Brown Swiss fertility haplotype BH14

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A first in breed history as mother and daughter take top honors in the Central National Brown Swiss Show, Madison, WI 2023
| Photo by Cowsmo
By Cheri Oechsle

There are cows that leave a lasting legacy, cows that have a firm foundation of legacy and cows that combine both. These cows continue to quietly transmit their traits to suddenly pop-up generations later to remind us that those strong gene pools are still in existence. One of those legacies was front and center this year at World Dairy Expo as Gentle Breeze Mat Christine *TW’s sixth great-granddaughter and seventh great-granddaughter took top honors in the 2023 International Brown Swiss Show.

“My wife and I were in Vermont in the summer of 2017 and visiting Iroquois Acres looking for cows,” Callum McKinven of Lookout Holsteins in Canada wrote on his Facebook page, “and when we were leaving, Stephanie (Ouellette Pope) told us to turn right out of the driveway instead of the way we arrived due to some utility work. So, we went a little ways and saw this bred heifer standing by the fence line while we were driving down the road. We stopped and crossed the ditch to see her closer, loved the heifer and I called Steph and asked her information and price. Ended up buying her, Iroquois Acres Jong Cali, that night after Steph sent us a picture of her udder promise. About a week later I was talking to Brian Pacheco of California and sold him Cali. Cali calved with a heifer calf before her health charts were finished, and that calf happened to be Candy.”

She stayed at McKinven’s Lookout Farm in Canada, along with the heifer calf she had, and both continued to grow and develop. This year they took the show ring by storm. Iroquois Acres Jong Cali, this year’s Expo Grand Champion and breed’s newest 97-point cow in Canada, along with her daughter, Iroquois Acres Total Candy, now ‘EX95’ can trace their roots back to one of the breed’s legacy brood cows, Gentle Breeze Mat Christine*TW.

Christine has long been noted as a foundation dam for many cow families. A 3E90 cow, she is both an Elite and Superior Brood Cow. Along with being a winner in the showring and the All-American Four-Year-Old in 1987, she has two records over 1200F. Her best record was at age 7 years and 11 months of 33,190 lbs. of milk, 1,398 lbs. of butterfat and 1,105 lbs. of protein in 365 days. Her lifetime totals were 148,280M, 6,150F and 5,164P in 2,169 days.

Christine was bred by the Roger Sparrow family of Kentucky, after purchasing her dam, Niermans Standout Cherry as a heifer calf. Cherry was a daughter of two home-bred parents. Her sire was Niermans Jets Standout, a son of ES Lilajet and a 90-point V B Royal Flush Pavanne daughter. “Dad was handling more of the breeding then and we would use some AI bulls but then keep a son out of good cows to use as a herd bull too,” said Roger Nierman of Long Lane Farm, Brownstown, Indiana. “Cherry was the last animal we had from that family. Roger came up looking for a heifer to show and spotted her and wanted a price. I told him she wasn’t for sale. He stuck around most of the day and kept after me until it was time to milk. He asked again for a price on that calf but, not wanting to sell her, I finally did price her, but high. He said it was too much, so I figured we were done. I went to milk and figured he had left. About 15 minutes later he came into the milking parlor and said he’d pay it. And that’s how he got her.” Cherry went on to be Excellent for the Sparrows and was bred to the Johann Proud Matthew (W) bull resulting in Christine.

Cherry’s dam was a ‘4E90’ Niermans Captain Viking daughter with 166,150M 6,553F and 4,043P lifetime. Niermans Viking Claudia was a daughter of Tierra Verde Candy. Candy was a ‘VG87/E90MS’ Waveneys Laddie G daughter with over 100,000M lifetime. Her dam was an Excellent Norvic Lilasons Beautician daughter bred by the Niermans as well. “We had a set of Beautician twins from a cow we purchased from August and Pete DeWitt of Brandywine in North Central Indiana. One of the twins we sold in the Kentucky National and one in the Midwest Sale. Blessings purchased one and Larry Paaske purchased the other. Larry in turn sold a group of cows in one of the Show Window sales in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, and I went up to purchase her back. But instead, I purchased her daughter, the Tierra Verde Candy cow. Her daughter, Niermans Viking Claudia was sold in the National Convention Sale after she had calved with Cherry. That’s how Cherry ended up being the last of that cow family on our farm,” said Nierman.

