September 9, 2023 at 8:00 a.m.
Breeding beauty queens
Each class-winning heifer carries Schulte prefix at Iowa State Fair
The winning heifers at the Iowa State Fair, all bred by Schulte Bros Dairy Farm, line up Aug. 11 in Des Moines, Iowa. Kaleb Kruse (from left) held the winning fall yearling and junior champion Schulte Bros Colton Cheerio-ET, Charlie Schulte held the winter yearling Schulte Bros Andreas Fashionista-ET, Blake Schulte held the spring yearling Schulte Bros Do The Griddy-ET, Mitch Schulte held the summer yearling Schulte Bros Kid Rock Fire-ET, Gene Henderson held the fall calf and reserve junior champion Schulte Bros Kid Rock Gangsta-ET, Cooper Schulte held the winter calf Schulte Bros Kid Rock Filly-ET, and Willow Sexton held the spring calf Schulte Bros Joel Charli-ET. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
WATKINS, Iowa — What started out as a hobby, an interest in creating beautiful dairy cattle, has grown into something more for the Schulte family of Watkins.
“It’s something we have become passionate about,” said Blake Schulte, co-owner of Schulte Bros Dairy Farm.
The Schulte family — brothers Blake, Mitch and Zach along with their dad Mark — began their journey breeding high-end show cattle nearly 20 years ago. Each holds an off-farm job, separate from the cattle: Blake works as a veterinarian, Mitch works with Midwest Dairy, and Zach is a feedlot manager at Amana Farms. Mark is retired.
At last month’s Iowa State Fair, the Schultes accomplished the feat of breeding each of the class-winning heifers.
The Schultes said they are most proud that they had sold five of those seven heifers to other breeders and exhibitors.
Schulte said even more exciting for his family was to watch the Kruse family of KCCK Genetics in Dyersville sweep the show’s junior championship banners with Schulte-bred heifers, as well as exhibiting Schulte Bros Colton Frankie to the intermediate and grand champion banners.
With the stellar showing of animals they bred, the Schulte family took home the show’s premier breeder banner.
“Watching so many people have success with our genetics is realy satisfying,” Schulte said. “That is really what we are out to accomplish.”
Breeding dairy cattle that can achieve show ring success has been a longtime pursuit for the Schulte family, dating back to Schulte Sunwise Pat, who claimed five All-American titles and three World Dairy Expo championships for her owner, Meadow View Farm.
Consultant judge Jared Major reaches out to congratulate Cole Kruse as he names Schulte Bros Colton Fame, the winning winter yearling, the junior champion of the All-American Junior Jersey Show Nov. 7, 2020, at the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky. Show ring success for animals carrying the Schulte Bros prefix has become a tradition that has been growing over the past decade. (PHOTO COURTESY OF COWSMOPOLITAN)
While they have worked with Holsteins and Brown Swiss, the Schultes now work primarily with Jerseys. The herd consists of six donor cows, each on an extensive in vitro fertilization program. The Schultes do not ship milk and instead rely on marketing offspring of their donor cows.
“We focus on selecting individuals who will make good donors,” Schulte said. “We want cows that have strong maternal lines and can make the kind of calves we are looking to make. We have really come to admire the Jersey breed for how well they transmit.”
With each passing year, the Schultes have continued to perfect their craft, selling heifers that go on to do well for their new owners.
“We are the happiest when we can watch others do well with animals we bred,” Schulte said. “We don’t mind getting beat in the show
ring, particularly when it is by something we bred and sold to someone else.”
Show ring success for animals carrying the Schulte Bros prefix has become a tradition that has been growing exponentially over the past decade.
“The first animal we bred that really did well was Schulte Bros Tequila Shot,” Schulte said. “Michael Heath purchased her for the Fraley family in Pennsylvania as a fall calf. She went on to be named the reserve junior champion at World Dairy Expo in 2013.”
From there, Tequila Shot went on to have continued success as a milking female for the partnership of Budjon Farms, Peter Vail and David Jordan of Lomira, Wisconsin, claiming a total of seven All-American nominations throughout her career.
Six years later, Schulte Bros Teq Glory-ET one-upped her older full sister and claimed the junior champion banner at the 2019 World Dairy Expo for owners Budjon Farms and Vail.
While the dam of Tequila Shot and Glory, Mi Wil Deluxe Gorgeous EX-92, has passed on, the Schultes hope she will have a role to play in their future.
“We have two Tequila embryos out of Gorgeous still in the tank,” Schulte said. “I have been waiting for the perfect recipient to put them in.”
The Schultes’ primary criteria used for selecting their donors is based on the maternal line.
“We want to work with donors that come from strong cow families, ones we think we can successfully breed the next generation from,” Schulte said.
The Schultes strive to make about 10 calves for each of the age groups of heifer classes, with the goal being to consign nearly all to sales. They have been working with Vytelle for their IVF program. Collections occur at Schulte’s clinic, and he places the resulting embryos into recipients himself.
Two of their most prolific donors they are working with are Pleasant Nook Guns Foxy Lady EX-91 and SVHeaths HGun Corolla-ET EX-93. They are also working with Foxy Lady’s 95-point Tequila daughter, Flashy Lady.
“Foxy Lady and Corolla both flush great,” Schulte said. “They each average about 12 eggs per collection. The last time we did Corolla, she made 32 eggs.”
While Foxy Lady and Corolla have become the recent bread and butter of the Schulte Bros program, they have been adding new genetics to their program including a VG-88 2-year-old Guimo Joel sister to the popular bull Mr Kathies Kid Rock; an EX-91 River-Valley Ricki Rockstar granddaughter of WDE champion MB-Lucky Lady Feliz Navidad; and a VG-87 Triple-T-CF Mr Swagger 2-year-old daughter of two-time WDE champion Bri-Lin Valson Spritz.
The Schultes have had great luck using Tower-Vue Prime Tequila and Chilli Action Colton as sires. Other bulls they are using include River Valley Victorious, Avonlea Chips Canadian Club, SV Reviresco Hidalgo and Mr Kathies Kid Rock.
While they try to keep up with the new young sires to meet industry demands, Schulte said they like working with bulls that have daughters on the ground.
“We’re trying to breed the kind that can win the beauty pageants; that is our goal,” Schulte said. “We are happiest when we can watch others have that success with our cattle.”