Each sire summary brings new and exciting genetic options to your dairy! With the August proof, GENEX offers you 21 new Holstein sires that feature pedigree diversity, elite yield and impressive health traits. Here’s a glimpse at a few of these new additions …
1HO13849 OBVIOUS tops the new releases at +1201 for the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index, which identifies genetics that excel in progressive, commercial herd conditions. This Frazzled son out of an Octoberfest delivers pedigree diversity and top-notch production (+1936 Milk, +147 Combined Fat & Protein). He’s also +912 Lifetime Net Merit (NM$) with a positive Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and a +8.4 Productive Life (PL).
1HO13871 YOUR CALL and 1HO13878 ELWOOD may be familiar names as they are Genomic Giants that joined the lineup between the April and August sire summaries. YOUR CALL is an all-round elite sire: +1151 ICC$™, +960 NM$ and +2776 TPI®. This Charley son also improves daughter fertility (+0.7 DPR) while adding big-time component yield (+170 CFP). ELWOOD stands at +1149 ICC$™, +955 NM$ and +2764 TPI® while posting great numbers for Fat yield (+110) and DPR (+1.6).
1HO13882 RADAR is a leading NM$ sire at +1000. He also debuts at +1059 ICC$™ and +2837 TPI®. This early IMax son out of a Rubicon is +186 CFP with positive component percentages and is an elite udder improver at +2.58 Udder Composite (UDC).
1HO13879 KORBEL is a new Achiever son that also ranks well on the NM$ list (+991). He is +1076 ICC$™ and +2775 TPI® too. Use this A2A2 sire to improve yield (+1850 Milk, +177 CFP) in daughters with standout udders (+1.54 UDC). He is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only.
1HO15009 FURIOUS comes in at +1158 ICC$™ and tops the GENEX NM$ list at +1027. This Frazzled son out of a Modesty is elite for Milk (+1824) and Fat (+111) with an impressive +177 CFP. To top it off, he’s A2A2, has a +1.72 UDC and is safe for heifers (6.4% SCE).
Another Frazzled son, 1HO15005 WHISTLE is a new elite ICC$™ index sire with a big +1174. Expect daughters to provide exceptional yield from great udders, as he’s +2498 Milk, +148 CFP and +1.79 UDC.
1HO14018 ENDEAVOR is an outcross sire (Duke x Gun) at +2817 TPI®. He’s also +1143 ICC$™ and +964 NM$ with an impressive +193 CFP! ENDEAVOR will sire daughters with quality udders (+2.10 UDC), and he is positive DPR (+0.3).
1HO13883 TEMPLETON, another early Duke son, sports an elite TPI® rank (+2806). For the ICC$™ index, he earned a +1093 and excels in the Production Efficiency sub-index. He’s also +986 NM$. TEMPLETON should be used as a yield specialist (+190 CFP, +1732 Milk) and to sire daughters with great udders (+2.16 UDC).
A new standout in the lineup is 1HO14121 ARBITRATION-RED. This unique pedigree red sire is a Pat out of a Modesty that stands at +901 ICC$™. He is +733 NM$ with +1298 Milk and +118 CFP. Look to him as a type specialist at +1.43 PTAT and +2.23 UDC. He can be used with confidence anywhere with his 5.5% SCE.
To view the complete GENEX lineup, click here, or better yet download the GENEX Dairy Bull Search App from the App Store, Google Play or Microsoft Store.
Fertility Calculations Updated
With the April 2019 proofs a downward trend in DPR values was reported, and CDCB stated they were looking into the reason. With the August proofs, CDCB announced updates to the fertility trait calculations that should produce considerably more consistent fertility evaluations in the future.
The primary reason for previous fertility trait fluctuations were "seasonal groupings" in fertility records. The updated calculations rectify this seasonality impact; however, the adjustment did cause a decrease in fertility averages industrywide for the August sire summary. Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), Cow Conception Rate (CCR) and Heifer Conception Rate (HCR) values decreased slightly.
On average, from the April to August proofs, genomic-proven Holsteins decreased by 0.6 DPR and daughter-proven Holsteins decreased by 0.3 DPR.
To learn more, visit https://www.uscdcb.com/cdcb-changes-coming-in-the-fertility-evaluations/.
