The POINT - November, 2021

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November 2021 January 2021

The POINT “When you're in this business you're like an NFL coach. You surround yourself with good people and it makes life much easier. CentralStar is really amazing. The whole group is phenomenal to work with. We are blessed to have great employees. They care about what we do.” Jim, Chuck and Mark Fahey Prairieland Dairy, Belleville, Wis.

Photo: Jim, Chuck and Mark Fahey, Prairieland Dairy, Belleville, Wis.

Prairieland Dairy In play since February 2020 Jim, Chuck and Mark Fahey shared, "CowManager® basically tells us everything we need to know about a cow," during their virtual farm tour at World Dairy Expo. See how CowManager's real-time alerts are impacting several areas at the dairy.


owManager’s orange ear tag transmits data every 15-minutes, providing realtime information to manage from. Individual animal alerts are pushed to your phone, which eliminates spending hours a day looking for sick cows and cows in heat. Instead, time and attention can be prioritized to animals that need it most. “It gives you alerts and tells you how critical they are,” said Chuck of the health alerts he receives to his phone. “A yellow alert means there’s something suspicious going on, and a red alert means we need to go look at the cow now. It has really helped us prioritize our time.” Herd health improves Since installing CowManager, the dairy has seen a steady decline in health events. Metritis is down 53%, milk fever 75%, ketosis 22%, retained placentas 70% and abortions

39%. The reduction in health events leads to less labor and money spent on treatment, while preserving milk production. Additionally, the herd reports fewer cow deaths and cows sold, which has a positive effect on profits through inventory. “The CowManager system helps us to identify that sick cow before she physically looks ill. Now we can take that cow with minimal issues, deal with minimal issues and have her back in the milk line sooner, or she never leaves the milk line,” shared herd Veterinarian, Dr. Jessica Powell, PMJ Farm Service. Previously, the Fahey’s monitored parlor milk weights to identify cows that might not be feeling well. “By the time we saw a drop in production, chances are the cow was really down and out, and it was probably too late,” shared Chuck. “With CowManager we pick

up cows that are sick within five or six hours. It’s a wonderful system.” This summer the dairy trialed CowManager’s new transition feature, which uses machine learning during the dry period to predict which animals are most susceptible to having problems post-freshening. As one of the first herds in the U.S. to utilize this feature, Phil Dieter, CentralStar Chief Executive Officer shared, “It means you can significantly reduce the number of animals that will have health issues, weeks prior to the event occurring. Once an animal is identified you give a direct-fed microbial or appetite stimulant like Tri-Start Bolus or BioFresh® Bolus and use minimally invasive practices to prevent the future sickness. This approach has had an impact on this herd’s Continued on page 2.

Continued from cover. improvement in health events. It’s really impactful data to manage with.” Submission rate soars All cows are enrolled and bred through a Double Ovsynch program and CowManager is used to identify animals needing subsequent service. Currently, Prairieland has a 32% pregnancy rate and 74% submission rate. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Prairieland for over 15 years, and their reproduction has always been very good,” shared Phil. “Typically, our benchmark is to have a 60% or higher submission rate, and they’ve always achieved that, so I didn’t think we were going to get much of a jump in this area when CowManager was installed. My prediction was wrong, submission rates are currently at 74%. Double Ovsynch and CowManager work really well together, so we are now maximizing every opportunity a cow can be inseminated.” When repro gets this good When a herd achieves high reproduction efficiency, it is not necessary to create replacements from every animal. As such, the Fahey’s implemented a strategic breeding program to maximize profit from every animal. The herd’s top genetics are bred to elite Holstein sires to develop the

necessary replacement animals. Animals the dairy no longer needs replacements from are bred to beef semen, maximizing the end product value. “We were getting so full in our heifer sheds and were spending too much time and money treating health issues on heifers we didn’t even need,” recalled Chuck. “Using beef semen allowed us to initially get rid of raising extra heifers, while creating a place to raise beef and add value. This has worked great for us so far and may be a way to grow the operation in the future.” Milk production “We are pushing more of a forage diet,” shared Mark. “We are using more homegrown forages, so we don’t have to buy by-products. We are trying to maintain production on our own feed, because

that’s where the profit is going to be. I am really happy we have been able to hold production, or gain a little, and that’s because overall our herd is healthier and CowManager certainly helps with that.” Running a dairy is like being an NFL coach “When you're in this business you're like an NFL coach,” shared Jim. “You surround yourself with good people and it makes life much easier.” Chuck added, “CentralStar is really amazing. They really treat us well. The whole group is phenomenal to work with.” Mark concluded, “We are blessed to have great employees. They are very good and care about what we do.” Talk to your CentralStar team to learn more and to find out how to save 20% on your order .

