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/.
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©.
Focusing on your pre-weaned calves, here are some basics to follow for improved calf health and growth during hot weather.
First, it’s important to recognize that your calves tolerate slightly higher daytime temperatures than your cows, with stress beginning when the temperature is over 80o F (26oC).
Encourage Food Intake
Calves born in hot summer months have lower average daily gains versus those born in other seasons (Bateman & Hill, Progressive Dairyman, 2012). Reduced average daily gain means a delay in time to puberty, longer interval to first calving and ultimately delayed return on investment. One way to encourage intake, gain and rumen development in your calves is by making fresh starter feed available. Starter intake is also directly related to water intake.
“Like people, your calves’ appetites are reduced during periods of heat stress.”
Drink Plenty of Water
Fresh, clean and abundant water helps to cool calves and is crucial during periods of heat stress, especially for calves with scours. During ideal temperatures calves that are 1-2 months old consume 0.5 - 2.0 gallons of water per day. That amount increases exponentially with heat and humidity and can reach up to 6 gallons per day in young calves.
Rinsing water buckets daily and frequent refills are also advisable. If your calves habitually spill their water, then wire or cable tie bucket handles to holders.
Supplement as Needed
Like scours, heat stress can lead to dehydration. Pay close attention to each calf’s attitude and ability to suckle. Oral electrolyte solutions, like NuLife® Oral Electrolytes, can help replenish fluids. The amount to use depends on the level of dehydration and the ambient temperature. For example, a 100-pound calf that only has a weak suckle may be 5% dehydrated. At normal outdoor temperatures, this calf would require 2.5 quarts of electrolyte solution per day. However, if the outdoor temperature is over 100oF (38oC), the amount should be doubled to 5 quarts per day in addition to normal feedings of milk or replacer (Bentley, Iowa State University Extension).
Provide Air Movement
Air movement promotes cooling; in fact, calves in a curtain sidewall barn showed a 23% increase in average daily gain when cooled with fans (Hill et al, Journal of Dairy Science, 2011).
Air movement also helps your calves by reducing the bacterial load and reducing noxious gases like ammonia in the air.
Recommendations for airflow are over six times higher in hot summer weather than in winter. Your local extension specialist or veterinarian may be able to help you determine if airflow in your calf facility is adequate for summer heat.
For calf hutches, a simple way to improve air flow is to raise the rear of the hutch (can be supported with a cement block). For maximum airflow in hutches place them 4 feet apart with 10 feet between rows.
Block out Direct Sun
No matter the type of housing, your calf needs to be able to get out of direct sunlight. A shade cloth above hutches can reduce the temperature inside the hutch by 3-4 degrees, and therefore reduce body temperature. Calves housed in barns need the ability to move out of sunlight coming through sidewalls or windows. Calves in group housing will “bunch” to move away from direct sunlight or flies, thereby limiting their individual air flow.
Keep Bedding Dry & Combat Flies
Expending energy to swat flies adds to the detriment of heat stress, so use fly control products. Also, fly eggs need moisture to hatch; therefore, use of dry inorganic bedding helps limit flies in the calf rearing area. Having four or more inches of gravel below the bedded surface of hutches or pens helps to drain the fluids away too.
“Expending energy to swat at flies adds to the detriment of heat stress.”
Keep the area under feed and water buckets clean and dry to reduce hatching of maggots. Finally, trimming weeds around calf housing improves ventilation and reduces moisture in the soil.
In summary, you can reduce heat stress in calves to improve their health and your farm’s profitability by following these simple steps in summer months:
› Provide fresh starter daily
› Offer large amounts of clean water
› Provide electrolyte therapy to dehydrated calves as needed
› Produce adequate air flow
› Furnish shade
› Supply dry bedding
› Undertake fly control measures
On this #MemberMonday, discover what drives genetic and reproduction success at Plymouth Dairy Farms, Inc., near LeMars, Iowa. The operation recently earned the Platinum award for the Heifer category of the GENEX Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction Awards.
