1. Tell us about your dairy.
We milk 1,400 Holsteins at Manuel C Leal & Son Dairy in Tulare, California. We also grow corn, alfalfa, wheat, almonds and pistachios. I manage our operation along with my dad, Steve and brother, Jordan.
2. How long have you been a member-owner of All West/Select Sires?
We have used primarily Select Sires bulls for at least 40 years, maybe closer to 50 years.
3. Why did you choose to serve in a leadership role for this cooperative?
I’m a big believer in getting involved in the industry. I want to play a part in the long-term success of the dairy industry. I think genetics will play a huge role in providing the efficiencies necessary to stay profitable in the future. All West has always been an impressive company with the highest quality genetics and a great culture.
4. What is your breeding philosophy?
Lately, I have been focusing more on production traits and health traits (Milk, CFP, DPR, FI, PL), than I have in the past. I like to use DWP$ as an index and will pick bulls based on high DWP$ and good pedigrees. I have also been including some high proven bulls this year, after focusing on mostly young sires in previous years. In 2020, we decided to go with a 100% sexed semen and beef-on-dairy strategy. I believe it’s the best choice for the long term profitability of our herd.
5. Who is your all-time favorite Select Sires bull, past or present?
7HO13314 MOGUL stands out as one of my favorites. When he came out, he was one of the first bulls that seemed to have the whole package.
6. How do you benefit from doing business with this cooperative?
As with any co-op, the patronage is a great bonus. I think the co-op structure lends itself to providing what the customer truly wants and has their best interest in mind. When doing business with large corporations, it can sometimes feel disingenuous when they say they care for the customer.
7. What is your favorite memory in your experience with All West/Select Sires?
I‘ve had a lot of fun over the years at the All West Annual Meetings. In 2018, we were grouped into teams at the banquet and played Family Feud with All West and A.I. industry related questions. It was pretty hilarious! Also, I love getting the chance to meet fellow dairymen from across the west coast and hear about what it’s like to dairy in their neck of the woods.