Horizons April 2011
In This Issue …
Co-op Business Report ■ April Proof Highlights ■ Repro Management Tips ■
It’s All About Progress. Two years ago, genomic technology proved the elite genetics of 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I and 1HO02565 CASSINO %-I. And, those profit-packed genomic proofs earned these sires a rightful place within dairy breeding programs. Today, FREDDIE and CASSINO pushed the genomic legacy to new limits. The second generation of genomics is here – eight FREDDIE and CASSINO sons above +$700 Lifetime Net Merit.
1HO10097 YUENGLING %-I [CASSINO x BOLIVER] 1HO10218 DENIM %-I [FREDDIE x WIZARD] 1HO10215 FRANZ %-I [CASSINO x O MAN]
1HO10257 TUCK %-I [FREDDIE x NIFTY]
AdvAnce your Herd at the
Speed of GenomicS
TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S
HorizonS April 2011 Vol. 17/No. 1 published three times a year for dairy producers around the globe.
AddreSS correSpondence cooperative resources international 117 E. Green Bay Street, P. O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166 email@example.com
BoArd oF direcTorS paul Greene, President Berlin, N.Y., 518.658.2419
duane nelson, 1st Vice President Winthrop, Minn., 507.647.2540
Jimmy Franks, 2nd Vice President Waynesboro, Ga., 706.437.0527
John ruedinger, Secretary Van Dyne, Wis., 920.922.9899
Jacques couture Westfield, Vt., 802.744.2733
Jim crocker Valley City, Ohio, 330.483.3709
Jon Wayne danielson Cadott, Wis., 715.289.3860
Harlin Hecht Paynesville, Minn., 320.243.4386
Kay olson-Martz Friendship, Wis., 608.564.7359
Bobby robertson Tahlequah, Okla., 918.456.2357
ronald Totten Stafford, N.Y., 585.344.0758
clarence Van dyke Manhattan, Mont., 406.282.7579
richard Vold Glenwood, Minn., 320.634.4665
Alfred Wanner, Jr. Narvon, Pa., 717.768.8118
Grassroots 4 Good Financial Year in Spite of Volatile Economy 5 President’s Address
In the news 6 2011 Leadership Awards 8 Genex Releases Genomic MAP
Proof news 10 Get the Inside Scoop
GenetIcally sPeakInG 12 Dial in Your Sire Selection
reProductIve ManaGeMent 14 15 18 20 22 25
Semen Handling Pitfalls Make the Most of the ¼ cc Fertility Advantage Success Starts With Employees Synchronization Protocols The Importance of Heat Detection Preg Checks: Why Frequency and Method Matter
fIeld features 28 Experience the Genex Service Advantage 30 Dairy Producers, Rev Up Your Engines!
HorizonS ediToriAl BoArd Members raymond diederich, De Pere, Wis. pat dugan, Casa Grande, Ariz. Gerald evenson, Mora, Minn. dave loewith, Lynden, Ont., Can. Harold Shaulis, Somerset, Pa. Employees James Arati, Dairy Education Manager Angie coburn, Dairy Procurement Manager ron Hanson, Area Sales Manager, N.Y. Sarah Thorson, Beef Education Manager
HorizonS STAFF Jenny l. Hanson, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org Angie Kringle, Assistant Editor, email@example.com Amy Seefeldt, Graphic Designer
reprinTS Material may not be reproduced in any fashion without Cooperative Resources International’s permission.
cover: Genex Breeding Program Specialists Adam Zwiefelhofer and Dave Franck perform heat detection at a heifer facility in western Wisconsin.
1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I O'Harrows Freddie 7023, second lactation Mission Statement: Provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers worldwide while maintaining a strong cooperative. ©2011 CRI
G RAS S ROOTS
Good Financial Year In Spite of Volatile Economy Over 230 dairy and livestock producers from across the nation gathered in Bloomington, Minn., March 22-23 to participate in the annual meetings of AgSource Cooperative Services, Genex Cooperative, Inc. and parent organization, Cooperative Resources International (CRI). These member owners of the organizations were met with positive remarks in regards to their cooperatives’ performance. “Even in a volatile agriculture economic environment, CRI recorded significant events during the 2010 operating year,” noted Doug Wilson, CRI Chief Executive Officer. “AgSource acquired LGI soil lab in Iowa and established itself as the largest player in the U.S. for soil analyses work. The merger of Central Livestock Association and Genex was an important structural step for CRI. Genex advanced the innovative National Account Profit Center and doubled the size of the GENESIS program. CRI’s International Division established record sales levels and opened the door for several alliance opportunities.
“The past two years were not easy, we prioritized where available dollars were spent and found ways to maintain solid programs through cost reductions,” explained Ruedinger. “But we also took advantage of mergers, consolidations, asset purchases, new technologies, growth in the volume of products and growth in our global markets. In the end, CRI emerged better prepared to accept the growth potential of a growing world population and better positioned to add value to our producer owners’ operations.”
