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Breeding the best: Ferme Blondin

Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 29 September 2015
red and white holstein

Ferme Blondin is not only known for walking into the ring with some of the best cows in the world; they are also recognized for breeding them.

The high-caliber Holsteins and Red and Whites from Ferme Blondin have repeatedly captured World Dairy Expo’s top titles – a testament to the intensity and passion found in the people behind the prefix. The farm, located in Quebec, is owned by Simon Lalande with his partner, Kim Côté.

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See their operation in this slideshow.

Together, they have 7-year-old twin boys, Anthony and Thomas. Olivier Lalande is the eldest son of Simon, and he works daily at the main farm while also owning and managing Ferme Blondin Sur La Cote, a second herd of Holstein cows.

Nicolas Lalande is another son of Simon’s who is currently completing his studies at the university while working on the farm on weekends and during the summers. Also helping at the farm are Simon and Kim’s parents during the busy times of the year with shows, sales and cropping.

The farm team consists of several other key players. Herdsman Richard Villeneuve manages the barn team and all 550 head of cows and heifers, preparing them for the shows and working with all the animals. Dann Brady, sales and marketing manager, works on the promotion, embryo sales and genetics of the herd.

Working along side Brady is Maxime Poulin, the farm’s embryo sales representative in Quebec. He visits farms across Quebec to inform breeders of the embryos and genetics available from the farm. And farm and crop manager Marc Ringuette ensures the highest-quality feed for the animals.

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Read on as Ferme Blondin provides an insightful look into the breeding history that has elevated them to world champion status, as well as a peek at the up-and-coming young cows that are raising eyebrows in the barn right now.

q

From Blondin Redman Seisme to Blondin Destry Sally, many cows with the Blondin prefix have gone on to score high and stand in the center of the show ring. Which three cows that you have bred are you most proud of and why?

FERME BLONDIN: Certainly Seisme and Sally would be two animals we have bred that come to mind quite quickly. Both have their own unique stories and both have gone on to be named Red and White Grand Champions.

For the third animal, we would need to name Blondin Skychief Supra-EX-93-3E. Both Seisme and Sally trace back to her; she is the figurehead of the core of our breeding program. A large portion of our herd all goes back to Supra.

q

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Which bulls have made the most profound impact on your breeding program over the years? How so?


FERME BLONDIN: Goldwyn would certainly be one, as he has been a huge part of our breeding program. He has made great cows with awesome udders and lots of style.

Shottle and Red Marker were two bulls that had the ability to make great brood cows with their width and power. They can be found in a lot of our pedigrees.

Starbuck would be one of the original bulls we used on the herd.

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What are a few of the bulls you are currently using?



FERME BLONDIN: Currently in the herd we use the majority of high-type bulls. Our core breeding program centers around deep, well-known cow families and pedigrees.

We want to continue the type with bulls that rank high for type and also come from top families. We are using mostly young genomic high-type bulls at the moment like Doorman, Solomon, Archrival, Avalanche RC, Diamondback RC and Integral RC.

q

When you walked through the barn this morning, which heifers or cows made you feel the most excited? Why?


FERME BLONDIN: A cow that certainly attracts a lot of attention would be Val-Bisson Shottle Imelda-VG-89. She is the dam of the extremely popular bulls Doorman and Integral RC.

Both bulls are at Semex. Along with Imelda, we have her Very Good 88 2-year-old daughter, Val-Bisson Meridian Doriane. She was nominated All-Canadian last year as a milking yearling.

A cow we are extremely excited to get out to the show ring this year is Elmcroft Attic Reta. She will show as a senior 3-year-old this year. She was nominated All-Canadian last year as a senior 2-year-old.

We have recently purchased a share in this exciting young cow, and every time we walk past her box stall, her big black frame and style catch your attention instantly.

A great young cow we are excited about is a Very Good 87 2-year-old Doorman from the Roxy family. She will be in Madison and show as a junior 2-year-old. Her name is Walkerbrae Doorman Locket.

Along with her is a Very Good 87 2-year-old Goldwyn from R Marker Sublime. Her name is Blondin Goldwyn Sunsation, and she comes from the Supra family.

She is a full sister to Subliminale (Excellent 95), who was Reserve All-Canadian junior 3-year-old. Sunsation was first junior 2-year-old at Maxville Spring show, second at Ontario Summer Show and Quebec Spring Show this year. We’re excited to show her this fall.  PD

PHOTO: Blondin Destry Sally-Red-VG-89 is one of the three cows Ferme Blondin says they are most proud of breeding. She was slapped as the Grand Champion Red and White at the Royal Winter Fair last year. Photo provided by Ferme Blondin.

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