Herefordherd     OPEN COUNTRY        

                                                  OXH Mark Domino 8020

           "Rooted in the Past, Ready for the Future"
                                          by Jim W. Kuhlman and Kim Kanzler Holt
                                                        (From the Hereford World)

OXH Mark Domino 8020 has left no stone unturned as one of the breed’s most influential herd sires.

XH Mark Domino 8020, bred and owned by Oxley Hereford Ranch, Mahnomen, Minn., is stacking up as one of the Hereford breed’s oldest, most legendary bulls. Gaining more popularity with age, 8020 marked his 14th birthday in March.

As a herd sire, 8020 boasts well-balanced performance EPDs and also ranks as a breed carcass leader. And, he has high accuracies for all. His numbers tell us one story. But to really understand the strength of 8020, you have to know the program and breeding behind the bull, says Jay George of United Livestock Brokers, Inc., Rapid City, S.D.

"8020 is the product of a real performance program in the Oxley herd," he explains. "Bob Schafer is an astute cowman. He has a great eye for breeding cattle but, more importantly, he believes in performance records and uses them to make breeding decisions." George says that whole herd reporting, evaluating sire progeny groups and building on superior cow families have long been a critical part of the Oxley process since this ranch’s TPR enrollment in 1963.

George summarizes, "Basically, 8020’s pedigree stacks the best of the Stone Ranch program, one of the great foundation maternal sires behind the Jack Cooper program, and one of the elite cow families out of the Oxley Hereford Ranch program."

                                                 Promising from the start

8020 had a "herd bull look from the start," recalls Bob Schafer, manager of Oxley Hereford Ranch. "In fact, we thought enough of him, we had a picture taken when he was just a baby with his mother."
8020’s dam was a super-looking heifer, he says. She turned into a model brood cow, calving 8020, an 84-lb. natural calf, just 11 days before her second birthday.

As a calf, 8020 weaned with a 739-lb. 205-day weight. He developed into a long, thick 1,250-lb. yearling, and was the lead bull in the Oxley carload at Denver’s 1989 National Western. He was their sale topper that spring, selling for $16,300 to Ben Westlund’s High Country Herefords and the late Phil Reed for one-half interest. 8020 spent the next 10 years in Oregon, five of those at Westlund’s ranch near Bend and another five at Harrell Hereford Ranch near Baker City. He now resides in Kansas at Mill Creek Ranch.

In the early ads, Westlund dubbed 8020 "The Milkman" because he had the highest Milk EPD of the entire breed’s 1988 calf crop—a +24, and a +38 for milk and growth. The bull still ranks in the top 4 percent of the breed for milk and in the top 10 percent of the breed for milk and growth.

Although 8020 was more moderate in frame than the leading bulls of that day—he frame scored 6.6 on sale day—he soon became a very popular sire prospect. His semen sold to purebred and commercial breeders throughout the United States and into foreign countries. When the breed was striving for frame 7 and 8 cattle, George says 8020 still competed in the semen market with the Denver champions.

"He saw solid use among a lot of the good ‘cowmen’ because of what his maternal numbers were, his balanced performance and the strength of his pedigree," George explains.

"He’s a blue-collar kind of bull—a cowman’s bull that sires working females. His influence excels in the feedlot, produces a valuable end-product, and his daughters will keep a cowman in business."

Of all Hereford bulls that had offspring registered with the American Hereford Association (AHA) in 1991, 8020 ranked 13th with 383. To date, his record is based on 1,489 progeny in 109 herds and the production of 443 daughters. In comparison, very few Hereford sires have information on 1,000 or more offspring. AHA has 8020’s influence databased in 20,367 animals throughout five generations.

                                                         Siring what he is

High milk, high carcass and above-average growth. This is what 8020 is and what he sires. An interesting note is that his current EPDs are similar to those he recorded as a yearling. And he’s in the top one-half of the breed for every trait. Given this, plus high accuracies, one has little question how he’ll work.

Yearling         Current Acc.      Breed       %Rank
BW +0.2         +2.9                   .92%         35%
WW +28         +35                    .90%         50%
YW + 48         +60                    .89%         50%
Milk +24        +25                    .89%           4%
M&G+38       +42                     na             10%
Scrotal na       +1.2                   .78%         10%

Kansas State University Herdsman, Troy Marple, finds this true. The K-State Hereford herd in Manhattan has 8020 influence from the past and now the present.

"So far, we’re finding that he’s very easy to mate." Marple says 8020 works across a wide array of cows and pedigrees, so "I don’t have to hand-pick the cows he gets bred to."

8020 sires moderate-framed cattle that are loaded with muscle, are very consistent and uniform in their type and very predictable in their performance.

K-State’s first group of 8020 sons offered in the college’s March sale were "very well received" by buyers. People commented to Marple about the 8020s’ really neat patterns. "They are cattle that are straight in their lines, correct on their feet and legs—just cattle that are easy to look at," he says.

"What I like are bulls that stamp their progeny, and he does a good job at that. The 8020s all look alike. You can walk out there and pick them out."

8020 has sired a good many middle-of-the-road, solid-performance commercial range bulls. "8020 is one of the most commercial industry-targeted bulls in the Hereford breed," comments George.

"Commercial cattlemen today are focused on cow-herd and feedlot efficiency, problem-free cattle, carcass grid premiums and using predictable genetics. It’s pure hard-nosed economics and 8020 is their kind of bull."

