Wisconsin Holstein Association Wisconsin Holstein

State Picnic

2014 Wisconsin Holstein State Picnic

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Budjon Farms and St. Jacobs ABC, Lomira

Budjon Farms

Not even a downpour could put a damper on a fantastic picnic day, hosted by Budjon Farms and St. Jacobs ABC. Over 400 guests had the opportunity to view the breathtaking new facilities recently completed in Lomira to accommodate the growing boarding business.

A busy weekend at the farm kicked off on Thursday, July 24, with the start of the St. Jacobs daughter display and Budjon Open House Tag Sale. The daughter display and sale continued through the weekend. On Sunday morning, guests had the opportunity to attend “Breakfast with Tim.” Owner of St. Jacobs ABC, Tim Abbott was excited to share the story and focus of St. Jacobs ABC – genetics selected to focus on developing dairy cattle with outstanding type traits for function and the tanbark.

The picnic started at 11:00 a.m., when guests were invited to enjoy a delicious lunch and partake in the judging contest. Attendees had the chance to take in a one-of-a-kind facility and admire the cows that have graced the colored shavings. Cows that were on display and call Budjon Boarding home for the summer include Robrook Goldwyn Cameron, Rocky Mountain Sanchez Finesse, and popular AI contract cow Seagull-Bay Miss America. There is no denying the quality of animals bred and housed at Budjon, from the genomic prospects in the hutches to the milking cows standing in the barn.

The program for the afternoon was led by board members Matt Lippert and Kevin Jorgensen. Matt welcomed the crowd, and Kevin introduced the Cull family and thanked them for hosting this year’s event. Tom and Kelli and Tim and Sharyn were each presented with a canvas of Robrook Goldwyn Cameron, EX-94 and the Grand Champion of this year’s Midwest Spring National Show.

Also in attendance were WHA royalty Kayla Krueger and WHA board president Chris McCullough. Dan Cnossen introduced the 2015 spring barn meeting topic, which will focus classification programs. Raffle ticket winners were also drawn, and judging contest winners announced.

Picnic attendees received a special treat at the end of the program – a breeder panel featuring discussion on ‘the cow of the future’.
Brian Craswell – Crasdale Farms
Simon Lalande – Ferme Blondin
Hank Van Exel – Judge’s Choice Committee Member,
Tom Cull – Budjon Farms

Q1: How do you think the purebred business is going – what will be the cow of the future and what will she look like?
Brian: One word to describe the cow we need, and that’s balance. They don’t need to be extreme in any one way, and I think in the show ring we’ve gone more toward that kind of cow. Moving forward we have to make sure our show business is relative to where our industry is going. Cows that have to be efficient and fend for themselves, giving some thought to our future and consideration of balance, how cows walk, which is becoming more important. The dairy quality and udders have never been better, I think we need to look at our locomotion to get better and continue to identify weaknesses to improve our breed. Make sure that cows can work wherever they are.
Simon: I agree with Brian – we need cows strong enough to live a long life, and every lactation they need to be profitable.
Hank: We really in the next year especially with feed scenarios need balance and dairy strength, we have to look at dairy strength in a little different way than we have in years past. If a cow is giving 115 lbs/day, cows eating 60 lbs dry matter, they need that muzzle and strength to make a high volume of milk. Back in the day people said I was too critical judging cows with bad feet and legs. Now its one of the most important things. I’m concerned about the cattle that are wide enough to handle feed and bumps and bruises, and to walk around and be healthy.
Tom: Understand how cows look  and how they act, I think people are a little critical of show cows based on how they look. I believe cows grow to their environment – give them a little more room and area to stretch, and cows grow more. I think a lot of my cows could’ve entered into a freestall setting and done well – they maybe wouldn’t have gotten as big and framey, but done well. The cow of the future – I think you need to take a cow like Cameron as a two-year-old and stick her into a free stall so she understands how to act. I think a cow like that is one that would thrive in any environment.

Q2: What is the biggest challenge the Holstein breed faces as a population?
Simon: One bull that I have been a fan of is Goldwyn, he did really well for me and a great job for most of the show people, but I think we need to come back with more power in the breed. I like the stylish cows but I can recognize that in the breed we need more power and strength, for the show cows  are a minority. They’re the kind of cows people wish to have but they need to be strong, and have good legs. We still need to protect the udders, but if we could come back with something a little better it would help add more power.
Hank: We see that 15 years ago we talked about the index system – with genomics, one of the things I was initially excited about was finding outliers, but I think we’re instead squeezing the breed into a tight hole. I think we need to find a way to find outlier bulls, and get away from line breeding. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen better show cattle, but its getting more difficult to find the kind of bulls I want to use. I tip my hat to Tim for going out and finding new bulls. I think we need more diversity in our breed and hopefully we can get in that direction.
Tom: It’s a challenge to find bulls that are new, that have strength left in them, bulls that exemplify what we’re looking for from a high type perspective and keep Goldwyn and durham out of the pedigree. This business seems to go through cycles, and I think we’re in one of those times right now. The biggest challenge for our breed is to make sure a paper actually means something. I
Brian: As a breed, keep people involved and make sure that what we’re doing is relevant to our industry, and in order to stay relevant, make the kind of cows that are relevant to our industry. One of the big problems is locomotion and also strength. One of the main things to keep our industry viable is feed efficiency. I think we need to keep an eye on the structure of ribs/capacity – a combination of relevant cows, using genomics as a tool, pull in daughter calving ease. We want show cows with balance, low somatic cell, good fertility, mobility - the total package.

Q3: What is the key to promotion in this business?
Tom: I think the biggest key as a young person starting out, you need to justify your expenses of what you use for an advertising perspective. I’m sure a lot of other people do more print/web advertising. We’ve decided to use our show budget and hosting events like this to get people here. I think the biggest thing to look at is getting the most bang for your buck.
Brian: If we’re going to promote, we need to figure out what everyone needs, or what we think they need/want. We need to have a product to fill a need – the bottom line is we’re all in this to make a dollar. We need to make sure every animal we own can make money, for us or the next owner. Show is a great form of promotion, but for me, we need to stay focused on what works best and what makes money, and that’s the kind of product we need to promote.
Simon: We need to promote what we believe in, and what the people that buy from you are going to make money with. It’s about consistency, too. For me, one of the best forms of promotion are taking time with the people that come, and show the people I know. Same thing at the show – we are at the show for the competition but when you have people looking at string its important to spend time with those people. We need people and people need us.
Hank: For me it’s a little different – we’re on opposite end of the spectrum on the west coast, it’s a little different in promoting. I don’t think we have as many people in the CA association. I think what’s really important is the blue paper – we can go through and talk about BUdjon, bob miller, regancrest, and the maternal side of this breed. For me, I try to promote good cows make better cows and better cows. I use my budget to come to WDE every year to promote my cattle. Its really made an impact – I could probably go anywhere in the world and they’ve heard of me some how through networking and promotion, sale of embryos and the quality of cattle we bring out.


2014 WHA State Picnic
Hosted by Budjon Farms & St. Jacobs ABC, Lomira

2013 WHA State Picnic
Hosted by Siemers Holsteins, Newton

2012 WHA State Picnic
Hosted by Mystic Valley Dairy, LLC, Mitch Breunig Family

2011 WHA State Picnic
Hosted by: Scientific Holsteins, Matt and Mandy Nunes