September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Rosedale Genetics: A journey through the show ring, beyond

Rueths hosting Sale of Excellence March 25
Mark and Nicky Rueth, with daughter Paradise and Rosedale Lucky Rose EX-94, are hosting the Sale of Excellence dispersal on March 25 at their farm near Oxford, Wis. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO SUBMITTED
Mark and Nicky Rueth, with daughter Paradise and Rosedale Lucky Rose EX-94, are hosting the Sale of Excellence dispersal on March 25 at their farm near Oxford, Wis. <br /><!-- 1upcrlf -->PHOTO SUBMITTED

By By Brittany [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

OXFORD, Wis. - Some cows are so incredible and so outstanding that they only go by one name. Blackrose, Paradise, Redrose and Lexington are all prime examples.
Those four cows are also the foundation of Rosedale Genetics, Ltd., of Oxford, Wis., a 55-cow registered Holstein herd owned and operated by Mark and Nicky Rueth.
The Rueths, along with their infant daughter, Paradise, are hosting a 125-lot dispersal, the Sale of Excellence, at their farm on March 25.
"Our intention wasn't to milk a lot of cows, but to work with better genetics," Mark said.
Between not being able to find help, being far away from family and aging equipment, the pressure of maintaining a world-renowned farm by themselves took its toll over time.
"We're starting to get to the age where things hurt. We're getting tired," Mark said. "If we had kids that were older we'd expand, but the plan is to just keep some heifers back for Paradise when she's a little older."
Mark explained that getting out of dairying at his age, compared to many other dairy producers who often exit the business at a much older age, has its benefits.
"Others that have sold cows at an older age either don't have much time left to do much after the cows are gone, or the animals aren't worth as much as they could have been," Mark said. "We've cashed in on the cows a few times to make a living through tag sales, but now we're selling a large group and taking a break."
Mark, who had grown up on a grade Holstein farm, was bitten by the show bug as a teenager and spent most of his young adult years fitting cattle for prestigious show herds across the continent.
In addition, he is the only person to have owned or co-owned four World Dairy Expo Supreme or Reserve Supreme Champions, and both he and Nicky have won the prestigious Klussendorf-Mackenzie Award for character, sportsmanship, ability and endeavor as well as Mark winning the Klussendorf Award, given for conduct and sportsmanship in and out of the show ring, in 2008.
The Rosedale journey began in 1994, when Mark purchased the famed Stookey Elm Park Blackrose Excellent-96 3E GMD DOM, a Blackstar daughter, as a bred heifer for $5,000.
Together with Bob and Karyn Schauf of Indianhead Holsteins, Ltd., of Barron, Wis., where Blackrose was housed, and Mark van Mersbergen of Markwell Holsteins, from Lynden, Wash., she would go on to create a legacy that outlived herself through her ability to transmit her outstanding traits through high-type offspring in both the Holstein and Red and White breeds.
While he had owned cattle on various farms across the U.S. and Canada, including two-time Expo Supreme Champion Vandyk-K Integrity Paradise (2000 and 2002), Mark decided to take the plunge into dairying for himself in 2001 right after World Dairy Expo.
"All the cattle I owned came to Expo that year, and after Expo we brought them to our farm near Deerfield, Wis.," Mark said. "We had a lot of champions over the years, especially when we started."
Four years later, in 2005, Mark and Nicky moved the cows to their current farm near Oxford, Wis.
"We were still farming in Deerfield and trying to get things ready to go here," Mark said.
That year became even more incredible as one of Rosedale's own, Lavender Ruby Redrose-Red Excellent-95, a Blackrose great-granddaughter sired by Rubens, cleaned house at World Dairy Expo and became the first Red and White to be named Supreme Champion.
In recent years, the Rosedale prefix continues to succeed in the show ring. Rosedale Lexington, a 95-point great-granddaughter of Blackrose sired by Goldwyn, won the 5-year-old class at the Holstein show during the 2013 World Dairy Expo, one year after Mark and Nicky were married, and was named honorable mention intermediate champion at World Dairy Expo in 2011, as well.
The Rosedale prefix continues to perform for other breeders through cattle purchased from the Rueths, also.
"Our cows have done well for us, and for other people. If someone comes and buys a cow or heifer, she may not be the best cow in our barn so she won't get as much time focused on developing her from us, but she might be the best cow in her new owner's barn so they'll start developing her and getting more daughters from her," Mark said. "As a result, she'll do better for them than she would have for us."
Examples include Rosedale Ghetto Cat and Rosedale Gold-Mine, who were purchased by Chris and Rikki Van Dyk of West-Croix Genetics near New Richmond, Wis., and Rosedale 2 Hot 2 Handle-Red, owned by Carley Krull of Lake Mills, Wis.
Ghetto Cat, an Excellent-93 Goldlaser daughter with an Excellent-95 mammary system out of a Pronto sister to Lexington, won the aged cow class along with best udder at the 2016 District 1 Holstein Show in Rice Lake, Wis.
"Gold-Mine is a Goldwyn daughter of Redrose, and was named honorable mention all American as a junior 2-year-old for Mark and Nicky. Ghetto Cat is due in June with her sixth calf," Van Dyk said. "She won grand and supreme champion at the St. Croix County Fair, and placed third in her class at the Wisconsin State Championship Show."
The cow, 2 Hot 2 Handle-Red, sired by Artie-Red, was purchased as a pregnant heifer carrying an Atwood heifer calf at the 2014 Rosedale tag sale.
"Hottie (2 Hot 2 Handle's barn name) just had an Awesome-Red heifer calf that is really nice. Her Atwood daughter, Honey, is just fresh with a red calf and looks awesome," Krull said.
As the sale comes closer and closer, Mark and Nicky are counting the days with a slew of mixed emotions.
"There's a lot of work and emotion leading up to it. It'll be a sad day for sure," Mark said. "But we're looking forward to some peace of mind and time off. As far as working off the farm, you never know what opportunities become available."
While their farm office is covered from floor to ceiling with ribbons, trophies, plaques and plates, it is the memories that stand the test of time.
"Some days, when you just want to get chores done, you walk right past it and forget," Mark said. "But some days you just need to take it all in."
While deciding to have a dispersal was a difficult decision for Mark and Nicky, it doesn't necessarily mean their farming careers have come to a close.
"The plan for this year is to do some field work, fix a house down the road that we own, go to a few shows and help people out," Mark said. "The farm is always here if we want to start milking again. It's been a good journey."[[In-content Ad]]


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