BIRNAMWOOD, Wis. — She will not be arriving in Santa’s sleigh, but the best Christmas gift one lucky young Wisconsinite will receive next month will instead ride in a cattle trailer. That fortunate youngster will become the owner of a Red & White Holstein heifer calf.
Once again, Dairy Star is holding its Great Christmas Giveaway, with the most exciting prize being a registered Red & White heifer calf bred by the Breyer family — Doug, Cindy, Dillon and Derek — of Townline Acres Holsteins in Birnamwood.
Townlineacres Rosalie-Red-P, a polled Red & White calf born Sept. 12, is sired by Aprilday Mcdonald-P-Red-ET. A potential 10th-generation Very Good or Excellent cow, Rosalie’s maternal pedigree is deep, tracing back to a perennial show ring favorite of the past, Stookey Elm Park Blackrose-ET EX-96-3E-GMD-DOM.
Blackrose, Rosalie’s sixth dam, was the all-time All-American junior 2- and junior 3-year-old, and was the 1995 reserve All-American aged cow.
Rosalie’s dam, MS Booth-Haven Risky-Red-ET VG-87, is an early daughter of Riverdown Unstopabull-Red, with a 3-year-old record of 36,520 pounds of milk, 1,447 pounds of butterfat and 1,057 pounds of protein, completed in 303 days.
“We bought Risky as a bred heifer, from a friend,” Derek Breyer said. “We like buying animals like her — younger animals from good pedigrees that you can get for a reasonable price. That is how we have developed most of our cow families.”
Breyer said he is confident that Risky will obtain an Excellent classification score the next time the Holstein Association USA classifier visits their farm.
Rosalie’s second dam is an EX-90-2E Scientific Demello from an EX-93 full sister, sired by Braedale Goldwyn, to Rosedale Lexington EX-95-2E, the 2013 All-American 5-year-old.
The Breyers are excited to provide this year’s calf for the annual contest.
“This is a great opportunity for us to give back to the dairy industry, a community that we have been fortunate to be a part of,” Breyer said. “There is nothing better than a kid with a calf. Both my brother and I had that experience, and we want to pay that forward.”
The Breyers milk 120 head with two Lely robotic milking systems. They have been using the robotic milkers since 2019.
Registered dairy cattle first came to the farm in 2005, when Derek and Dillon were getting involved with showing at their county fair.
“We both really wanted to show registered animals instead of grades, and that is how we ended up getting our first registered animals,” Breyer said. “Slowly, we have built our herd and have shown you can build a pretty nice herd without spending a lot of money.”
The Breyers credit much of their success to the adults who served as mentors for them along the way.
“Dan Cnossen played a big role in getting us started,” Breyer said. “He taught us a lot and has been a great mentor to us over time, and that has developed into a great friendship — and we are grateful for that.”
The friendship with their mentor has developed into a partnership, with the Breyers and Cnossen purchasing a Red & White heifer at the recent Our Favorite Holsteins Complete Dispersal Sale, allowing Cnossen, a former dairy farmer and Holstein Association USA classifier, to continue to stay connected to the industry.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, and we are able to help Dan stay involved in the breeding of registered Holsteins,” Breyer said. “It’s one way we can repay him for the kindness he has shown us over the years.”
Helping a young person get a start in building their own herd, by providing a calf that can become that foundation animal for someone, is another way that the Breyers said they can repay the kindnesses that Cnossen and others have shown them throughout their nearly 20 years of involvement in registered Holsteins.
Rosalie is a unique calf for someone to begin building a herd with, Breyer said, combining three aspects of breeding registered Holsteins: being naturally polled, being Red & White and coming from a high-type maternal family.
“Helping a young person get started with a calf from a good pedigree, that’s important,” Breyer said. “We wouldn’t be where we are if people hadn’t helped us out too. That is what is great about this industry; it is a cycle of each generation helping the next, and when that happens, everyone benefits.”
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