Starting 2011 off right, Jersey Canada’s Board of Directors has approved a new system for recognizing progressive breeding of registered Jerseys. The system has been developed as a result of an extensive amount of effort by a dedicated working group of Jersey owners with assistance from Jersey Canada staff. The new process of naming a Jersey Canada Master Breeder is based on the productivity, conformation, longevity and transmitting ability of males and females bred in each herd.
The first recipient of a Master Breeder Award based on this new points-based system is Bridon Farms Inc., owned by the Sayles family of Paris in Western Ontario. Brian and Donna Sayles and their sons Bruce (with wife Carolyn and family) and Jeff (with wife Julie and family) are all involved in the operation of this world-renowned dairy herd. These families contain the third, fourth and fifth generations to work with outstanding registered Jerseys. In a happy turn of events, Bridon will also receive a Holstein Canada Master Breeder shield in 2011!
The Jersey Canada Master Breeder Award recognizes sustained excellence in breeding registered Jerseys. The Bridon herd currently features a classification total of 23 Excellent, 50 Very Good (19 first lactation) and 15 Good Plus cows with none lower. The latest rolling herd average on 80 head is over 8000 kilograms of milk, 375 kilograms of fat and 300 kilograms of protein.
Since Bridon Farms was founded in 1964, the herd has lived up to the ideals expressed in its long-standing advertising slogan: “Where type and production meet”. Proof of this success is found in an impressive array of winnings from major shows in North American, abundant success by numerous exported Bridon animals, All Time Canadian production champions, high ranking herd averages for production and classification, and satisfaction from buyers of Bridon genetics.
The herd has been source of National Grand Champions in the show ring in both the United States and Canada. For more than four decades, Bridon has had All Canadian nominees each and every year. This herd was the source of Bridon Generator Gladys, the first Jersey to make more than 20,000 pounds milk in Canada in 305 days. This cow was a major contributor when Brian Sayles was named Jersey Canada Master Breeder for the first time in 1986.
A vital aspect of being a Master Breeder is sourcing superior foundation stock and then breeding great Jerseys from them. The Sayles family have excelled at this role. An early days purchase of the first cow in the Gladys family proved the family’s skill in finding true transmitting cows. The Gladys line was followed by purchase of Hases Babes Lad Charo, who founded a strong family at Bridon after becoming a World Record Holder for Jersey milk production in 1990. Other purchased stars establishing cow families at Bridon include Sooner Jennifer, Favorite Lassie Lou, Sample Patrice, Jaspar Renaissance Evening and Premonition Grace. Huronia Centurion Veronica, the EX-97% Supreme Champion of the World Dairy Expo and exceptional brood cow was part of the Bridon herd early in the last decade. Her full sister, Huronia Centurion Virginia Ex-93-3E, is a cornerstone cow of the current breeding program, with over 200 embryos marketed worldwide to date from this cow.
The Bridon practice has been to use well-known and popular breed-leading sires on foundation cows and focus on the desired combination of type and production in the succeeding generations. This policy has paid off handsomely with sires like Bridon Jade’s Exploit at Semex coming from the “Charo” line and well known sires Bridon Remake Comerica, Excitation, Jamaica all flowing from the “Evening” family. These bulls as well as a large number of females from the “Evening” family contributed many points toward the 2011 Master Breeder award, with more young sires from later generations of the family being added to young sire sampling programs each year.
Judicious use of embryo transfer over the past three decades and more has allowed the Sayles family to expand upon the influence of great cows, share genetics through live animals and embryos with other Jersey breeders and raise the overall quality of their herd to world-leading levels. In fact, Bridon was the first Jersey herd in Canada to use embryo transfer technology starting in the 1970s.
An additional laudable aspect of the life and work of the Sayles family has been their willingness to give back at the local, provincial, national and global levels. Brian is a Past President of both Jersey Ontario and Jersey Canada. He and Donna devoted over half a decade to serving as Co-Chairs of the 2005 World Jersey Cattle Bureau International Conference coordinating committee when Canada played host to the Jersey world. In 2006, Brian and Donna received Jersey Canada’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of four decades of leadership and dedication to the Jersey breed.
Bruce and Jeff were named National Young Jersey Achiever recipients in 2006, with both serving on Jersey Canada committees. Both Brian and Bruce have judged Canada’s National Jersey Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Brian abd Jeff have both officiated at the World Dairy Expo. Brian has jugded All American Jersey shows along with a bevy of judging assignments outside North America.
Over the past two decades, Brian has also received three prestigious awards for cattle showmen: the Curtis Clark award at the RAWF, the Klussendorf award at the World Dairy Expo and the Max Gordon Recognition Award at the All American Jersey Show.
Congratulations to the Sayles family for their success with the Jersey breed and sincere thanks as well for the commitment they have shown to advancing the breed in Canada and internationally!