Ulrich performance breeding in the 20th century
This section of the website is dedicated to historical information. Why are the animals from Braunvieh International so good and well known? Are they the product of random breeding, natural selection, or is there a carefully planned selection and mating process in use that has been tried and proven for over a century of Braunvieh breeding with 5 generations of Ulrichs? The answer is clearly the latter and this part of the site shows you some of the highlights of over a century of careful breeding.
Each of the buttons on the left takes you to some photos and captions of old famous animals. Many of these photos are very rare and have never been seen outside of the Ulrich family. Of particular interest is the Conformation page that shows 50 years of improvements in conformation. We start with some reminicing by George...
My First Ideal Animal
I saw my first ideal animal when I was a little boy, a bull named Diamant Arth which was to become my "dream bull". I also saw a cow, one of my father's, born in 1930, which at the age of 4 years, I led around the show ring at the 1939 National Exhibition in Zurich, Switzerland. She won Grand Champion, not only in production but also in conformation, her name was Kroni Unterland. She was the first Swiss cow of any breed in history to break the 22,000 lbs. (10,000kg) milk production barrier in a 365 day lactation. This was done 60 years ago.
THE FIRST BRAUNVIEH BULL IN CANADA
When I came to Canada in 1969 I knew that the Braunvieh breed would be ideal for this country. Since my brother was raising Herefords and because there were no Braunvieh to raise, I started raising Herefords. I quickly realized that in North America one needs a dual purpose breed. I believe a good beef cow needs to be a dual purpose cow so that it is able to raise a big enough calf in 7 or 8 months to be weaned in fall. A good dual purpose cow is able to raise a calf which will weigh half as much as its mother by the time it is weaned. So in 1969 my brother, Hans Ulrich (of Claresholm, Alberta, Canada) was able to import the first Braunvieh Bull, into Canada after more than 30 years. The bull's name was Aron (B8719). He was bred by my father (Hans Ulrich, Sr.) and myself. I started right away to upgrade cattle with this bull. However, being a fullblood breeder at heart, I was not satisfied only with upgrading. I wanted to raise these Braunvieh as a breed, not as a cross with other breeds. I feel there is nothing wrong with using Braunvieh in a crossbreeding program but as a fullblood breeder I wanted to raise the real thing. Because I was not a Canadian at that time I had to find someone who would apply for a permit to import some females from Switzerland, which was done with the help of a friend Orrin Hart, (Claresholm, Alberta) who imported the first couple of females on my behalf. That is the way I got started in Canada. Later I entered into a partnership with Florian Eberl and started Starline Braunvieh. Here I was responsible for the selection and mating of the animals. I withdrew my input from this partnership in 1991 and have not had any contact with it since that time.
As a little boy, my father told me, "If you ever raise cattle, concentrate on
performance first and then look at conformation. If
you can put everything together, performance and conformation, then that is the ideal,
however concentrate on performance then conformation." It still applies
today! He also showed me on the cows at home that conformation and production go
together. If you have a cow which needs to produce, she needs to have a practical
conformation and a practical conformation means sound feet and legs and a deep flank so
she has capacity. A cow which can not eat can not produce and it seems to me that a
lot of people today should remember that if you have no capacity you have no
production. It is as simple as that. Very few breeds have the capacity,
maybe they have the size, the length but no capacity and that is why they can not
produce. People do not need to raise elephants, the air between the ground and the
belly does no good. What is needed is a deep proportionate body. Proportionate means
that the size, the length, and the structure of their legs are all in proportion. Cattle
which are out of proportion are not practical and are not fertile. I do not
want to raise cattle which do not satisfy me. I do not sell cattle, which do
not satisfy me to other people. That is the reason why I
am happy to raise Braunvieh cattle.
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