Focusing on elite index rank, these 14 new sires are sure to check all the genetic boxes for members and customers. Eleven of the new releases are over +900 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) and eight are over +1150 for the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index.
Dam of GAMECHANGER: Regan-Danhof Jedi Cashmere
A leading new sire is 1HO13844 GAMECHANGER. He offers an industry-leading +2841 TPI® and debuts at +1193 ICC$™ and +967 LNM$. This elite sire of sons carries impressive type traits at +2.10 Udder Composite (UDC) and +2.21 Foot & Leg Composite. He can be used everywhere (5.5% Sire Calving Ease) and will add yield (+93 Fat and +62 Protein).
1HO13855 LIVIUS is the highest new release for the ICC$™ index at +1230. He is also +933 LNM$ and carries impressive health traits at +2.61 SCS and +7.8 Productive Life. He can be used confidently in your heifer pens (6.5% Sire Calving Ease) and is an udder improver at +1.75 UDC.
1HO13862 BOUNTY, 1HO13857 LOWBOY and 1HO13895 MAMBA are all outstanding Achiever sons at +1212, +1198 and +1191 ICC$™ respectively. This trio will add Fat pounds and sire daughters with great udders (all three are over +1.50 UDC).
1HO15058 SURLY and 1HO14135 FREEZE are both new release Frazzled sons that check all the boxes for elite production. Both are over +2000 Milk and +135 CFP. Complementing this, both possess great health traits reflected in their +1167 and +1099 ICC$™ values respectively.
1HO15059 DOGE will add pedigree diversity being a Duke out of a Silver. He is +1112 ICC$™, +969 LNM$ and transmits over +120 pounds of Fat. He will also sire daughters with great udders (+1.75 UDC).
1HO13867 LYFT is an early 1HO12433 ROCKSTAR son. He offers a combination of elite udders (+2.50 UDC) and excellent genetic rank (+1050 ICC$™ and +911 LNM$). Additionally, LYFT improves daughter fertility and longevity and is calving ease (6.1% SCE).
1HO14131 LIT PP-RED is an exciting homozygous Polled, Red sire! He is a Lucky PP-RED son that carries the unique combination of elite udders (+1.50 UDC) and calving ease (5.4% SCE). He debuts at +870 ICC$™, +640 LNM$ and +2387 TPI®.
1HO12786 PILEDRIVER had an impressive day. He added daughters and jumped to +965 ICC$™, +894 LNM$ and +2648 TPI®, putting him the breed’s top 20 TPI®. An elite production bull (+2807 Milk), he also adds total component pounds at +185 CFP. This TROY son is +1.46 UDC and, with his low 5.3% Sire Calving Ease, can be used in any breeding program.
1HO13408 CRANE, a PILEDRIVER son, moves to the top of the GENEX LNM$ list at +982. He is also +1022 ICC$™ and +2768 TPI®. Just like his sire, CRANE adds yield at over +1700 Milk, +193 CFP and is +1.66 UDC.
1HO11376 TABASCO continues to rank well on the TPI® list at +2690. This highly reliable JACEY son will add Milk (+2386) while moderating frame size. Pictured is Darlington Ridge Tabasco 11848.
Mastitis can have a large economic impact on your bottom line. Research indicates the direct and indirect costs – veterinary costs, discarded milk, extra labor, cow mortality, repeat cases and milk losses – amount to $1.7-$2 billion per year.1
Preventive protocols are the best option to curb 50-60% of all new cases that occur during the dry period.2 Dry cow antibiotic therapy has been the most widely used method until recently. With the movement to reduce antibiotic use and regulations preventing organic dairy farms to use dry cow antibiotic therapy, teat sealants have been added to protocols or even used exclusively.
Why add a teat sealant to a dry cow antibiotic therapy?
Understanding the three physical barriers of a cow’s mammary system and with the three stages of the dry period can help you make a fact-based decision on whether to add a teat sealant to a dry cow protocol.
The streak canal, teat sphincter and keratin plug make up the three physical barriers that block or absorb bacteria that may penetrate a cow’s mammary system.
The streak canal is the primary line of defense. The streak canal has its own built-in defense mechanisms, such as physical closing of the entryway into the gland and the formation of a keratin plug to prevent entry of bacteria.
The teat sphincter, located in the teat wall, extends 2mm into the canal. It has no antibacterial activity, but rather contracts and shuts off the streak canal to create a physical obstruction to bacteria. Genetics can play a role in how quickly and tightly this smooth muscle closes off after milking. Clinical and subclinical milk fever can also impact time of closure, as low calcium and magnesium levels affect smooth muscle contraction.
