Archive for April, 2007

Challenges facing a young, Spanish dairyman

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HW: What”s the biggest struggle you face as a young dairyman in today”s industry?  Where do you see yourself five years from now? 
 
Saul Dorado Rodriguez: The greatest fight in Spain is the little support that occurs to our sector.  From raising young cattle to selling milk, we need a new milk pricing system that will stabilize the profitability of farmers and give confidence to those investing in our business.  The system of quotas, at this moment, is not safe and less and less people want to work with cows.
 
I hope that in the near future, things are solved and we receive more support from the government, since in the end, we are the producers of a food of first necessity for the world…milk. 
I hope to be able to continue working on the farm and to expand my herd a little.  Mainly, I hope to be able to continue improving the quality of the animals and consequently, raise the confidence that our clients have in our cattle.

Talking bulls with Saul!

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HW: What bulls are you using and why?  Do you feel there are particular bloodlines from the U.S. that would work well in your herd?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: In this moment, we are using: Roylane Jordan , STVBQ Rubens, Ocean-View Zenith, Erbacres Damion, Goldwyn , Mesland Duplex for breeding cows.  And for flushing, we are using Dolman, Lou, Baxter, Carisma and other modern sires.  The bloodlines of the USA that we like the most are the DURHAM lines. I think they are very consistent in type, udder, structures and have enough production.  In fact, we feel that Durham will probably have the most influence in the history of the breed!  We’re waiting to see which BW Marshall son will turn out the best, but will use them and Roy sons in the future.
 

The tanbark trail in Spain

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Holstein World: Showing is a big part of your merchandising program. How does it help you to market your animals? Do you participate only in country shows or have you shown internationally as well? What other venues do you use to tell people about Mantano Holsteins?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: We love to participate in as much local and national shows as we can because it is a good form to compare the work of selection who you make all the year. So far, we have only participated in local and national shows, but within the next year, probably some international shows too!

Showing helps very much in our sales since people can see the quality of our cattle and it presents an opportunity to us every time that we can visit with people who show and those who just visit the shows. They”re all members of the industry and they”re all potential customers when it comes to merchandising cattle and embryos. It”s also a lot of fun to do something “recreational” with fellow breeders.

In a few days, we will start our new webpage in English, with our cow families, many photos and embryos on sale. This is a great way for us to reach a large number of Holstein breeders around the world who might be interested in doing business with us.

A profile of Spain”s dairy industry

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Holstein World: What part of Spain do you live in? Is it a highly concentrated farming area? Are there many other Registered breeders in that part of the country?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: We live in Galicia in the north of Spain. In our province (Lugo), there are 2,500 farms that register and control their animals. In Galicia, there are 4,500 farms registered in the genealogical book…almost half of Spain! Our zone is the cattle zone for excellence in Spain! Galicia is the region of the country that is most rapidly improving (as far as genetics) in the last few years, and it”s also the region where there”s a great opportunity to increase the animal market.

A profile of Spain”s dairy industry

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Holstein World: What part of Spain do you live in? Is it a highly concentrated farming area? Are there many other Registered breeders in that part of the country?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: We live in Galicia in the north of Spain. In our province (Lugo), there are 2,500 farms that register and control their animals. In Galicia, there are 4,500 farms registered in the genealogical book…almost half of Spain! Our zone is the cattle zone for excellence in Spain! Galicia is the region of the country that is most rapidly improving (as far as genetics) in the last few years, and it”s also the region where there”s a great opportunity to increase the animal market.

A visit to Spain’s dairy industry

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This week, we are talking with Saul Dorado Rodriguez of Mantono Holsteins. Sit back, relax and enjoy your passport to Spain!

Holstein World: Tell us about your farm. Number of cows milked? Herd average? Family involved? Crops grown? Do you classify?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: Our farm is Mantoño Holstein, a family farm operated by my father, my mother and I. At the moment, we have 45-50 cows milking and 50 calves and heifers and some bulls. It is “a young” farm since we began only 13 years ago to register. But we have improved much in the last years. Our average of production in 2006 was of 11,489 kg/cow (25,333lbs.) with an average of score of 85 points (one of the best in Spain). Seventy percent of the herd is scored VG or EX, with none lower than 82 points. We sell 4-5 bulls per year to insemination centers and are flushing our better cows constantly. We put much interest in the care of our cows to try to have fewer problems, resulting in longer-lasting cows. We were the first farm in our country to sell genetics to centers of insemination of Europe 3 years ago. We like show cows with deep pedigrees, and strive to breed these types of cows for the future! At the moment, we have members of some world-famous cow families in our herd, including GYPSY GRAND, LAURIE SHEIK, BLACKSTAR DAISY, HARDTAC GINA, BLACKTAR MIRAGE ….and others. Every year, we incorporate some new family to our herd in addition to those high-type, high-pedigree cows which we are working to breed ourselves.

