A Holstein bull that has had a huge impact on the breed has been recognised with a new award and special resting place.
Bundalong Marks Medallion, which died in June, just shy of its 14th birthday, after siring thousands of daughters, has been named the first Holstein Australia Legend of the Breed.
The popular bull produced more than 500,000 straws of semen in his lifetime. Genetics Australia's breeding and genetics manager Peter Thurn said few bulls had had the impact of Medallion.
"Its ability to produce a cow that suits Australian conditions was unparalleled," he said.
"The consistency of its daughters and their magnificent udders cannot be matched.
"Very few bulls have been held in such high regard by the farming community.
"It’s breeding value contains many thousands of daughters and it still ranks amongst the breed's best for mammary systems and farmer likeability."
Mr Thurn said many commercial farmers were milking multiple daughters of Medallion and still have more to milk in coming years.
Brian Anderson said the family was proud to breed such a successful bull. "It was never a star as far as breeding values go, but he produced daughters that farmers wanted," he said.
"It has gone over a big portion of the national population of cows and it had such a long career.
Because (Medallion) lasted till nearly 14, farmers had the opportunity to use it again and again because they got what they wanted."
"People are still using it today. I know a farmer who bought 200 doses last year and wants to use them over a long period of time on certain cows."
Born in 2005, Medallion was bought by Genetics Australia is early 2006. "Its indexes were good, but he was never right at the top of the tree," Mr Anderson said.
"It wasn't the number one bull but when it first graduated with a proof; it had the best ever ranking for udders with 119.
"People used it at the start because of that but when they milked its daughters, they thought `wow, I need more of these'."
Ten years after Medallion's initial proof, it was still 110 for udders, 106 for type, 110 for body depth, 107 for chest width but only 94 for stature, rear udder height 112, rear udder width 110, milking speed 102, temperament 103, likeability 104.
"These are the traits farmers really want," Mr Anderson said. "That's what farmers are asking for, shorter animals with plenty of grunt about them. "It had incredible longevity.
When it was nearing 14, it could still match it with the young bulls as far as what farmers really want." Mr Anderson said he was amazed at the positive response from farmers, often delivered anonymously.
To listen to an interview with Brian Anderson regarding MEDALLION's Legacy, click here
Bundalong Marks Medallion - Holstein Australia Legend of the Breed winner
Brian Anderson accepts the Holstein Australia Legend of the Breed Award
Few bulls have had the impact of Bundalong Marks Medallion
(L-R) Brian Anderson and Bill Anderson with Genetics Australia's Anthony Shelly
"You hear people talking in general conversation about a bull that's a cracker and they had no idea we'd bred it. That's really pleasing; it's coming from the heart," he said.
Bundalong Holsteins has had many successful bulls, but Medallion stands out.
"We feel very humbled and gratified to receive the award, especially as it's the first in Australia and it will only be presented when it's justified," Mr Anderson said.
The Andersons have an avenue of honour of cows and Medallion's ashes will be buried there under a headstone.
ts legacy will also live on in its daughters who continue its features and strong production values that make money for farmers.
"Medallion typifies what we're still trying to do," Mr Anderson said.
"We're trying to breed what you'd call the best bull, not necessarily the highest bull on the indexes.
Only a certain number of traits are calculated into the breeding value; you have to take into the account the traits that aren't in that but still have value."
Holstein Australia chief executive officer Graeme Gillan said the Legends of the Breed award was introduced to recognise bulls that had made major contributions to the industry across generations. Mr Gillan said Holstein Australia's breed development committee wanted to acknowledge bulls that had made a tremendous contribution to the breed.
"Medallion was a bull that fit the picture," he said.
"The award wasn't necessarily about whether it was ranked number one, it reflected the feedback of farmers milking his daughters.
"All the feedback we've had through our members and the general industry was so positive that we felt this bull has had the most user satisfaction as we've seen for a long, long time in Australia."
The award will not be given annually award will only be allocated when there is an appropriate winner.
SOURCE: The Australian Dairy Farmer / Stock & Land