A feature article in our Late Fall 2022 issue written by Julie Ashton.
The purebred dairy show cattle world is a very results-driven industry. People travels thousands of miles to watch, exhibit at or purchase from the elite shows every year. There comes a point that every young person involved in the dairy industry must decide their future – and with the industry ever-changing, those options are vaster than what they ever have been before. For Tyler Endres, he has paved his own future combining a love of dairy farming and cattle fitting.
KnH-Endres, located in Lodi, WI, started as a small Holstein farm by Tyler’s parents, Kevin (a 5th generation farmer) and Heidi. Tyler began clipping at shows and sales 10 years ago while in high school and quickly grew an affinity for it and traveled throughout the Midwest and beyond. “I always enjoyed Holsteins and never thought I’d venture out,” commented Tyler, “but after I started clipping, I learned to appreciate and admire the great cows of other breeds. It also helped that I started working for and became friends with some of the best breeders in colored breeds.” Today, KnH-Endres is home to 45 milk cows and 60 head of young stock and they milk all seven breeds. “We appreciate a good one no matter the color of her hide,” remarked Tyler.
Tyler credits two mentors for his start and success in the colored breeds. Kurt Wolf of Old-Bankston Ayrshires and Keith Fisher of Hard Core Farm. “Kurt was a friend early on in my clipping career. I was clipping at the Wisconsin State Ayrshire Show and he had a pretty little spring calf. I had no intention of buying an Ayrshire, but Morgan tripped my trigger,” recalled Tyler. Old-N-Lazy Gibbs Morgan was out of Sharwards Calimero Megan (EX-94 3E), whose daughters had been lighting up the show ring over the last few years for Kurt and Mike Maier. And Morgan was no exception, earning All-American or Junior All-American nominations in 2015, 2016, 2019 & 2020. She was in her prime as a 4-year-old, earning Grand Champion honors of the Junior Show in Madison for Tyler’s sister, Mikayla.
“Kurt definitely helped keep the success going with Morgan, and I always went to him for advice and more importantly mating decisions,” remarked Tyler. Merci is a Burdette daughter that will show as a junior 2-year-old for Tyler. Morgan’s other Burdette daughter, Mayhem, was named Junior Champion of the 2018 International Ayrshire Show for Linda and Leslie Bruchey of Maryland and was Unanimous All-American Summer Yearling. Now scored Excellent and housed at Palmyra Farms, Mayhem has two show-winning daughters sired by Reagan: Maleficent was Reserve All-American Summer Yearling in 2021; and Morticia was 1st summer yearling and Reserve Junior Champion in Madison this October.
Tyler credits Keith Fisher for his entry into the Milking Shorthorn world. “When I was 16, Keith hired me to work for him at Harrisburg; I had never worked a complete string for anyone before that and it was my first ever plane ride!” recalled Tyler. “I knew I was working for Keith Fisher, but I didn’t know him from ‘Adam’. I didn’t realize who I was actually clipping for until I saw Hard Core painted on the showbox!” Over the past decade, Keith has turned into a great friend to Tyler and a source for advice.
Tyler purchased his first Milking Shorthorn privately from Michelle Upchurch in 2015. “She was an Excellent, just fresh, aged cow, with a nice pedigree and has been All-American Milking Yearling in 2010,” Tyler said. When Tyler did some more research, he soon realized that Mi-San Acres Othello Lulu (EX-91 2E) had a deep maternal line backed by Mi-San Acres Lola (EX-92 3E), a 2X All-American herself and had a pedigree to market from. “She has been such a huge asset to my foundation in the breed,” remarked Tyler. “I’ve always believed in starting with some of the best blood and building from there.” And Tyler has done just that.
Her most well-known daughter is KnH-Endres Zues Legenedary (EX-92 2E), All-American from 2017-2020, with three of those titles being Unanimous. In 2017, she was Junior Champion in Madison and followed that up with a Reserve Junior Champion title in 2018. She won Madison again in 2019 and was named All-American in 2020 after a limited show season. Legendary’s first daughter, KnH-Endres Comanche La-Di-Da was 4th out of 24 spring calves in Madison this fall, and Tyler plans on marketing her full brother, Legend Man, in the coming months. Lulu’s other daughter, KnH-Endres Living In A Shadow (VG-88) was nominated All-American Winter Yearling in 2019. Legendary and Living In A Shadow are both still in the herd and will continued to be developed.