Prairieland Dairy Fourth Generation Family Farm 1,500 cows milked 3x a day, double 24 parlor 32,000 Milk, 92,000 SCC 33% Pregnancy Rate, 74% Submission Rate 3,300 acres corn, alfalfa, soybeans and wheat

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Fertility MATTERS The cows are healthy and you’re feeding high quality forages. Your breeders are highly skilled, synch protocol compliance is spot-on, and your activity monitoring is dialed in. Your team is executing your plan perfectly and yet conception rates are not quite where you want them. Now what? It may be time to look at your sire selections and the health and fertility traits they bring to the equation. The genetics you chose to introduce in your herd WILL impact all areas of their performance including reproduction. The only question is, will it be a positive or negative impact? Some recently published data analyses1 for DHI records over the last decade showed some interesting trends in reproduction of the Holstein and Jersey breeds. I’ll save you the meticulous task of reading the report and tell you the bottom line. Reproduction in Holsteins has improved, and has not in the Jersey breed. In ten years’ time, Holsteins have decreased the number of days open by 19 days while Jerseys have decreased it by one day. First service conception rates have increased in the Holstein 1st service 2009 20192 breed by conception rate 6%, and Jerseys 40 40 the Jersey breed saw Holsteins 32 38 no change. While the Jersey breed has been notorious for fertile cows, the recent trend confirms Jersey breeders have put little to no focus on fertility traits in their genetic selections. In contrast, Holstein breeders have put great focus on daughter fertility traits over the previous ten years. Let’s take a look at the genetic traits that most likely have had the biggest impact on reproductive performance trends in this report. Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) DPR as a genetic measure represents a percentage above or below the industry average preg. rate. For example, daughters of a bull with a DPR of +1.5, are expected to have a preg. rate that is 1.5% higher than those sired by a bull with a DPR of 0. DPR measures only the outcome of a reproduction program (a successful pregnancy), so this is the most broad-

Cole Mark

Reproductive & Genetic Consultant

spectrum genetic trait related directly to reproduction and can be affected by everything from cystic cows to conception rates and abortions. Cow Conception Rate and Heifer Conception Rate (CCR and HCR) CCR and HCR eliminate all the unknowns and look solely at the number of animals that got pregnant, divided by the number of animals that were bred. This is the likelihood of a bulls’ offspring to conceive at the time of insemination and is again a measure above or below average with each unit representing one percentile. If your herd shows timely heats, minimal abortions, and only struggles with conceiving at the time of insemination, this is a very targeted trait that may help. Genetics are overwhelmingly influential on nearly every aspect of a cow’s life, and reproduction is no different. Therefore, it is vital to take these traits into some consideration during sire selections. Many indexes, such as Net Merit Dollars, Dairy Wellness Profit Dollars® and Herd Health Profit Dollars™ do incorporate fitness and fertility traits into the formulation and are also a great way to sort bulls. But if your herd is struggling with reproduction, using DPR or HCR and CCR as secondary selection criteria to put added emphasis on this area can be highly effective over time. Remember, reproduction and genetics are a long game, and today’s decisions will impact the reproduction and profitability of your herd five, and even ten years down the line. Make sure the impact is a good one!

Enhancing producer profitability through integrated services.

Scan the QR code to see the full report regarding reproductive status of cows in DHI bred using artificial insemination. Reproductive status of cows in DHI programs and bred using artificial insemination.


Calving interval average was for 2018



The 1-2-3 of Preg. Checks For successful implementation into a reproductive management system, a pregnancy test must be sensitive to diagnose a pregnancy, specific to diagnose a non-pregnant or open animal, simple to conduct, economical, and able to determine pregnancy status at the time it is performed. Fortunately, our industry has several methods that fit those criteria, including ultrasound, palpation, and chemical pregnancy testing (blood and milk). Performing three pregnancy checks is optimal as they allow for timely turnaround to A.I. service, reduced days open (therefore increasing milk production) and saves you from the high cost of feeding an open dry cow.




Early Diagnosis

Identify Early Embryonic Death

Find open cows before dry off

28-35 DCC

Early pregnancy diagnosis allows you to quickly reinitiate A.I. service decreasing the interval between breedings. This increases reproductive efficiency, ultimately decreasing average days open. Transrectal ultrasound can be performed as early as 28 days carried calf (DCC), which allows you to find open cows early, reducing days open. It also allows the practitioner to view ovarian structures, reproductive abnormalities, and fetal sexing/twinning. For these reasons I see this method utilized most often at this stage. That said, ultrasound does involve restraining animals therefore requiring additional farm labor and disrupting the cows’ routines. To minimize those demands, milk pregnancy testing can be a good alternative, and even more so when it is difficult to get a veterinarian to the farm. With milk testing, the farm team can collect samples and send them direct to a lab. For maximum efficiency, test milk samples collected through routine DHI, which reduces your labor and disruption to the herd’s routine.


60-90 DCC

180-220 DCC

Rates of early embryonic death are highest around the time of the first pregnancy check, making rechecks very important. Several factors affect pregnancy losses in cattle, such as compromised oocytes, to inadequate uterine environment and infectious agents resulting in death of the embryo from undernourishment.

Late lactation cows often don’t get much attention, and without this third pregnancy check, open cows can slip into the dry pen. Even at a rate as low as 2%, a farm will accumulate significant costs. Feed costs ($2.25 - $3.25/day), along with vaccinations, labor, dry treatment and teat sealants, add up to approximately $400/open cow.