A visit to Spain’s dairy industry

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This week, we are talking with Saul Dorado Rodriguez of Mantono Holsteins. Sit back, relax and enjoy your passport to Spain!

Holstein World: Tell us about your farm. Number of cows milked? Herd average? Family involved? Crops grown? Do you classify?

Saul Dorado Rodriguez: Our farm is Mantoño Holstein, a family farm operated by my father, my mother and I. At the moment, we have 45-50 cows milking and 50 calves and heifers and some bulls. It is “a young” farm since we began only 13 years ago to register. But we have improved much in the last years. Our average of production in 2006 was of 11,489 kg/cow (25,333lbs.) with an average of score of 85 points (one of the best in Spain). Seventy percent of the herd is scored VG or EX, with none lower than 82 points. We sell 4-5 bulls per year to insemination centers and are flushing our better cows constantly. We put much interest in the care of our cows to try to have fewer problems, resulting in longer-lasting cows. We were the first farm in our country to sell genetics to centers of insemination of Europe 3 years ago. We like show cows with deep pedigrees, and strive to breed these types of cows for the future! At the moment, we have members of some world-famous cow families in our herd, including GYPSY GRAND, LAURIE SHEIK, BLACKSTAR DAISY, HARDTAC GINA, BLACKTAR MIRAGE ….and others. Every year, we incorporate some new family to our herd in addition to those high-type, high-pedigree cows which we are working to breed ourselves.

Future success of the Registered Holstein business

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Holstein World: You’re young and obviously committed to making a living in the dairy and purebred Holstein industry. What does the breed need to do to maintain its success and ensure the livelihood of fellow Holstein breeders?

Ryan Matheron: Registered cattle are definitely the backbone of our family operation. I feel they are what make those same old day-to-day tasks more enjoyable when you are working with good cows. I enjoy all aspects of the purebred industry whether it is the showing, high indexing cattle, or the deep proven cow families. I believe to maintain the high level of success this industry has experienced over the years, it is all in the hands of the breeders. I feel, as an industry if we maintain honesty and integrity then the registered Holstein cow will thrive for many years to come.

The story behind Cranehill Genetics

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Holstein World: Cranehill Genetics was born from the purchase of a member from the Laurie Sheik Family. What attributes do you look for when deciding to add a new animal to the herd? What elements of the Cranehill marketing and merchandising program have proven the most effective?

Ryan Matheron: Cranehill Genetics was started six years ago with the purchase of a Maplewood Estimate daughter of the Laurie Sheiks. At the time I was attending college and was interested in purchasing this individual but being a college student with minimal income the $5500 price tag was a bit steep. I then approached two of my closest friends Emanuel and Joe who are also local dairymen about my interest and together we purchased Signature Estimate Lauris, thus the beginning of Cranehill Genetics.

Thus far Lauris’ progeny have done very well. We have sold offspring to three different states including Canada. There are six bulls that are currently being sampled and she is the dam of two VG-89 two yr. olds. To say the least we are extremely happy with our first purchase.

When selecting an animal to purchase we look for individuals that have extreme marketability. We look for well-proven cow families that have transmitted generation after generation. Advertising is key when merchandising cattle. You have to stay up to speed with this fast paced industry. We try to use the bulls that are in the most demand and even try to speculate on the ones that will be. We keep current pictures on milking females as well as getting photos on heifers that we will be consigning to sales. Pictures make it much easier for potential buyers to get a better idea of what the individual looks like.

The breeding program at Hilmar & Cranehill

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Holstein World: Describe the breeding program of Hilmar Holsteins & Cranehil Genetics. What attributes do you focus on and what are the current service sires that you are using? Who are the key cow families that you are working with?

Ryan Matheron: At Hilmar Holsteins we strive to breed a herd of cows that excel in production as well as type. When selecting bulls to use in our operation we look for that same protocol including feet and legs, udders, and secondary traits. We are currently using bulls like Mac, Baxter, Frosty, Doleman, Pontiac, Airraid, Billion, Lou, Toystory and Shottle. Some of the key cow families we are presently working with are the Laurie Sheiks, Ravens, Delilias, and Hillarys. We also have some exciting homebred families we are working on developing. At this present time out of our 1700-milking Hilmar herd there are just over 200 registered cows. There are 16 Excellents, 65 Very Goods and 76 Good Plus cows.