Dave Burket, Burket Falls Farm

Dave Burket  has always been passionate about polled, and for 50 years he has tried to make polled spread. He always claimed it was easy to do because Polled is a dominant trait. He believed it was something we would need in the future. Polled is “The solution to your horny problems” he said, but for 50 years the experts tried to convince us that Dave Burket was wasting his time.
Not good enough they said.
Polled is related to beef they said. (Not True) More important things to do they said.

Regardless of their claims Dave continued to breed for polled not because it was popular, fashionable, or because he thought they were Superior. He simply bred them because he liked them. They gave him pleasure. He liked that they were hornless. He liked that he didn’t have to do that job. He liked that they were different. He believed it was a good idea. He spent hours, and hours doing free consulting, and talking about polled. Although not everybody cared there were enough that did. With Dave Burket’s passion alone the polled gene spread.

Once formulas, and indexes were designed for the masses, it became very difficult for anyone breeding anything outside of the box to rank. It wasn’t just Polled breeders that suffered, those breeding show cows, R&W’s or outcross struggled to, as a system designed for the masses undervalued the unique. Despite the critics Dave, and his son John persisted. Burket’s have bred an amazing herd with different lines with generations of V.G and E.X. Burket Falls Farm have collected bulls over the years to market to those that liked what they had. They have built a small business supplying them with semen. Slowly, but surely the polled gene spread.

Even though the polled population was small making it hard to break through, Ed Johnson finally bred a polled bull that made the top ranks. Number 16 on the TPI list was cause for celebration, those breeding polled now knew their genetics could compare. Unfortunately the stigma on polled meant Hickorymea Oswald P was not a bull they could sell to everyone.
He is just a fluke they said.
Not good enough yet they said.
More important things to breed for they said.
However there were enough breeders who cared, and believed he was worth it that Oswald helped the polled gene spread.

Next came a polled bull who was bred by Robert Feldwisch. A bull no stud wanted. Why Red and Polled they said. That stuff just isn’t good enough. We can’t sell that to everybody, we can only sell it to a few. Well Robert didn’t care what they said, and although it took a lot of work from him, and a few others Aggravation Lawn Boy P Red finally did make it, and one more bull helped the polled gene spread. (Read Fred Hendricks Lawnboy Story)

Despite the critics, and the warnings Dave, and Ed persisted, and then one day along came a daughter of Burket-Falls Perk Red. With 7 E.X dams from the Roxy’s behind her she was special right from the start, but unfortunately it was her numbers that mattered.
Thankfully Gary and Nate Janssen of Golden Oaks farm, had a passion for breeding, and the good sense to see that she had a trait for the future that breeders may need. So regardless of her rank they, like Dave, and Ed before them created ‘Art’, and very special cow named Golden-Oaks Perk Rae Red helped spread the polled gene around the world.

For Dave Burket and others, polled was their reason to get up in the morning. These breeders were willing to trade in the numbers, and the fools gold for a gene they felt had real value. It turns out they were right all along. Almost every single polled female on earth traces back to a bull from the Burket-Falls herd. Without their effort, without that work, Polled would have been lost forever.

Now after 50 years of ignoring polled, because it wasn’t good enough DNA proof shows less then one generation is all that separates the polled minority from the main stream. (less then 9 months) Genomics is playing a huge role in why polled is now spreading, and its now into many top, and world famous families. We now even see polled coming from million dollar cows.

There are still those today that stigmatize polled. Regardless of their efforts, like it or not, its no longer a question of when, or if, but how long will it be, before the ‘Art’ this humble breeder created touches every single one of us?

Thanks Dave Burket

Roy

** Note – Outside of my family I owe everything I get up in the morning for to Dave Burket, and Ed Johnson. If never went to meet these amazing people, and put a lid on my own ignorance, and stigma of polled, I may have never found my true passion.

2 Comments

  1. Bruce Cameron

    Roy,
    great piece, POLLED truly is a passion and Dave & Ed have lived & breathed it, like Stanley & Jane Chittenden, all great movements need leaders and path finders. In time these people will be viewed like great breeders of the past!

    POLLED nature’s dehorner
    POLLED the humane choice
    POLLED the future is now!

    Bruce Cameron

  2. Glen Peachey

    Burkets are the kind of people who make the breed great. Not only that but they are great people. They are true breeders, not just mathematicians

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