The American Angus Association has released two new EPDs and made several changes to the $Value indexes. Learn about the new traits and index updates so you can make informed sire selection decisions.
The new EPDs include:
1. Claw set (Claw) - expressed in units of claw-set score
2. Foot angle (Angle) - expressed in units of foot-angle score
The breed average for both traits is currently 0.5. This means an animal with an EPD less than 0.5 can be considered a breed improver for the trait. To learn more about these new EPDs, read the article from the May 2019 Angus Journal.
In addition, you will notice changes to the $Values. A new model was implemented for $B which places greater emphasis on marbling and yield. The new economic values utilized in $B were also applied to $G and $F. $QG and $YG were removed, and all indexes are now rounded to the whole dollar. $W remains the same, other than the routine annual update to economic assumptions.
The American Angus Association also released Maternal Weaned Calf Value ($M). $M includes nine maternally focused traits including calving ease direct and maternal, weaning weight, milk, mature weight, heifer pregnancy, docility and the two new foot score EPDs.
For more information about the changes to the $Value indexes, visit www.angus.org/index.
Click here for a sortable file of the May, 31, 2019, Angus EPDs. Look for Claw, Angle and $M on the GENEX website bull pages and watch for them to be coming to the GENEX Beef app soon.
Annually, members and customers are recognized for outstanding herd genetics & reproduction, and there’s a lot you can learn from these award-winning herds.
As Anne Davison, GENEX Director of Dairy Sales Support, shares, “Each year the performance level of the nominated and award-winning dairies gets better and better, and the competition gets tougher and tougher. This is truly a testament to the commitment dairy teams have for continual improvement.”
She goes on to explain, “When the nomination period opens each year, the nominations start flying in from GENEX representatives. They nominate dairies from across the USA and also around the globe. Many times, in addition to the nomination form, those representatives share a short note about why they feel the dairy deserves the award or what makes the dairy special. These notes make it clear how excited they are to nominate a customer. Of course, the award placings are based strictly on the dairies’ numbers, but the commentary still provides a great sneak peek into the dairy operation.”
Congratulations to this year’s platinum, gold, silver and honorable mention winners. They are listed below. Then, throughout June, follow along on GENEX social media and the GENEX Journal to get your sneak peek into the platinum award-winning dairies.
< 500 Cows
Platinum: Truttmann Dairy LLC, Blanchardville, Wisconsin
Gold: Dorrich Dairy, Glenwood, Minnesota
Silver: Weisenbeck Farms LLC, Durand, Wisconsin
Stoney Springs Farm, Appleton, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Reilly Family Farm, Darlington, Wisconsin
Platinum: Maple Ridge Dairy, Stratford, Wisconsin
Gold: Strassburg Creek Dairy, Wittenberg, Wisconsin
Silver: Schilling Farms, Darlington, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Jauquet’s Hillview Dairy, Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Hinsch Farm Inc, Goodhue, Minnesota
Platinum: Omro Dairy, Omro, Wisconsin
Gold: Spring Breeze Dairy LLC, Bryant, Wisconsin
Silver: Hudson Dairy, Hudson, Michigan
Medina Dairy, Hudson, Michigan
Honorable Mention: Darlington Ridge Farms, Darlington, Wisconsin
Dykstra Dairy, Maurice, Iowa
Platinum: Plymouth Dairy Farms, Inc, LeMars, Iowa
Gold: Lakeview Farms, Bakersfield, California
Silver: Jauquet’s Hillview Dairy, Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Honorable Mention: Dykstra Dairy, Maurice, Iowa
Good, Great and Excellent
Benchmarking is the process of comparing an individual’s performance metrics to the industry’s best. Reproduction benchmark numbers from the herds recognized as Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction Award winners have been compiled so you can gauge how your herd is doing and identify where improvement may be needed.
Here is a comparison of the 2019 award winners benchmarked against other herds across the USA (both GENEX and non-GENEX herds with more than 425 herds in the reference population). The data is graphed in quartiles. The benchmarks are shown by herd size. As expected, the Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction award‑winning herds surpassed other herds in almost every category regardless of herd size.
How Do They Do It?
When looking through the data, the real question becomes why are the award winners so successful, and what can you learn from them? What is it they do that sets them apart? GENEX representatives who work with some of the award-winning herds answered these questions. They narrowed it down to three key behaviors that each Excellence in Reproduction & Genetics Award winner possesses:
1 Attention to Detail
“What sets this dairy apart from others is their attention to detail and overall management. The dairy has a monthly meeting with all key stakeholders and staff. This keeps everyone on the same page, focused on the dairy’s goals and provides time to discuss key areas of the dairy and issues or obstacles that need to be addressed as a group.”
- Derek Kolpack, Account Manager, GENEX
“The biggest reason I see for their success is the attention to detail: from the timing of the shots in the Ovsynch program, to selecting a group of bulls and ensuring those bulls fit their goals, down to working with GENEX to sort animals and using the Sort-GateSM program to make culling and breeding decisions. They let everyone on their repro and genetics team know how important their role is to the success of the program.”