If you raise cattle most of your life, you’ll have the opportunity to influence about 10 generations. Therefore, each generation and each mating is a big responsibility. As a breeder, commit to identifying not simply the most popular bull but the BEST fit for your herd. To accomplish this, you’ll have to sort through all the information to find what you need and want.
There are countless pieces of data available when seeking to evaluate potential A.I. sires or herd bulls. While originally developed decades ago, Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs) are considered the gold standard of tools available for genetic progress. Today, EPDs are available for performance, maternal and carcass traits. Indexes also exist for different situations, and these continue to evolve (more on indexes another time).
Even after seeing EPDs in bull sale catalogs and A.I. sire directories for years, making sense of it all can sometimes seem mind boggling. Let’s take a step back and review the foundation.
Where are you now? Where do you want to be? What are you paid for?
Before making mating decisions, consider the genetic makeup of your cowherd. Are your cows predominantly British-based, Continental-based or a blend? For commercial herds, it makes sense (and cents) to utilize crossbreeding for the added benefit of lowly heritable traits like reproductive traits. It also makes sense to select for highly heritable traits like growth and carcass traits using EPDs. For example, Angus-based commercial herds would mate well with a Simmental or Charolais bull that has top percentile EPDs for growth, ribeye area and low fat thickness EPDs.
Also, consider the strengths and weaknesses of your cowherd. For instance, if your herd has a higher than desirable amount of thin and/or open cows it may be beneficial to choose sires that are lower milk EPD and higher $EN (Angus) or Stayability (Red Angus). Different areas of the country and different management levels require different levels of milk EPD, so it is important to select the optimal EPD level, not necessarily the highest. The use of high accuracy A.I. sires is the best method for matching the needs of each female in the herd as well as the goals of your breeding program as a whole.
After considering the current genetics of your cowherd, think about your goals for future production. Do you wish to grow the herd by retaining home-raised heifers or will most calves be sold to the feedlot?
If you intend to keep your heifers for replacements, then emphasis should be placed on bulls with high-ranking maternal EPDs like Calving Ease Maternal (CEM), Milk, Mature Weight (MW), Mature Height (MH) and other similar traits. EPDs are even (finally) available for foot and udder traits in some breeds. In contrast, if you sell all calves to market, you should focus on A.I. bulls that are trait leaders for performance traits like Weaning Weight (WW). Both herds should keep Calving Ease Direct (CED) and Birth Weight (BW) at reasonable levels (many herds use breed average or better as a threshold); this helps keep calving difficulty to a minimum and maximizes the number of weaned calves. Ranches that retain ownership greatly benefit from selection for growth and carcass traits (YW, Marbling, REA, Carcass Weight).
In short, by using EPDs and selecting for practical and functional phenotype (structure, muscling, capacity, balance, etc.), you can be certain you are making the most informed decision possible. At GENEX, this is called a combination of cow sense and science.
Understanding EPDs and Accuracy
EPDs or Expected Progeny Differences do exactly what their name implies: predict how a bull’s calves will compare to calves of the average bull of the same breed.
When making breeding decisions using EPDs, it is helpful to consider the accuracy values of those EPDs. Young sires with genomically enhanced EPDs usually have accuracy values in the .30-.40 range while mature bulls with recorded progeny data have much higher accuracy values. The closer the accuracy value is to one, the window of change for each EPD becomes much smaller. Using high accuracy A.I. sires chosen to complement the needs and goals of the ranch is undoubtedly the most economical and practical method to make multi-trait genetic progress in a commercial cowherd, regardless of the herd’s goals.
Build Your Team, Build Your Knowledge
While reading this article, if your mind drifted to thoughts of corn yields or those truck commercials featuring new fancy tailgates, hang on for this one last point: if genetics isn’t your strong suit, build your team!
Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from an A.I. industry professional, breed association representative or your seedstock provider. Ask lots of questions of these people and use them as part of your network of trusted professionals.
Use all the tools available (information and people) to breed your 10 generations of better, more profitable cattle.
SCCL, a leader in developing and producing innovative colostrum products, provides tips for knowing when and how to feed calves colostrum.
How do good colostrum feeding practices impact calf productivity?
The single, most important meal your calves will consume in their lifetime is the first feeding of colostrum.