Plymouth Dairy is not a newcomer to the Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction Awards. In fact, the dairy earned the Platinum award for the >2,000 cows category last year (and a gold rating the year before). That’s some all-round good management!
The dairy, owned by the Feuerholm family, was founded in 1999 with the first cows milked in August 2000. Over the years, it has expanded to about 3,500 head. The growth, expansion and strong reproduction program are the result of teamwork, with Plymouth Dairy and GENEX committed to a strong and lasting relationship.
Key members of the team at the Plymouth Dairy heifer facility include (L to R) Paige Browning, Andy Nelsen and Chris McGuire.
The dairy's breeding-age heifers are raised offsite, at a nearby facility in Nebraska. A main component of the reproduction success for the heifers is the technician team. They perform professional, high-level heat detection and breeding service day after day.
Another driver of success is the nutrition and health of the animals. Heifers that are in a positive energy balance are the engine that run the show. Paired with quality genetics from GENEX sires that emphasize health and fertility, it is no wonder the dairy earned the award!
“It’s that simple,” explains Chris McGuire of Plymouth Dairy. “Success is due to quality heifers, good nutrition and technicians with a drive to do well.”
What does the award-winning reproduction program look like? Heifers are eligible to breed at 385 days or 12.5 months of age. If a heifer has strong heat expression, then GenChoice™ sexed semen is used on the first two heats. With this strategy, close to 75% of services are to sexed semen. The other 25% is to conventional dairy semen.
If a heifer does not show a heat by 405 days or 13.25 months of age, she is checked by a vet and either receives progesterone or an Eazi-Breed™ CIDR®. A heifer gets four services before a culling decision is made. Combine the excellent genetic and reproduction results along with a knowledgeable and motivated team and an overall focus on employee safety and satisfaction, and you have Plymouth Dairy.
The team at Omro Dairy, near Omro, Wisconsin, is always striving to improve. That determined go-getter attitude helped the team earn platinum recognition in the GENEX Excellence in Genetics & Reproduction Awards contest.
GENEX representatives Carlos Marin (far left) and Kim Egan (far right) presented the Omro Dairy team of Victor Montoya, Carlos Zelada, Jorge Montoya and John Vosters with their platinum recognition plaque in the 2,000+ cow category.
Omro Dairy joined the Milk Source family of farms in 1999. In recent years, changes and transformations have taken place on the farm. First, it was transformed from a Holstein herd to a complete Jersey herd.
In early 2017, they also transitioned from a Pre-Synch program with a 50 day voluntary waiting period and “cherry picking” to a Double Ovsynch program with a 60-day voluntary waiting period for first service.
The team at Omro has made the transition from conventional semen to entirely sexed or beef semen as well.
Altogether, the team is achieving over 83% of the herd pregnant by 150 days in milk, keeping the Jersey herd under 165 days in milk on average. There are very few fresh cow illnesses or culls, which is also an important factor in outstanding reproduction. Once confirmed pregnant, only 6% have an abort event. Heat detection is a key component of the reproductive program after first service, with about half of the cows becoming pregnant to standing heat breedings after first service.
Calm and quiet cattle handling is important to this team, and it is evident in the demeanor of the Jerseys as they play with their tongues and lounge in their sand beds. There is not a seasonal difference in conception either. With curtain sidewalls, fans and sprinklers, cows are kept comfortable year-round.
The breeding team at Omro Dairy certainly takes pride in their work. Every six to eight weeks, GENEX staff utilize the A.I. AccuCheck program to ensure no protocol drift in heat detection, semen handling or insemination technique. Proper functioning and cleanliness of equipment is also inspected.
While other things on the dairy may change, the breeding team remains consistent (with only one new team member), and every member of the team helps provide encouragement and training for the ultimate success of the program.
Congratulations to Omro Dairy and thank you for being a GENEX member!
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!