Commercial and purebred breeders, alike, also know that some of 8020’s strongest traits are found in his daughters.

"People soon found out, when his first daughters came into production, that you needed to just close your eyes and keep every one of them," George says.

As females, 8020s are very-balanced, structurally-sound replacement heifers and young cows with perfect, sound udders and milk. His daughters and granddaughters are great brood cows in many reputation herds. But it’s rare they come up for sale; the Oxley sale no longer offers them. One of the highest selling horned Hereford females in 2000 was an 8020 daughter, bringing $7,000 in Nebraska’s Messersmith sale.

"The big thing about 8020 is he sires cows that are very feminine and very productive with good milk and good udders," Schafer says. "People just love the daughters in their cow herds."

Of the many good females around the country, Schafer believes that one of the most notable is K-State’s direct 8020 daughter, Miss Mark K 111.

"We feel that she’s quite possibly one of the best Hereford cows in the breed," Marple says. And that’s one of the main reasons K-State has gone back to 8020.

"When I started doing some number crunching on different things, 8020 was one of the few bulls that sorted himself out on the maternal side," Marple explains. "Our goal and focus is to put 8020 daughters back into this cow herd."

111 is now 11 years old and is one of two cows—the other an Angus—that’s been cloned at K-State. She is the dam of KSU Miss Blaze 014 ET, Star Lake’s 2002 Denver Champion Horned Heifer.

For Oxley Hereford Ranch, Schafer says 8020’s "left a lot of really excellent producing daughters."

One is OXH Lona 1232. She’s recorded a 108 weaning ratio on seven calves. These include four replacements and two herd bulls, one which is OXH Advance 3007, a herd sire owned with Monahans and Shovel Dot.

Schafer says 8020, his sons and grandsons have helped Oxleys get and keep good udders and excellent milk EPDs in their herd.

Marple says that 8020 isn’t the only bull they’re using at K-State. "But he’ll be a strong influence in what we’ll call our new line of Herefords."

                                                                Carcass elite

Maternal traits aren’t all that 8020’s known for. He ranks as one of the breed’s most elite carcass bulls—in the top 5 percent for both ribeye area and marbling—and posts highly predictable carcass EPDs:

EPD        Acc.         Breed       %Rank
Fat           0.0           .72             50%
REA        0.3           .70               5%
IMF         0.2           .67               5%

"When you consider what his accuracy levels are, that puts him clear out on the elite end," George comments. He adds, "It’s a rare combination in any breed to find bulls that combine ribeye area and marbling. Find one, and that’s a bull to use."

8020 is also being used in the AHA National Reference Sire Program, now in its fifth year. In the program’s second year, CHB’s Jim Williams says 8020 was a highly recruited bull by test cooperator herds who noted his previous balanced performance for maternal, growth and carcass traits.

                                              No stone unturned

8020-sired sons top production sales, make ideal commercial bulls and are great sires in many registered herds.

Schafer and George point to a prominent 8020 son as OXH Mark Donald 7128, owned by Oxley and Oregon’s Chandler Herefords. Another son, 5158, sold to Rock Creek Ranch in Montana. This bull produced 8025, which sold to Pied Piper Farms in Texas and Mill Creek Ranch.

However, 8020 has been an even stronger influence in the herd bulls that have been produced by his daughters. A daughter owned by Oregon’s Bird Herefords produced the second highest-selling bull in the 1994 Denver sale. Three-quarter interest in B804 Dom 8020 301 sold for $47,500 to Veladi Ranch Inc. Another 8020 daughter produced Harrell Herefords’ H5 500 Domino 837 herd sire.

Although 8020 hasn’t been highly sought after to sire show-type cattle, he still has major winnings tied to his name through progeny, grand progeny and great-grand progeny.

He sired BR L1 Dominette 5029, the Barber family’s 1996 All-American Junior Expo Champion Heifer and 1997 Denver Champion Heifer. He was the grandsire of their 1995 Denver Champion Carload, and of the majority of bulls in their 1996 Reserve Carload and 1997 Champion Carload.

The lead-off bull in Barber’s 1995 carload sold in the Denver sale to Wyoming’s Largent & Sons. This 8020 grandson, renamed Desert Edge, sired Desert Red, Barber’s 1999 Denver Champion Bull, and also BR L1 Dominette 7022, Barber’s 1999 Denver Reserve Champion Heifer. 7022 was the 2000 Denver Horned Cow-Calf Champion with an 8020 bull calf at side. A year later, the calf was the high-selling bull at the Houston All-Breed Bull Sale for Texas’ Barber family.

                                               Influential leader

Winnings or not, 8020 has seen extensive use from purebred and commercial sectors and still emerges as one of the Hereford breed’s most influential leaders.

"Balanced traits, carcass value and longevity in a superb cow-herd builder—that’s 8020," says George. "He sets a breed standard that few bulls can equal. Then, when you put his accuracy levels in there, that puts him in a unique league all of his own.

"This bull is the Traveler, Bando and Ambush kind of sire that has influenced the Angus breed in the last decade. When you find bulls that do that, they are outliers. But he’s not a freak." George explains, "The Stone Ranch herd and the Mark Donald line of cattle were the most carcass-tested herd and bloodline in the Hereford breed.

"Because of his stacked genetics, balanced performance, excellence in carcass traits and accuracy levels, not any one of those individually, but all put together into one, I would have to say he is probably one of Hereford’s most complete, valuable sires."