In April, Holstein Canada will honor the recipients of the Master Breeder Award for 2016. One herd being honored is the Embrdale Farm herd, owned by David & Cathy Stockdale and family of Asphodel-Norwood, ON.Read more Cowsmo Master Breeder profiles on Cowsmo!
Embrdale Farm is located in Asphodel-Norwood, ON and is owned by David & Cathy Stockdale and family. The Stockdales, along with their children Steven (Kelsey), Cameron (Emily), Brett (Erin) and Rebecca, who make up the fourth generation living and working on the family farm, will be receiving their second Master Breeder Shield.
Currently, Embrdale Farm is home to 145 head, 65 of which make up the milking herd. The cows are housed in a tail-to-tail tie-stall barn made up of 62 stalls, eight boxstalls along with six dry cow stalls. There are ten Excellent cows, 49 Very Goods and 16 Good Plus scored cows in the herd. They have been on three-time-a-day milking since 1989.
Cows are fed a TMR mix that includes haylage, corn silage and high moisture corn, with a purchased protein supplement and minerals. The Stockdales own 310 acres and rent an additional 180 acres of cropland. Corn silage and high moisture corn are grown on 100 acres, while another 100 acres are devoted to oats, used for greenfeed or straw, all underseeded. They also raise 250 acres of hay for herd.
Bred heifers reside in an open-front pack barn from two until 14 months, in groups, on a sawdust pack. Calves under two months are raised in hutches.
There are three cow families that accounted for the majority of the points for this Master Breeder Shield: Embrdale Goldy Astre VG89-7*; Embrdale Honor Rudolph EX91-5E-3* and Embrdale Connie Lincoln EX-7*. All the homebred cows contributing points originate back to one of the original registered purchased made by the farm: I B F Calamity Finest.
The have purchased a couple of stand-out cows, who are great individuals with strong cow families. These include Kingsway McCutchen Aratatat VG86-2YR, from the Terrson Allie family, who was the winning Junior 2 Year Old at the Peterbourough County Show in 2016. Aratatat has a Megawatt daughter in the herd.
Another purchased stand-out includes Willdina Cup LilBit Z VG87-3YR, who hails from the Lylehaven Lila Z EX94-22* cow family, and was the winning Senior 3 Year Old at the 2016 Peterborough show.
They try to do conventional flushes once or twice a year, but have had mixed results, and implant most resulting embryos.
Sires that they have used with good success include Talent, Astronomical and Gibson, and rightnow they are milking quite a few daughters of both Windbrook and Fever. When selecting sires, they look for a complete package: bulls with plus deviations and plus for milk as well.
In 2003, when the border closed, the Stockdales began using Red & White sires, particularly in their Goldy Astre family, through her Talent daughter. Today, they now have 12-15 Red & Whites or Red Carriers in the herd. In the past five to six years, they have begun to incorporate polled sires into their breeding program and now have about 12-15 polled individuals, with some due this fall that will be third generation polled.
The first Master Breeder Shield for Embrdale come in 1999, and they are thrilled to have won the second one as it illustrates the progress that they have made with their breeding and management programs, and serve as proof that they are on the right track. Besides achieiving two Master Breeder Shields, the Stockdales consider their greatest achievements to include breeding their first All-Canadian 4-H Heifer, Embrdale Finesse Federal, as well as nomination in the Milking Yearling Class, Embrdale Exquisite Lauthority. Both these cows are favorites in the barn today, and they have great hopes for them for the future.
The goals the Stockdales hold for themselves for the future include working with their family to continue to improve the farm for future generations.