“Furthermore, 2010 served as a testament to product quality with growth in soil sampling, DHI milk samples, Johne’s tests, water tests, nutrient management plans, cattle volumes at Central Livestock, dairy cattle MAP™ matings and semen sales.” The financial report, presented by CRI Chief Financial Officer Larry Romuald, confirmed CRI’s growth and success as the 2010 consolidated income increased to $141,828,248, a 7.6 percent increase from 2009. Net savings after the provision for income taxes were $4,906,046, 3.5 percent of reported revenue. Dairy producer and CRI board chair John Ruedinger explained that the 2010 financial results improved over those incurred during the economic storm of 2009 due to strict implementation of the cooperative’s strategic plan, solid business planning and strong expense control. 4
For a copy of the 2010 CRI Annual Report, contact customer service at 888-333-1783 or firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
G RAS S ROOTS
President’s Address Excerpts from Duane Nelson's Annual Meeting Speech As I look back over the last three years at Genex, I see many changes and a rollercoaster of financial ups and downs. The financials at Genex are highly correlated to the dairy economy. In 2008 when milk prices were some of the best ever, profits at Genex were good. Early in 2009, as milk prices plummeted, we realized major changes had to be made to decrease expenses. The Genex board asked a great deal from the staff. Management trimmed what they could, delayed when possible and eliminated when necessary. Many decisions were neither easy nor popular. All departments sacrificed and made adjustments. The results of their hard work are reflected in the 2010 financials. With an average decrease in expenses of $500,000 a month and an increase in semen sales domestically and internationally, Genex recognized a $7 million turnaround in 2010 versus 2009. This reflects the quality and dedication of the employees at Genex. 2010 was a year of growth by CRI’s International Division. The division increased unit sales 24 percent over 2009,
confirming this organization is among the elite global suppliers of bovine genetics. An increase in beef semen sales internationally led the way for growth in total beef units sold. Through dedicated reps and “chute side” service, domestic sales of beef semen steadily increased too. With the positive economic environment in beef, we look forward to continued growth. Genomics created need for an analysis of GENESIS. After reviewing plans developed by management, the board approved a major expansion. A new calf barn was built and several unused bull barns will be remodeled to house heifers. Our long-term goal is to produce at least 50 percent of our active Holstein lineup from GENESIS. Another area of growth was Genex Farm Systems. Although 2010 brought minimal new capital sales, employees kept busy on service and repair work. The expansion of our Harvestore® territory into 17 counties in western Wisconsin provides new opportunities in service and sales. Farm Systems continues to add new products to better serve the needs of our members and customers.
Board of Directors Elections At the annual meeting, Genex members re-elected the following directors for three-year terms: Paul Greene (Region 2), Jim Crocker (Region 5), John Ruedinger (Region 8) and Richard Vold (Region 11). In addition, Greene was named the 2011 board president. Duane Nelson is 1st vice president. Jimmy Franks is the 2nd vice president. Ruedinger is the secretary. With the merger of Central Livestock Association and Genex, Central Livestock Association, LLC now has an advisory committee which provides input and advice on the livestock markets to the Genex board. In addition, Harlin Hecht serves on the Genex board as the Central Livestock representative.
Front row (l to r): Ronald Totten, Jimmy Franks, Duane Nelson, John Ruedinger, Paul Greene. Back row: Clarence Van Dyke, Richard Vold, Bobby Robertson, Jim Crocker, Harlin Hecht, Alfred Wanner, Jacques Couture, Kay Olson-Martz and Jon Wayne Danielson.
Those elected to represent Genex on the 2011 CRI board of directors include the Genex officers and Ronald Totten.
LEADE R S H I P AWAR DS
Profit Development Specialist Cross Plains, Wis.
Schultz joined the Genex team in November 2000 with the task of developing a new service area in Dane County, Wis. Schultz accepted the challenge knowing he was working in an area with a strong hold for numerous competitors. Through dedication, strong people skills and an eye for functional, productive cattle, Schultz has led the team in Dane County to achieve sales 13 times what they were 10 years ago. His abilities to connect with dairy producers, serve the membership and mentor his teammates are key reasons his team has expanded. Schultz has made it his goal to be more than the traditional sales and delivery person. He incorporates consultation skills and programs such as MAP™ and Reproductive Profit Manager™ into his route stops. The members Schultz serves appreciate his candid analysis and the common sense approach he provides to help maximize their genetic and reproductive opportunities. Schultz and his wife Michelle have one son.
JoHn underWood Profit Development Specialist Glendale, Ariz.
Team Leader Eleva, Wis.
As a 27-year veteran of the artificial insemination industry, Underwood has driven thousands of miles and seen millions of cows. As his career has grown, so has his dedication and work ethic. He is committed to the values Genex promotes and strives to develop friendships with members he serves.
Franck began his Genex career as an intern in western Wisconsin. After college graduation, he began working as a Breeding Program Specialist. With a deep respect for members and their way of life, Franck is in tune to the individual needs of each dairy he visits.
In the area Underwood serves, dairy producers milk approximately 3,000 cows. Underwood’s belief in Lifetime Net Merit is contagious on these dairies. Many of his members now rely on Lifetime Net Merit when choosing sires for their herd.
Area Sales Manager Becky Brain describes Franck as such, “When I think of Dave, I think of an excellent basketball player. Dave is definitely the Team Leader, but he leads in a way that makes everyone else around him more confident. If Dave wasn’t able to work because of an injury, his team would definitely miss him, but they would still be successful because Dave has shown them how to be successful.”
His commitment to company values and dedication to members have led Underwood to accomplish an outstanding sales goal in 2010; he sold over 100,000 units of semen. Underwood enjoys being around cows and carries that passion beyond his career. He encourages the younger generation through his involvement officiating shows and judging contests every year.
