A feature article in our Summer 2021 issue written by Lynette Wright.
Coulee Crest LLC is home to one of the hottest families in the Guernsey breed. The “L” family is building a lasting legacy of index, production and type. Coulee Crest, located in Cashton, WI, is owned by brothers Kurt and Scot Peterson. The farm was started by Kurt and Scot’s grandparents and then their father Don took over in 1958 and milked 50 Registered Guernseys. Kurt came home from college in 1996 and farmed together with his dad, until the early 2000’s when brother Scot left his off-farm computer job and came back to farm full time with Kurt.
Presently, the Peterson’s milk 240 cows with 70 Guernseys, 15 Ayrshires and the rest are grade Holsteins. They use the Holstein heifers as recipients for Guernsey embryos. Kurt estimates that at least 40% of their Guernsey herd goes back to the L family on the maternal side. The matriarch of the family is Flambeau Manor Decision Lori, EX-90, who was purchased as part of an embryo package. Her dam was Flambeau Manor Enhancer Lana, EX-92, who had several EX daughters and is backed by two more EX dams.
Lori, who is A2A2, had a best record of 3-09 365D 3X 44,250M 5.9% 2,600F 3.0%1,313P and over 184,000M 10,000F and 6,000P lifetime. She was at one time the #1 CPI Cow in the breed and had several EX daughters. Lori’s first daughter was Coulee Crest Nick Lorilyn, EX-91, who also went on to be the #1 CPI cow in the breed and made a high record at 3-05 365D 3X 42,440M 5.3% 2,254F 3.1% 1,298P, with over 107,000M 5,700F and 3,500P lifetime. In turn, Lorilyn’s first daughter, Coulee Crest AP Lorilee, also scored EX-90, was the #1 CPI Cow and completed the Guernsey breed’s first three generations of 40,000M cows, with a best record of 2-10 365D 3X 41,180M 4.7% 1,945F 3.5%1,425P. Furthermore, one of Lorilee’s daughters, Coulee Crest Copper Leenah, VG-88 completes four generations of #1 CPI Cows!
According to the American Guernsey Association, the sire with the most registered daughters in 2020 was Coulee Crest Novack LamBEAU, who is a son of Leenah siring stylish calves, including several All-American honorees. The sire with the fourth most daughters was Coulee Crest Grumpy Legend, a son of Lorilyn, and the fifth most was Coulee Crest Fame Latimer, a son of Lorilee. In addition, another son of Lorilee, Coulee Crest Conqueror Logo is the current #1 Active bull. It’s easy to say the L family is having an impact on the breed! “Beau is making really deep ribbed, balanced heifers that can be pretty fancy and show well, while Latimer is probably the best udder bull to come from the family yet.
Logo makes a more commercial cow,” Kurt expressed.
Two granddaughters of Nick Lorilyn were the All-American and Reserve All-American Senior 2-Year-Olds in 2020. Royalty-Manor HP Lite-It-Up-ETV, owned by Haley Beukema of New Richmond, WI, was the Intermediate Champion and Reserve Grand Champion at the National Guernsey Show in Louisville. She was one of the first Guernseys to score VG-89 (EX-MS) as a 2-year-old under a Holstein USA Classifier, and Lite-It-Up also ranks in the top 100 of CPI Cows. Her maternal sister, Royalty-Manor Fame LastCallCrush-ETV, VG-88 owned by Triple J Genetics from Australia & Valley Gem Farms, Cumberland, WI, was 2nd at Louisville. Both cows are housed at Valley Gem Farms. They were bred by Jade Kruschke of New Richmond, WI. Their dam is Coulee Crest AP Lexi-ET, VG-88. The Petersons showed Lexi as a Spring Calf at World Dairy Expo where she placed first and was later named All-American Spring Calf in 2013. They sold her in the National Convention Sale the next year for $19,000 to Jade Jensen (now Kruschke). Lexi went on to be Junior Champion at Louisville as a Spring Yearling and was the Reserve All-American Junior 2-Year-Old in 2015 and Junior 3-Year-Old in 2016. She also made a best record of 2-02 365D 2X 30,470M 3.9% 1,182F 3.1% 946P.
Another branch of the L family is home to the current #1 CPI Cow in the breed, Coulee Crest Pilot Lava, VG-88 A2A2. Lava’s dam, Laredo Lalita, GP-84, is also the #10 CPI cow. The next dam is Decision Lori herself. Daughters of Lava have been topping sales for over a year and her Toby Keith daughters are currently the #1 and #2 CPI heifers in the breed, owned by James and Linda VanPatter of Wisconsin. Lava’s story is an interesting one Kurt explained “Lava’s dam is still in the herd on her fifth lactation now with over 140,000M lifetime and almost 8,000F. We had flushed her as a heifer since she was out of Lori, and got two daughters. We sold one and kept the other, which was Lava. However once Lalita calved in she was a nice cow, a really good milk cow, but not an elite cow, so we didn’t flush her again until just this past year.”
Kurt continued “Lava was a nice solid heifer, wasn’t a show heifer but had nice balance and strength. I remember really liking her as a heifer… and she genomic tested really well. She helps prove that genomics, even in Guernseys, helps find the elite animals. She was coming due to calve at 1-11 and she didn’t udder up. We had the vet check her and learned she had a mummy calf in her. We lutalyzed her and she kicked the calf out about a week later. We wanted to keep her genetic line going so we did IVF her one time, she didn’t make a lot but we did get two heifer calves from that. After that we stuck her in with a bull because we just wanted to get her bred, and she did calve back within a year at 2-11, so that was her first lactation. She really looked nice when she calved back in. Her udder is well attached and she milks great, and she IVFs really good now too!” Her 2-11, 365 day record finished at 27,590M 5.6% 1558F 3.6% 997P.
Peterson’s have IVF’d Lava to several bulls including Toby Keith, JCPenney, Theo, James Dean, London and Drone. Two Toby Keith sons are in AI, Tsunami is at Semex and Hurricane is at ST Genetics, and they should be released later this year. Lava has daughters spread all across North America with several daughters in Canada helping reinvigorate the breed up North! Lava is due to calve with her third calf this summer.
“The IVF and embryo work we’ve done the last 10-15 years, and utilizing our Holstein heifers, allows us to sell and market a lot and generate income. We generally have 90-100 Guernsey heifers calves a year since we do so much ET work. The demand for Guernseys is really good! The past several years Guernseys have consistently been selling better than most and there are a lot of new buyers in the breed. In the past couple years we’ve sold to several farms in Canada,” Kurt exclaimed.
Coulee Crest has a long tradition of breeding and developing long lasting, high producing cows with strength and balance. The prefix is routinely found at the top of index lists, production lists and show results. The L family that the Peterson’s have developed is further proof of that. Don Peterson was honored with the American Guernsey Association’s Master Breeder Award in 2006, the same year Kurt Peterson won the Young Guernsey Breeder Award. The future looks to hold more awards and accolades as the L family continues to grow and spread across the globe.