However, the impact of good colostrum feeding practices is often overlooked. Good colostrum feeding practices and feeding more colostrum can lead to 1) improved average daily gain; 2) reduced treatment costs and; 3) better feed conversion efficiency. Improvement in these three areas offers financial benefits to your dairy.
When do calves need a colostrum supplement or replacement?
There are many instances when your calves should be fed a colostrum product. For example, calves born in very cold weather, twin births and calves born to first-calf heifers benefit from colostrum supplementation. However, calves born with difficulty are at greatest risk for failure of passive transfer of immunity since they are often slow to get up and suckle. Additionally, these calves’ ability to absorb antibodies may be compromised due to the delay of nursing and altered metabolic parameters. Whenever a calf is born with intervention or assistance, the calf should receive at least a supplemental dose of colostrum, if not a full replacement dose.
When should colostrum be fed?
With each minute that passes after birth, a calf’s ability to absorb antibodies is reduced. By 24 hours the gut is almost completely closed and can no longer absorb antibodies. Therefore, colostrum must be fed as soon as possible after birth, ideally within an hour. If colostrum has been delayed past 2 hours, feed larger amounts to compensate for reduced absorption.
How much colostrum do calves need?
When it comes to your calves and colostrum, more is better. Most veterinarians recommend calves receive at least 1 gallon or 4 liters of good quality colostrum, which should provide at least 200-300g of IgG.
Good quality colostrum replacers can be used when the dam does not provide sufficient volume or where colostral quality/IgG/antibody concentration is low. A significant percentage of first-calf heifers produce only small volumes of colostrum, sometimes less than 1 liter, so their calves would benefit from a colostrum supplement or replacer.
New USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System data shows calves with 8 g/L serum IgG (indicative of failure of passive transfer of immunity) had a 40.3% chance of becoming ill and 5.2% risk of mortality. In comparison, calves with excellent passive immunity - indicated by serum IgG levels of 30 g/L or higher - had a 29.3% risk of illness and 2.0% risk of death.
If feeding 300g of a colostrum replacer, it is recommended to divide the colostrum into multiple feedings. Do not feed the entire amount at once.
How should colostrum be fed?
First, attempt to bottle feed your calf. If the calf does not consume the entire bottle or colostrum feeding is delayed past 6 hours, tube feeding the remainder is suggested in attempt to achieve successful passive transfer of immunity. Since absorption slows significantly as each hour passes, calves also benefit from a second and third feeding of colostrum.
Should cold weather calves be treated differently?
Calves have a thermal neutral zone of 59 to 77°F (15 to 25°C) and many are born in conditions much colder than that. Calves need a timely feeding of colostrum to warm them by providing energy to produce body heat. (Note that bottle fed colostrum should be warm but not too hot to immerse your hand in.) Colostrum contains unique colostral fat that initiates metabolism of brown fat stores, which fuels the calf’s internal furnace for heat and energy to get up, suckle, stay warm and stay alive.
Can you use colostrum from your cows, and if so, how?
Herd colostrum can be used to supplement calves of other dams, but to be done right, it is a demanding process. Colostrum should be collected with sanitized equipment within 2 hours after birth of the calf. Then, it should be tested with a refractometer to measure quality; only colostrum that meets parameters consistent with high IgG/antibody levels should be used. The colostrum should be cooled in small 1L or less containers as quickly as possible since bacteria numbers double every 20 minutes. Then, the colostrum should be stored in a refrigerator for no more than 48 hours or frozen for no more than a year. Avoid repeated freezing and thawing as this may reduce colostrum quality and lifespan.
What should you look for in a colostrum product?
Examine ingredient labels carefully. Colostrum products can be made from various sources; however, the greatest benefits come from feeding actual colostrum rather than formulas of proteins and fats from other sources. Colostrum-based products contain all the immune, metabolic and growth factors naturally found in maternal colostrum.
One important ingredient is colostral fat. Colostral fat is essential for activating brown fat metabolism, an important energy source required by the calf immediately after birth. Products that contain blood or whey with added vegetable and animal fats not naturally found in colostrum do not provide the same benefits for the calf, and some of these products contain no actual colostrum.
Also, look for products that are regulated by the USDA (United States) or CFIA (Canada) and backed by numerous safety and efficacy studies published in scientific journals.