In that fashion, Franck credits his teammates - Tim Nemitz, Adam Zwiefelhofer and Bill Casey - for being a crucial part of his success. Franck recognizes the strengths of his team and works to help each individual play on their strengths.
Underwood and his wife Bunny have five children and 11 grandchildren.
Franck and his wife Jessica have two young daughters.
LEADE R S H I P AWAR DS
Team Leader Brunner, Ontario, Canada
For 20 years, Frijters has represented Genex in southwestern Ontario. In 2008, he expanded his territory and responsibilities and began working with Genex personnel in southern Manitoba. During this time, Frijters’ influence helped the area grow in units sold and income generated. Frijters has utilized his influence to open the lines of communication, resulting in more representatives working together to improve dairy profitability through products such as GenChoice™. Frijters is a great promoter of Genex programs and services. He has been the top salesman in Canada and routinely surpasses his budget goals. Frijters is a great communicator and is very driven to succeed. He is not afraid of a challenge, is always ready to contribute his thoughts and ideas to others, and has grown as a leader. Frijters is very well respected in his area and with the customers he services. Frijters has two children Wyatt and Willow.
nATe lAWrence Team Leader Ellenburg Depot, N.Y.
As a dedicated Team Leader, Lawrence lives by the motto, ‘It takes a team to get the job done.’ For three years, Lawrence has worked with Kevin Johnston, Mark Furman, Jerry Legacy and John Hunter to become the dominant force in the industry serving Clinton County, N.Y. Area Sales Manager Ron Hanson has noticed the following traits that make Lawrence an outstanding leader, “Nate leads by example. He sets high expectations for himself and for those on his team. Nate is a great communicator and very driven. He knows what he wants his team to look and act like. He is not afraid to challenge us with his thoughts and has really grown as a leader. He has earned the respect of all those he works with, on and off the dairies he serves.” Lawrence is committed to helping dairy producers improve their business which has led him to become a major part of the consulting team on farms. He is often called upon to consult on tough reproductive issues. Lawrence and his wife Sara have two daughters.
Profit Development Specialist Canyon, Texas
excellence in Leadership
In mid-2006, Field joined Genex as an Area Sales Representative in southwest Kansas, eastern New Mexico and west Texas. Since that time, he has demonstrated a great ability to think outside of the box and challenge traditional ways of doing things. In 2010, Field set a personal goal to market over 100,000 units of semen within the year. This was a bold move following historically low milk prices. Utilizing remarkable team effort, Field achieved and exceeded his goal. Field demonstrates outstanding leadership abilities by utilizing his support team and delivering value and results for his members. Field makes it a priority to provide highly reliable customer service and focus on members’ needs. He is adept at using all resources available to manage inventory, present proposals, and provide outstanding service and value. Field and his wife Stephanie have three children.
IN THE NEWS
Dallas Honored as U of M Golden Graduate
A new Genex program can determine the best mating option for a cow or heifer based on the animal’s genomic PTAs (GPTAs) rather than phenotypic scores, performance, parent averages or pedigree indexes. This genomic mating program, G-MAPSM, is the newest technology available in the genomic revolution.
Terri Dallas, CRI Vice President of Information & Public Relations, was recently presented with the prestigious Golden Graduate Award by the University of Minnesota Gopher Dairy Club. The award recognizes U of M alumni who have made extraordinary contributions to the dairy industry. Recipients of the award are current leaders in the dairy industry who are viewed by students as role models. Dallas has worked in public relations for the dairy industry since graduating from the U of M.
“With the introduction of G-MAP, producers are able to put genomic data Genomic MAP their to use,” explains Diane Schnell, CRI Education and Program Support Manager. “Genex has been the leader in the genomic era from the start, and this practical application for female genomic evaluations is the next step in assisting our members and customers to improve their herds’ genetic levels and therefore on-farm profitability.” SM
sHOp GENEx 24/7
G-MAP, released April 1, is available to dairy producers with genomic test results (3K or 50K) on their cow(s) and/or heifer(s). G-MAP can provide mating recommendations for an individual, group or whole herd of genomic-tested animals. G-MAP has all the convenience and features of the traditional Genex MAP™ program. The mating focus can be customized to meet each producer’s breeding goals. Inbreeding and lethal recessives continue to be controlled. Mating recommendations are available via e-mail, the Web or paper. Mating recommendations can easily be imported into dairy management software. Producers can divide animals into various groups for specific breeding strategies and mate each group to different sires accordingly. For pricing information or to receive the new G-MAP mating recommendations, contact your local Genex representative.
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GENESIS is Home to: #1 LNM and #1 TPI Sire • 4 of the Top 25 TPI Bulls • #1 LNM and #1 GTPI Cow • 12 Sires over +$650 LNM
Co-op O-STYLE oman Just-Et
Co-op Cassino YUENGLING-Et
Co-op Goldwyn FRANK-Et
Co-op FrEddiE SOBIESKI
Co-op FrEd EVERGLAD-Et
Co-op BossidE MASSEY-Et
Co-op BsF JETLINER-Et
Co-op audEn PARKER-Et
Who Is That Co-op Prefix? You Are! With 32 GENESIS sires in the Holstein lineup, the Co-op prefix is more visible now than ever before. Be proud your cooperative had the foresight to develop such a program – one comprised of elite cows that produce some of the world’s most desirable sires. Genex Commitment Continues Your board of directors believes in the value of GENESIS and, in 2010, approved its expansion. Future elite sires and bull dams benefit from this new calf facility built as part of the expansion.