“You know it’s amazing how it holds true in quality genetics through the lines,” said Roger Sparrow, breeder of Christine. “You get a little calf in a hutch, think she is okay, has potential, show her as a calf and heifer and then as a young cow.” Roger laughed when the conversation turned to the day he bought Christine’s dam. “Yes, there were some long negotiations that took place that day. But she was in a pen of heifers and the boys wanted something to show, so that’s why I bought her. When it came time to breed her, I chose Matthew (Johann Proud Matthew) because he had a high index for milk. And it just clicked – the genetics lined up to give us Christine. She went on to be shown as a calf and a yearling, she was in the top five at the North American as a yearling” he said. “When she calved, she really had the cut of a modern Swiss – very dairy, correct, open ribbed, and a beautiful udder. As a two-year-old, she didn’t have the rear udder mass she had later, but it was still good. She was second in the two-year-old class at the North American and went on to be a Bell Ringer for the boys.”

Christine was purchased with several other animals when Roger and his family sold the herd to relocate closer to where he grew up. She was purchased by Alan and Bruce Rinehart of R Hart Farm, Wapakoneta, Ohio. “Wayne Sliker told us that Roger had two groups of cows and the high-end group had two special cows in it. Bruce and I were looking for cows, went down and purchased that group. Sure enough, Christine was a special one – she was a two- year-old at the time,” said Alan Rinehart.

Alan stated that because she was out of Johann Proud Matthew, that was a known Weaver carrier, they purposefully flushed her to other known Weaver carriers to prove she herself wasn’t a carrier. “This was before genomics,” said Alan, “no calves showed up with Weavers so she was able to be a bull mother.”

“We showed her at Ohio State Fair as a four-year-old and Wayne beat us, but offered to take her to Madison with his string if I went along,” stated Alan. “Went up there and, lo and behold, we won the class, beating his cow. That was the year she was All-American.”

“She was an easy cow to work with, always in good health, and even if she was milking 100 pounds, when she milked out her udder was pure quality, it was just like a rag,” said Alan.

She was extensively flushed resulting in 100+ offspring. “She lived down at Select Embryos for several years,” Alan said. “We still have some embryos out of her and her daughters.” The Rineharts marketed her genetics both with sales of sons, daughters and embryos. Sales of exported offspring and embryos resulted in daughters owned in Canada, Italy, Brazil, and Switzerland. Two sons went to Mexico and four to the Dominican Republic. Ten sons entered A.I. Thirty-two daughters scored Very Good or Excellent.

Christine’s highest-scoring daughter, R Hart CD Clar ET, was purchased by Elm Park Farm and Joel Kietzman of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Scored ‘2E93’, she is Certified and had a best record at 34,680M 1476F 1239P. A recipient of the 1993 H. R. Searles Award, she was the Reserve All-American Aged Cow and Grand at the Royal Winter Fair in 1997.

Clar was sired by K Top Acres Dotson ET, a Norvic Telstar son from the ‘3E90’ Vel-Geen Alvina Dot, owned by the Dot Syndicate. She had 18 offspring of which only four were females. Three scored ‘VG87’, ‘VG88’ and ‘EX91.’ Six sons entered A.I., one of which was her natural-born son, R-Hart BC Collection at Accelerated Genetics. One of his best-known daughters is Top Acres Coll Party ‘2E93’ who sold for a breed record at the time of $86,000 in 2003. Her 91-point daughter, Elm Park Kietz Chiquita ET, was sold to Debora Wickart of Silver Top Swiss, Vermont. She had four daughters, all scored ‘EX91’, ‘EX90’ or ‘VG89.’

R-Hart CD Candy, a full sister to Clar, was purchased by Adrian Zuercher of Switzerland and housed in the states at Lost Elm Farm. She had a 91-point daughter and several other Very Good daughters. Several granddaughters are also scored Excellent.

R-Hart Aytola Cassidy ET was purchased privately at five months old by Kevin Michalovich of R N R Farm, Ohio. “I am a big Christine fan,” said Kevin. “She transmitted for everyone, and Alan was a tremendous advertiser for that cow family. They almost always topped a sale with a Christine daughter for years. Christine had tremendous dairy quality, like she was ahead of her time. The Christine’s had a distinct look, that hard, flat bone that we are looking for today. They had eye appeal and milked well too.”

