WANAMINGO, Minn. – Although David Friese grew up on a dairy farm, his love for dairy cows didn’t fully develop until a little later in life.
“When I was young I showed one calf, but the day of the show she was in heat,” David said of his slightly traumatic first time showing. “I switched to sheep.”
However, his stint with the smaller species didn’t last long and he returned to bovines, the animals that truly captured his attention. Over the years, David and Becky Friese along with their family have built a registered herd of Holsteins on their 75-cow dairy, Rodash-View Holsteins, near Wanamingo, Minn.
On June 9, the Friese family will host the annual Minnesota Holstein Association Field Day in conjunction with being a tour stop for the National Red and White Convention.
“It’s always fun to get together with people in the Holstein business and share what [animals] we have,” Becky said.
With classification only two days before their tour, the Frieses will have the barn ready, and the animals clipped and cleaned for a fun-filled day for the two events.
Their herd will be on display in their tunnel-ventilated tiestall barn they built in 2006. Cows display the traits the Frieses use in their breeding philosophy – structurally big cows with lots of dairy strength, good feet and legs, strong udders, and longevity. Showing has always been a part of their yearly routine.
“We’re looking for sound, functional cows and if they’re good enough to show, we’ll go,” David said.
The Frieses have left genomics for other breeders to use, instead using higher type bulls to improve their herd. Lately, they have been using sires such as Sanchez, Golden Dreams, Redburst, Doorman, Fever, Adonis-Red, Blake, Diverse, Montross and Dempsey along with a breeding bull they keep on their farm – a Damion son out of Whittiker-KK Goldie Rose, a cow they bought as a fall calf and sold as a 3-year-old after she won the International Junior Holstein Show at the 2013 World Dairy Expo, shown by David and Becky’s daughter, Rachel.
Durham has been the most influential sire on their herd, the Frieses said. They still use Durham for flushing along with other tried-and-true older bulls such as Dundee and Goldwyn.
One of the most recent influential cows in their herd was Rodash-View Durham Jazz, an EX95 Durham daughter that only left their herd a few years ago.
Years before, the Frieses had a trio of cows that helped propel them in the show ring. In 2001 at the Minnesota Holstein Association state show, the Friese family swept the competition, taking home grand champion, reserve grand champion and honorable mention grand champion with their cows, High Rubick Claudia, Miss BC Kit, and Miss Merrick Millie, respectively.
But to the Frieses, showing cows isn’t only about trying to win ribbons.
“The people – they’re like your family and they help you out,” Becky said. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of good friends from showing. Our kids have been raised showing and have learned a good work ethic.”
The Frieses first added red and white to their Holstein herd about 12 years ago and currently have four in the milking herd and 10 youngstock.
“The genetics have come along way,” David said.
During the past 12 years, the Frieses have used red bulls such as Redliner, Armani and Advent.
“Our Advent [daughters] were the best,” David said.
One of the Advent daughters on display during the tour will be Rodash-Sleep Ad Ruby-Red-ET, an 8-year-old scored EX-93.
“We have a lot of R names,” David said, mentioning Ruby’s strong ability to reproduce and her prolific offspring.
David’s parents, Roger and Shirley, dabbled in the registered business before David really took hold of the idea with his animals. The first two letters of each of their names – Roger, David and Shirley – is how they came up with the Rodash-View prefix. Roger and Shirley farmed one mile away from the Frieses’ current farmsite, which David started renting in 1979 after he graduated from high school, and which the family now owns today. When Becky, who did not grow up on a dairy farm, joined the picture, she instantly embraced the dairy lifestyle.
“I always knew I wanted to marry a dairy farmer. I wanted my family on the farm,” she said.
David and Becky now farm together with two of their sons, Josh and Marshall. Their other children also enjoy the farm: Aaron Quam and his wife, Sara, with their children, Madison, 5, and Mason, 3; Sally Rude and her husband, Mike, and their children, Bristol, 2, and Mia, 9 weeks; and Rachel.
Together, the Frieses have worked to advance their cows; however, they also met people through the Minnesota Holstein Association who became mentors in those early years. Through the business, they met Holstein breeders including Donald Jergens, Karl Mueller, Sonny Bartel and Elmer Howe. The enthusiasm they all had for the breed fueled the Frieses’ desire to develop better animals in their herd.
“We realize we won’t get rich, but we get to work with our family,” David said. “We’re not in it for the money, but we’re in it for the passion of breeding good cows and passing it on to the next generation.”