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His second crop exceeds expectations FrancE

Gilbert Fond Boulieu



It’s a female world

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IN THIS ISSUE Cover story

It’s a female world


Muri End-story Starlight is the highest End-Story for GTPI in the world

France / 1

Gilbert Fond, he did it his way


Gilbert Fond is part of a handful of breeders who, right from the start, had confidence in the Italian Holstein genetics

France / 2

Boulieu, the age of reason


where passion and common sense go hand in hand



his second crop exceeds expectations

Mighty Mincio



/ CONTRIBUTORS / Walter Accerenzi, Giancarlo Bertoli, Massimo Callegaro, Augusto Colombo, Didier Michalak, Delia Pertici, Domenico Restelli. Semenzoo staff. Graphic design:

Italian Style the Magazine of Semenzoo Italy via Casorati 2/1, 42124 Reggio Emilia - Italy -

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GENOMICALLY CORRECT We had never discussed it until now. Not because we didn’t know of its existence, or because it didn’t affect us directly, or because…“everyone else is already talking about it”. Quite simply, we wanted to wait until we understood a little more about it. We haven’t understood everything about it yet, but we do know one thing: we like genomics. And we talk about it a lot in this edition of Italian Style. What we like about genomics is that it makes selection programmes less uncertain, and that it has rekindled the interest of many investors, and made the genetics market more dynamic. We like it a little less, however, when the genomic indexes make people forget everything else. When genomics becomes an end unto itself. What we like is when it is seen correctly as an additional scientific tool available for experts, technicians and dairy farmers to refine their breeding work, and when it allows them to strengthen - with the support of laboratory analysis - what it says in the pedigrees, and in the (well-run) progeny tests. And we will like it even more when it is extended to the entire registered population, throughout the world, and is not just limited to a narrow élite.

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Cover story

IT’S A FEMALE Muri End-story Starlight is the highest End-Story for GTPI in the world, and as such the eyes of all the AI Holstein industry are on her.

WORLD Her sister and brothers by Numero Uno have already secured record prices even before their birth.

WORDS: Giuseppe Beltramino ~ PHOTO: Augusto Colombo


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In the last years, the advent of genomics has focused the spotlight on the Muri prefix. Two of the highest Planets in the world for GTPI descend from one of the best families of this herd. Claudia and Stefania Morisiasco, with their father Mario, run the Muri herd at Caraglio, in the province of Cuneo.

At the 2012 Holland Masters Sale, the top price was a first choice of Numero Uno from Muri Planet Popsy VG 87 GTPI 2435, sold for the princely sum of 101.000 euro. That seems a good point for beginning our conversation with Claudia and Stefania. When it comes to certain prices, is it more about

very satisfying results in the past. The best results at

work or good luck?

national shows came from cows which came before

“Well, those two things don’t have to be mutually

Popsy. To cite one example, there was Muri Comi

exclusive. Fortune favours the brave, after all. In our

Quayanna, that won all sorts of prizes in the early

case, being brave is all about passion, dedication and

1990s. But lately interest from AI organizations in

perseverance. To get excellent results with cows, one

this family had tailed off, and to be honest I’ve never

must never lower one’s guard, neither from the point

quite understood why. Perhaps the traditional proofs

of view of genetics nor from the management point of

were not high enough? Probably, the old method

view,” says Claudia, the elder of the two sisters.

of calculating indexes did not fully reflect the real genetic potential of these animals, a potential that

Was it really genomics that led to the discovery of

we, however, always saw. Indeed, we believed in the

this family of cows?

females of this family, and we always mated them

“Rather than a discovery, I would call it the

with the best bulls of the day, and in some cases we

rediscovery of a family which had already given us

also got some embryos”.

Erica, Stefania and Claudia Morisiasco with a End-Story calf

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So, a round of applause for genomics?

milking parlour”. “What’s more, to be honest, there’s a

“In this instance, rather than “predicting”, genomics

lot more pleasure in milking fine-looking cows,” adds

officially confirmed the real value and genetic


superiority of this family. The thing we are most pleased about is that the genomic tests don’t just

It’s great to see young, go-getting women like

highlight these cows’ vocation as good producers,

yourselves running the family herd themselves, in

but also their conformation. We have always been

person. What’s your background?

