10 Generations Times Two! Ayrshire families writing the breed history book

This article was featured in our 2019 Fall Special and was written by Kathleen O’Keefe.

Grand-View Calimera Dane EX-94 is a 9th generation Excellent for Tim & Katie Busch. She is a full sister to the dam of Del Ray, one of the Ayrshire breed’s 10th generational Excellent Cows. Photo provided.

In our Fall issue, we published a story about the 20th generation Excellent Holstein, and that got us thinking about the longest lines of Excellents in the other breeds. There were several outstanding Ayrshires in the show ring that caught our eye this fall, so we thought we’d explore that breed next. Ayrshires can count a line of 10 generations of Excellent, but the breed has two families with that claim to fame!

Rooted in eastern Wisconsin, the first, and more populous, line is the ‘D’ family that traces back to Will-Ayr’s Duchess EX-90. The first four generations of Excellent cows in this line carry the Will-Ayr’s prefix of the Willer family. Ross Westphalen of Chapel Hill Ayrshires owned Will-Ayr’s Dynamic long enough to get two daughters and the fifth generation Excellent, Chapel-Hill-Ayr’s Heligo Delet EX-91, was one of those heifers.

Tim & Katie Busch of Grand-View Ayrshires in Cecil, Wisconsin always had a good deal of interest in the family. They had owned the 2nd generation cow, Will-Ayr’s Dizzy EX-90, a number of years earlier, and were quite familiar with the whole maternal line. When the Westphalens dispersed their herd, the Buschs bought Heligo Delet, who was scored VG-86 at the time. “We got her at a pretty reasonable price, as she was a bit backwards and was going to have a longer dry period,” remembers Tim. “We weren’t really focused on the generations of Excellents at that time because I don’t think her mother was even scored Excellent at sale time. We just really liked the family.”

A breeding to Woodland View Pru Olympic 2 resulted in Grand-View Oly 2 Diva EX-90, the only EX daughter of Delet. Diva produced over 205,000 lbs of milk and produced six natural daughters, of which four went Excellent and one Very Good. Diva scored Excellent on the same day as one of her daughters, so the Buschs jumped from five generations to seven generations of Excellents in one day. With four EX daughters, the number of possible offspring poised to continue the line certainly increased.

Mackinson Burdette Donkey EX-92 is a 10th generation Excellent and was 1st Senior 3-year-old at the 2018 Illinois State Fair. Photo Cowsmo.

Diva’s Forever Schoon MM Cornelius daughter, Grand-View Cornelius Drama EX-91, produced a Blackaddar B B Kellogg heifer that would go on to be arguably the most well-known cow at Grand-View. Grand-View BBBK Dreamer EX-94 5E has been twice nominated All-American in milking form, won the World Dairy Expo Ayrshire Futurity, has a top record of over 26,000M and close to 150,000 lbs lifetime, and she was named the Wisconsin Cow of the Year in 2016 in a recognition ceremony at World Dairy Expo.

And if excelling in all those areas wasn’t enough, Dreamer’s most impressive feat has been as a brood cow. Still alive at 13 years of age, she’s now a permanent dry donor. She’s sold embryos worldwide and has over 50 daughters around the globe in six different countries. Tim mentions that when international visitors come to the farm during World Dairy Expo, they are always interested in purchasing embryos from anything related to her. Her EX-91 granddaughter, Old-N-Lazy Dream of a Diva, was the Intermediate Champion of the 2018 International Ayrshire Show.

Dreamer’s Calimero daughter, Grand-View HP Calimero Dane-ET is now scored EX-94 – the breed’s maximum score – so now the family has back-to-back EX-94 cows. Nominated All-American 5-Year-Old in 2017, Calimero Dane is now entering an IVF program with thoughts of an initial flush to De La Plaine Vicking.

Grand-View Calimero Dea-ET EX-91 EX-93-MS, a full sister to Dane, was the All-American Junior 3-Year-Old in 2014, after winning her class and the Futurity at Expo.  (Her sister, Grand-View Diamond Burdette EX-91, Reserve All-American Junior 3-Year-Old in 2012 also was a Futurity winner at Madison.) A 9th generation Excellent, Dea looks like she may follow in the brood cow steps of her mother, Dreamer. Her Forever Schoon Predator daughter, Grand View Predator Del Ray-ET, scored EX-90 at 3-02 earlier this year, making her a 10th generation Excellent from this family.