GET THE INSIDE SCOOP!
liFeTiMe neT MeriT leAderS
The second generation of genomics – sons of genomicproven mating sires – made a dramatic entrance into the lineup, adding several sires to the top of the Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) list. The Genex lineup now features a commanding 19 sires over +$700 LNM.
A new debut perches atop the LNM list. 1Ho10218 deniM %-I is one of six 1Ho08784 Freddie %-I sons to join his sire in adding peak profitability to dairy herds. Beyond his +$877 LNM, DENIM follows his sire and maternal grandsire Wizard in transmitting exceptional health traits: +7.9 Productive Life, +3.5 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), +2.54 Somatic Cell Score (SCS) and 5% Sire Calving Ease.
Three additional Freddie sons also surpassed the +$700 LNM mark 1Ho10257 TucK K % -I (Freddie x Nifty), 1Ho09853 SoBieSKi %-I (Freddie x Lynch) and 1Ho10247 GerVASe %-I (Freddie x Goldwyn). 1Ho10215 FrAnz %-I and 1Ho10213 FATHoM %-I, a pair of new 1Ho02565 cASSino %-I sons, rank +$795 and +$793 LNM. Both sport 5% Sire Calving Ease, longevity, low SCS, a DPR over +2.0, and a Foot & Leg Composite over +2.25. FRANZ adds Milk pounds while FATHOM improves components. W %-I is another 1Ho10201 GAlloW outstanding CASSINO son at +$736 LNM. The +$733 LNM, 1Ho10097 YuenGlinG %-I, is a CASSINO son out of the #1 LNM and #1 GTPISM cow Co-op Boliver Yoyo-ET.
True colorS The Red & White Holstein lineup sports a brand new 1Ho08910 MATrix-red son in 1Ho10220 p x-red. The GENESIS graduate’s pA got an impressive proof: +$602 Cheese Merit, +2.07 Foot & Leg Composite, +5.6 Productive Life and 6% Sire Calving Ease. He also transmits low Somatic Cell Scores and appealing udders.
Sire Summary Report Card Holstein Proofs Genex
DISCIPLINE DI SCIPLINE
Sires Above +$800 LNM Sires Above +$700 LNM Sires Above +$650 LNM Sires Above +2200 TPI Sires Above +6.5 Productive Life PAX-RED 10
Sires Above +2.5 DPR
0 4 9 3 4 9
3 19 33 19 9 16
It’s that time again … when new sire evaluations are released and the latest bulls appear in the Genex lineup. Staying up-to-date on the new information to maintain genetic progress in your herd isn’t impossible. You may just need…the inside scoop.
conformation (+2.15 PTA Type) and incredible udders (+1.97 Udder Composite). He’s also known for stellar fitness traits and calving ease to suit the entire herd.
Co-op Boliver Yoyo-ET , VG-85, VG-MS
The Jeeves son, 1Ho10245 ABrAHAM %-I, is our leader for longevity adding an amazing +9.2 more months of Productive Life. He also possesses major foot and leg improvement opportunities at +2.35 Foot & Leg Composite, all in a +$736 LNM package. 1Ho10225 Bud %-I, a Planet son out of a Ramos, sires mediumsized cows with outstanding
At +$708 LNM, 1Ho03068 eHMAn (Planet x Buckeye) combines health and fitness traits with ideal udders (+2.19 Udder Comp.) and plentiful production (+1633 PTA Milk). Preserving their place among these new releases are several familiar names. FREDDIE, 1Ho09800 erdMAn %-I, 1Ho10085 YAno, 1Ho02771 JocK K % -I, 1Ho09167 o-STYle, 1Ho02848 pA p rKer, 1Ho10064 TornAdo and 1Ho10061 BAnninG round out the 19 sires over +$700 LNM.
Genex YieldS induSTrY FronTrunnerS Genex is proud to be home to five of the top 10 progeny-proven sires on the industry’s top LNM list. Ranking #1 and #2 are O-STYLE and FREDDIE. 1Ho08777 AWeSoMe, 1Ho008778 Super uper and 1Ho08658 loGAn are #6, #7 and #9, respectively.
5 OF TOP 10
JerSeY proFiT poWer The highlight of the new Jersey lineup is 1Je00768 Hendrix. At +221 JPI™, he is among the highest active JPI bulls in the breed. He’s got a “no holes” proof and, as a Lennox son, is one of a kind. He may well be the hottest bull in the breed! Causing similar excitement is 1Je00767 zeBulon, a Q Zik son from an excellent Impuls. ZEBULON’s high components and outstanding udder traits (+4.24 JUI™) make him an excellent cross for 1Je00604 GAnnonpr daughters populating heifer pens. New release 1Je00766 0766 MonTereY, M Y Y, a Tbone from a Very Good Artist, has a genomic proof showing remarkable fat yield of 76 pounds. Functional udder-extraordinaires are found in 1Je00711 pluS plu and 1Je00742 GoBBler. PLUS LUS has a +5.52 JUI while GOBBLER has a marvelous +5.79 JUI.
