Bovine Engineering & Consulting - Gearld Fry

Every cow has some form of escutcheon mirror. The escutcheon is the representation of:
  • how quickly the cow will come into milk
  • how much milk she will give
  • how long she will give high levels of milk.
This is accurate in both beef and dairy cows. The hair in the escutcheon is traveling upward. The wider the handle part that extends from udder to vulva and anus the quicker she will come into full milk production and the longer she will give that production. This is visible on the baby calf.

Butter-fat production is revealed by the amount of hair on the udder. The cows with a bald to semi bald udder are the highest butterfat producers.

This cow has a good escutcheon, she has a lot
of long silky hair on the udder. A cow with long
silky hair has milk fat depression and is living under
poor management.

A very small escutcheon, milk production
 is low. Her peak is half of normal production.
Her calf will suffer from starvation
in early months because of low milk production.

This cow has a very small escutcheon. she will be
low in milk production. wont come into full milk
production until around 60 days. The absence
of the escutcheon extending up to the vulva
 indicates the cow will fail substantially after
the onset of pregnancy.

This cow has a small udder and the escutcheon
stops just above the top of udder. She will
not produce milk in abundance.  Her calf
will suffer from lack of (milk) nutrition.

Selecting for butter fat and tender, fine-textured meat

This is a beautiful bald udder. This is what we are
looking for for butterfat  production.  Her tail is of a
high yellow with large dandruff scales.  The wax in
the ear is a high yellow.
The absence of hair on the
udder is the no 1 indicator of high milk fat.  The more
hair on the udder the lower the butterfat.
This is
also an indicator of tenderness or fine textured meat.

I call this tail butter. Any animal with high yellow and
flakes on the last 6 inches of tail under the long switch
hair is an animal that produces a high milk fat
content. This animal will also have 4+% intra-muscular
fat. This is also an indicator of tenderness or fine
textured meat.

An animal with yellow wax in the ear is a high milk-fat
producer and also a tender meat indicator. You
always find this with the yellow and flakes on the tail.       

The escutcheon stops just above the top of udder. She
 is a high producer and will be producing maximum
amount of milk in 30 days. After pregnancy a sharp
decline in production begins.. The owner of this cow
 waits 150 days to re-breed because of that sharp decline.

Selecting for Glandular Function

Note the dark hair on the lower neck. this represents the thymus gland activity.
The thymus gland represents good immune function. Note the deep sheen/shine of the hair coat. this represents a very active immune response. These kind of cows do not get sick nor do their calves. If I look at a cow/bull to purchase this is the very first thing I look for. If I cant see a large thymus whorl I am not interested in purchasing the animal. The thymus gland gives the white blood cells their marching orders. If the hair coat and the thymus gland are not visible then the animal is susceptible to the stresses and diseases that plague our industry.

In the dairies that feed a lot of starchy supplements the hair is short and maybe a little sheen, however the thymus and other glands are not very often visible. The sebaceous fluid is not healthy in the grain-fed cows.

A cow with a shinny streak the full length of the top of the back is an indicator that the gland system is fully active.

Scrotal Conformation
After 30 years of observation with 25 years of semen collection and evaluations I have come to the conclusion that over 90% of open cows is the result of the low fertility status of the bulls used on the cow herds today. There are a few bulls that do not leave open cows in the herd and accomplish that fact the length of their life.

James Drayson collected information while operating his bull collecting facility for 30 years and before the end of his life compiled his research and findings in a book entitled Herd Bull Fertility. Drayson found that the size, shape (conformation) starting as early as 7-8 months of age has more impact on bulls ability to impregnate cows that any other impacts. Almost every producer culls open cows, almost no producer culls a bull because of open cows no does any breeder I know (short of two breeders) work on herd bull fertility. Without a herd of cows that have the ability to produce fertile herd sires and using a bull with the highest amount of motel sperm cells (1 billion 500 million at 14 months) reproduction will continue to stay at the national level of 70%.

I will attempt to express the problems and some solutions with the following pictures of testicles and conformations in the following examples

Sketch of a perfectly shaped scrotal

This is a perfect set of testicles in conformation and structure and testosterone production. The testicles will assimilate the near perfect genetic makeup of the mail. These testicles provide 2-3 billion sperm cells per mil of seminal fluid. This bull is very masculine (large crest, wide shoulders and maintains himself when working hard). This bull will easily impregnate 80% of the cows he services in the first 21 days of the breeding season.

Perrfectly shaped testicles

These testicles have no neck and the testicles are long and cylinder shaped. The shape is supposed to represent a football with slightly more taper at top than bottom. This bull and any bull that has testicles shaped different than the perfect will only settle on a regular bases approximately 50-60% of the cows he services in the first 21 days of the breeding season and will leave a few of the best cows open that the fertile bull would settle.

Notice the nipples on the neck of the scrotum. Results from this kind of nipple setting will cause the daughters to have tilted udders. Tilted udders don't produce the volume of milk a well formed flat udder will.

Note the epididymis on the left side is on the outside bottom. The testicle is turned half around in the scrotal sack. Note the division (the V shape ) between the inside bottom and also the crease or dividing line between the testicles from the bottom up to the top.This V and division will cause the daughters udders to be segmented, funnel shaped, lower production and the division between the back of the testicles causes a week restraining ligament or the udder will sag and brake down.

Note the deep division between the testicles in the back. the left testicle overlaps the right on bottom, his daughters will have sloppy udders. These misshapen testicle or any other type of misshapen or deformity will always have low sperm production, low testosterone production therefore fertility suffers.

This picture represent a perfect udder and a son with a perfect scrotal at 8 months of age, his sire (Lodge)  possessed a near perfect scrotal. The cow possessing this udder produces high butterfat milk (enough energy and protein for proper development) and her body also is near phenotypically perfect. I have selected for this kind of udder and testicles from the beginning. This young bull will be an optimal breeding bull and will also recreate himself because of his genetic density of all desirable traits.