likely prove to be the most useful tool ever devised to assist us to breed better cattle. But it is a tool to help us get enhanced performance and the proven performance animal is the real goal that the value should be on and not the prediction. The genomic index is wonderful but how our industry is using it right now is shameful.

Most of you older folks will remember the index mania of the 70ís and 80ís. The race for high production index was so intense that all else was forsaken. Two year old production did go up, but reproduction, mobility, longevity, lifetime profitability, and immune systems all went backwards fast. The sale value of our cattle was mainly determined by index and genetic trends. Folks always had to get the newest. The real profitable cows like everybodyís favorite, the grand old EX 10-year old with over 200,000 lbs. milk lifetime was considered a genetic fossil and sold by the pound.

Ladies and gentlemen! Will history repeat itself in only two decades? High genomic indexes sell crazy high, while good, solid pedigrees full of multiple lactation cows with high type (the kind everyone is trying to breed for) sell for a fraction of the young, unproven but high-genomic animals.

Letís not fall into the same trap we did in the 70ís and 80ís. Slow down and do it right. Use the tools to breed the great cows. Give them time to prove themselves and then select the best for foundation mothers. Racing for the newest, unproven animal is about like playing the lottery, once in a while there is a winner but oh so many losers.

Although I am obviously concerned about the current animal value being too weighted toward genomic level, I donít foresee the breed deterioration that happened in the 70ís and 80ís. Today our indexes are so much broader-based. Current indexes have added productive life, somatic cell score, daughter pregnancy rate, daughter calving ease, daughter stillbirth and mobility. Indexes are now calculated with "the animal model" which considers all closely-related family members such as dam, sire, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons.

All of these above measures have been implemented since the very late 80ís. They should prevent any present-day serious trait deterioration in the breed, and congratulations to our geneticists for seeing the light and fixing that.

The down side will come from much-lowered value on cows with pedigrees full of high-profit mature cows with moderate genomics. This lowers good breedersí net worth drastically. If there is none or small reward for breeding high-profit mature cows, breeders may forsake that endeavor and this would be a lasting detriment to breed progress.

Although present-day genomics is not yet a solidly proven technology we certainly know enough already to realize the future contribution from genomics could be absolutely profound. The possibility is there to select for so many traits that benefit breeders like the absence or presence of disease-prone genes, production, component levels, type traits, fertility traits, etc. I take my hat off to the researchers who have and are continuing to develop this astounding technology. Genomics can be revolutionary and it is here to stay. Fighting it is short-sighted. We should direct its use to help us and not hurt us in our efforts to make more profit from dairy cows.

Because we have this technology available, and because I sincerely believe that a regular calving, good producing mature cow is absolutely the most profitable cow. I have asked the Holstein Association USA to consider developing a genomic base for that kind of cow. I say why not go directly for the real thing. Following are my suggestions of how to proceed and why:

Establishing a Genomic Base for a Profitable Mature Cow

1. Have statisticians establish the probable number of cows needed to establish a genomic base for 6 or more lactation cows with good production.

2. Sort the breed for 6 or more lactation cows

3. From the above group sort for calving interval for first six lactations. Also sort for pounds of milk or CFP per day of life since birth for first six lactations.

4. Sort the above list to reach the number needed to establish a genomic base from the best combination of calving interval and pounds of production per day of life.

5. If there are a large number of top-end cows available, further sorts could be made

a. For second-generation 6 lactation cows.

b. For highest lifetime production.

6. When the final list is established, the Holstein Association should fund a genomic research test on each cow to establish a genomic base for high-profit mature cows.

7. When a base has been established, the Holstein Association could then make a report available to each research cow owner for a fee if the owner desires. This could help fund some of the research.

Why?

1. Selecting for a six or more lactation cow is an attempt to raise reproductive efficiency and profitability in the breed and hopefully to identify a population of the breed that is very profitable but is being missed by our current measures.

2. It seems reasonable to believe that multi-lactation cows have better immune systems. That fact allows them to have fewer health problems. This in turn means less veterinary expense and longer, more trouble-free life.

3. Multi-lactation cows can only have multi lactations if they breed regularly. This brings savings on semen costs, heat detection, estrous synchronization or heat initiating programs, less handling of cows and shorter days open.

4. Mature cows produce more milk than first or second lactation cows.

5. First lactation cows are basically a net zero profit producer in the herd. When all costs are calculated for a first lactation heifer, she will have to produce very well with a good milk price if she can break even with her raising costs plus lactation production costs. Add together the heifer sale value at birth, feed, bedding, and facilities, veterinary, insurance, interest, death losses, and labor, plus lactation costs and you are lucky to break even by the date of her second calving. That means the higher the percent of first lactation cows in your herd, the lower the percent of cows actually making a profit. A great reason to select for high-profit, multi-lactation cows.