What colostrum products are available through GENEX?
GENEX offers an array of colostrum products to meet your needs whether feeding a full replacer or a supplement. Calf’s Choice Total® HiCal Colostrum, Calf’s Choice Total® Gold, PureStart™ Colostrum and Genesis Colostrum are available online or through your local GENEX representative.
*OMRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides an independent review of products against the organic standards. Acceptable products are OMRI Listed® and appear on the OMRI Products List© or OMRI Canada Products List©.
Calling all photographers, young, old and everywhere in between! Submit your photo for consideration to be included in the 2020 GENEX Beef calendar. Photos from all seasons and breeds are needed, so look through that camera roll and email submissions to Jenny Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When speaking with Phil Perry of Perry Ranch near Oskaloosa, Kansas, one quickly realizes his commitment to be a learner, leader and server, giving back to his community and his industry.
Phil has chosen to take an active role in numerous organizations. He’s served on the local school board and a local co-op board. He’s served on the Kansas Livestock Association executive committee and the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. He’s also served as a GENEX delegate.
“It was my GENEX rep who suggested I become a GENEX member,” shares Phil. “Then when I received a flyer in the mail about becoming a GENEX delegate, I decided to try it. I like being involved in my industry; you gain a lot of friendships and knowledge from other producers across the USA. You learn about their practices, and that keeps your mind open to new ideas. It keeps you from becoming stagnant. You need new ideas to become and remain progressive in this industry.”
Beef Representation in GENEX is Important
As a GENEX delegate, Phil attends two meetings each year – the annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a fall delegate input meeting. The fall meetings are held in eight locations across the USA. Fortunate for him, one is located nearby in Kansas City.
“Being a delegate has been a very good experience,” notes Phil. “I really enjoy the conversations I’ve been able to have with ranchers from all over, and having beef producer representation in the cooperative is important.”
Focusing on Making the Females We Want
The cow herd is the focus at Perry Ranch, which consists of about 400 cows and 1750 acres (including both owned and leased land).
As Phil explains, “We focus on making the female we want rather than focusing on the terminal calves, though the calves still perform well and are above average on the grid.
“We want rib, depth and not a great big cow. We’re looking for a mid-five or below frame score, and we need cows that flesh easy, as they aren’t babied here.
“We also want a self-sufficient cow with a strong immune system. We feed our calves out, so we see which ones have health issues. We use that information to determine which cows have healthy calves and can then cull cows accordingly. We also sort cows for attitude and disposition.”
Enjoying the Time Observing the Cattle
Artificial insemination has been a part of the Perry Ranch breeding program for about a decade. “My son completed an A.I. school and got me interested,” explains Phil. “I started with a dozen or so and then increased from there.”
Today, GENEX does the A.I. work. “I like to hire a professional for specialized things. This way, I don’t have to worry about having a tank and semen on hand or the tank going dry either. Then, at breeding time, I just get to enjoy the time handling and observing the cattle! Plus, I’m impressed with the guys GENEX has on the front. It’s a good crew.”
This year’s breeding project took place on May 28. “We used to breed heifers to calve in January and cows to calve Feb. 1. Now, we breed for calves born after March 1.”
While both heifers and cows are bred on the same day, heifers are generally done calving by the time the cows start.
The new timetable gives Phil more opportunity to observe the herd during calving season with the longer daylight hours. “And we’re still selling as many pounds, if not more, with the later due dates! This is probably because they’re on grass sooner, no nipped ears and so forth. There’s also virtually zero scours or respiratory issues.”
As for sire choices, he previously used SimAngus™ sires but now uses mostly black Angus. “This seems to help keep the size down, better genetics for the grass we have and produces the deep-bodied cows we like.”
Sires are used for 3 to 4 years before a new sire is chosen. In recent years, sires have included 1AN01224 CEDAR RIDGE, 1AN01044 FINAL ANSWER and 1AN01238 RESOURCE.
A quick look at the cow herd shows that Phil and GENEX work well together to make Perry Ranch a success. As a cooperative, we thank Phil for choosing to be a member of GENEX and for his continued loyalty.
Connect with us to learn how our world-class cattle genetics, progressive reproductive solutions, and value-added services can advance your operation. Click here to contact us today!