Paul Meyer, Westgen Sales & Marketing Manager
Rosy-Lane Holsteins LLC in Watertown, Wisconsin, USA was all about health traits long before most people talked about selecting for healthier cows. And, while the US was focusing on TPI (jokingly referred to by Lloyd in those days as being synonymous with tall, pretty and infertile cows) as the way to improve longevity, Lloyd and Daphne Holterman began blazing their own trail, breeding cows that worked for them, and keying in on a brand new genetic trait called Productive Life (PL) and shortly thereafter, Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR).
After all, says Lloyd, “You need to select directly for the traits that make cows last,” as opposed to indirectly via type traits. Becoming a NM$ enthusiast, Lloyd’s pursuit of profitable cows was based on using his own on-farm data to guide selection decisions. Today, most of the rest of the world has caught up to this philosophy and the importance of health traits within a breeding goal. Still, with a big head start, clearly it is immensely satisfying for Lloyd to have AI companies and individual breeders interested in top ranked genomic animals from his herd.
It was 1992 when Lloyd first opted for the road less travelled; that proverbial fork in the road. For many years he continued to work within his own breeding program, selecting the types of bulls that worked for him. With bulls like Manfred, Oman, Lynch and Ramos, he blazed his own trail. Increasingly, this led to disappointment during classification visits where his kind of cows, the kind that worked best at Rosy-Lane, were often not appreciated. However, the health traits he focused on steadily improved. This selection philosophy, along with his diligent focus on management, netted enviable results. With death losses now typically in the 3% range, a culling rate hovering around 20% and somatic cell counts averaging just over 100,000 on his 1,000 ... Read More...