convinced that extreme type and production can - and

“Stefania and I have always followed the evolution of

must - exist side by side; we have always wanted to

our herd, although our parents never pushed us into

explode the myth that anyone who selects for type

it. We always took an interest, by ourselves. Shows

loses out on production. Good-looking cows also

certainly have a great attraction for young people in

make a lot of milk! Even before they enter the ring

that sense, with their combination of competition and

at shows, correct type is useful in the barn and in the

a convivial atmosphere, inspiring them to emulate


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To get excellent results with cows, one must never lower one’s guard, neither from the point of view of genetics nor from the management point of view.

others around them. When we were very young,

Stefania, Claudia and Mario Morisiasco with Starlight

together with our cousin Ivan (who now operates the water buffalo herd), we couldn’t wait to go to the next

Muri End-Story Starlight GTPI 2291

show with the animals that we had personally washed and prepared for weeks”.0 Despite this precocious start, none of you ever went on a course to study livestock management... “For me, as well as Holsteins, my great passion has always been foreign languages. That’s why I did a degree in English language and literature. At one point, I even thought of becoming a teacher… But then things turned out differently, obviously. Stefania, on the other hand, took a diploma in


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accountancy, and worked for three years for a chartered accountant before deciding, to my great pleasure, to embark on this challenge with me. Obviously, everything we learnt at school is very useful to us also on the dairy farm: to me, for handling relations with foreign suppliers, clients and colleagues, and to Stefania, to allow her to handle our business’s accounts”. As well as you two, there is another pair of sisters that is doing a lot for the the Muri herd, isn’t there? “That’s right: Popsy and Pepsy are two Planets that, thanks to their genomic indexes and their type traits, are attracting the attention of a huge number of experts in the sector. Popsy, the taller of the two, is the first cow in Europe for GTPI. A few months ago we sold a half-stake interest in her to Giorgio Rossetti’s Al.Be.Ro herd. Popsy has a very fine daughter by EndStory that will be auctioned at Cremona this year”. Aren’t you sorry to sell your best animals ? “It wasn’t easy to decide to sell Popsy, but it seemed to us to be the best decision. Apart from anything else, the decision was made easier by the quality and professionalism of the purchaser… In fact, I think Stefania and I are not yet qualified enough to manage commercially an animal of such an internationally high standard, to the proper level. Our positive experience with Popsy encourages us to try the same route with her daughter, Muri End-Story Starlight. At any rate, we still have many other members of this excellent family in the herd. For example, the Bolton dam of Popsy has just calved for the fourth time, and she had another... girl!”

Location Il Filatoio Rosso di Caraglio, Cuneo, Italy Thanks to Laura Vietto


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the Bolton dam of Popsy has just calved for the fourth time, and she had another... girl!


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France / 1

GILBERT FOND He did it his way

Gilbert Fond is part of a handful of breeders who, right from the start, had conďŹ dence in the Italian Holstein genetics.

WORDS: Didier Michalak ~ PHOTO: Augusto Colombo


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On the left page: three Wyman x Ofait (full sisters), Gilbert Fond with his brother Laurent and his father AndrĂŠ.

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Baptiste, Coline (Laurent’s kids) and Xavier Hory with H8971 Fon (Wyman x Ofait).

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“The first bulls we used were Complete, Comi, and Dubois. In those days I was a technician. And to visit the national show in Cremona, we crammed ourselves into a car and once in Cremona, we camped out!” On the 1st of January 1999 Gilbert took over the farm GAEC de la Boutarie from his father André. From then on it continued under the name of SCL Fond-Meley. This farm, with 80 Holstein cows and 150 hectares of land, is in an urbanized area in the outskirts of Saint-Etienne.

SINCE THE MOMENT I STARTED, I HAVE HARDLY EVER FOLLOWED ANY TRENDS OR CHOICES OF THE AI-ORGANIZATIONS At first glance Gilbert comes across as a kind and very quiet person, however, hidden behind this “Zen stance” is a strong persuasiveness. This helped him stick to his own breeding decisions and fend off any influences. “Since the moment I started, I have hardly ever followed any trends or choices of the AI-organizations.” What was it about Italian genetics that appealed to you? “In the first place, their farming environment is very similar to ours: the cows don’t enjoy any grazing. These circumstances influence the breeding decisions. As an example I take the Canadian bull Storm, who in Italy – contrary to France – always had a good breeding value and today still sets the standard for longevity. In the Loire department, for instance, we have used the Italian bull Skywalker a lot over a certain period, very satisfactorily where longevity is concerned. Today he has many daughters amongst the cows with 50.000 kg milk or more. Later on also the price-quality ratio became an important argument.” What role do Italian genetics play in your breeding program? “This varies. I prefer European genetics, except for special cases such as AltaRoss, for instance. The bull Garry Fon (Colombiano x Socca x Tresor) of Genes


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Diffusion is a perfect example of our philosophy.

