LANARK, Ill. – Even if no one realized it at the time, May 3, 2004, would create an impact in the registered Holstein industry for years to come. That day, on a farm in southwest Wisconsin, a red calf was born; one that would win fans not only in her own right but become a global influence as a brood cow.
    KHW Regiment Apple-Red-ET was born at Weigland Holsteins in Platteville, Wisconsin. Apple was a Carrousel Regiment-Red daughter of Kamps-Hollow Altitude EX-95-2E-DOM. Apple and Altitude are descendants of DRA August EX-96-4E-DOM. Apple’s lineage has also been traced back 26 generations to 1880. She hails from Vriend, a cow imported from North Holland in 1880.
    Apple’s own chapter of her story came to an end Jan. 2, 2020, when she passed away at 15 years, 7 months of age. However, her legacy will continue to grow and the story will continue to develop through the large number of animals that find her in their pedigrees, on both the top and bottom sides.  
    “Everyone involved with Apple Partners has been so very blessed to have her in our lives,” The Apple Partners group said in a written statement. “She truly was a one-in-a-million kind of cow. Her influence on the industry and our lives is immeasurable. So many adjectives could be used to describe Apple, but let’s just leave it at one-of-a-kind. She was always a vibrant lady with a unique personality.”
    Ryan Weigel, one of the breeders of Apple, recalled when she was born on his family’s farm and the journey that paved the road for the red heifer that would become a legend.
    “There was a red full sister to her born at the same time. I was living and working in Madison at the time, and I remember telling my younger brothers to make sure they took extra special care of those two red heifers. Not that they wouldn’t have normally, but I figured a little reminder wouldn’t hurt,” Weigel said. “At the end of the day, I guess they did a pretty good job.”
    Weigel and his partner, Ryan Kamps, decided that despite being an off-age heifer, they liked Apple well enough to work on getting her ready to show as a spring yearling.
    “She was kind of a hard heifer to get ready,” Weigel said. “You’d never guess it today, but putting rib on her was a challenge. Once we felt like we were gaining ground, we’d get her too heavy.”
    While Apple did not win her class at the Wisconsin Holstein District 3 show, she was near the top and did not give up any size to the full-age heifers in the class, prompting Weigel and Kamps to contemplate sending her to World Dairy Expo in the fall.
    “We weren’t having any luck getting her ready ourselves, so we sent her to Doug and Melanie Nifong’s Me-Do Meadows to have them get her ready for Expo,” Weigel said.
    The Nifongs were successful in their task, and Apple placed fourth in her class at World Dairy Expo.
    “That was my first experience showing an animal at Expo, and it was the proudest I had ever been of a pink ribbon,” Weigel said. “Unfortunately, her fourth place Expo finish was not good enough to get her an all-American nomination that year.”
    Mike Deaver, Norman Nabholz and John Erbsen all saw Apple as a bred heifer at Kamps-Hollow and eventually the decision was made to create a partnership, which also included Les Davis of California, to purchase her. Apple was purchased prior to calving with a guarantee that all four quarters would be square.  
    “It was hot as all get out that weekend. My wife and I went out to Kamps-Hollow at 3 a.m., so we could transport her to Deaver’s farm before it got too hot,” Weigel said. “After we dropped Apple off, we drove to the National Red and White Sale to see her full sister sell to Richard Green of Delaware. It was a good weekend to be in the Holstein industry.”
    Apple calved a few days after Weigel delivered her to Sherona-Hill. She had a red bull calf, KHW Redbull, who would be the first of many sons of Apple to enter A.I.
    “I guess the rest is history,” Weigel said. “We are humbled and thankful for all the opportunities this cow created for us. I’ve been asked if I had the opportunity to do it over, would I still sell her? My answer has always been yes. It takes a special person, or in this case, group of people, to develop cows to their fullest potential. That is exactly what the Apple Partners group has done. They’ve had a heck of a ride, and we are happy to have had a small part in her journey.”
    Apple first garnered wide-spread international attention that fall as a junior 2-year-old when she entered the colored shavings at the 2006 World Dairy Expo on Saturday morning. Her owners opted to show her in the Holstein Show as opposed to the Red and White Show. She claimed the top spot in the junior 2-year-old class, a feat nearly unheard of for a Red and White cow. In the weeks after the show, Davis and Nabholz chose to sell their shares to two other Holstein breeders, David Dyment and Ernest Kueffner.
    That day would not be Apple’s only moment of fame. She became part of a very elite group of cows to command a $1 million price tag when she sold in 2008 at the Global Glamour sale event held at Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, Connecticut, where Dyment and Kueffner sold their shares in the cow.  
    Over the years, Apple amassed an impressive collection of purple banners. In 2009, she was named the reserve grand champion of the Royal Winter Fair Red and White Show. In 2011, Apple was selected as the senior and grand champion of the International Red and White Show at World Dairy Expo in 2011 after winning the aged cow class.
    A unique accomplishment for Apple, one not yet repeated, took place at the 2013 International Red and White Show where Apple herself was named reserve senior and reserve grand champion of the show behind her clone, KHW Regiment Apple-3-Red-ETN. Her daughter, Ms Candy Apple-Red-ET, was named the honorable mention senior and grand champion.
    “Isn’t that just an incredible sight right before your eyes?” judge Michael Heath asked the crowd watching the show, viewing the three cows, Apple-3, Apple and Candy Apple, lined up head-to-tail. “I guess the worst thing about it is the suspense is gone. I’ll just say it from here. Bing. Bang. Boom.”
    Apple was named the Holstein World’s unanimous all-American junior 2 year old in 2006 and was named the Red and White Dairy Cattle Association’s all-American as an aged cow in 2011 and as a 125,000-pound production cow in 2013. She was nominated for an all-American award seven times in her show career.
    More than just another pretty face, Apple knew how to put on her work clothes and put milk in the tank. She achieved a lifetime production record of 240,640 pounds of milk; 11,394 pounds of butterfat and 8,559 pounds of protein.
    Both daughters and sons of Apple continue to be popular in breeding programs and sales arenas. As a brood cow, Apple brings many things to the table. Her offspring have high genetic merit, whether they are red or black. Type, production and components all transmit consistently from generation to generation. Her offspring have combined to capture two Premier Breeder banners at the International Red and White Show for Apple Partners, in 2017 and 2019.
    In North America, Apple has three daughters that have achieved a classification score of EX-95. Ms Apples Aleda-Red-ET, a Redburst daughter owned by Westcoast Holsteins of Chillliwack, B.C.; Miss Apple Snapple-Red-ET, another Redburst daughter owned by Milksource LLC of Kaukauna, Wisconsin; and Miss Apple Aria-Red-ET, a daughter of Hunsberger Alchemy owned by Stephen and Patrick Maddox, and Tyler Dickerhoof of Riverdale, California. In addition to those three cows, Apple has six North American daughters scored EX-94.
    Through that legacy, Apple’s legend will continue to grow. Her genetics continue to be in demand and command attention and interest around the globe.
    “While we have enjoyed much success with Apple, we are very humbled and proud that so many fellow breeders have shared in that success by including Apple genetics in their breeding programs,” said the Apple Partners group in their press release. “We appreciate your confidence and faith in Apple and are extremely grateful for the friendships that have formed across the globe because of Apple. To all those that have been involved in caring for this legend, please accept our sincere thanks. A remarkable lady who touched so many lives and made so many memories. She will always be the apple of our eyes. Her influence will live on.”