Aytola Cassidy was flushed resulting in an ‘EX92/93MS’ Dynasty daughter, R N R Dynasty Camille ET. Camille was then bred to Supreme resulting in R N R Supreme Candy Corn ‘EX93’ who was the Reserve All-American Sr. 3 in 2012. She in turn has two Calvin daughters scored Excellent. One of them, Candy Crush at ‘EX92/93MS’ just recently had a Cliff daughter score ‘EX91/93MS.’ The other Calvin, Cotton Candy has a Huge daughter scored VG88. Two other Camille ETV daughters by Brookings, Caribbean and Cozumel were both scored VG88.

“Probably one of the best daughters for us as a brood cow was Christian,” said Alan. “We did a lot of embryo work with her.” R Hart C B Christian *TW (M) was ‘3E92’ and Certified. A Protein Plus cow she had records to 40,200M 1731F and 1412P with a lifetime at 189,800M 7720F 6872P. A Ventures ESP Babaray (W) daughter, she had 52 progeny through an extensive flush program. Her son, R Hart TC Denmark was used extensively throughout the world with 2619 registered US offspring. With over 150 daughters scored Excellent in the United States, the two highest-scored daughters are Arthurst Garbro Dixie ET and R N R Denmark Brooke, both ‘EX94.’ Over 20 Denmark sons were in stud in the US, with additional sons in Mexico, Europe, Japan and more. Another son, R Hart E C Eagle ET *TM was the sire of Sun-Made Gar Bro EG Patsy ET ‘EX93,’ another high-selling prolific cow of the breed. Christian had 10 Excellent daughters with a multitude of additional high-scoring granddaughters.

Another Christine daughter, R Hart CD Connie ET ‘2E92’ was a National Protein, J.P. Eves and H. R. Searles Award winner in 1995. With three records over 1200F and 1000P, her best record was as a 4-Year-Old at 365D 40,390M 5.1 2071F 4.1 1649P. In 1376 days, she had 113,860M 5756F and 4619P. Another Dotson daughter, she had 32 sons and daughters through a flush program as well. Multiple Excellent and Very Good daughters that milked well and sons that made an impact included R Hart PC Courtney ET who was ‘2E92’ with over 33,800M, R Hart Monaco Callie ET was 90-points, R Hart PC Chaney ET was VG88 with 36,700M 1674F 1237P. Connie was also the dam of R Hart EC Exclaim ET at Select Sires. He was the sire of Little Hill Exclaim Lady ‘2E93’ with 39,745M 2311F 1196P. His brother Protein Excite was also at Select Sires. Another Connie son, R Hart Protein Preview at NOBA was the sire of the ‘EX92’ North Lanes Preview Portia and EX90 Groves View Pre Mercedes ET with 31,590M 1421F 1084P.

With 100 offspring and still counting, Christine has had many other daughters, sired by a variety of bulls transmitting the Christine gene pool into today’s breed. Other Excellent daughters include R Hart PR Kyla ET, R Hart Jet Ski ET, R Hart Jetway Clear and R Hart Prophet Package ET. But it wasn’t just her Excellent daughters and granddaughters that contributed to the breed. Regardless of score, the gene pool was strong. Christine’s daughter, R Hart JD Cathy ET *TW was Excellent and had seven Very Good daughters. But it is her lowest scoring daughter, R Hart Pacer Carla ET at ‘+81’ that today holds some significance. A Certified cow, she was the second place Sr. 2 at the Vermont State Show in 1998 and purchased by Iroquois Acres in an Eastern Breeders Sale. A Top Acres Pacer daughter, she milked well with several records over 22,000M and 1000F. Carla’s V89 R Hart Simon Ensign ET daughter was bred to We-Gotta Jetway Frame ET, who in turn was bred to Iroquois Acres V Wampum. That daughter was never scored but was bred to another home-bred bull, Iroquois Acres Z Terror. That mating resulted in the 90-point Iroquois Acres Terror Carly, the dam of this year’s winning World Dairy Expo Champion, Iroquois Acres Jong Cali, and granddaughter, Iroquois Acres Total Candy.


So many of the great cows of the breed, like Gentle Breeze Matt Christine, are the foundations for today’s great cows. And in turn, those great cows of today will continue to transmit the outstanding genes of the past into the DNA of the breed’s future.