What is your approach to breeding?

During the past 24 months, 100 heifer calves were

“I voluntarily limit the use of genomic bulls to 20 -

born at our farm of which 72 are sired by Italian bulls.

25%. I mostly believe in DNA testing on the female

The most prevalent bulls in this group are Wyman (8

side, and I plan to have about 15 females tested.

daughters), Ralstorm (7), Struik (5), and Fibrax (5).

My goal is to do 50% of the ET flushes with cows that

Per bull I try to get 4 to 5 daughters and later, when the

have proven themselves, and 50% on heifers, provided

bull confirms, I continue with the best ones. Looking

their DNA indexes for fitness are very interesting.

back, I should have used Iron and Elayo-Red more.

I absolutely don’t want to continue breeding with cows

When we look at today’s pregnancies, we see Glauco, Artes, Mascalese, Goldfish, Berryhill, Parocas, and BB King. For the 2012 season I am using Nedveo, Mascalese, Mincio, and Eudon.” What are the most important criteria in your breeding program? “Nothing very original, I attach much importance to longevity. I don’t aim for extremely high first lactations. I want a maximum number of cows with more than 50.000 kg. I think feet and legs are equally important as udders. When I think that a trait has been well-anchored for three or four generations


already, I dare apply a compensation mating.”

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Adrien (Gilbert’s son), Coline, Baptiste and Xavier

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Coline with H1888 Fon, a daughter of Artes out of Fantasy Gardenia (Iron x Mtoto).


two-year-olds and heifers each year. At present, I only do ET flushes with sexed semen, and we are very satisfied with those. Over the last 5 flushes (with Artes, Goldfish, Glauco, Wyman and Struik), for instance, I have realized an average of 12 usable embryos. One third of the “sexed” pregnancies come from embryos. I carry out the inseminations exclusively with the help of small tubes, which enable me to insert the sexed semen as deep as possible.”

that are unable to produce 50.000 kg of milk without any problems.”

As far as official functions are concerned: Gilbert is a board member of Prim’ Holstein France (the herd-book organization of French Holstein breeders) and chairman of the Open Show for Heifers in

You do use ET a lot. Why?

Saint-Etienne, of which he is one of the founders.

“We have indeed concentrated on the development of

He is planning to sign up a Teatro daughter, a Struik

embryo transplantation, but also on the use of sexed

daughter, and a daughter of Ralstorm for the next

semen. In the past we purchased lots of young heifers,

edition, which will be held on October 27 and 28.

because we have a wide clientele for fresh heifers. However, with sexed semen we are autonomous and

Many thanks to the entire Fond family for the

don’t need to buy anything anymore, which reduces

pleasant reception and their time. And thanks to

our veterinary risks. It is a challenge to sell around 50

Xavier for his helpfulness and his 2CV.

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France / 2


Francis Michel

WORDS: Didier Michalak ~ PHOTO: Augusto Colombo


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On the 8th of December 1966, 358 Canadian-imported Holsteins came to the barns of Domaine de Boulieu, owned by Messrs. Ravier and Rebotton in the French Isère.

The age of reason 19

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Now that the best sires are also available, we only use sexed semen from Italian bulls.

Norbert Viallet


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Never before in Europe was a breeding operation the

We also weigh somatic cell score heavily. We aim for

cause of so much emotion and commentary!

functional animals that fit well in our environment

It must also be said that at the time, individual

and can easily do their work.”

mating had a lot in common with chess: black for the Fries-Holland bulls and white for the Charolais bulls.

What led you to Italian genetics?

In 1980 some people still had doubts about the

“It was the price-quality ratio, absolutely. With

usefulness of Holsteins, which was illustrated with

450 milking cows, semen purchase is an important

the publication of the book, “The Holstein: miracle

item in our budget. I must admit that Italian bulls

or mirage?” However, after some turbulence, today it

were originally our second or third choice, which, in

appears that “Boulieu” has developed into a mature

hindsight, did not result in the best matings.”

dairy farm. We posed the following questions to farm manager Francis Michel.

What share do Italian bulls have in your breeding program?

What are your priorities in breeding?

“I do not know exactly, but their share is growing.

