Roy Ormiston devoted a lifetime to improving Holstein cattle through the herd he “line bred” and developed, through the major global influence of the superior sires he bred and through the thoughtful wisdom he imparted to Holstein enthusiasts throughout the world.
At age 16, Roy left school to work on the home farm near Brooklin, Ontario, where he established himself as an expert showman and at 21 took over the family farm. Mr. Ormiston recognized the benefits associated with genetic improvement and identified the economically significant traits in need of improvement in the Holstein breed. He selected cattle that improved udder conformation, improved milk component percentages, and were capable of converting roughage to high volumes of milk. The result is the Roybrook Bloodline – high performance cows that remain trouble-free in herds for years.
Early in his career, Roy Ormiston purchased Balsam Brae Pluto Sovereign, known as The White Cow and developed her into a national show champion. Her progeny from selective mating revolutionized the Canadian Holstein breed.
Individual breeders and artificial insemination centres purchased outstanding breeding stock from Mr. Ormiston’s Roybrook herd, which spread its influence through Canada and the world. During the 1970s and 1980s foreign bus tours lined up at the farm during the Royal Winter Fair to view the great cattle and to talk to Roy Ormiston. No where else could visitors see a 30-cow herd that had produced 34 cows with lifetime production over 90,000 kg.
A large percentage of cows in Canada trace their breeding to a Roybrook animal. In countries like Japan, United Kingdom and Germany the connection is widely spread through purchased animals or semen from Roybrook bulls. The value of this commerce is in the multi-millions of dollars.
Roy Ormiston, a genuine and friendly ambassador, has been recognized for significant contributions to the dairy industry. Awards include: Master Breeder, Certificate of Superior Achievement, Wisconsin Dairy Shrine, Distinguished Cattle Breeder and an Ontario Bicentennial Award. The Roybrook Dispersal in 1990 became the “Roybrook Retirement Party” where 64 per cent of the offerings were sold outside Canada and breeders recognized the outstanding contributions of Roy Ormiston to the Holstein industry. His legacy will continue long into the future.