EMBRUN He's Canada's #1 new release sire and the Holstein breed's #1 conformation sire.
He's the new sire on the Semex Alliance block, ultra popular Windbrook out of Embrun's Gillette Farms who has sold more than 200,000 doses of semen world-wide after only one proof.
And he's a chip off the old block. Windbrook's father Brilea FBI is certainly no slouch, designated by Holstein Canada as "Class Extra". With more than 5,000 milking daughters in Canada alone, FBI debuted as an excellent source of strength, openness and quality udders. He has sold more than 350,000 semen doses.
Breeding a second generation prize stud from stud already acclaimed internationally and a dame in the same herd is considered a rare feat, one for which Gillette farms was celebrated during the final annual meeting of Eastern Breeders Inc. held in Kemptville March 23. Effective July 1, the AI co-operative has merged with Guelph-based Gencor.
On hand to accept the kudos were Gillette founder Dr. Gilles Patenaude, 81, and son Louis, the operation's genetic specialist.
The retired dentist modestly allowed that he isn't aware of any other breeder achieving the double-hit of a father-son set of top-ranked sires from his own stock.
Both sires are now studding out of the EBI barns south of Kemptville which will remain open as part of the merger. The prized sires made a guest appearance during the meeting and could be viewed by delegates and members through large windows.
"It's an achievement of a lifetime and one that most purebred breeders couldn't dream of," said EBI genetic programs supervisor Paul Stewart. "Gillette has been top dairy production herd in Canada, it's a Master Breeder herd and a top show herd. It's the Sidney Crosby of the dairy world."
Stewart attributed last year's surge in sales at Semex Alliance in which EBI is a partner along with Gencor, BC-based Westgen and Quebec's CIAQ - to high-demand sires such as FBI and Windbrook: "They'll both sell every dose they ever make."
Assisted by 11 employees, Ferme Gillette crops more than 1,000 acres and milks 480 head. The farm has been through three devastating fires, the last of which was in 1994 which took out everything but a couple of cows.
Dr. Patenaude has been involved in the family farm south of Embrun since the 1960s. Until 16 years ago he was a full-time dentist, his first love, a career in which he had spent 40 years.
But breeding and milking are also passions and, while these days he leaves much of the heavy lifting to sons Marc, Louis, Vincent and Mathieu, the patriarch enjoys greeting visitors from all over the world who come looking for tips and maybe some highly desirable embryos.
Son Louis has spoken all over the world about Ferme Gillette's winning approach.