The POINT - May 2020

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May 2020


Each point improvement in pregnancy rate can be worth $15-$35 per cow/per year.


Heiman Holsteins has achieved exponential growth compared to the state's average as a result of their focus on genetic advancement.


Reproduction Specialists share their experiences with CowManager.


A look at how these changes should influence your genetic criteria.

Pride View Dairy and TEAMWORK with CentralStar T rust is one of the most important factors when searching for companies to help your dairy farm achieve success. Chad, Heath, and Luke Boelter of Pride View Dairy, LLC, have strong trust in the employee team they work with at CentralStar Cooperative. “We’ve grown relationships with them,” said Heath. “We’ve learned to trust them, their advice, and their decisions.”

The Boelter brothers and 24 full-time employees milk and care for 1,300 cows near Randolph, Wis. CentralStar team members have been working with Pride View for about a dozen years; they had only 700 cows when the story began. “At the time, our major reason for switching to Select was the service,” noted Heath. Since then, the farm has used many CentralStar and Select Sires programs to maximize success on their dairy. Eric Gudex, CentralStar A.I. Specialist, has been breeding cows at Pride View since the beginning of their business with Select Sires. It’s no secret the farm thinks their A.I. Specialist is the greatest of all time. “We

pretty much do whatever Eric wants,” said Luke. The brothers have also been known to say in passing, “As long as Eric Gudex is breeding our cows, everything is great.” The entire team at Pride View has complete confidence and trust in Eric’s breeding services and decisions for their dairy. It’s a huge testament to Eric’s character and the support staff from CentralStar that surrounds him. When switching to CentralStar and Select Sires for breeding services, a CentralStar genetic consultant and the Select Sires’ Select Mating Service program was put to use on the farm. “We’ve improved our cattle in general using the mating program,” said Chad. “It provides us with the opportunity to meet our goals of where we want our cattle to be.” In addition, Pride View takes advantage of sexed semen, heifer-inventory practices, and genetic audits through CentralStar. About five years ago, the farm was at a fork in the road regarding their size and current

cow-monitoring system. “We had to expand the current system or try something new,” said Luke. “The old system was just activity,” added Chad. “We liked the rumination feature about CowManager. In addition, Eric was familiar with it.” As a result, CentralStar Reproductive Specialists installed CowManager, and the rest is history. “It has been a pleasure working with this farm,” said Eric. “Everyone has an open line of communication. There are no egos. No one’s worried about someone intruding on their territory.” The Boelter brothers have much to say about the CentralStar team, as well. “We feel extremely comfortable with everybody,” said Chad. Heath was quick to add, “If someone’s going to spend our money, it better be someone we trust.” Above Photo: CentralStar and Pride View Dairy team.

Back Row: Luke Boelter, Eric Gudex, Brian Kelroy, Scott Hecker, Heath Boelter; Front Row: Victor Lopez, Andrea Gruetzmacher, Chad Boelter.

Where we stand


o doubt, these are unprecedented times. The challenges your dairy is facing are unlike any we have ever seen. We understand and want you to know that you can count on us. Our team of 400+ employees continue to work day in and day out to provide the services necessary to your operation. Our DHI team is maintaining routine testing to ensure you have the data needed to make the best possible decisions. We have also seen an uptick in the number of farms leveraging milk samples for pregnancy verification to help alleviate labor needs and interactions associated with traditional methods. Keeping your herd’s reproduction program the top priority is the quest of our A.I. Specialists. With the importance pregnancy rate plays in your herd, their vast knowledge in all aspects of heat detection and insemination can help drive efficiency, while reducing on-farm labor demands.



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We are committed to doing what we can to keep you and our employees safe and healthy. Our administration and lab buildings remain open to conduct business, with limited access to outside visitors. While the field staff continues to provide the services you expect, they are encouraged to contact you in advance of stopping at your farm to understand your needs and follow the practices you have put in place for your staff.






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The CentralStar team is committed to providing the highest level of service to support the needs of your operation. We know the current terrain is more difficult to navigate than usual, but we hope you will find assurance in the fact that the CentralStar team is strapped in and ready to tackle the obstacles with you.

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In addition, our Genetic Consultants, CowManager Specialists, Lab employees and a host of other support staff continue to focus on delivering the support you need to maximize your investments in genetics, herd health and more.

Thank you for allowing us to be your partner! We stand with you today, tomorrow and in the future.

