Dreaming of the Grand Finale

Busch set to share lifetime of Ayrshire genetics

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CECIL, Wis. — Tim Busch takes a great deal of pride in the herd of registered Ayrshires he has dedicated his life to breeding and developing. 

On May 11, Busch will offer his herd in the Grand Finale at Grand-View Ayrshires.

“I’m just going to enjoy a new phase of life,” Busch said. “My wife frequently travels for work. Now, I can travel with her some. I might get a part-time job. I plan to continue to be active in the Ayrshire breed.”

Busch milks 50 Ayrshire cows on the farm on which he grew up near Cecil. Throughout his career, he has bred over 80 Excellent cows.

“I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve been breeding Ayrshires my whole life,” Busch said. “I’ve never had another breed.”

The affinity for developing cow families struck Busch early on, and he subconsciously began working toward a goal.

“I love cow families,” he said. “I place emphasis on pedigree over anything else. When I do buy something, it always has to have a good pedigree.”

For his efforts, Busch was honored as the 2021 U.S. Ayrshire Breeders’ Association Master Breeder.

While showing has not been an integral part of Busch’s life, it has helped create the focus for his breeding program.

“I didn’t grow up showing, other than at the county fair,” Busch said.

As he took over the farm, the reality of day-to-day work prohibited him from exhibiting the deep-pedigreed animals he was striving to breed.

“I couldn’t run this by myself and be gone for several days for a show,” Busch said. “The animals are bred to show, but you still have to find someone to do the work.”

Using connections with others in the dairy industry, Busch has been able to exhibit cattle at shows, leading to success and recognition for the Grand-View herd.

Busch has two primary cow families that his herd descends from.

One family descends from Hawksfield GVA Pardner Blue-ET EX91-5E, a cow Busch purchased as an embryo from the Hawksfield herd of fellow Ayrshire breeder Charles Sayles of Perry, Michigan.

Two animals in the May 11 sale are ninth-generation Excellent cows from that family.

That cow family helped Busch check off a bucket list item: the honor of having his cows featured as the Ayrshire class for the 2018 Hoard’s Dairyman Cow Judging Contest. Grand-View Burdette Burgandy EX-94 had the distinction of being the first-ever Ayrshire cow to be selected as the contest’s supreme champion.

Grand-View BBBK Dreamer EX94-5E is the cow Busch said has been the most influential to stand in his barn, impacting the Ayrshire breed globally.

Dreamer was nominated All-American twice and recognized as the 2016 Wisconsin Cow of the Year, all while producing over 147,000 pounds of lifetime milk. With 13 Excellent daughters and a myriad of granddaughters and great-granddaughters, Dreamer continues to figure predominantly in the Grand-View herd.

That prolific cow family came to Grand-View through purchases made from two Ayrshire herds near Busch’s family farm, cows bred by the Westphalen and Willer families.

“Two generations of that cow family scored Excellent on one day,” Busch said. “That is when I started thinking maybe there was something special there.”

Two 10th-generation Excellent cows, one which is polled, both descending from that cow family, will sell in the sale along with heifers that are potential 11th-generation Excellent cows.

Besides the tradition of scoring Excellent, Dreamer and her descendants have provided Busch with a variety of highlights throughout his career, with cattle being sold across the U.S. and Canada. Embryos from the family have been marketed globally.

At the World Ayrshire Federation Conference during the 2016 World Dairy Expo, Dreamer embryos sold to Australia. When the World Ayrshire Federation Conference took place in Australia during International Dairy Week in 2020, Busch enjoyed watching his genetics create a stir.

“We sold Dreamer embryos again at the world conference sale, and they were the high-seller,” he said. “At the same time, there was a heifer from the embryos we had sold in 2016 that was the second high-seller, and she was the honorable mention junior champion in the show.”

Busch is looking forward to attending a World Ayrshire Federation Conference this summer in the United Kingdom.

“With the cows gone, I’ll finally be able to travel and do those kinds of things,” Busch said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”

More recently, a granddaughter of Dreamer, Grand-View Champ Dyna-ET, made a splash at last fall’s World Dairy Expo, claiming the title of supreme junior champion of the junior show for the Busches and Logan Harbaugh. She also placed second in the fall calf class and was reserve junior champion in the open show. Dyna, a potential 10th-generation Excellent, will sell as Lot 1 during the Grand Finale.

Busch enjoys his partnership with 16-year-old Harbaugh.

“I got Logan hooked on Ayrshires, which is great,” Busch said. “When I told him about the sale, he asked me what we were going to show. I had him pick out a calf for this year before we did the catalog. I promised him we’d keep making show calves with embryos I have in the tank.”

With an inventory of embryos on hand, Busch plans to continue making show calves using recipients at nearby Betley Farms near Pulaski.

“These cows and those cow families have made my passion flourish; they kept me farming,” Busch said. “This isn’t a dispersal; that means you’re going out of business. I’m not going out of business. I’ll still be involved, just on a different level.”

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