6. To sort for profitable production, it is a must to calculate pounds of milk per day of life since birth and not from two years old. Calculating from two years old does nothing to identify the profitable, regular calving cow because a two year old that produces one lactation of 25,000 lbs. of milk will have the same pounds per day since two years as a cow that does it 6 or more times. If calculated from birth, a 25,000-lb. two year old will have about 23 pounds per day of life and a six-lactation cow that averages 25,000 lbs. per year will average over 51 lbs. per day, which is a major profit advantage.

Do not let this program interfere with any current genetic programs. We should not throw away anything we have learned so far. It is important to keep this list separate from our current genetic lists at least until we can see how it may fit. It is not my intent that this list should replace anything we use now. Instead, it will give breeders another tool to help identify a more profitable mature cow.

The goal for over 100 years has been and continues to be to breed future generations of cows that are progressively more profitable for commercial milk production than the cows we have today. If breeders donít succeed at that, the genetics we have for sale will not benefit the potential buyer and that market will evaporate.

We are all well-aware that the most profitable cow is a high producer that calves regularly and stays useful to an old age. But there are so many distractions that look easier and faster. There are so few AI bulls with those great old, high-profit dams to choose from that it is really difficult to remain focused on the goal.

Letís just think about it. The kind of cow we milk and sell tomorrow will be largely determined by the ancestors we chose for her today. Are we choosing the most profitable cows as bull mothers and ET donors, or are we letting fads and marketing impede us in our efforts to breed that more profitable cow?

Remember "Mendelís Law"! Are the nearest three dams of the bulls and foundation females the kind we want more just like? When AI bulls get their first proof, their dam is usually at least seven years old. Are we usually shown a nice new picture of that dam with documentation of her calving and production records? Almost never! Is that because she did not develop into a fine mature cow? Are we then asked to buy semen on a prediction that the bullís daughters will be different than his dam? Folks, it is time to get real and measure results, not predictions.

Our past index selected for young cows with high production and good udders. Wow, did it ever work well for udders and early life production! The production and udders of our young cows today are giant leaps ahead of those when indexing started. What a real pity we did not also think to include reproduction and wear-ability so good udders and production would translate into lifetime profit. Index worked so well for early life production and udders, just think where our breed might be today if we had set up indexes for reproduction and wear-ability from the very start.

We hear arguments that selecting for many traits slows improvement for the most important ones. But what are the most important traits? The high-producing two-year-old with the nice udder that doesnít breed on time or wears out at a young age will create a high index for her sire but only mediocre profit for her owner. Page 8 of 8

High per day of life income from birth is what the ownerís needs and wants but doesnít get from short-lived cows. The high index on the cowís sire doesnít make a cent for the dairyman.

Well what should we do? I believe we should do something that probably isnít ever going to happen. We should be selecting our AI bulls from the highest genomic index cows with five lactations or more. By that time, our available information is so much more accurate and we are actually starting with what we want: a top-producing, regular calving mature cow. She is the real thing with proven performance and genomic index.

Oh my! Oh my! We can hear the screams from geneticists that we are giving up so much genetic trend. But folks, that reasoning is simply short-sighted baloney. This is 2011 and five years ago was 2006. You know what, our genetics in 2006 were not so bad and we would only lose 5 years of genetic trend this once and never again. We would then move ahead each year just like we do now. Consider the tremendous gain from more accurate selections because of higher reliability. In a short time, every bull dam in the pedigree will be a high producing, mature cow. That has to concentrate these kinds of genetics favorably throughout the industry.

Folks! Think about it. After five lactations and with good genomics, the cow has proven she can do it and her genomics say she has the right genes to pass it on. It looks to me like a blueprint for success, to improving fertility, health, production and lifetime profit.

The correct goal for the highest daily profit, yearly profit or lifetime profit cow is not the high-yielding cow with shorter useful life. The cow that really rings the cash register and delivers the best number to the bottom line is the cow that develops into a high performance mature cow with type that allows her to be usable for years.

If we donít select that kind of cow today for our foundation female, bull mother and ET donor, can we reasonably expect to produce that kind of profitable cow for tomorrow?

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Old line breeding article.

 

Folks,

I agree that linebreeding is definitely not a high risk venture.

It's pretty darn hard to get an dangerously inbred animal using SIRE side linebreeding.

As I said yesterday when I needed an example, I used over 40 different Rosafe Citation R sons over a long period of time.
Citation R was a son of ABC Reflection Sovereign.

In one particular case, we started with a own Citation R daughter and bred her to a Citation R son. The resulting calf was 50% Citation R...or the SAME AS an actual Citation R daughter.

We followed this with seven consecutive generations sired by own sons of Citation R. So that for eight generations, the sire was a Citation R son.

Why did I do it? It did it because I had the resources, and the capability, and no one could stop me. I did it because I could.

To the unthinking, this may seem like extreme inbreeding...but it wasn't!