The next in line at Grand-View? Del Ray has an April, 2018 B-King daughter due in April, so that is probably the next potential EX for the Buschs. “The family breeds very consistently. I watch the components a bit, but they throw really good udders and really correct feet and legs. I think about 40% of our herd traces to the family at this time,” notes Tim about his thoughts on the family in his 45-cow herd.

That consistency is what attracted Mary Mackinson Faber of Mackinson Dairy in Pontiac, IL to the ‘D’ family initially. Well, to be honest, she admits her initial purchase was a bit serendipitous, but once involved, they haven’t looked back!

Hawksfield Bronara-ET EX-94 4E, pictured at 13-years-old, was one of four EX sisters, but ultimately her line produced the first 10th generation EX. photo provided.

“I went solo to the 2007 National Ayrshire Convention in Ohio. As the co-chair of the 2008 National Convention that we were hosting in Illinois, I was there to give the welcome speech and presentation. I happened to sit next to Tim Busch, who I didn’t know, and we really hit it off. We found out we shared a birthday, we had a few Coors Lights, and…the next day at the National sale, I bought Grand-View Sakic Danza, the calf he consigned,” recalls Mary. “The hard part was calling my brother Matt and telling him the news. ‘What did you buy and how much did you spend?’ were his first words,” she laughs.

When Danza scored Excellent as a three-year-old, that purchase looked a lot smarter as she became an eighth generation Excellent cow. The friendship between Tim & Katie Busch and the Mackinson family has continued, and Mary expresses her appreciation for the cow family. “They’re big cows and they milk, which pays the bills in the end. They are a very true-breeding family and they’re ‘get down to business’ cows – they’re always up in the first group to get milked.”

The Mackinsons milk 150 cows in central Illinois corn and soybean country, and farm about 2000 acres. Mary’s dad Donald, her uncle Ray and her brother Matt farm full-time on the operation. They milk primarily Holsteins, but about 30% of the herd is Ayrshire, and they do like to get the Ayrshires out on the tanbark when they can.

Mackinson Oblique Darcy-ET EX-91 3E is a Jelyca Oblique daughter of Sakic Danza. She was Reserve All-American Spring Calf in 2011 and did lots of winning as a calf and yearling. She scored EX as a junior 3-year-old, and they then started flushing her, which has resulted in several daughters, five of which are now 10th generation Excellents. She’s now 8-years-old, fresh again this fall and will be re-entering IVF.

Burdette worked especially well on Darcy, and two of her best daughters are Mackinson Burdette Donkey EX-92 and Mackinson Burdette Diamond EX-91. Donkey was 1st senior 3-year-old at the 2018 Illinois State Fair, and Diamond won the junior 3-year-old class the same year. Mackinson Burdette Dynamite was the 2016 All-American Fall Calf after winning her class at Expo, and Mackinson Double Dare was nominated All-American Winter Calf the same year – both are daughters of Darcy. Dynamite is VG-87 and Double Dare is now EX-90, and one of the 10th generation Excellent cows.

After the intial success with Danza and the family, the Mackinsons purchased some embryos from the Buschs out of Calimero Dea EX-91. Grand-View Predator Dazzle EX-90 and Grand-View Gibbs Donut EX-90 are two more 10th generation EX cows on the farm that are the results of that purchase. Dazzle’s 9/18 B-King daughter was Junior Champion at the 2019 IL State Fair, and placed 7th in the biggest class at the International Ayrshire Show in Madison.

The potential 11th generation EX at Mackinson Dairy may not be long in coming, as a Reagan daughter of Predator Dazzle recently scored VG-85 as a summer junior 2-year-old. Whether she is the first 11th generation Excellent or not doesn’t seem to matter much to the Mackinsons. They’re not in a ‘space race’ with Buschs or anyone else to have the first; they just really enjoy working with the family. “They’re good looking cows that milk well, have some stature and good udders,” is the consensus from Matt Mackinson.

For the other 10-generation Excellent Ayrshire family – which was actually the first family to 10 generations – we turn our gaze east to Perry, Michigan, home of Charles Sayles and his Hawksfield Ayrshires. Named the 2019 Master Breeder by the American Ayrshire Breeders Association, Charlie is legendary among breed enthusiasts for his encyclopedic knowledge of Ayrshire pedigrees.

Hawksfield March B Bronara made history in April, 2017 scoring EX-90 as a four-year-old and becoming the first 10th generation EX for the breed. B Bronara fulfilled the promise of a purchase Charlie made 26 years earlier when he purchased a cow by the name of Englan Royal Command Bud. Under Charlie’s care, she achieved the then-possible score of EX-95 3E.

