Sir Inka May had eighteen years of breeding service!! Today we would aAa him as 5-1-3-6-4-2 (so a near-perfect match with their linebred Segis bulls offering 2-4-6). His parents both lived into teenage so his longevity was inherited; but his physique also had the sturdiness of legs, the moderate frame size and the openness of rib with adequate blending of parts to express that latent longevity. He modernized the Carnation cattle away from their extreme size and weight that held back their production in herds of less capability to feed them to their capacity or house them in typical commercial stalls of that period.
In other words, he was a high type and component % sire with good health traits under today’s sire definitions, rather than a high milk and early maturity (fast aging, less fertility) bull typical of decades of sire selection in the AI era.
In my opinion, Red Holsteins persisted because these original “seedstock” were superior for sound type, will to live, longevity (--and you cannot achieve “longevity” without first having good “fertility”) with high butterfat % as a bonus that helped Holstein dairymen enter premium milk markets. Even today, forty years after Holstein USA allowed Red Holsteins into registry, Red and Whites persist in AI popularity in spite of rarely being ranked near the top of any production-driven selection index.
Worldwide, Red & White cattle are preferred where selection is multiple-trait oriented (milk + fat % + protein % + fertility + moderate size + easy body condition), as in the semi-tropics where heat resistance is important, and in Europe where dairy is more grass-based and cheese yields set the milk price.
On the type front, three sires who set records for combinations of type and longevity—ABC Reflection Sovereign *RC, Amcana Dictator Model-Twin *RC, and Rosafe Citation R *RC—were all descended from Sir Inka May. An additional sire who was more revered for mature production was Elmer Brook Aristocrat *RC. All of these sires were active in Holstein AI breeding circles during the eras prior to Holstein USA opening up for Red registry. As soon as their Red calves could be registered, the values of their semen sought the stratosphere. Purebred breeders of our fathers’ generation valued type and longevity combinations as being the best route to realizing genetic progress: without a surplus of cows and heifers to sort for your future herd, you cannot harvest genetic progress in reality, no matter what the pedigrees and sire stacks indicate on paper. You have to be able to voluntarily cull to keep the best you have produced, and you have to have sound enough animals kept to also reproduce. Longevity will lead to a second income stream from replacement cows and service bulls desired by local dairymen.
FACT: All modern Red Holsteins descend from (in fact are linebred to) Sir Inka May.
While there are lesser contemporaneous sources of Red factor to Sir Inka May (the Winterthur herd and the Stewart and Maytag herds come to mind), they basically were the mates that allowed “Red” to shine through once exposed to descendants of Sir Inka May. The famous ABC Reflection Sovereign *RC (sire of the equally revered Rosafe Citation R *RC) had “Inka” in both sire’s and dam’s pedigree.
The influence of “Inka” is not limited to his “Red” descendants, given Pawnee Farm Arlinda Chief has multiple crosses to “ABC” and his sire Montvic Rag Apple Sovereign *RC. His contemporary Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation has some crosses to “Inka” on the maternal side of his pedigree. ALL the high production AI sires of the modern day combine these two seminal 1960s sires in their ancestry.
Today, combinations of polled heads and other desired traits are easier to find in Red Holsteins.
This is part of why we seek out the Red and *RC sires in all the programs we represent.