Jerome Meyer, CEO








04/20 CDCB/HA/Zoetis Genomic Evaluations. ®TPI is a registered trademark of Holstein Association USA. DWP$ is a registered trademark of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. NxGEN is a registered trademark of Select Sires Inc. All bulls qualify for semen export to Canada. Bull photos by Thomas.

Ask your CentralStar team how to join the NxGEN program to begin capturing breed-leading genetic trends today!

Todd Byrem, COO • 800.631.3510

Preg rate drives profitability ~Julie Ainsworth, Coordinator, Dairy Production Analysis, CentralStar Cooperative

R To improve your herd’s pregnancy rate, you must improve heat detection, conception or both. While the list below is not all-inclusive, it runs the gamut. Ask your CentralStar team for help in determining which can be most impactful in helping you achieve improved pregnancy rates by your next herd health visit.

Heat Detection • Tail chalk • Timed A.I. • Re-synchronization • Reduce overcrowding • Improve footing • Evaluate cow groups

Best of Both


• Timing of insemination CowManager® • Double sheath Retrain detection & insemination skills • Gun warmer Technician service • Shot compliance Heat abatement • Maintain equipment Select for fertility • Maintain vaccinations

egardless of milk price, pregnancy rate remains a main driver of profitability on your dairy. Each point improvement in pregnancy rate can be worth $15-$35 per cow/per year, therefore continued focus in this area is important. Here are a few ways improving pregnancy rate influences your dairy’s bottom-line. More milk from the same number of cows. Reducing the average days in milk results in more milk from the same number of cows. This allows a larger portion of the herd to be earlier in lactation, which is the highest producing end of the lactation curve. Older, more profitable cows. Decreased culling due to reproductive failure keeps older cows in the herd longer. First lactation heifers are outperformed by high producing older cows that have already paid for their rearing costs, allowing production to go straight to the bottom line. More consistent lactation and dry period lengths. Cows with long days in milk are very low, or even negative on income over feed costs. Exceptionally long or short dry periods also adversely affect the profitability of individual cows. Each day dry over 60 days costs about $3, and each day dry under 40 costs around $2. Heifers calving at the appropriate age and condition. Poor reproductive performance in heifers means increased feed and rearing costs, resulting in raising more heifers than needed.

Technician Service Hiring someone to manage your herd's reproduction program means it gets the focus it deserves. CentralStar A.I. Specialists are wellversed in all aspects of heat detection and insemination, and can help alleviate on-farm labor needs.


The 24/7 activity monitoring system, provides accurate heat detection, and early discovery of sick cows. CowManager saves labor, as well as synchronization and treatment costs, while improving heat detection and conception rates.

Select for fertility

Several genetic traits focus on improving fertility. Sire Conception Rate (SCR) is an evaluation of a sire’s semen fertility and using a bull with a high SCR can guide outcomes in your favor. Work with a genetic consultant to include fertility traits in your genetic selection.

A study done by Compeer Financial and Zoetis found pregnancy rate to be one of six factors that account for 85 percent of the variation in profitability in herds. In their study of over 400 Midwest herds, the top one-third of herds for profitability had a pregnancy rate of 27 percent, and the lowest 18 percent. The higher profit dairies continued to extend their advantage into future generations of the herd as they invested more in genetic selection. The importance of pregnancy rate is not new, but certainly worth repeating. If you would like help finding ways to improve your herd’s pregnancy rate, ask your CentralStar team. We are here to help!

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.


Go ahead, put genetics in the ~Cole Mark, Genetic Consultant, CentralStar Cooperative


hances are you’ve recently had tough conversations with the nutritionist, seed salesman, veterinarian, heifer grower and others, but why stop there? When it comes to improving your bottom line everything is up for scrutiny, including genetics. Since CentralStar is most likely your provider of genetics and reproductive services, this might seem like an odd topic to tackle. But I say go ahead, put genetics in the hot seat because there is lots of evidence that investing in top-tier genetics consistently provides big returns for dairies. In the last issue of this newsletter, my article looked at the return on investment (ROI) Luckwaldt Ag, Inc is earning from their genetic decisions. In that example, their genetic investments resulted in shipping 10 pounds more milk per day. For this article I’m referencing Heiman Holsteins, a Marshfield,

Wisconsin dairy that I work with. This time we will look at genetic impact over a five-year period, because the decisions you make today affect your dairy far into the future, having a lasting impact. In the past five years, Heiman Holsteins have increased combined fat and protein (CFP) per cow, per year more than FIVE HUNDRED POUNDS! That’s an incredible gain – but like your herd, they’ve also made other improvements. So, let’s look at how much of that gain can be attributed to genetics. Pounds of solids, specifically fat and protein, are the primary drivers of your milk check. Looking at dairy herds in Wisconsin, the average CFP has increased from 1,530 lbs. in 2015, to a projected 1,646 lbs. in 2020. The gains Heiman Holsteins has made during this same time period are much greater, increasing from 1,590 lbs. to 2,120 lbs.