All along the 8 generations, the percent of genetics from Rosafe Citation R remained the same as an own daughter of Citation
R....exactly 50%. If you doubt this, just draw it out on a blank pedigree form.

Most of those 8 generations scored high Very Good or Excellent. They definitely did not deteriorate toward the end. They got better every round. And guess what? They looked exactly like own daughters of Rosafe Citation R.

We linebred our herd for decades to bulls as near as I could get to ABC Reflection Sovereign. (ABC was the sire of Rosafe Citation R).

I suppose there is the possibility that my linebreeding wouldn't work without ABC Reflection Sovereign. But he did exist and would have made any breeder look like a genius. But if he hadn't, there would have been another.

Anyway, that linebreeding worked great.

I had a fabulous run, that produced over 100 homebred Excellent cows (with over 75 more bought in and developed). This great run included homebred cows scored up to Ex-96, homebred winners at the National show (Waterloo and Madison), 30,000# and 40,000# producers, high priced consignments to National shows, and uncountable high-priced exports sold to most countries. There was both fortune and glory.

During all this great run, I never paid more than a passing interest to progeny tests, or PD (predicted difference). I did it MY way, ALL the way, and never once selected a sire based on milk production. It was all done based on type. I never thought about milk. In fact, I felt pity for the people struggling to wrench milk out of ugly cows. When I was younger, I thought what they were doing was meaningless.

Yet we got great milk production. Far better than any other big herd around Ohio at the time. At one point it was over 24,000 rha on almost 300 herd. We just kept our eyes on the ball, and tried to keep putting together pedigrees with ABC Reflection Sovereign in there as often as possible.

It would be very hard to convince me that linebreeding is a questionable practice. I know it works. I'm not talking theory. I
lived my life immersed in it. It worked great here and it works especially well in Canada.

To explain why I settled on ABC Reflection Sovereign to linebreed:

I was at the Chicago International as a small boy in the mid 1950s, and saw the Rosafe Farms easily dominate the best show cows in the world with ABC Reflection Sovereign's daughters. They had 4 All-American Get's in those years, which included many individual All-Americans.

A few years later, when I was about 10 years old, I was along with my Dad, and the NOBA (Northern Ohio Breeding Organization) young sire committee, to try and buy an ABC Reflection Sovereign son from Rosafe Farms at Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

While there, I got up close and personal to the best cows in the world at that time. Those "best cows in the world" were the ABC daughters: Kit, Kay, Mildred and many others. Nettie, the dam of Citation R was there.

That trip failed to secure an ABC son for NOBA, but we did come home with a gnarled, misshapen bull calf from the best daughter of ABC, who was ABC Shamrock Mildred (All-American Aged Cow 1954). He was the best we could get with not much money.

In those days, the world was wearing a path to Rosafe Farms. A large percentage of the greatest Holstein breeders in the world, and many bull stud committees had already passed on this ugly little guy, but we bought him, mostly because he was a ugly calf from a great cow! I argued strongly in his favor. I felt he would sire show cows.

This gnarled and crippled misfit bull calf was Rosafe Caliban who was to be one of the greatest breeding bulls of all in NOBA territory. If you know your Shakespeare, then you can imagine this calf. He was worse than ugly but he bred great and true.

I never doubted him a day in the 10+ years he lived at NOBA, and I would still be breeding to him if there was any semen left.

Only one time in my life did I ever go into the show ring, knowing for certain, that not a judge in the world, could turn down my cow for Grand Champion. That time, I was leading a 4 yr old Caliban daughter, who was my elegant tall white cow, Owen Caliban Trena Ex-93.

Another (possibly illogical) factor in my selecting ABC to linebred was a heifer I had when I was 12 years old. She and I came within a eyelash of winning the the National Show. (Not 4-H...this was the open show, the big time!) She was a homebred daughter of Rosafe Magacian, who was another ABC son and also an older full brother to Rosafe Citation R.

Later this same individual, my heifer, won in the big time (Waterloo, Chicago, and the Royal Winter Fair) as a two year old and was the anchor of Rosafe Magician's All-American get of sire in 1964. I sold her to a wealthy breed patron for enough money to pay for four years of college and a new Oldsmobile.

My Excellent-96 Owen Marquis Wanda, winner at the World Dairy Expo at Madison, Wis, was by yet another ABC son, Romandale Reflection Marquis.

Anybody who ever visited Rosafe in the 1950's or Romandale a little later, or had some of my other ABC Reflection Sovereign experiences would never doubt the wisdom on linebreeding.
- --

Kindest regards,

========================
F. W. Owen
Owenlea Holsteins
9430 Spencer Road
Homerville, Ohio 44235
e-mail fwo@bright.net
home page http://www.bright.net/~fwo
voice & fax 330.625.2369
========================

 

GLENBROOK HOME page