5 OF TOP 10
Genex claims five of the top 10 spots on the official Top 100 TPI list. O-STYLE earned the #1 position. SUPER ranked #2. FREDDIE, 1Ho09 09192 Hill and LOGAN secured the #5, #7 and #9 spots. Pictured above: Quarryville Awesome Snowflake, North Harbor Super 2197 (second lactation), Schmidts Ponderosa Freddie 4660, Brown Star Logan 2017, Omro O-Style 129, Harpster Hill 6248 TPI is a servicemark of Holstein Association USA. ©2011 CRI
G E N E T I C A L LY S P E A K I N G
Sire Selection By: Roy Wilson, Associate Vice President-National Account Profit Center, Genex
Have you ever looked at Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) information for 140 Holstein bulls on one sheet of paper? You probably haven’t because that would take one giant piece of paper! If we could envision such a print out, just imagine how many numbers it would include. How do you begin sorting through that many bulls to find what you need for your herd? In what direction do you focus your sire selection? Following the December 2010 sire summary, Genex released five new custom indexes in addition to the Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) listing. With these new indexes, Genex has “narrowed our focus to broaden our appeal.” LNM is still the gold standard of economic selection indexes. Developed in 1994, it has gone through several changes to reflect the expectations producers have for elite sires and include new traits such as Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), which was released in 2003. Today, this index encompasses 13 different strategically
weighted traits based on years of USDA-AIPL research. However, some dairy producers’ breeding goals may demand more intense selection in a certain direction, such as milk production. Therefore, Genex provides additional options in these new custom indexes. The five new indexes include: Health & Fitness, Calving Ability, Production, Conformation and Sire Fertility. The first four areas were chosen as they represent the main parts of LNM. Since Genex is known as the fertility leader, a Sire Fertility index was a logical addition.
G E N E T I C A L LY S P E A K I N G A Closer Look at the Custom Indexes
The Health & Fitness index combines traits seen by many in the dairy industry as the three most important traits. Somatic Cell Score (SCS), Productive Life and DPR are DPR strategically weighted to Productive advance the longevity and Life fertility of daughters forward SCS more aggressively than any index ever developed. This index has a positive 0.6 correlation to LNM. Sires in the top 25 percent of this index will have daughters with twice the selection response for DPR and Productive Life as compared to LNM.
Calving is arguably the most important event a dairy animal will go through. The calving Ability index takes into account the exact same four calving traits used by LNM: Sire Calving Ease (SCE), Daughter Calving Ease SCE DSB (DCE), Sire Stillbirths (SSB) and Daughter Stillbirths (DSB). DCE SSB This index sorts out bulls which will prevent difficult births and stillbirths via both sire and daughter pathways. Calving Ability is moderately correlated to both LNM and the Health & Fitness index. However, this index is negatively correlated (-0.3) to the Production index. Be cautious that choosing sires for Calving Ability may result in a slight decrease in production.
Milk production is the iconic Milk symbol of just what genetic Protein selection can accomplish. In 1940, cows averaged 8,000 Fat pounds per lactation. Today, the national average is 20,500 pounds, and some cows average well over 30,000 pounds. Many producers still see production as their top area of focus. The Production index places emphasis on Milk pounds, Protein pounds and Fat pounds. Bulls ranking high in this index will have daughters that put more pounds in the bulk tank compared to high ranking bulls for any other index currently available. As research has demonstrated numerous times, improved Production and Health & Fitness do not correlate. This is
confirmed through a -0.5 correlation. Be aware choosing for production may have a negative effect on the health and fitness level of your herd.
Need to focus on conformation – udders, feet and legs, and overall final score? This index brings more pressure PTAT to those three areas than any UDC index in the country. This index FLC includes Udder Composite (UDC), Feet & Legs Composite (FLC) and PTA Type (PTAT). The Conformation index is fairly neutral when correlated with other indexes. However, a -0.2 correlation exists between this and the Calving Ability index. Sires high in the Conformation index have a slight potential for difficult births.
High Sire Fertility bulls create more pregnancies than others. This index is a combination of the nationally published USDA-AIPL Sire Conception Rate (SCR) and our internal fertility database. With Genex employees driving into over 6,000 driveways a day and performing over 2 million SynchSmart services a year, our internal SCR fertility data has yielded GenCheck products such as GenCheck™ and SynchSmart™, which also contribute to this index. These are exciting times in the artificial insemination industry! More technologies are in place than ever before, providing more data to help make herd-improving decisions. These new indexes are one way Genex is making it easier for you to improve your profitability. In the Holstein Investment Guide, the top 25 percent of sires for each customized index are highlighted. Remember, LNM still identifies a bull that encompasses the best combination of all traits. However, when you need to dial in your sire selection, look to one of the custom indexes. ©2011 CRI
Pitfalls By: James Arati, Dairy Education Manager, CRI It is important to follow recommended procedures to maximize the viability of your genetic investment. Failure to follow recommended procedures for retrieving, thawing, gun loading and protecting straws until safely inside the cow results in damaged sperm membranes, cold- or heat-shocked sperm, or impaired sperm motility. Compromised semen quality results in overall reduced fertility. Review the following semen handling pitfalls to be sure you are not inadvertently compromising semen quality and fertility.
iMproperlY operl THAWinG Frozen SeMen operlY If using the Genex Pocket Thaw™ method, wrap the semen straw in a paper towel and thaw in a thermally protected pocket for two to three minutes. If using water to thaw the straw, ensure the water temperature in the vessel is 95-98˚F and thaw for a minimum of 45 seconds. Check the water temperature before pulling the straw of semen from the storage tank.
iMproper reMoVA V l oF SeMen VA STrAWS A AWS FroM STorAGe TAnK Always keep the canister below the frost line when retrieving a straw of semen. Keeping an updated tank inventory will help to locate semen quickly.
