The 2023 Elite Breeder award recipient is well known for their profitable, high producing Registered Holstein® cows with high components. Holstein Association USA is pleased to recognize Bomaz Farms of Hammond, Wisconsin for the farm’s significant contributions to advancing Registered Holstein genetics.
Bob and Kay Zwald operate the dairy, alongside their son Tom and his wife Ashley, and daughter Annette and her husband Steve Schalla. Beyond their impressive herd of Registered Holstein cows, the family is known in the dairy community for their honest and humble approach to their work.
Over the years, Bomaz Farms has been an early adopter of genetic tools allowing for faster genetic progress. The family’s aptitude for dairy cattle genetics has resulted in a successful herd of cows, and they have had more than 500 bulls in AI programs across the world with the Bomaz prefix.
“Our goal is to breed profitable, hardworking cows that make money every day and can produce the kind of bull that’s going to make money for the commercial breeder,” Bob says.
The family implements in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer into their genetic program. They also utilize tools such as classification and genomic testing. Seeing their herd’s genetics improve with each generation is rewarding to the family.
“The most fun thing about dairy farming is seeing progress through the generations,” Annette says. “We have two-year-olds that are calving sooner and making more milk, or looking better, lasting longer. You really get to see that happen.”
The farm’s general herd management goes hand in hand with their genetic program. In 2020, the family started milking in a new 40-stall rotary parlor and expanded the herd from 700 to 1,500 Registered Holsteins.
“We really focus on everything that makes a cow healthy and profitable, like good feed, housing and cow comfort,” Bob says. “Whatever makes the cow happy makes us happy, and in turn, she seems to respond with good production.”
The five-time Herd of Excellence recipient has a current rolling herd average of 34,000 pounds of milk, with 4.2% fat and 3.3% protein. In 2022, the Bomaz herd also had an average classification score of 85.3.
Their dedication, careful study of genetics and integrity have allowed the family to build a herd that’s positively influenced Holstein genetics on a global scale. Deserving recipients of the Elite Breeder award, the family says they are humbled to be recognized with the honor.
“I put it back at the family,” Bob says. “It’s an award for the farm, and it surely wouldn’t happen without the family members being part of it.”
About the Award
The Elite Breeder award is bestowed annually upon a living Holstein Association USA member, family, partnership or corporation who has bred outstanding animals and made a notable contribution to the advancement of U.S. Registered Holsteins.