GENEX is declaring 2019 as the Year of the Co-op. Member ownership, member loyalty and cooperative ideals are extremely important to GENEX. They were important decades ago when cattle producers like you came together to form GENEX predecessor cooperatives, and they are important today.
“I will be the first to admit we haven’t always waved the cooperative flag as high or as fast as we could,” shares Terri Dallas, GENEX Vice President of Member Relations, “but that’s changing! This is your GENEX where your membership – and your input – matters!”
Now is the time to share your input by becoming a GENEX delegate. Each year GENEX holds delegate elections. It’s a time when you – progressive, business-minded and loyal GENEX members – are asked to step up your involvement in your cooperative. As an elected delegate, you will serve your membership region and district for one year. During that year, you have two primary duties: you are expected to attend and share input at a fall delegate meeting and at the annual meeting held in Minnesota in March. It’s that easy, yet it’s a vital component of GENEX as a cooperative.
How You can Become a GENEX Delegate
1. Any U.S. dairy or beef cattle producer who purchased $500 of semen or products from GENEX between May 1, 2018 and April 30, 2019 and has a signed membership agreement on file with GENEX qualifies as a member.
2. GENEX members will be mailed a letter in June explaining the delegate election process. Enclosed with the letter will be a postcard where the member can nominate himself or herself to be a delegate.
3. Members interested in sharing their input as a delegate should complete the card and mail it back to GENEX. The names of those who nominate themselves will be compiled and ballots created.
4. In early July, the delegate ballots will be sent to all members. Members will vote for delegates who reside in their membership region and district.
5. Members will return their ballots, votes will be counted, and the elected delegates and alternates will be notified.
Have questions about the process or about serving as a delegate, contact Terri Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.333.1783.
Remember, your input matters to your co-op, and here's your opportunity to share it!
Years ago, cattle producers like you came together to organize a cooperative business that would genetically improve cattle performance and deliver economical cattle reproductive services. Today, that cooperative – GENEX – still fulfills those needs for producer members and yet offers so much more: world-class cattle genetics, progressive reproductive solutions, value-added products and innovative services.
Just as in the beginning, cattle producers remain the heart of GENEX. GENEX is governed by producer members, and GENEX management value members’ grassroots input. In short, GENEX has your interests in mind in its daily operations.
On this #membermonday, GENEX is proud to feature one of its 9,000+ members across the USA. This member, from southern Wisconsin, is a recent recipient of a platinum GENEX Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction Award. This member is Truttmann Dairy LLC of Blanchardville, Wisconsin. The dairy is operated by Dan and Shelly Truttmann along with Dan’s father Dwight, brother Doug and nine employees.
Reproduction at Truttmann Dairy LLC is the result of team effort! Pictured (right to left) are members of the team: Doug Truttmann, Allie (the dog), Collin Legler, Dwight Truttmann, Dan Truttmann, veterinarian Tim Bruns, and GENEX representatives Lindsey Geddes and Scott Schultz.
Getting to Know the Dairy
The Truttmann family began farming in the early 90s, utilizing rotational grazing while focusing on growing cow numbers. In 1998, they built their first barn. By 2012, the herd outgrew the grazing acreage, and the Truttmanns turned their focus to cow comfort and production within a freestall facility (though they still utilize some rotational grazing for bred heifers).
Today, the dairy consists of 472 milk cows, mostly Jerseys with a few Holsteins. The herd averages 67 pounds of milk, 4.9% fat and 3.7% protein.
The dairy excels in reproduction with a 37% pregnancy rate, 53.9% pregnant at first service and 80% bred by 150 days in milk (DIM). The breeding protocol includes an 80 DIM voluntary wait period with cows bred, on average, at 83 DIM.
Cows are bred on a natural heat as much as possible with activity information provided through the SCR Heatime® system (now known as an Allflex Livestock Intelligence system). If a cow does not come into heat by 100 DIM, they double lute her and watch for heat. If necessary, the process is repeated 14 days later and in rare instances followed with Ovsynch.
The top 50% of cows receive up to two services of sexed semen. If needed, one service is to conventional semen before being bred to beef. The bottom 50% of the herd is all bred to beef. Altogether, that equates to 58% sexed semen use along with a 52% sexed semen conception rate.
“It has taken a team to get where we are repro-wise,” explains Lindsey Geddes, GENEX Reproductive Program Senior Technician who provides the breeding service. “From the healthy happy cows to the owners, employees, nutritionist John Binversie with Quality Liquid Feeds, veterinarian Tim Bruns, and the GENEX team (including reproductive consultant Adam Koppes; sales manager Scott Schultz; and relief technician Charles Hookstead), it’s a team effort.”
Dan enjoys working with GENEX because of the bull lineup (particularly the positive DPR Jersey sires) and because he can trust GENEX representatives to have the dairy’s best interest at heart. “Lindsey and Scott take great care of us and our herd! Lindsey’s personality is bigger than even the Jerseys, and she does an amazing job of knowing the herd and not missing a thing. I never have to think about whether the job is done right. It always is.”
Changes Lead to Improvements
Three years ago, the dairy’s reproduction program changed after putting in the SCR system with activity and rumination monitoring collars. Dan wanted the system specifically for health monitoring for the pre- and post-fresh cows and wasn’t certain it would do a better job at heat detection than tail chalk.
“However, after two weeks, we let the collars do the work and our conception rate improved soon after,” notes Dan. “Our preg rate has gone up by 10 points, all while cutting hormone use to near zero and significantly increasing the use of sexed semen.”
Lindsey explains she too was initially worried about relying fully on the collars but soon learned to love the system as well.
Dan adds, “We don’t miss heats like before. The system is great at detecting estrus and showing how strong a heat is. It has forced us to wait a bit longer before breeding, knowing the optimal time to breed. In addition to helping improve reproductive performance, it has helped keep the herd healthy and minimize lameness too.”
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.
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!