“Currently, Boulieu has 450 milking cows and 10

After a first round of observations, when we did

employees. This size has an influence on our breeding

not immediately use the very best Italian bulls, we

selections. By way of example: we like to use bulls

are now very satisfied and are currently using more

whose calves are easy to raise. We avoid short teats,

and better Italians. Of the last 150 heifer calves that

because having milking units fall off decreases the

were born, 119 are from Italian bulls, including 36

tempo in the milking parlour.

daughters by Struik, 23 by Ralstorm, and 13 by Berryhill. We are very satisfied with Struik. Right now we are using Artes, Parocas, Wyman and Berryhill, but also confirmed proven bulls like Ralstorm, TKO and Scooby-duu, whose milking daughters provide great satisfaction.” You started using sexed semen? “Of course! It has become increasingly difficult for us to market our bull calves at a good price. Now that the best sires are also available, we only use sexed semen from Italian bulls. The price-quality ratio allows us to stay within our budget.” As you can see: at Boulieu, passion and common sense go hand in hand, just like economics and technology. In addition, the enthusiasm and motivation of the people are a delight to see. This makes Boulieu a unique showcase for genetics “Italian Style”.

Merci! Thanks to Francis and Norbert for their hospitality and patience… and lunch, of course!


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Prince His second crop exceeds expectations

in the view of industry experts, Prince’s second crop results went well beyond all their expectations. However, for many dairy farmers in italy, they were simply conďŹ rmation of what they have known for a long time now: Prince is an exceptional sire, and one that they can trust!

The August 2012 proofs have established New Farm Britt Prince as the most important second crop bull on the Italian scene, and beyond. In fact, Prince confirms his presence at the top of many foreign lists, and he is even the number one bull for cell count in the world! Prince sires longevity, fertility, low cells, high components and very strong feet and legs: all the fitness traits that are so important today, in any modern breeding program. In his pedigree you find three great Italian sires, sires that have gone down in the history of Italian genetics: Britt, Mtoto, Skywalker. Prince has got the best from each of these: from Britt he got the fitness traits; from Mtoto the perfectly correct and functional feet and legs; and from Skywalker the milk quality, and the ability of his daughters to mature with age. And while his daughters were maturing one lactation after the other, Prince kept improving too, always remaining in the top 1% rank since his very start, in August 2008. Here are the enthusiastic comments of the breeders who have used him, some right from his very debut, and who have many daughters milking.

Martinelli Prince doroty vg 85 Meridiana Prince Mira vg 86

words: Intermizoo Staff ~ PHoTo: Domenico Restelli


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Bas Farm Prince Quaffa GP 84 and Basano family

Basano Herd, Airasca (TO), 176 cows with a 13.600 kg average “Today, four years after we first used his doses, we are milking 8 daughters of Prince, and 4 more heifers will calve at the end of the year. Plus, we have the same number of young heifers and several pregnancies. The group of cows that we have is striking for its uniformity for type and production. Both as young calves and as cows, they are very aggressive at the feed bunk, and show a great will to milk, with a flat and persistent lactation curve. They average around 36 kg a day, with good components and optimum milking speed. We still have some doses of Prince and we will use him again, because with each passing day we are more and more convinced that he is a great bull�.

Quaffa with Matteo, Ilaria, Marta and Aurora


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Diego Simoncelli, Giancarlo Bertoli, Matteo Simoncelli, Stefano Botturi

Postumia Herd of Matteo Simoncelli, Marmirolo (MN), 230 cows with a 13.100 kg average (2011) “At the moment, we have 26 daughters of Prince, of which 7 in milk. It is the best daughters group that we are milking, with much better udders than I expected. Just to be clear, I am comparing them to the daughters of some of the best Italian and foreign bulls for fitness and milk quality”.

Herd of Alain Pelizzari, Ricengo (CR) 700 cows with a 10.000 kg average (2011) “I breed at 12-13 months, therefore our heifers calve at 21, maximum 23 months of age. The Princes calve and produce well, they have no metabolic problems, feet and legs are exceptional also here, where everything is on slatted floor. I have no fewer than 50 daughters of Prince, of which 8 milking, and they are cows which I am completely satisfied with. I would say that Prince is the best bull I’ve ever used in the last few years!”.

