Two hours northwest of Toronto, ON, in Bruce County, is the town of Mildmay, ON, which is home to Florbil Holsteins. The Bross Family, will be receiving their second Master Breeder Shield this year!
Give a brief History of your operation. How did you get started in purebred cattle? How have the facilities changed over the years?
Our parents bought the farm in 1949 and like most farms at the time, it had cows, horses and pigs. In the early 1970’s we go out of the pig business and there were 9 cow stalls added in the barn to bring the milking herd to 39. We installed our pipeline in the late 70’s. We (Dan & Jeff) were in 4-H and that played a huge role in us getting interested in showing and good cows. During the 1980’s there were herd dispersals almost every week and Dad started to buy a couple of good pedigree heifers to help improve the herd at a faster pace. We took over the farm from out parents in 1991 and shortly after that the farm was entirely purebred. In 1992 we added another 9 cow stalls in the barn, making room for 48 in total.
Who is currently involved in the operation? What are their roles?
Dan and Jeff run the farm together and share in all aspects of the business.
How many cows do you milk? What is your current herd classification and herd production average?
We milk 48 cows, all purebred Holstein. Our current herd classification is 25 EX, 33 VG & 6 GP, and their average BCA’s are 260-283-267. In January 2017 we hit a major herd milestone of 100 homebred Excellent cows!
What bulls are you currently using? Do you do any embryo transfer or IVF?
We are using Doorman, Unix and Solomon. We’ve flushed cows for many years and we continue to do so on a regular basis.
How many acres do you manage? Do you grow all the crops you need or do you buy and sell feed as well?
We farm 300 acres and grow hay, corn and barley. The milking herd is fed a TMR ration of corn silage, haylage, barley, corn and supplement. The dry cows receive corn silage and dry hay, while the heifers receive corn silage, baleage and grain. Calves get dry hay and calf feed in addition to whole milk.
What cow families have most impacted your herd and contributed points to this shield?
Florbil Gibson Penny EX 5E 12* has been an incredible foundation cow for us and currently is the dam of 9 EX daughters, sired by Goldwyn, Morty, Lauthority, Jordan and Lyster, and 12 VG daughters.
Florbil Outside Samantha VG-87 4* is backed by several generations of VG and EX dams and goes back to the Roybrook Model Lass family. She has contributed three daughters, all with multiple E’s, to the herd.
An up and coming family that we are excited about is the Lilly family! Florbil Windbrook Lillian EX-93 is backed by 5 generations of VG and EX dams and is the dam of Florbil Doorman Lilly, who scored VG-89 on her first lactation. Lilly was All-Canadian and All-Ontario Milking Yearling 2017 after winning the Milking Yearling class at the Royal. We own her in partnership with Quality Holsteins, Beckridge Holsteins, Oscar & Eric Dupasquier and Agriber, and we’re very excited about her future!
Describe your thoughts on winning this award! Is this something you’ve always had as a main goal for your breeding program?
We received our first Master Breeder shield in 2002 and it is such a great honour to be receiving a second one! To have our prefix acknowledged amongst so many other great breeders in this country and to be recognized by Holstein Canada is a privilege for us.