This data reflects an 8 percent increase for all Wisconsin herds over the five-year period, while Heiman’s herd improved by 33 percent! So, the million-dollar-question (pun intended) is, what has Heiman Holsteins done so differently than their fellow dairymen over the last five years? You are probably rolling your eyes right now because you already know what I am going to say… investing in advancing the genetics of your herd. But let me prove it to you. Heiman Holsteins ran just above average in 2015 for CFP, and six years later, their herd was producing 474 lbs. more CFP per cow per year than the average Wisconsin dairy. Not so coincidentally, the Net Merit Dollars (NM$) of their herd was also just above average in 2015, but in 2020 is 75 NM$ ahead of the pack.

2019 Mycotoxin Report

Combined DON

It's no longer a question of if your feed contains mycotoxins, but instead at what levels. The maps here reflect recently released information regarding feed testing conducted by Agrarian Solutions®. What you are feeding today is the result of the fall 2019 harvest season. You knew it was challenging, but the mycotoxin testing results prove just how compromised the feed is in the Midwest. In fact we are beyond the caution range, and have moved into the danger zones for DON and Zearalenone. Some years ago, Dr. Lon Whitlow showed data for large numbers of Holsteins indicating at 300 parts per billion (ppb) DON, herds began experiencing reductions in milk production. At the levels shown here, milk production isn't the only concern, reproductive failures are inevitable.


Mycotoxin symptoms appear in various ways including, reduced feed intake, reduced milk production, poor reproductive performance, and impaired immune function. If your herd is experiencing any of these symptoms, mycotoxin exposure could be the cause. The first line of defense is to test your feed to know the facts. Ask your CentralStar team to submit a feed sample for testing, so a course of action can be plotted.

John Doerr, Ph.D., PAS, Dpl, ACAP Vice President, Science and Technology Agrarian Solutions

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parts per billion (ppb)

You know better than anyone that there are no guarantees in this business. But there is endless evidence that focusing efforts on genetic advancement can improve your bottom line. It’s not by chance that the faster the Net Merit of Heiman’s herd pulls ahead of “average”, so does the pounds of CFP they ship in a year. So I ask you, what is your herd just a little bit better at than everyone else in the industry? What can you do a little bit more efficiently that will yield a significant ROI to your bottom

line? For Heiman Holsteins, they used genetic progress to find nearly 500 additional pounds of solids per cow per year in just six years. There is no reason that you can’t do the exact same thing in your herd with a strategic breed plan. The dairy industry is constantly evolving and improving. To keep up with the pack, we all must maintain a long-term vision, even when markets are depressed. Semen purchases are an immediate expense, with a long-term benefit. When the benefits are delayed by

three years, it’s natural to have an urge to go cheap. I encourage you to leave no stone unturned in your quest to trim expenses, which includes genetics. But the next time you purchase semen, take a moment to ask yourself if you plan to be in business in three years. If your answer is yes, can you really justify going cheap on a purchase that could yield a 33 percent increase in milk solids production? Source: Herd average data obtained from DairyMetrics, DRMS.

Five-Year Genetic Impact - Combined Fat & Protein (CFP)

Five-Year Genetic Impact - Net Merit Dollars (NM$)

Heiman Holsteins increased CFP by 33 percent, compared to the state average increase of only 8 percent.

With increased focus on genetic decisions, Heiman Holsteins achieved exponential growth in the herd's NM$ compared to the Wisconsin average.



• Confirms pregnancy as early as 28-days post-breeding. • Results available via text or online within 24 hours of receipt of sample. • Conduct multiple ELISA tests (Johne’s, Leukosis, BVD) on same sample for convenience and savings. • No additional supply or shipping costs when conducted on DHI milk samples. • Send samples direct to CentralStar Labs. Sampling supplies and sample submission kits available online. Learn more from your Central team, call 800.631.3510 or visit

About the Test • Confirm pregnancy through pregnancy specific proteins (PAG). PAGs are released by the placenta during pregnancy and are specific to pregnancy unlike some other chemical indicators. • Comparable to traditional methods. 98% accurate. • Results reported as pregnant (>0.25), open (<0.1) and recheck (0.1-0.25) based on the levels of PAGs present. “Recheck” results should be verified by herd veterinarian or retested.