The keratin plug is a mesh-like substance formed by desquamated epithelial cells, fatty acids and cationic proteins. It functions as a physical obstruction and can also absorb bacteria. However, certain bacteria can survive and grow in the keratin plug. It is bactericidal and bacteriostatic. It contains proteins that bind to and cause disintegration of gram-positive bacterial cell walls as well as compounds that inhibit the growth of bacteria.3 It is interesting to note that the fatty acid composition of the keratin plug is heritable.
Understanding the stages of the dry period
The first stage is involution; it starts when daily milking stops. The udder reduces activity and gets smaller, and the keratin plug forms. However, sometimes plug formation is delayed or never happens: 50% of quarters fail to form a keratin plug 7-10 days after dry off, and 10‑23% of quarters fail to form a keratin plug 42-50 days after dry off.4
During the steady stage there are no secretions of any kind. This allows the mammary system to recover and prepare for maximum production. Shortening the dry period two weeks reduces future production. This is a lower-risk stage when it comes to new infections.
The final stage of the dry period is colostrogenesis. This is when colostrum production and the start of lactation occurs. This period lasts around two weeks. New infections are likely to occur during this stage because 1) dry cow therapy is at a level below minimum inhibitory concentration; 2) the cow has a suppressed immune system; and 3) the keratin plug may break down or was never formed during involution.
The real question is did she or didn’t she form a keratin plug? Unless every udder is x-rayed at dry off, there is no way of knowing if she formed a keratin plug. It is known, however, that the keratin plug plays a vital role in killing bacteria already present in the streak canal at dry off and blocking any new bacteria from entering the streak canal.
Will a teat sealant make the difference?
When a teat sealant is deposited in the lower portion of the steak canal, it instantly mimics the keratin plug and seals off the teat for the entire dry period, blocking bacteria from entering the mammary system via the teat canal. It remains in the streak canal until it is manually stripped from the teat or a calf suckles the teat. Studies have shown the efficacy of a teat sealant used in conjunction with antibiotic dry cow therapy can reduce new dry cow infections at calving by 25%.5
What to look for in a teat sealant
Most internal teat sealants have the same key ingredients: bismuth subnitrate (a heavy metal) and a mineral oil base (viscous paste). The manufacturing process, type of tube used to administer the product and where it is manufactured sets the GENEX UdderLife™ OptiShield™ teat sealant apart from other brands.
The type of tube and manufacturing process make all the difference when it comes to keeping the teat sealant in the lower part of the streak canal. If there is an excess amount of air in the tube, it can push the teat sealant further up into the streak canal and lower mammary system requiring extra time for the teat sealant to completely clear. Teat sealants can clog milk filters and interfere with electronic switches in milking equipment.
Tubes with a tip that allow for a choice of full or partial insertion can push teat sealants up too far in the teat canal and require additional training for compliance and consistency. Udder edema can also push the teat sealant above the streak canal and take longer to strip out.
The unique manufacturing process of UdderLife™ OptiShield™ teat sealant prevents large amounts of air in each tube. The tube design allows any additional air to escape during administration, so the teat sealant stays in the lower portion of the streak canal. The tubes are also partial insertion only, removing confusion at administration and providing a more consistent delivery.
Furthermore, most teat sealants are made overseas, which can present the challenge of waiting on a backordered product or the product not being available at all. UdderLife™ OptiShield™ teat sealant is manufactured in the USA.
Teat sealants are another tool to help cows block new dry cow mastitis cases. When considering any new dry cow therapy, it is best to consult with a team of professionals.
If adding a teat sealant to dry cow therapy, UdderLife™ OptiShield™ teat sealant from GENEX can help seal off those profit-robbing new cases of mastitis.
The dairy world is one of continuous improvement. Tight margins, expense of heifer rearing and the drive to improve herd genetic potential have made excellent reproduction even more important to you. Over the last several years, much has been learned and implemented to improve cow comfort, nutrition and health. Genetics, fertility-enhancing synchronization programs and market pressures have all had an impact as well.
Today’s economics and the swift speed at which advancements have occurred mean yesterday’s reproductive goals are already out of date. Here are the top five statistics tracked on dairies today and updated performance goals for each.
1. Percent pregnant by 150 Days in Milk (DIM).
Many herds GENEX works with have exceeded the goal of 75% of cows pregnant by 150 DIM, a goal that was sought after just a few short years ago. The GENEX Dairy Performance NavigatorSM (DPNSM) program shows the top 10% of herds by milk production (out of 180 Holstein herds over 500 cows) now average 83% of the herd pregnant by 150 DIM.
› A new goal of >80% of cows pregnant by 150 DIM is appropriate and achievable.
2. 3-week pregnancy rate.
Depending on which software program you use, the calculation of cows that are eligible to be bred may vary. Ultimately, the pregnancy rate is driven by conception rates and service rates. Factors that diminish estrus expression or detection or reduce conception will reduce the pregnancy rate. Many factors that affect reproductive success are shown in the image below.