FAilure To BrinG inSeMinAT A ion AT Gun To proper TeMperAT A ure AT Cold- or heat-shock to semen results in damage to morphology and motility of sperm. Place the gun inside clothing or a paper towel to warm it before inserting the thawed semen straw.
STrAW AW noT properlY AW properlY dried AFTer reMoVA V l FroM WArM WATer BATH VA Water kills semen. Use a clean paper towel to wipe the straw completely dry before loading the gun.
SeMen noT T proTecTed FroM direcT SunliGHT Avoid sperm damage from ultraviolet light by protecting A it with a clean paper towel.
uSinG A conTAM T inAT A ed SciSSor AT or cuTTer It is important to use clean, stainless steel scissors to cut the straw. Wipe the scissors after every cut to remove moisture.
STrAW AW noT FiTTed correcTlY AW lY inTo lY SHeATH A ATH AdApTor When fitting the straw into the adaptor of the sheath, give it a quarter turn to snap it into place. This prevents back flushing into the breeding gun during insemination. a) For the ALL-2-MATE™ O-ring gun, use the split sheath with the green insert. b) For the ALL-2-MATE™ Spiral and KombiColor guns, use the non-split sheath with the blue insert.
uSinG incorrecT T luBricAnT Only use approved non-spermicidal artificial insemination lubricants. Soaps and detergents are lethal to semen.
T KinG Too lonG To inSeMinAT TA A e AT Semen that has been thawed should be used within 15 minutes. Semen fertility starts to decline beyond this time.
FAST ST depoSiTinG or SquirTinG oF SeMen in THe coW Use a slow, gentle motion to depress the plunger on the inseminating gun to avoid sperm damage.
Make the Most of the ¼ cc fertility
By: James Arati, Dairy Education Manager, CRI In 2008, Genex began the transition from ½ cc semen straw packaging to ¼ cc straws. The change was made after research trials by Genex staff showed conception rates for conventional semen were 1.5 percent higher with ¼ cc straws. Today, all dairy semen marketed by Genex is packaged in the ¼ cc straw. Although a smaller package, the ¼ cc straw contains the same number of sperm cells as ½ cc straws. The advantage the ¼ cc straw has over the ½ cc straw is in terms of improved sperm livability during the freezing and thawing process. With a smaller surface area, the ratio of volume (including sperm population) to surface area increases for the ¼ cc straw. This creates a more uniform freezing and thawing opportunity for processed semen; and in the end, more viable, live sperm available at the time of semen deposit. Make the most of the conception advantage of ¼ cc straws by brushing up on your semen handling and gun loading technique. Whether using a universal artificial insemination (A.I.) gun or ¼ cc A.I. gun, the following steps will help you capture the most of the ¼ cc fertility advantage.
Note oN tweezers: When removing semen from the tank, use the correct tweezers for handling ¼ cc straws. Tweezers available from Genex are specially designed to hold both ½ cc and ¼ cc straws. Other tweezers may be designed specifically for ½ cc straws and may not easily handle the ¼ cc size.
Proper semen Handling technique
Pull back the gun plunger six to eight inches.
Place the straw directly into the barrel of the gun with the plugged end in the gun and the crimped end sticking out.
Give the straw a quarter turn to ensure it is properly seated in the gun.
Use a clean scissors to cut straight across through the air space below the crimped end of the straw. Secure the cut end of the straw into the insert of the sheath. Secure the straw into the sheath by placing the sheath over the gun and straw. Pinch lightly above the insert and apply pressure until you feel the straw lock into place in the guide cup.
5 Continued on page 16… ©2011 CRI
Secure the sheath onto the gun. Depending on the type of gun, ensure the sheath is properly secured as follows:
> a) Kombicolor gun – Slide the sheath over the gun barrel until the guide cup comes to the end of the sheath. The lip at the base of the gun will secure the sheath in place. > b) Spiral gun – Slide the sheath over the gun barrel until it touches the spirals. Screw the sheath onto the gun spirals until you meet resistance, bringing the end of the insert at the tip of the sheath.
> c) o-ring gun – Slide the sheath over the barrel of the gun and push the o-ring up. Slide the sheath beneath the o-ring and slide the o-ring down the barrel of the gun until it is held firmly in place over the top of the sheath. Twist the o-ring slightly to lock into place.
Note oN sHeatHs: Ensure sheaths are clean and protected. During hot weather, store sheaths in a cool place out of direct sunlight to avoid irreversible shrinking and curling thus rendering them unusable.
Finally, make sure all needed equipment is available and functioning properly before starting the A.I. process. This will prevent makeshift improvisation that will undermine a successful insemination. If you have any questions about these semen handling procedures, please do not hesitate to contact your local Genex representative(s). They will help you ensure a successful A.I. program that will generate more pregnancies and maximize herd profitability.