- Jeff Lutz, Dairy Consultant and Account Manager, GENEX
“It’s their consistent commitment to looking at all areas of the operation with a careful eye to improve their efficiency and bottom line, such as improving cooling systems or altering the breeding or milking order to decrease lockup times. They have been a longtime GENEX partner and an early adopter of Daughter Pregnancy Rate and fertility as a tool to improve reproductive efficiency. Fast forward to today, with use of genomics and an aggressive strategic breeding program, they take genetic improvement to the next level while capitalizing on a second stream of income with beef x dairy calves. They keep an open mind during farm meetings and are interested in learning about trends and breeding strategies but take a careful approach to whether it makes sense for their operation and long-term goals.”
- Gwen Powers, Director of Strategic Accounts, GENEX
“The breeding team certainly takes pride in their work. Every six to eight weeks, GENEX staff use the A.I.
AccuCHECKSM program to ensure there is no protocol drift in heat detection, semen handling or insemination technique. Proper functioning and cleanliness of equipment is also inspected. All team members help provide encouragement and training for the ultimate success of the program.”
- Dr. Kim Egan, Director of Strategic Accounts, GENEX
“The dairy is successful because of teamwork and employee retention. They treat employees as part of the team and motivate them to succeed. The manager works alongside the team every day. He goes above and beyond for employees, and they respect him for that. The GENEX team also works closely with the dairy, monitors conception rates and communicates with managers regularly.”
- Casey Petter, Dairy Consultant and Account Manager, GENEX
“The reproduction program is a team effort between the dairy, the veterinarian and GENEX. There is an open line of communication, and we are all on the same page to keep the dairy moving forward to meet their goals.”
- Derek Kolpack, Account Manager, GENEX
GENEX focuses on bringing you both quality products and quality people. This summer, these two focus areas are combined in a new initiative – an internship program for students passionate about the dairy industry!
For 10 weeks, some of the next generation's top talent will focus on the GENEX herd care products – such as RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement – and the benefits these products bring to your herds. The interns will work in specific geographies across the USA sharing the herd care line products with you while gaining real-world job experience and increasing their dairy industry knowledge.
Please welcome the 2019 Herd Care Line interns and look to them for special product promotions throughout the summer! Read more about each intern below.
Austin Wright, Purdue University
Austin was born and raised in Greencastle, Indiana, located west of Indianapolis. He grew up on a small family farm. In the past 20 years he and his family have dabbled in many species. For a short time, they raised pigs, goats and beef cattle. Today, they raise what the family has for generations: show lambs and Ayrshires.
In high school, Austin was involved in 4-H and FFA, filling leadership roles with both organizations. This spring, he’s finishing his sophomore year at Purdue University, studying agribusiness with a focus on finance and pursuing certificates in both entrepreneurship and industrial selling.
At the university, he is involved with the Agribusiness Club, Block & Bridle and the swine interest group. He also worked at the university sheep farm. Off campus, he has worked at the Hickory Hall Polo Club and Hill View Arabians. Upon graduation, he hopes to find a career in agriculture sales or lending. This summer, he looks forward to working with GENEX members and customers in Michigan.
Samuel Looper, California State University
Samuel is completing his sophomore year at California State University-Fresno where he is majoring in agricultural education with an emphasis in animal science.
While attending Fresno State, he enjoys competing in speaking and career development contests like the California’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Association discussion meet. Samuel is also an officer in the Fresno State Young Cattlemen’s Club and Block & Bridle Club. In addition, he puts on leadership development trainings for prospective students.
He’s involved outside the classroom too. Between high school and college, he took a year off to serve as a California State FFA Officer. He also interned with Veregaal Brothers, Inc. and worked at a beef feedlot and cow‑calf operation.
Post-graduation, Samuel wants to work in sales within California's dairy or beef cattle sectors. He is excited to start his GENEX internship and work with producers in California and the Northwest.
Laura Frye, South Dakota State University
Laura hails from Logansport, Indiana, and is completing her senior year at South Dakota State University (SDSU) earning her bachelor’s degree in dairy science and minor in food safety. During college, she was active in Dairy Club, worked at the SDSU dairy farm and showed the university’s Brown Swiss cattle at the South Dakota State Fair.
During her time in 4-H and FFA, Laura developed her prefix of registered Brown Swiss cows, Miami Hills Swiss. She enjoyed showing her Brown Swiss show cows at local, state and national shows including World Dairy Expo. This past summer, at the National Brown Swiss Convention, Laura was named senior showman, had the top genomic merit heifer and earned the youth achievement award. She also served as the Indiana Brown Swiss Queen in 2014 and 2017.
Following completion of the internship working with GENEX members in Eastern Wisconsin, Laura aspires to find a career in the dairy industry.
After making the progressive decision to implement artificial insemination (A.I.) into your herd, there is one big word to focus on: STOCKMANSHIP. Stockmanship is the knowledgeable and skillful handling of livestock in a safe, efficient, effective and low stress manner (Stockmanship Journal).
While it’s important to practice good stockmanship skills whenever handling cattle, it’s especially important when you have a group of females set up for A.I. You have to realize this is the third time in 20 days the females have gone through your facilities, you have manipulated their hormones and, if you’re A.I.ing cows, there are now calves involved. That might sound like a lot of hassle, but the results next spring or fall will be well worth it!