While all seven breeds are currently represented at the farm, Tyler admits the Milking Shorthorns dominate his herd. Winning the 5-year-old class in Madison this year was Molehill Lottery Caliente (EX-92 2E), a cow owned in partnership with Mike Gregory. The last two years Caliente has been a Unanimous All-American and her Reserve Senior Champion nod on the colored shavings has boosted her chances yet again this year.
Lands-Brooks KnH Zeus Chilli Pepper was Supreme Champion at the Iowa State Fair earlier this summer and was owned in partnership with her breeder, Larry Landsgard. She was sold to Peter Vail before Expo, and went on to win the fall calf class, and eventually was tapped as Junior Champion. “When Larry sold his cows, he wanted to keep a few – Chilli Pepper’s dam was one of them – and our partnership was formed,” commented Tyler. “She is one of the earliest partnership calves on the ground and we’re really excited for her future.” She is a Zeus from an EX-92 Megadeath daughter of Lands-Brook Chippewa (EX-93 4E), from the same family as 6X All-American Lands-Brook Christine-EXP (EX-96 4E).
While breeding and developing his own herd is important to Tyler, he attributes a large part of that to his parents. “They have been my biggest supporters, and without them, none of this would be possible.” Tyler is referring to the fact that he is on the road 300+ days a year, either clipping at sales, shows or other herds. When Tyler is home, he is completely hands-on; while on the road, he communicates daily about anything that arises – every decision is discussed whether it be a mating choice, a change in diet on heifers or which cattle need to go to certain shows. “My clipping career has taken me further than I ever imagined. When I first started, I struggled with the idea that I could make a living doing it. Not only have I done that, but I also have made more connections and learned so much from people I admire and respect,” commented Tyler. “Growing up, we always showed and had success at the local shows, but once I started clipping, we changed gears and were able to compete at national levels,” he said. “In this business, you can learn as much as you want to, just by talking to and watching how other people work and that can take you a long way.”
Another niche that Tyler has explored in the last 5 years with great success is a boarding business. While somewhat limited on room, they make the most of what they have on the farm currently, housing cows in a 42-stall barn with 5 boxstalls. They also have a barn for general population heifers and a separate area for show and sale heifers. When home, Tyler rinses heifers daily during show season to promote topline hair growth. Plans are also under way to build another barn for bred heifers and dry cows that would have a pack on one side which could accommodate more milk cows if needed.
“When it comes to boarded cattle, we treat them all as if they are our own,” said Tyler. “We try and keep the owners involved by sending them photos since most of our clients are out of state. When it comes to decision-making, we ask what their goals are, if there are certain shows they want to go to and so forth.” Tyler attends numerous shows around the Midwest with his own and boarded cattle, earning ribbons everywhere he goes. He and his family have accumulated over 50 All-American or Junior All-American nominations they have either owned, or bred, between five different breeds. And, that number is sure to grow after the 2022 show season Tyler had.
To date, World Dairy Expo 2022 was Tyler’s largest string of cattle he was solely in charge of, and a what a week they had. “I’m a firm believer there are two keys to success: first, is having the animals ready. They are on a pretty consistent pattern at home, and I keep it the same at the shows. The second key is a good crew; it makes everything go so much easier if you have people that you can rely on and trust.” Tyler and his crew cared for 27 head – 14 animals came from his farm, with 5 of them owned by he and his family, and 11 of the 14 were milk cows. Of those 27, 21 were top 7 or better. “Considering we only milk 45 cows, my family and I took pride in the fact that almost 25% of the cows in our barn medaled at Madison this year,” commented Tyler. “For me, I only try and take cattle that will land in the top 6, but a solid goal is to go home with a metal.”
The biggest thing Tyler had noticed with his boarding business is the consistency and long-term care that is directly related to the results at the end of the year. “We take care of most of the cattle that we board year-round, but there are ones that come 2-3 months prior to the fall shows or to gear up for spring sales. I’ve noticed that we are really able to see a difference if we keep them for longer, however. So many of our young cows really develop and mass out over their dry period after their first lactation if they stay with us,” Tyler added. “We take as much if not more pride in the boarded cattle as we do our own. It’s a great feeling seeing them mature and succeed in the future.”
While the 2022 season is wrapping up, Tyler already has his sights set on 2023. “We plan on continuing to work with our board clients throughout the winter and welcoming new clients in the coming year,” remarked Tyler. “Personally, I hope to continue breeding, developing and marketing genetics that will compete in the ring.” While clipping abroad has been his focus for the last decade, Tyler does admit to hoping to slow down and spend more time at the home farm because he’s found a lot of enjoyment there. Whether as a breeder or a fitter, Tyler Endres and KnH are names that the industry will continue to hear over the loud speakers for years to come.