Holstein herds in the DPN program with 500 cows or more average 25% annual pregnancy rates; however, the top 10% by cow pregnancy rate have achieved a 35.9% average.
› A good goal for 3-week pregnancy rate is now ≥ 30%.
3. Conception by breeding code, service number, semen type.
Many herds are using sex-sorted semen in the lactating herd as well as in heifers; this product generally has lower conception than conventional semen. There are also differences in synchronization programs for first service and later services. It is best to track conception of differing breeding codes (example: resynchronization versus heat detection) and semen types, so if change in reproductive performance is desired, the areas can be monitored in relation to the goal and to historical performance. Good goals match the following:
› The top 10% of Holstein herds by cow preg rate in the DPNSM program are achieving first service conception >50% in their lactating herds.
› For heifers, the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association Gold Standard for first service conception rate with sexed semen is 60%.
4. Percent of heifers pregnant at 15-17 months old.
This is still a favorite measure of the overall efficiency of the virgin heifer reproductive program. The range can be adjusted based on your voluntary waiting period but should allow time for breeding and pregnancy diagnosis. Delays in moving heifers into the breeding pen or inadequate heat detection will reduce this percentage. Skipping the pregnancy examinations or missing data will also skew the measure. Increased percentages reflect efficient use of days (or months) heifers are fed before freshening and returning income to your dairy.
› Currently, the top 10% of Holstein herds by heifer pregnancy rate in the DPNSM program are achieving 75% of heifers pregnant at 15-17 months. That is an excellent goal for any dairy.
5. Number of eligible animals beyond first service deadline not inseminated.
Many farms are achieving 100% of animals (both cows and heifers) inseminated within 28 days of their voluntary waiting period. It is important to have a fixed goal by which all animals should be inseminated (note: your goal may be different than 28 days or may include weight for heifers). Animals removed from breeding pens and/or missed on synchronization programs may not be inseminated, reducing the service rate and the dairy’s efficiency.
› The goal for number of animals beyond the first service deadline that are not inseminated is zero.
Have you ever wondered what a large artificial insemination (A.I.) breeding project is like? The logistics and planning required can seem overwhelming and is often the reason beef cattle producers choose not to A.I. However, if the logistics can be solved - and they most always can - the advantages of A.I. can help improve your bottom line. Think more calves born earlier in the breeding season, the ability to use proven genetics and value-added replacement females.
Follow along on this recent breeding project and you will understand why GENEX is known for offering the industry’s best chute-side service!
Sarah Thorson, GENEX Beef Education & Marketing Manager, makes her way down to the hotel lobby where Justin Hergenreder, GENEX Beef Large Herd Development Manager, is anxiously waiting to get on the road. Justin is the logistics guy. If you are concerned about the facilities, time or labor involved in a breeding project, Justin is the person to talk to. While Sarah grabs a cup of coffee and a quick bite to eat, Justin briefs her on the day’s events. There are about 550 total head of cows to breed at two different locations. Talk about logistics! As always, Justin has a plan and is confident the day will go smoothly.
After a quick trip to the local doughnut shop to get a treat for the cowboy crew, Justin and Sarah arrive at the ranch. The ranch’s cowboy crew has already been hard at work. They have gathered the first group of cows and are just finishing sorting the calves off. Troy Carruthers and Matt Dolezal, GENEX Independent Contractors, have arrived as well, and the GENEX team gets to work setting up the double-stall breeding barn, filling thaw units with water and plugging in the A.I. gun warmers. The portable breeding barn makes it possible to breed cows almost anywhere. If you have some kind of corral and alley (portable, temporary or permanent), the breeding barn can be backed up to it and, when things are moving smoothly, 80 females can easily be bred per hour.
A portable breeding barn makes it possible to breed cows almost anywhere. The breeding barn can be backed up to a portable, temporary or permanent corral and alley for efficient and stress-free breeding.
The first cows start rolling through the chute right on schedule. There are about 280 cows to be bred at the first location. The GENEX team quickly falls into place. Justin, Troy and Matt take turns A.I.ing in a three-man rotation, while Sarah starts off the morning thawing semen.
The cows are being bred with semen from 1AN01300 INVESTMENT. The ranch feeds their own calves, so INVESTMENT was a great choice as his progeny are known to feed well. That, however, isn’t the only reason they chose him. INVESTMENT also has a 103 PregCheck™ ranking. The PregCheck™ fertility ranking system, proprietary to GENEX, is the first of its kind in the beef industry and evaluates an individual sire’s frozen semen conception rate. While everyone knows some A.I. sires get more cows pregnant than others, in the past it was difficult to measure a bull’s conception ability. With PregCheck™ rankings it’s easy! At a 103 ranking, you can expect INVESTMENT to achieve about three more pregnancies per 100 breedings than his contemporaries. On the 550 cows being bred today, that’s 16 extra A.I. calves!