Giancarlo Bertoli and Alain Pelizzari


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Herd oF MassiMo FiliPPini, MonTodine (cr), 280 cows wiTH a 10.000 kg average (2011) “We have 19 Princes, 9 of which are milking, and two of those are from his first crop, therefore they are in their fourth lactation, and are the best two in the herd. They have never had any kind of problem. What’s more, Prince is exceptional for cell count. In my brother’s herd, his first 11 Princes in production have perfectly adapted to the milking robot!”.

Massimo Filippini

dr MaTTeo Boggian, Herd Manager For THe Maccarese Herd, roMa, 1.832 cows “It would be much better to have 100 of them milking, instead of only 10! This bull is a knock-out! The Princes that we are milking reflect exactly the kind of cows needed for our kind of herd: balanced and functional cows, ideal for free stalls, with good feet to walk long distances! We need cows that produce for a long time, to write off the expenses of the replacements. In the future, genetic programs should focus more and more on heat stress resistance, and to me the Princes seem already selected for this trait: during the hot and torrid summer we just went through, none of them had any problems, not even in getting pregnant!”.

Maccarese farm


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Fantasy Prince reja vg 85 with erica and eleonora

FanTasY HolsTeins oF ezio & guido oiTana, scalengHe (To), 227 cows wiTH a 11.200 kg average This is where Fantasy Britt was born, the father of Prince. “Oh yes, I would certainly recommend people use him, for sure. I think his udders are better than you could imagine based on his proof. All our three Princes have better udders than their mothers, with good ligaments and teats well placed under the quarters. Prince is the ideal sire especially for those herds that need to milk without management problems”.

Herd oF Pierluigi FiliPPini, Fiesco (cr), 300 cows wiTH a 11.000 kg average (2011) on a Milking roBoT “Of course, in a herd like mine, having the ability to adapt to the milking robot is a must. The Princes seem perfect for the robot, thanks to the perfect position of their teats, well centered under the quarters, and this makes it easier for the robot to attach to the udders”.

Milking robot at Filippini Farm


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Pival Prince armenia vg 86 eX Ms and Fabio Piva

s. anTonio HolsTeins oF FaBio & gianni Piva, casalroMano (Mn), 180 cows wiTH a 11.400 kg average (2011) “We have 12 Princes, 5 of which in milk. Prince’s daughters are strong, rather than big, and they keep a uniform BCS from the moment they calve till they go dry. This allows them to keep a positive energy balance, which favors good heat signs, and results in a very low calving to conception interval. I have used Prince as a production bull, to have quality milk and fitness traits, so I was very pleasantly surprised to also get two show cows, one of which has won the Best Udder title of her class at the Gonzaga show. In my opinion, Prince compares to Mtoto, one of the greatest bulls of recent years”.


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For centuries, the river which he takes his name from has flowed calmly and majestically into the fertile Po River valley. It is here that Mincio was born, the formidable outcross bull now standing at the top of international rankings, the result of an unexpected cross: Bolton x Iron x Mtoto. This is his story as told by his breeders, the Bertaiola brothers. What often happens to people who come here from

with Marion, then Modest, Bolton and Shottle. The

Mantova, shrouded in fog, is that they find the sun…

flushing with Bolton has been the one that gave the

The Bertaiola herd stands at the very beginning of the

best bulls: Mincio and Comanche, then we had 4

moraine hills surrounding Lake Garda, on a hillock

heifers, 2 of which we sold to Holland. They are doing

that is always exposed to the sun, where it is easy

very well there, and they are both classified VG-86

to farm. The Bertaiola farm is run by the brothers

at 2-yr-old: Bertaiola Bolton Serena and Bertaiola

Silvano, Mario and Franco, as well as by Mario’s sons,

Bolton Lidia. The latter is the dam of the Alexander

Cristian and Elvio.

Nr.1 GTPI in Europe! Exactly, as it happened, the

The first barn for around 20 cows was built in 1974,

two full sisters of Mincio gave birth to two heifers by

and the farm is currently being renovated, for the new

Alexander shortly before being sent to Holland”.

facilities to accommodate today’s herd of 180 cows.