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.


Understanding the numbers after a base change I

f you noticed a change in the stats of your favorite sires, it’s not because they had a bad day, they went through a base change. A base change is nothing new, but since it occurs only every five years, it can cause confusion. Here are a few highlights of the changes that occurred in April and what they mean to you. The April base change adjusted Predicted Transmitting Abilities (PTAs) of all animals to account for the genetic change that has been made over the past five years. Resetting the genetic base prevents PTAs from becoming extreme by setting the average PTAs of animals born in 2015 at zero. Because genetic progress is typically made over time, most PTAs will be lowered. However, if trends were unfavorable, the PTAs generally increase. Exceptions to this trend being Somatic Cell Score (SCS) and the four

Find important traits with Select Sires new designation icons With the April sire summaries, Select Sires implemented a new set of designation icons for use across all product lines (Select Sires, Accelerated Genetics, GenerVations). Along with updated designs, qualifications and indexes were adjusted for a few. The changes reflect the latest industry research and available tools. Look for these icons to choose sires that best reflect your management style to meet your goals. If you have questions talk with your CentralStar team.

calving traits as lower values are more desirable in these traits.

Holstein Base Change - April, 2020 Genomic Young Sire





















Zoetis’ CLARIFIDE Proven Sire -423 -19 -15 -1.7 0.10 -0.2 -0.81 -0.92 -0.57 -241 Plus test now includes dairy genetic evaluations Jersey Base Change - April, 2020 for abortion, MILK FAT PRO PL SCS DPR PTAT UDC FLC NM$ twinning, milk fever, cystic ovary and Genomic Young Sire -466 -22 -17 -1.3 0.02 1.0 -0.71 -11.79 -65 -165 cow respiratory Proven Sire -471 -23 -17 -1.5 0.03 1.0 -0.70 -11.10 -64 -177 disease. These traits are expressed as genomic Standardized Transmitting information to increase individual cow Abilities (STA) with values centered at performance and overall herd profitability. 100 and a standard deviation of 5. These Both Dairy Wellness Profit Index® (DWP$®) genomic predictions for additional fertility and Wellness Trait Index® (WT$®) have been and wellness traits provide both Holstein adjusted to account for additional traits and and Jersey breeders with valuable genetic recent evaluations from industry research.

FeedPRO optimizes selection for increased production and moderate body size while maintaining body condition score and daughter fertility. This icon identifies sires with sexsorted semen available. The FertilityPRO designation identifies sires with semen that will likely improve pregnancy rates.

Sires earn the SHOWCASE designation through outstanding breed-leading Type or show-winning pedigrees.

GrazingPRO sires improve the profitability of grass-based production systems.

RobotPRO sires transmit the desired traits for robotic milking systems.

®FeedPRO, FertilityPRO, GrazingPRO and RobotPRO are registered trademarks of Select Sires Inc. ™Showcase, Elite Sexed Fertility, gender SELECTED, gender SELECTED 4M, GForce and GForce+ are trademarks of Select Sires Inc.,and SexedULTRA is a trademark of Inguran LLC.

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The gender SELECTED 4M icon identifies sires with sex-sorted semen available in 4 million sperm doses.

The Elite Sexed Fertility icon designates sires that can help you achieve the highest sex-sorted semen conception rates.

GForce indicates sires with elite genetic evaluation based on traditional pedigree and genomic data, but without actual daughter data.

The GForce+ lineup includes proven and young sires selected based on rigid semen quality standards and SCR from progeny test semen usage.

In the pen with

Who better to talk with about CowManager than the people who work with it day in and day out. Here's what a few of our Reproduction Specialists have to say about CowManager, and how it is performing in herds they work with. Jim Neuser, Cato, Wisconsin A savings in labor is the biggest benefit CowManager provides farms. You do not have to walk pens that you don’t need to be in to check for heats. It is a time saver and lets farms reallocate their employee time differently.

We have CowManager installed on our family’s heifer farm and have gone from using 15 CIDRs® a month down to one. On another farm I work with that has CowManager we’ve reduced the number of cows bred by Ovsynch from 25-30 a week to under 10. Those changes are phenomenal and are a direct savings to the herd. Another dairy I work with has seen a good improvement in catching fresh cow and dry cow problems – which has resulted in a healthier herd that breeds back better.