The cowboy crew loads up their horses and heads five miles down the road to the second group of cows while the GENEX team finishes the first group, cleans up the breeding barn, hooks it to Justin’s pick-up and heads out. At the next location it’s a tight squeeze for the breeding barn, but Justin gets it backed up and the team works to put everything back where it belongs while the cowboys finish sorting.
After a quick breeding barn picnic consisting of Little Debbie® Honey Buns and Double Stuf OREO cookies (no one said a breeding project would be good for your diet), the GENEX team is back at work. This time Matt takes a turn thawing semen, and Sarah jumps into the breeding rotation.
Although Sarah’s been breeding cows for almost 20 years, her job as the Beef Marketing and Education Manager keeps her at a desk most days, so she loves an opportunity to be out at a breeding project. She always learns something and is amazed at how efficiently the team can manage a project of this magnitude. Everyone has a role to play. As indicated, Justin is the logistics guy. He takes his job very seriously. While he is always up for a joke in the breeding barn, he also sets the tone and keeps things moving. He is also the cleanest A.I. technician ever; don’t you dare run into him with a poopy glove on! Matt is an Angus genetics and pedigree guru. He knows what it takes to make a good one. Troy is the energizer bunny of the breeding barn. He never seems to get tired. Everyone else is always willing to take a turn thawing semen so they can stand in one place for a while. Not Troy. He wants to be where the action is.
Chute-side service breeding projects are a team effort. You get the cattle to the alleyway, and GENEX takes care of the breeding!
A quick look out the back window of the breeding barn shows the corral behind the alley is nearly empty! The last few cows flow smoothly through the barn, and the job is done! Everything is packed up and the breeding barn is hooked to Troy’s pick-up, so he can drop it off for tomorrow’s breeding project. There are another 300 head to breed tomorrow morning! It’s been an awesome day. Things couldn’t have gone smoother, but now it’s time for a cheeseburger, fries and a hot shower!
This is just one example of a recent GENEX breeding project. Nearly every day of the spring breeding season, 17 full-time employees and 180 independent contractors are working on breeding projects of all sizes throughout the U.S. Don’t let logistics be the thing that keeps you from using A.I. to add value to your breeding program. The GENEX team has the experience to help you make a plan that will achieve your goals. Whether looking to add value to replacement females, have more calves born earlier in the breeding season or benefit from use of proven genetics, GENEX will be with you every step of the way!
Farmer cooperatives in South Africa and Peru will improve their profitability, productivity, resilience and competitiveness in the marketplace as the result of a new five-year, $7.7 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project coordinated by GENEX, a cattle genetics cooperative headquartered in Shawano, Wisconsin, will build on work completed in the previous eight years through similar grant-funded activities.
GENEX is the program partner for this USAID Cooperative Development Program (CDP), which focuses on building the capacity of cooperative businesses for self-reliance, local ownership and sustainability. As a cooperative itself, GENEX sees the value in living out the cooperative principle of cooperation among cooperatives.
“The CDP is an opportunity for our cooperative to share its business values while using its products and services to improve farms of all shapes and sizes, worldwide,” explains Matt Gartman, a dairy farmer from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who participated in GENEX’s previous CDP activities in South Africa by presenting on cooperative governance.
Building on past success
Since 2010, GENEX has worked in South Africa to help build agricultural cooperative businesses. The goal has been to elevate these developing businesses as suppliers to local and regional processors, sellers of value-added products, and buyers of inputs from local and regional firms. The strategy included a business-driven approach to helping farmers run strong commercial-scale businesses.
As an example, during the first phase of the project GENEX staff with expertise in beef cattle genetics and reproduction traveled to South Africa to provide consultation and training to a cooperative desiring to offer artificial insemination services to members. The GENEX representatives worked with local partners to provide training and conduct the first inseminations. Opportunities like this - within the grant-funded venture - create new markets for GENEX products while also benefiting smallholder farmers.
In the previous round of funding, GENEX CDP activities in South Africa have helped 13 cooperatives achieve substantial growth. In eight years, the cooperatives experienced a 713% growth in sales, 510% growth in profit and near-total growth in patronage dividends.
The next step
With the new five-year, $7.7 million grant, GENEX intends to further support South African and Peruvian dairy and beef producers and their cooperatives. Together with in-country partners, GENEX will provide business-planning guidance, technical assistance from industry mentors, better access to affordable financing, and finally, training and networking to develop sound cooperative governance. The overall goal is to improve the producers’ and cooperatives’ profitability, productivity, resilience and competitiveness in the marketplace.
After his experience in South Africa, Gartman reflects on the results he witnessed and hopes for the project’s future. “It’s clear to see the CDP has and will provide farmers with an opportunity to grow their livelihoods while also bringing value-added U.S. goods to an expanding market. It’s all about cooperatives helping cooperatives succeed in the global agriculture industry.”
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!