In view of the excellent results, the Iron immediately

Of the three brothers, the one most passionate

proved to be an excellent investment, and this began

about cows is Silvano, who is helped by his nephew,

to whet the appetite of the Bertaiola family, as Silvano

Cristian: “We only made our entrance in high-quality

explains: “Yes, we had very good heifers, but mostly

genetics recently, with Bel Iron Irene bred by the

good bulls, which right away attracted the attention

Beltramino brothers, that we bought at a sale in

of many AI organizations… I did several flushing with

Verona in 2003. We did the first flushing on the Iron

the sires suggested by the sire analysts, but at one


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Silvano and Franco Bertaiola

WORDS AND PHOTO: Delia Pertici


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point I wanted to do it my way, and I used Bolton.

fantastic barn animals, cows with strength, but not

I was looking for an outcross bull, to avoid

too big, which he likes, “because cows that are too big

inbreeding, and besides I liked the bull. The Iron was

can create problems in the barn”.

practically flawless, and I knew I could use any bull

The Bertaiolas used 10 doses of Mincio while he was

on her! I say “was” because, unfortunately, we lost

on test, and they now have an 87 points daughter.

her last year, in an accident. Still, she was definitely a

All those who saw Mincio’s daughters say they are

great bull dam, and she bred so well.

exceptional cows: good type, high fertility, very good

As I recall, Giancarlo Favaretto, sire analyst for

milkability... perfect cows for free stalls: “With over

Semenitaly (today part of Inseme), would have

130 daughters, all around 83 -84 points, Mincio is a

preferred to get the other bull: he did not like the

bull you can trust, and I believe he will stay on top of

name Mincio, and he thought the other bull was

the rankings for a long time. Besides, there are very

better-looking, but we had already promised him

few good bulls available without O-Man, Shottle or

to Ciz. Mincio was really beautiful, but type-wise

Goldwyn,” adds Silvano.

his brother was indeed better-looking, and longer

At the moment, the Bertaiola brothers are working

bodied... In fact, when we loaded them on the truck,

intensively with one of the Boltons, and they also

they both stuck out a hand’s breadth more than the

bought more embryos, hoping to get other interesting

others, and now they tell me that, as adults, the two

animals. “It’s become fun to work with high level

bulls are gigantic”.

genetics, I like the idea of having animals people care

Comanche, Mincio’s full brother, should have his first

about, that have international recognition.

proof next January, most likely with positive results.

You see that the farm’s accounts don’t change all that

In the herd there are also two very good full sisters to

much if you use money on an animal at auction, and

Mincio, and according to Silvano these Boltons are

sometimes you can get lucky, too, and make some

Valle Mincio 83 VG87


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BERTAIOLA MINCIO ET TY Bolton x Iron EX 90 x Mtoto VG 85 Nr. 8 in the official Italian GPFT ranking Nr. 14 in the top-100 GTPI bulls in the US with +2165 GTPI, 1123 milk, +.07% fat and +.00% protein, +2.91 type, +3.71 udder and +2.92 feet & legs. With his +3.71, he is the best udder bull in the top-50 in the US. Nr.11 in the Canadian LPI ranking, with +2699 LPI, which makes him the best bull for udders in the top-100 for conformation.

His dam produced more than 70.000 kg of milk, with 4.68 fat and 3.36% protein in 5 lactations. Behind his Mtoto grand-dam, we find an Ex 91 Astre and, behind that, Bel Mark Susanne VG 89 - EX MS. Even further on, there is a VG 85 Inspiration from EX 91 Ronchi Mars Pamela.

money. We bought an Active that we later sold to

one single mastitis in 10 years... fantastic. And her

Holland, and she has a bull in AI, and a polled 2 year

daughters and her granddaughters by Mincio look a

old which many AI organizations are interested in.

lot like her in terms of will to milk and solidity.

Of the two Boltons we kept we have two beautiful

We are not interested in cows to be put in a window

Beacons, and then a bull at Semenitaly. In addition,

to show to others; we want cows that make milk and

we have several pregnancies and some embryos in the

fill the bucket. If they also produce bulls which go to

tank. Let’s hope for the best... A daughter of the full

AI, so much the better!”

sister to Mincio which is in Holland has been sold for 40.000 euro,” a delighted Silvano told us. However, he stressed that all this genetic work has in no way distracted their attention away from their objective, which is producing milk. “Our best cows are always in the barn with the others. If there is quality, it should stand out, even in the toughest conditions. The Boss Iron, for instance, even when she was a young heifer with contracts with two Italian AIs, we kept together with the other cows. When someone suggested we keep her in a separate box, I told him: If she has to last and be profitable, she must stay with the other cows... and, in fact, she lived to the age of 10, even after 15-16 flushing! She was truly exceptional, never a sore foot, only

The Bertaiola brothers, from left: Mario, Silvano and Franco, with Cristian and Elvio, Mario’s sons.


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