For FurTHer leArninG
, Check out the following articles on the Genex leArninG cenTer: > > > > > 16
Picture Perfect Technique Semen Handling Checklist Insemination Technique Checklist Proper Gun Loading with ¼ cc Straws TTest Your Attention to the Details
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A trainer can never use the motto, â€œDo as I say, not as I do.â€?
AlWAYS AlW WAYS leAd BY ex AMple. Area Sales Manager Jake Lantzsch, Lititz, Pa., demonstrates proper gun placement in the reproductive tract to Breeding Program Specialist Jennifer Mormann of New Vienna, Iowa.
Success Starts With Employees By: Sarah Thorson, Beef Education Manager, CRI One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to work with individuals who have set out to learn a new skill set and to see them succeed. People come to Genex artificial insemination (A.I.) training for a number of reasons. Some simply want to learn to inseminate their own cattle, some hope to have a future career in the A.I. industry, and others are told they need to learn the skill to be successful in their on-farm employment. Since reproduction plays a vital role on any dairy, it can be difficult for dairy managers to put these newly trained employees in charge of such an important task. Here are tips used during Genex A.I. training that will help you lead your employees and your reproductive program to success.
Lead by Example
Rarely a training class goes by that I don’t hear the words, “That’s not how we do it at our farm.” Whether it’s how an A.I. gun is loaded or how a synchronization injection is given, it is important to expect employees to use proper technique when performing a task as taking shortcuts can have a negative impact on their performance. A trainer can never use the motto, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Always lead by example. Employees will appreciate the guidance and reassurance that comes with seeing their supervisor or trainer have success by performing a task the same way they were taught.
Revisit Correct Technique
Newly trained inseminators (as well as experienced ones) should be encouraged to take time to review proper procedure for all tasks including semen handling and A.I. technique. Simple things such as using tweezers to remove straws from the semen tank and pre-warming your insemination gun can play a big role in the success of an A.I. program. One of the most important things is to ensure proper placement of semen in the reproductive tract of a cow. Semen should be deposited in the uterine body just past the last ring of the cervix. Keep in mind when working with newly trained employees that it will probably take them longer to complete a task than someone with more experience. Be sure not to rush them. Putting time constraints on a new employee will most likely cause their technique to suffer.
While tasks like A.I. need to be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible, employees will become faster as they gain confidence in themselves and their technique. Avoid getting into the habit of just completing the task yourself because you can do it quicker. A new employee will never gain confidence unless they are given the opportunity to gain experience.
Stress Compliance to Protocols
Compliance is very important to a dairy’s success. When working with new employees it is very important to set standard operating procedures (SOPs) for how a task will be completed. For instance, synchronization protocols should include who is responsible for deciding which females will be enrolled into the program, who will give the injections, the time of day injections will be given, the days of the week the injections will be administered, who will heat detect and when A.I. will happen. However, just saying you have an SOP in place is not enough. Write them down and post them in a highly visible area. Go over each procedure with employees and make sure there are no questions. Noncompliance to synchronization protocols is one of the biggest reasons reproductive programs fail. The investment of extra time and money in a synchronization protocol is significant, so make sure everyone involved understands the importance of the right cow, getting the right shot, on the right day.
Hopefully these tips will help you develop successful employees on your farm. Genex offers training classes throughout the year across the U.S. and Canada. These courses include instruction on A.I. technique, semen handling, synchronization, heat detection and much more. Courses include hands-on live cow A.I. training sessions. If you or one of your employees are interested in attending a professional A.I. course, visit http://genex.crinet.com/page393/AiTrainingclasses. Genex also offers opportunities for on-farm A.I. training and on-farm A.I. and heat detection refresher courses. Contact your local Genex representative for more information about how we can help meet your training needs.
Cow Synchronization Protocols Cosynch + CIDR®
10 9 12-24 hrs
..48 hrs.. 0
17 Treatment Day
26 27 12-24 hrs
26 Treatment Day
35 36 12-24 hrs
G6G/Ovsynch® PGF2∝ GnRH
Double Ovsynch® GnRH
8 Treatment Day
17 18 12-24 hrs
.. 56 hrs .. ..16 hrs 32
25 Treatment Day
Cosynch GnRH GnRH
KeY GnRH CIDR® Preg Check PGF2∝
Cystorelin®, Factrel®, Fertagyl®, OvaCyst®
EAZI-BREED™ CIDR® Determine pregnancy status estroPLAN®, Estrumate®, In-Synch®, Lutalyse®, ProstaMate®
Comparison of Protocols PROTOCOL
Conduct artificial insemination
Cosynch Cosynch + CIDR® 12-day Presynch®
Heifer Synchronization Protocols CIDR®
6 Treatment Day
14 Treatment Day
5-day CIDR® PGF2∝
..66 ± 2 hrs.. 30 33
MGA Resynch GnRH
…72 hrs … 39 42
Comparison of Protocols PROTOCOL
… 72 hrs … 30 33
13 Treatment Day
Oral MGA MGA Resynch
High Low Low
Medium Medium Medium
U se DeTAIL™ to increase heat detection efficiency and create More preGnAncieS.
DETAIL is a water-based, non-toxic paint developed and tested in New Zealand to identify animals in heat. The applied tail paint is removed or “broken up” when the animal is ridden indicating estrus or standing heat. If the animal is not ridden, DETAIL will last for weeks with minimal touch-up every seven to 10 days.