Here are a few simple points about stockmanship during an A.I. project that will make your day
much more enjoyable.
1. Get the right crew
That means the right cowboy crew. GENEX will provide you with an excellent breeding crew. You can count on that!
Get your crew involved and excited about the A.I. project before it starts. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about showing up on time, making certain someone is in charge of supplies, sharing the value of A.I. and reminding them this is a little different than branding or weaning day.
When it comes to gathering, sorting and getting cattle through the A.I. barn, nothing is worse than having people there who don’t believe in what you are doing. If your cowboy crew is excited about A.I. day, they are calmer, more patient and easier on the cattle. All these things translate to more pregnancies and more money in your pocket.
When it comes to the cowboy crew, remember less is more. Less people with more experience and patience yield better results almost every time. The right crew will be the difference in your success.
2. Facility design
When it comes to facilities, it’s not about trying to reinvent the wheel; it’s about making sure everything is in the right place so you can do more with less. With a virgin heifer A.I. project, you can usually leave everything the way it is for everyday use. Not much sorting needs to happen, and facilities are usually designed to process yearling size cattle.
With an A.I. project involving mature cows, her calf is added to the equation, but it’s not that bad! Anyone who has A.I.ed mature cows will tell you the first time they were a little uneasy, because they didn’t know what to expect. In the years to follow, it just becomes part of the process.
GENEX can help with minor changes to your facilities to get pairs split in a safe, low stress and efficient manner. Little things, such as removing the bottom two rails of a panel for calves to go under into a separate holding pen, can be an easy add-on to any facility.
See how one person can sort pairs without additional labor or stress. http://bit.ly/SortingCow-CalfPairs.
3. Cattle Handling
First things first, please do your A.I. crew a favor and check everyone’s truck, trailer and even their saddlebags to ensure every hot shot was left at home! The WORST tool someone can bring to an A.I. project is a hot shot with fresh batteries.
Based on firsthand experience, standing behind cattle that have had a hot shot used on them in the alley makes for an unsafe work environment. Instead, use tools such as flag whips, sorting sticks or fiberglass poles. These items induce less stress on cattle than hot shots, and when the cattle aren’t stressed neither is the crew. Everyone wins!
It doesn’t take much to make your A.I. project a success. A little stockmanship goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to talk to your crew beforehand about what is expected, and never miss an opportunity to help correct what someone is doing in order to make things run smoother. Handling cattle is a continual learning process, and every situation is unique. Sometimes you have to be creative and think outside of the box. If you have any questions or would like assistance on your next A.I. project, contact GENEX at 888.333.1783.
Demonstrating commitment to the future of agriculture, GENEX annually awards scholarships to college students pursuing degrees in agriculture. Applicants must be actively involved on a GENEX member’s farm or ranch and exhibit a passion of leading the way in the agriculture industry.
You will find the five recipients of this year’s $750 Collegiate Scholarship exemplify the drive, dedication and devotion agriculture requires. The lessons they have learned through their agriculture involvement are proof:
Leif Annexstad, St. Peter, Minnesota
Animal Science, University of Minnesota
“My time on the farm has taught me many things. I’ve learned about animal nutrition by talking to our nutritionist and about animal health by visiting with our veterinarian. I’ve learned even more from conversations with my dad and uncles, including to be patient with animals as well as people.”
Justin Engebretsen, Gillett, Wisconsin
Agricultural Engineering, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
“Agriculture is an industry that will always be important because humans need food and other animal by products. One of the lessons I learned from my agricultural involvement is hard work always pays off.”
Jack McCrory, Linton, North Dakota
Agriculture Economics, North Dakota State University
“Agriculture has a way of helping people push themselves to develop skills and make decisions that will have positive life-long impacts. These connections, no matter how small or distant, always leave a lasting impact.”
Eric Ranke, Waterford, Wisconsin
Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
“There is no doubt agriculture is the single greatest influencer of who I am today. Agriculture is the most diverse, important and sustainable industry we have; we must protect and advocate for its future.”
Ellen Schilderink, Hart, Texas
Agribusiness-Dairy Management, Tarleton State University
“Agriculture is the way I grew up and how I Iive every day. My work ethic and determination to get the job done came from countless hours on our dairy.”
As Terri Dallas, GENEX Vice President of Member Relations, states, “We are proud to support youth who are interested in furthering their education and commitment to agriculture. Not only do these students understand the importance of agriculture, they are tremendous advocates as well.”
“These students are a promise to a bright future in agriculture.”
The hard work, passion and leadership skills needed for the agriculture industry is not lost on these students. In their applications they described opportunities that helped them grow, such as study abroad programs, working as an assistant research student, attending leadership conferences, delivering Meals on Wheels, taking advanced placement classes to push themselves academically, spearheading educational events to spread agriculture awareness and managing critical roles on the operations where they work.
“These students are a promise to a bright future in agriculture,” states Terri. “Along with their exceptional leadership, the heart and determination they demonstrate sends a strong message that tomorrow’s agriculture is in good hands.”
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!