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Farmers Say Goodbye to the Bull Who Sired 500,000 Offspring

(Photo: Genex)

This is Toystory, a bull who died on Thanksgiving Day of last year. Mourners recently laid his body to rest on a hill in Shawano, Wisconsin. From an evolutionary point of view, he was extraordinarily successful, having sired approximately half a million offspring.

During the 13 years of his life, Toystory's job was to produce the finest bovine semen on earth. His genetic material was highly prized and he was a prolific producer of it. In fact, as a member of the "millionaries' club" among bulls, Toystory produced approximately 2.4 million units of semen for artificial insemination. The Wall Street Journal describes Toystory's rise to fame:

Back then, dairy producers had to see how the daughters of a bull turned out before deciding to buy his semen. The farmers wanted to see how much milk a cow produced, the fat and protein levels of her output, and how well she handled the rigors of milking.

By the mid-2000s, producers liked what they were seeing in Toystory’s offspring, and sales of his semen started to surge. He scored highly on influential performance rankings watched by the global dairy industry. Straws cost upward of $60 apiece and were in demand at home and abroad. In 2009, Genex says, he entered the millionaires club.

Toystory grew into a global brand through a rare mix of fertility, genetics and looks. His semen was good at getting cows pregnant and his daughters were easy to birth and dependably strong.

-via Dave Barry

P.S. Now it's storytime.

After I married my wife, I traveled with her to her hometown. While there, I met one of her uncles. In conversation, I asked "What do you do for a living?" He replied, "I'm in the semen business."

This gave me a moment's pause, but only a moment. After all, we were in south Texas, which is cattle country. So there would probably be a market for the artificial insemination of cattle.

Later, my wife explained that I had misunderstood her uncle. What he had said was, "I'm in the cement business."


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This may also mean that most of the dairy cows around the world are susceptible to some disease in the same way. This level of monoculture of livestock can have devastating effects at times.
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