Studies have indicated that anovulation, anestrous, the metabolic status of the animal, some dietary ingredients (such as mycotoxins), as well as occurrence of diseases, predispose the cow to experience embryonic and fetal death. In my experience, pregnancy loss of 12-15% are common at this point.

In my experience, the milk pregnancy test is the gold standard for use before dry off. And why wouldn’t it be? It requires less labor and avoids disrupting the herd’s routine.

Both ultrasound and the milk pregnancy test can be effective for this check. Let labor availability be your guide. Milk pregnancy testing wins for herds on DHI test, as it eliminates the need for additional farm labor, while also eliminating disruption to animal routine.

As we know, cows are creatures of habit and the less we interfere with their routines the higher they perform. Research has shown that one hour lost resting time equates to 3.5 lbs (1.7 kg) less milk per day. Pregnancy checks performed on your DHI samples or collected by farm labor in the parlor means no lost resting time.

Julie Ainsworth Dairy Records & Consulting Coordinator • 800.631.3510

The impact of reduced resting time on milk production. Activity

Top 10%







Standing in alleys



Perching in stalls






Eating at manger

Means within a row differ (p<0.05). 1 Adapted from Matzke (2003).

Daily behavioral time budget for top 10% of cows by milk production and average milk production cows (h/d).1

ProfitSOURCE beef sires are specifically selected for use on dairy cows with a focus on traits needed to earn top dollar for your beef x dairy calves. ProfitSOURCE Partners, TD Beef and Power Genetics, offer improved, secure pricing for qualifying calves.

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36 32 7

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Resting time (hours)

Research represented in the graph above, shows the impact reduced resting time has on production. One hour of lost resting time leads to approximately 3.5 lbs (1.7kg) less milk/day. Allowing cows opportunities to remain undisturbed can have significant returns.

ProfitSOURCE calf care guidelines ensure feeding and carcass performance, adding value along the supply chain.

CentralStar consultants can help you determine the best breeding plan to ensure the highest profitability for your herd. Ask your CentralStar team for a ProfitSOURCE sire list and how to put a plan in place for your dairy!

On-farm SCC and Ketone tests now available


he PortaSCC® Quick, PortaBHB™ milkketone, and BHBCheck™ Plus bloodketone tests are affordable, rapid, easy to use on farms, and are now available through a local CentralStar team-member. “We are committed to providing tools and services that help producers be more profitable,” shared Phil Dieter, CentralStar Chief Executive Officer. “To help meet this goal, CentralStar routinely invests in research and development to create novel test options, while sourcing existing technologies that can help producers develop and manage long-lasting, healthy herds. Expanding our offerings to include these on-farm tests will help producers more effectively monitor and manage SCC and ketosis.” Mastitis and ketosis are among the most common health challenges dairy cattle face. While the incidence of mastitis outpaces ketosis, both have significant impact on cow health and profitability. Research shows a single case of mastitis costs between $155 - $244, while the cost

of one case of ketosis ranges between $117 - $289. Along with DHI SCC analysis, Mastitis PCR testing, and electronic herdhealth monitoring, implementing on-farm testing for mastitis and ketosis gives producers more options in managing and monitoring critical health challenges that are known to significantly impact cow health and profitability. The PortaSCC® Quick is a 5-minute test that can be used for quarter or composite fresh-milk samples. The test screens for subclinical mastitis by detecting SCC at levels much lower than the California Mastitis Test. “The PortaSCC is a versatile test that complements existing management practices,” said Michelle Kaufmann, CentralStar Customer Solutions Advisor. “Producers who utilize DHI have the advantage of easily identifying cows with high SCC values, and as a result, often elect to hold that cow’s milk from the bulk tank while implementing management actions to reduce infection. The SCC test can be used throughout treatment to identify when a cow’s SCC levels are below

threshold, allowing milk to be added back to the bulk tank faster.” A common fresh-cow ailment, ketosis, is known to contribute to reduced fertility, decreased production, and the increased likelihood of a displaced abomasum. While electronic herd-health-monitoring systems, like CowManager, help predict the early signs of health challenges, not all farms use such technology, making on-farm testing a viable alternative.

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POWER Earn a 3% reward when you prepay toward your 2022 purchases. Offer valid December 1 - 30, 2021. Account must be current to qualify. 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 BioCyle Plus and CONVERT are trademarks of Select Sires and manufactured by Agrarian Solutions, Middlebury, Indiana. ProfitKSOURCE™ is a trademark of Select Sires.

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Round-the-clock monitoring of rumination, eating, resting, temperature and activity.

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Nutrition Alerts - NEW • Predicts two out of three cows that will have transition issues after calving, weeks prior in the dry period. • Helps identify under-performing cows in rumination/eating time. • Heat stress alerts inform of groups needing attention.

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• Provides very early detection of health issues. • Gives severity of issue to determine best solution. • Ongoing insights on the recovery of cow health.

• Accurately identifies which cows are in heat. • Provides information on when to precisely breed. • Identifies anovular and cystic cows.

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Limited time offer. Call your area CowManager Specialist for complete details! Wisconsin Northwest: Darin Klevgard, 608.434.4171 Southeast: Scott Hecker, 920.374.0010

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