A mating of Bud X Desblay Rebel Willy created one of the finest Ayrshire cows in history, Hawksfield Bronara-ET EX-94 4E, who lived to over 20 years of age. Nominated All-American Aged Cow in 2001, Bronara also received the Living Lifetime Production Award in leading the breed with her astounding totals: 352,302M 4.3% 15,073F 3.4% 11,824P. Bronara was one of four Excellent maternal sisters and as a 6th generation EX group they produced nearly 900,000 lbs of milk in their careers at Hawksfield. Charlie sold some embryos to the UK, where a Trident daughter scored EX-93 and has established another line of EX cows in England.

Hawkfield Boomer Bronara EX-92, a Mackayr Bonny’s Boomer daughter of Bronara, was next in line as the 7th generation EX. She was nominated All-American Aged Cow in 2005 and her Maple-Dell Avenger Sarge daughter, Hawkfield Song Bronara-ET at EX-91 2E became the 8th generation EX.

By this time, Charlie had slowed down somewhat in flushing his cows, and there were fewer daughters of each cow to continue the line, but a natural daughter of Song Bronara by Palmyra Raven Billick kept history marching forward. Hawksfield Bronara Rose More EX-90 had her first calf in September of 2012 by a homebred bull named Hawksfield Forward March. That heifer, Hawksfield March B Bronara, wrote a new chapter in Ayrshire history when she scored Excellent in 2017.

“The Bronaras really have good udders and good feet and legs. I protected the front-end width somewhat and they could lack a bit of capacity as young cows, but the family always had high components and they matured into really good older cows,” assesses Charlie.

B Bronara has a two-year-old Maple-Dell Burdette Dempsey daughter milking in another herd, so the line has potential to keep adding to its total. Charlie quit milking his 40-cow 50/50 Holstein and Ayrshire herd last year. He continues to raise some calves and heifers on his central Michigan farm. He owns several head in partnership with Dru and Sara Mercer in Indiana, and that is where many of the best members of the family reside.

And here we circle back to Grand-View Ayrshires in Wisconsin. Tim Busch bought some Woodland View Pardner embryos from Charlie out of an EX-92 Red-Wagon Sharon’s Last daughter of Englan Royal Command Bud – the seminal purchase made by Charlie. One of those embryos turned into Hawksfield GVA Pardner Blue-ET EX-91 4E. Nominated as a summer yearling in 2010, Blue now has over 172,000M with a 4.3%, and is due again this fall as a 10-year-old. Her EX-94 Burdette daughter, Grand-View Burdette Burgandy, is an 8th generation EX in that branch of the family.

Burgandy has a natural daughter by Family-Af-Ayr Doublwhammy that is now a bred heifer, and she also has four March, 2019 daughters by Family-Af-Ayr Distinction that could be the 9th generation EX Bronaras at Grand-View. It seems fitting that these two families co-exist in the same barn and look to continue to set Ayrshire breed history into the future!

Maternal Lineage of 10th Gen EX Families

Mackinson

  • Will-Ayr’s Duchess EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Dizzy EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Destiny EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Dynamic EX-90 2E
  • Chapel-Hill-Ayr’s Heligo Delet EX-91
  • Grand-View Oly 2 Diva EX-90 2E
  • Grand-View Paddy December EX-90
  • Grand-View Sakic Danza EX-90
  • Mackinson Oblique Darcy-ET EX-91 3E
  • Mackinson Burdette Donkey-ET EX-92 (and sisters)

Grand-View 

  • Will-Ayr’s Duchess EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Dizzy EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Destiny EX-90
  • Will-Ayr’s Dynamic EX-90 2E
  • Chapel-Hill-Ayr’s Heligo Delet EX-91
  • Grand-View Oly 2 Diva EX-90 2E
  • Grand-View Cornelius Drama EX-91
  • Grand-View BBBK Dreamer EX-94
  • Grand-View Calimero Dea-ET EX-91 2E
  • Grand-View Predator Del Ray-ET EX-90

Hawksfield

  • Reidina Finarra
  • Reidina Tradara
  • Reidina Bronara
  • Reidina Royal’s Bronara
  • Englan Royal Command Bud EX-95 3E
  • Hawksfield Bronara-ET EX-94
  • Hawksfield Boomer Bronara EX-92
  • Hawksfield Song Bronara-ET EX-91 2E
  • Hawksfield Bronara Rose More EX-90
  • Hawksfield March B Bronara EX-90