CowManager is another set of eyes that works 24/7. It picks up sick cows before anyone can actually see that a cow is sick. The farms I work with say they get the most benefit from the health module, but I also see a real advantage to the reproduction module. For instance, one thing I’ve been doing is when we use prostaglandins, I now breed cows based on when they show up on the activity list, instead of on time. This change gets us better results because we are breeding cows when we know they are responding, instead of when we think they will be in heat.

There is no question that if CowManager tells you a cow is in heat – she is. CowManager is a really accurate system! When farms install CowManager, they have a hard time trusting the system, but you need to. The technology is so good that you need to trust it and let it help you.

It’s a good system. I have had people say if they didn’t have it already, they would find a way to buy it. It is definitely worth the money. Dan Zernicke, Bonduel, Wisconsin Two of the biggest benefits I see with CowManager is you give a whole lot less shots for synchronization, which reduces labor needs, and it is less stressful for the cows. Those are the unique benefits I’ve seen in herds.

David Thoma, Midland, Michigan CowManager really helps with cow health. It finds sick animals long before you can see they are ill. It also does a good job finding cows in heat. With CowManager we are finding more cows in heat sooner and getting them bred before the time they are supposed to be enrolled in Ovsynch. Buying CowManager is a big decision but look at it as a long-term one. You will make your money back on it.

Neil Estes, Cornell, Wisconsin Organic farms do not have the benefit of being able to use synchronization programs, so CowManager is a real asset. I find that CowManager definitely improves fertility. We get cows bred sooner and more effectively. What I mean by that is we are able to find heats that we would not have found with regular heat detection methods, and because of that we are getting more pregnancies. I’ve worked with some other systems, and one thing CowManager has the advantage of is how it puts the information in front of you. It’s really user-friendly, easy to read and understand. Yes, it is a big investment, but your money will not be misspent. I’ve heard people say they don’t know how they farmed without it, and in fact wish they would have installed it sooner.

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Try CowManager! Ask your CentralStar team about the 90-day trial or sign-up at www.mycentralstar. com/cowmanager.



Mycotoxin Control & Immune Modulation P.O. Box 23157, Lansing, MI 48909-3157 800.631.3510 • Return Service Requested

Presorted Standard Class U.S. Postage PAID Lansing, MI Permit #505

• ECONOMICAL: Low-inclusion rate, replaces the need to double or triple dose. • MORE THAN A BINDER: Broad-spectrum L-form technology goes beyond single toxin coverage. • IMMUNE FUNCTION: Treats cows with proprietary Bacteria giving added immunity.

Ask your CentralStar team about the DTX advantage!

CentralStar its agents or employees cannot and do not guarantee the conception rate, gender, quality or productivity to be obtained in connection with the use of its products or recommended techniques. It makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever, expressed or implied, which extend beyond the description of its products and hereby disclaims all warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. In the unlikely event that any of our products shall be proven to be defective, damages resulting from their use shall exclude consequential damages and be limited to the purchase price of the product. Find complete trademark and warranty statement at All gender SELECTed semen is processed using SexedULTRA technology. ™SexedULTRA and SexedULTRA 4M are trademarks of Inguran LLC.™gender SELECTed semen is a trademark of Select Sires Inc. ™NxGEN is a trademark of Select Sires. ®CowManager is a registered trademark of Agis Automatisering. Select DTX® is a trademark of Select Sires and manufactured by Agrarian Solutions, Middlebury, Indiana.

Connect with us at:

Save labor, generate more pregnancies Put genetics in the hot seat When it comes to improving your bottom line everything is up for scrutiny, including genetics. Genetics are one of the best investments you can make for your dairy, producing an ROI like nothing else. Read how Heiman Holsteins focus on genetic advancement has pushed them far ahead of the average, and the significant impact to their bottom line. (Pages 4-5)

Those are just two of the benefits the people who work with CowManager day in and day out are seeing in herds. CentralStar Reproduction Specialists share first hand the benefits they are seeing in herds they work with. (Page 7)

Each point improvement in pregnancy rate can be worth $15-$35 per cow/per year. Therefore continued focus in this area is critical. Check out the short list of ways to improve heat detection, conception or both with results as early as your next herd health visit. (Page 3)

Combined DON

Know your risk Mycotoxin testing results in the Midwest report DON and Zearalenone at such high levels that reproductive failures are inevitable. (Page 4)

Enroll for next level genetic gains

A membership-based program, NxGEN™ gives you early access to elite sires that can drive genetic progress like never before. (Page 2)