Articles

Breeding Cows for a Sustainable Future-Lovholm Holsteins
Lexi Wright

Many breeders can only ever dream of breeding a cow that stands in the top five, or perhaps even a Champion, at World Dairy Expo. Only in their mid 30’s, Michael and Jessica Lovich of Lovholm Holsteins have not only bred contenders but are the breeders of the World Dairy Expo Grand Champion from 2015, Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha EX-96.

The Lovhill lineup (l-r) Lovhill Defiant Rumrunner VG-89, Lovely Braxton Foxy EX-93, Lovhill Goldwyn Sugar EX-93 4E

The Lovhill lineup (l-r) Lovhill Defiant Rumrunner VG-89, Lovely Braxton Foxy EX-93, Lovhill Goldwyn Sugar EX-93 4E

Both originally from Alberta, Michael and Jessica were born and bred into type. Growing up under the guidance of their parents, Garry and Dianne Lovich and Everett and Marylee Simanton (Crestomere), they were actively involved in their farms with Jess participating in 4-H and the Western Canadian Classic. That foundation has played a role in their love and passion for the Holstein cow and breeding long-lasting cows with impressive type.

(l-r) Michael, Raelyn, Reata, Renelle and Jessica Lovich

(l-r) Michael, Raelyn, Reata, Renelle and Jessica Lovich

After they got married, they farmed with Michael’s parents for 8 years in Cherhill, Alberta. In 2015 Mike and Jess purchased the Prairie Diamond Farm just outside Regina, Saskatchewan, previously owned by the Strudwick family. The Lovhill herd was moved at the end of October 2015 to the 72 cow tie-stall barn with track milkers. Here, Mike and Jess have begun to build a new legacy for themselves and their girls, Reata, Renelle and Raelyn. “This was a bigger transition for us than for the cows. It is always tough being further away from family but honestly we couldn’t ask for better friends and neighbours. Harley, Jenn, Dale and Arlyce Strudwick have all been amazing through our transition. The entire extended Strudwick family continues to work with us taking care of custom cropping and helping with silage. Everyone has made our transition much easier and we can’t thank them enough,” said Jess.

The new location has certainly provided some added benefits including a wash rack, feed room and double milkers. An exercise yard for the cows and new heifer facilities are on their list of future improvements. Owning 165 acres and renting another 400 acres, Mike and Jess make all of their own feed plus sell approximately 2000 small square straw bales each year; a contract that was transferred over from the Strudwick family.

Lovholm Holsteins 72 cow tie-stall barn with track milkers and heifer barn.

Lovholm Holsteins 72 cow tie-stall barn with track milkers and heifer barn.

With more focus on feeding and rations they have been able to increase their production while maintaining healthy cows. “Our goal everyday is to produce strong, healthy cows that are conformationally superior, milk well and could fit in anyone’s herd. While we enjoy a great show cow, we realize that they all must do their part at home to make our business enjoyable and sustainable,” said Jess.

It all begins with calf raising. The calves are fed whole milk for three months along with free choice hay and 20% calf starter. Heifers are weaned onto rolled barley and hay with a protein supplement added in. At around 10 months of age they are introduced to silage and allowed free choice hay. In the winter, bred heifers are also supplemented with barley for energy. Cows are fed a Total Mixed Ration (TMR) twice daily plus dry or wrapped hay twice a day. “One of our main goals is providing our cows with a consistent ration. Since moving 2 years ago we have changed rations numerous times to have enough feed to feed our cows consistently. This year was the first year we grew corn and it was also the driest our area has been in 130 years!” said Jess.

Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha EX-96 owned by MilkSource Genetics captured Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo in 2014 and then Grand & Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo 2015

Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha EX-96 owned by MilkSource Genetics captured Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo in 2014 and then Grand & Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo 2015

Two other components Mike and Jess feel are important management tools are milk recording (DHI) and classification. “I think both milk recording and classification play an important role, as far as marketing goes, whether you are selling type or production cows. Classification also allows us to have another pair of eyes in the barn to analyze our cattle. We always learn a lot about what bulls are doing well for other
people,” said Mike.

While Mike and Jess only show at a couple of shows a year, they feel showing and picturing is a great way to get your name out and let people know what you have. “I guess in the end it is one guys opinion for one day but we truly enjoy the social aspect. I don’t think the saying ‘A good picture is worth a 1000 words’ will ever change,” said Mike. As a result, Mike and Jess sell approximately 20 fresh cows per year and sell top notch cattle and embryos from multiple families including Katrysha’s family.

Michael gives credit to Glen Felske who taught him to AI at 14 yrs old- since then Michael has made all of the breeding decisions for Lovhill. He began working at the farm out of high school. Mike has enjoyed the success of the great decisions he has made in that time and over a third of the herd comes from purchases Mike and Jess made over the years. Six main families have provided Lovhill with the foundation and continue to be the focus at Lovholm: Bienert Encounter Kim EX-90 4E, Stanhope Dundee Felicia EX-91 3E, Lovhill Susy Adam EX-96 6E 4*, Lovhill C L Heaven EX-93 6E 2*, Lovhill Gold Aveda EX-93 3E and the Red family, Lovhill Reno Caveman EX-90 3E 3*.

