Wisconsin Holstein Association Wisconsin Holstein

Wisconsin Holstein Breeder Profiles

June 2012

Lyn-Vale HolsteinsWindleway Holsteins

Dave and Dawn Windle Family , Withee

Tucked in the woods of Taylor County is the home of Dave and Dawn Windle who own and operate Windleway and Coppertop Holsteins located outside of Withee, Wis. Dave and Dawn operate the farm with their son Craig and his wife Jessie and daughter Kaya. Dave and Dawn have two other children, Jessie who works for the U.S. Postal Service and Kyle who has a woodworking business.

The Windles’ journey begins in Pennsylvania where Dave and Dawn grew up. Dave’s father raised replacement heifers and when the price of heifers dropped Dave decided to start milking cows at age 16. Dave always knew he wanted to farm in some way and when the opportunity to milk his own cows appeared he took advantage of it. Although the herd started with mostly grade cows they slowly added registered cows to the herd including Dunwood Pride Bubaleah who would become one of the foundation cows for the herd.

In 1991, Dave and Dawn decided to move from Pennsylvania because of the expansion of nearby towns and the rising cost of land. They wanted to relocate to a place where land was cheaper and there was less traffic and people. Initially, they were looking at either New York or Wisconsin, but couldn’t find many farms they liked in New York. After looking in the real estate section in the Lancaster Farmer magazine they found a secluded dairy farm near Withee, Wis. that fit their needs. A few years after moving in they were able to build their dream log cabin home on the farm.

Today, the farm is 555 acres, with about 285 tillable acres. They plant corn, soybeans, in addition to alfalfa and grass for hay. They are able to grow all their own feed and sell some surplus as well.  They feed a TMR which includes corn silage, haylage, dry corn, and a grain mix. The Windles plant and harvest all their own crops with Craig handling a majority of the fieldwork. 

The original tie-stall barn houses the 47 milking cows. The current BAA is 105.9 percent and the rolling herd average is 24,841 pounds of milk, 932 pounds of fat at 3.9 percent, and 750 pounds of protein at 3.1 percent. They regularly maintain a SCC under 100,000. For the last 30 years the herd has been 100 percent Registered. They have been a Progressive Breeder’s Registry Herd for the past nine years and a Progressive Genetics Herd for the past 12. The tie-stall has mattresses that are bedded with sawdust. The barn is tunnel ventilated for cow comfort and the cows are let out of the barn for exercise every day. Calves are raised in calf hutches and weaned at six weeks old.

The Windles breed for functional cows with a focus on longevity. They want cows that produce high components and milk well. They also use some high-type sires and always use bulls that are over 2.0 on udder composite. Right now the herd is composed of a variety of animals; those that do well in the show ring, high genomic females, and high production cows therefore they use a variety of sires including Snowman, Numero Uno, Absolute, and Barbwire. In the heifer shed you’ll find animals sired by Jives, O-Style, Levi, Destry, Sid, Fever, Aftershock and Million.

Windleway Granger DoveCurrently, Windleway Granger Dove VG-87 GMD is the matriarch of the most influential cow family at the farm. Descended from one of the original Registered Holsteins in the herd, Dunwood Pride Bubaleah, she has laid the foundation for Craig’s Coppertop prefix. Several years ago, Craig won a calf through the Taylor County Holstein Association and his sister traded her heifer Dove for Craig’s new calf because the new calf looked like a fancier show calf. Little did anyone know that Dove would eventually be contracted for a Shottle son named Coppertop Doberman-ET. Available from ABS Global, Doberman is a top 100 TPI bull known for high components and quality udders.

Two of Doberman’s maternal sisters sired by Mascol, Coppertop Mascal Dani-ET VG-86 and Coppertop Mascol Dodie-ET VG-87, are also making an impact. Dani has several high genomic females sired by Snowman and O-Style. Dodie also has high genomic females in the herd by Active and is contracted for sons by Levi and O-Style.

Windleway Delit Montana-RedAnother interest at Windleway is Red and White Holsteins. Their first red cow was Windleway Delit Montana-Red EX-91 2E who was named Supreme Champion at the Taylor County Fair in 2004. Her daughters by Paradox, September Storm, and Persia have continued to provide Red and White family members.

In addition to breeding high quality cows, the Windles enjoy purchasing animals from strong cow families. They look for deep pedigreed individuals with great production traits and components.

One of those purchases was Del-Hollow Ritzy-Red-ET VG-87, a Glen Drummond Dragon-ET daughter. Ritzy’s daughter, Windleway Advent Reece-Red VG-88 has several daughters that were merchandised.

Any-Day Gibson Profit EX-90 is one of Craig’s purchases. Her Talent daughter,  Coppertop Talent Patti-ET EX 92-has daughters by Mr Burns, Shaquille, and Redman. Windleway Shaquile Panda-ET (a Shaquille granddaughter of Patti) is currently milking 113 pounds per day as a 2-year-old and is testing 4.5 percent fat.

Langs-Twin-B Elite Fudge-ETAnother investment was Langs-Twin-B Elite Fudge-ET EX-90, a Durham daughter of Krull Outside Elite EX-90. The Windles are looking forward to developing this branch of the Elegance family. They also purchased Indianhead Golden Star a Goldwyn daughter of Indianhead Stardancer-ET. Golden Star has daughters by Aftershock, Sid, Million, and Sanchez on the ground. 

Superior cow management skills and embryo transfer work allow the Windles to merchandise several females each year in the Barron, Vernon, and Marathon County Holstein sales. They generally sell young two-year-olds as well as a few first choices. Their goal is to sell good, sound young cows that will eventually classify Very Good for their new owners.

The Windles enjoy exhibiting their animals at several local fairs throughout the year including the Taylor County Fair, Clark County Fair, District 4 Holstein Show, and occasionally the Central Wisconsin State Fair. While at shows they look for potential sires to use in their herd. More recently they have been interested in high-type bulls that fit their current breeding philosophy.

The Windles have never regretted moving to Wisconsin and love the area and the people. Before making the move they were not very involved in merchandising, showing, and other parts of the Registered Holsteins business. Once moving, they formed friendships and met people that encouraged them to take advantages of the opportunities Registered Holsteins offer. Dawn’s close friend Annie Hulle of Any-Day Holsteins has served as the go-to person whenever they have had questions about flushing, advertising and merchandising. 

Besides farming, the Windles remain involved in a variety of agricultural organizations. Dave and Dawn are past winners of the Young Farm Family of Taylor County Award and Dawn received the Honorary Chapter Award for Gilman FFA a few years ago. They also enjoy deer hunting, especially Craig. In 2010 Craig shot the largest buck in Taylor County and one of the largest bucks in Wisconsin. Although they have no plans for expansion they hope to continue to develop high-quality individuals.

Danielle Brown , Freelance Writer