Lovhill Sid Kiesha VG-88

Lovhill Sid Kiesha VG-88

Without question, Bienert Encounter Kim EX-90 4E is the family that has put Lovhill on the marketing map. Purchased as a 2 Year Old for $1800 from Dale Bienert (who is also one of their breeder mentors) after calving early, Kim ended up with two heifers; Lovhill Goldwyn Katrysha EX-96 and Lovhill Sid Kiesha VG-88. In 2012 Katrysha was sold to T&L Cattle. She was then resold to Triple T Holsteins, Entourage and Van Exels; went thru the Intrigue Sale to Butlerview and was then resold to MilkSource Genetics. In 2014 she captured Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair and World Dairy Expo and then Grand & Supreme Champion at World Dairy Expo in 2015. “It was overwhelming the number of texts, emails and
Facebook messages we received. It was great timing for us, we were moving and it was a good opportunity to let people know where we would be,” said Jess. Today Katrysha’s daughter Lovhill Windbrook Kitkat EX-93 and sister Sid Kiesha continue to contribute to the herd through Goldwyn, Doorman and Solomon heifers. After an extended dry period, Kim was flushed in 2014 and 2015 and Gold Chip, Deman and Armani sisters of Katrysha will be calving in late 2017 and 2018.

The first cow Michael and Jess purchased together, Stanhope Felicia Dundee EX-91 3E, is a daughter of Dubosquet Rudolph Falou EX 2E 7* with 5 more generations from the Hanoverhill Faye family. Making over 16,591 kilograms of milk at 3.8% fat and 3.2% protein in her fifth lactation, Felicia has 1 Superior production award and a Longtime Production Award for over 80,000 kgs. Two excellent daughters, Lovhill Braxton Foxy EX-93 and Lovhill Sanchez Fragance EX-90 2*, several other VG daughters, Promotion Falou VG-88, Goldsun Felony VG-85 and McCutchen Frozen VG-85, and a number of grand daughters make this family a big presence at Lovhill. Foxy’s full sister Funky EX-93 was sold in 2015 to Tom DeGroot and then later to Tom’s partner, Stranshome. Funky was Grand Champion at the Mid West Spring National and Minnesota State Show and 3rd 5 Year Old at World Dairy Expo in 2017.

The excellent daughters from Susy Adam that continue to breed on at Lovhill include, Lovhill Goldwyn Sugar EX-93- 4E, the 3rd Mature Cow Westerner 2016, Lovhill Triumphant Sydney EX-93- 3E, Lovhill Goldwyn Spice EX-92, Lovhill Redliner Snowflake Red EX-90 and Lovhill Triumphant Sunshine VG-88. Sold to Skycrest Holsteins, Lovhill Goldwyn Skedaddle EX-93- 2E was Grand Champion at the Alberta Dairy Congress in 2013.

With a Long time production award for 100,000 kg to her credit, Lovhill C L Heaven and her two Excellent daughters, Goldwyn Haven EX-91 3E and Triumphant Heart EX-91 1*, along with daughters and granddaughters continue to bring great type and outstanding production to the herd. A granddaughter of Reno, Lovhill Defiant Rumrunner VG-89 was recently 1st 4yr Old and Honorable Mention Grand Champion at Alberta Dairy Congress. She is projected for over 18,000 kilograms of milk and has Beemer and Toppi calves at Lovholm. Lovhill Gold Aveda EX-93 3E is a Pure Gold daughter of Narcis Terrason Awesome EX-90 2E 2* and has a great future ahead of her with a VG-86 Windhammer daughter.

Mike uses bulls from the best families along with corrective mating in his mating decisions. “We never pick a bull based on genomic numbers but rather on cow families and proofs. Always focused on type and functional traits, I stay away from bulls with high pins or 3 to 4 on rump,” said Mike. These guidelines, in addition to consulting with Jess, has provided them with good type functional cows that milk.

4_Lovhill Sanchez Salty

Lovhill Windbrook Kirkat EX-93

New bloodlines for the herd will be coming from recent purchases from the families of KHW Regiment Apple EX-96 and Mapleley Goldwyn Lots EX-90. An Archrival from Apple is owned with Jess’s brother Lee Simanton and sister Sandy Kingdon. Two 2017 heifers by Doorman and Diamondback from Lots will also have an impact.

Mike and Jess share a goal to hire full time help so they can spend more time with their kids and focus on the business side of the dairy instead of just daily chores. “Whether it is family or cows – time and details matter,” said Jess.

Involved in the community, Jess has brought her figure skating coaching abilities to the Cityview Skating Club just outside Regina. Both Jess and Mike are active in their church and are committed to the monthly school and farm tours they provide. “Being close to the city there is a lot of opportunity for us to help educate urban kids. We will continue to host tours and be advocates for agriculture because it is something we believe in and love. It is important not only for our communities and country(economically/ sustaining life) but also to our family. There is no question this is the best place to raise and teach our children about life,” says Jess.

Mike and Jess share a drive and dedication that will see them realize their future goals. Jess hopes to open a farm store some day, while Mike plans to continue to breed show ring contenders and has his sights set on a Master Breeder shield.

Farm Stats
-80 Cows
-Lovholm Holsteins (prefix Lovhill) owned by Michael & Jessica Lovich and family
– 72 Cow Tie-stall milking 65-70 cows
– own 165 acres and rent another 400
– Herd Classification: 14ME 8EX 42VG 16GP 1G
– Herd BCA: 254-256- 267 (39kg, 3.72, 3.34) (11830kg, 432kg, 390kg)
– Bulls currently using Capture, Chill, Unstopabull, Jacoby, Solomon, Diamondback, Douglas and a bit of Dempsey


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