Ask your Genex representative about DETAIL Tail Paint today. ©2011 CRI
The Importance of Heat Detection By: Rommel Ramos, National Account Training Specialist, Genex It’s simple - accurate heat detection programs lead to higher pregnancy rates. Higher pregnancy rates result in more pregnant cows, fewer days open and more profitability for the dairy. Having spent 11 years as the manager of a breeding team in Saudi Arabia and 14 years on different dairies (in Arizona and Oregon), I have seen firsthand the universality of good heat detection programs. Regardless of herd size, facility set-up or climate, a successful reproductive program begins with knowledge and application of heat detection principles.
Profitability and Heat Detection
A good understanding of the heat cycle ensures accuracy in a heat detection program. On the flip side, failure to detect heat and errors in heat detection are the two primary causes of poor reproductive performance and low reproductive efficiency. Inadequate heat detection affects profitability in a number of ways: 1. Undetected heats result in longer calving intervals, lower lifetime milk production and fewer calves. 2. Breeding cows unsuitable for insemination leads to lower conception rates and wasted semen and time (both are very costly). 3. Combinations of unrecognized estrus and low conception rates may lead to culling of normal cows. 4. And, insemination of pregnant cows mistakenly identified in heat may cause abortion, especially if the breeder is inexperienced1. Detection of estrus is necessary for synchronization programs in dairy cows and is the key to successful use of artificial insemination (A.I.). While A.I. can provide exceptional genetic progress in a herd, it also places greater responsibility for heat detection on farm personnel.
Create a Custom Program
Developing a routine to observe heat and note the cow’s estrus activity helps A.I. occur in a timely fashion. In Saudi Arabia, we created a system that met the needs of the 5,000-cow operation. Because of the warm climate, A.I. was conducted at 4 a.m. and 6 p.m. A trained breeder was also responsible for walking through all the breeding pens early in the morning, at noon and late in the afternoon to perform heat detection. Good communication between employees was crucial to maintain consistency between changing shifts. Notes were shared regarding cows observed in standing heat and those in preheat. A weekly breeding summary was readily available on the breeder’s clipboard to double-check breeding data. To improve the success rate of heat detection, it is best for one person to be responsible for heat detection and adhere to a specific schedule. While heat detecting, keep in mind these important keys: early morning and early evening are the best times to observe cows in heat. The graph below shows the times of day cows are most likely to show signs of heat2. 50%
Percent of Cows Showing Heat Signs
45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%
6 a.m. to noon
noon to 6 p.m.
6 p.m. to midnight
midnight to 6 a.m.
sHOp sHO p GENEx x 24/7 pROFITsHOp.CRINET. pROFITsHOp.CRINET RINET COM RINET.
When using visual observation, heat detection aids can be helpful. Combining heat detection aids with good visual observation skills can significantly improve your heat detection rate. Several heat detection aids are available from Genex including:
KAMAr KAMA r® Heatmount® detectors: O Once nce glued onto the tailhead, the pressure-sensitive device turns from white to red when the animal is mounted.
REPRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT By making heat detection the first and last chore of the day, you can maximize the opportunity to observe late evening and early morning heats. involve all employees and communicate effectively. Cow pushers and feeders spend many hours of the day around cows. It is important to have a central location like a clipboard or whiteboard where these employees can record their observations. To maximize conception rates, cows should be serviced within 24 hours of first observed standing heat. Keep this in mind when recording observations. If you are using technician service, also be aware of call-in times.
Signs of Heat
No heat detection program can be a success without knowing what to look for. Observing and making note of secondary signs of heat will indicate which cows to watch for the primary sign of estrus – standing heat. This period lasts an average of eight to 12 hours (but can be shorter in high producing cows) during which time a cow will stand to be mounted. The preheat period can precede that for 10-20 hours. Many of the secondary signs shown below appear during preheat and are also present while the cow is in standing heat. Secondary signs of heat: > Increasing amounts of clear mucus discharge from the vulva > Red, moist, slightly swollen vulva > Restless behavior: bellowing, smelling other cows, butting with her head > Attempts to mount other cows but will not stand to be mounted The following herd behaviors are also important to note: Grouping or congregating of cows. Studies have shown cows in heat or approaching heat tend to congregate, forming what is referred to as sexually active
eAzi-Breed™ cidr®: Once placed into the animal’s vagina, the CIDR continuously releases progesterone. Upon removal of the insert seven days later, the drop in progesterone triggers estrus and ovulation.
groups. These groups form during the preheat phase and disperse when the animals go out of heat. Keeping this in mind will help to identify not only the cows in heat but those associated with them. cows show a preference for certain locations to exhibit estrus behavior. Knowing where these ‘hot spots’ are can improve heat detection efficiency. Cows give preference to dry locations and soft footing, such as earthen floors or lots. Cows tend to avoid wet concrete and overly muddy areas. Be cautious when heat detecting a group of animals being moved. Mounting activity may occur frequently in cattle being moved. In many of these situations, the animal being mounted has no route of escape and cannot be reliably identified as in standing heat.
Possess the Proper Tools
Equip heat detectors with the tools they need to succeed. Animals should be identified with clearly readable identification. An adequate supply of record-keeping materials should be available. Security lights or flashlights are necessary for nighttime observation, and a wellorganized record keeping system must be in place. Be sure you have the necessary data by recording cow or heifer ID, time of observation and all signs of heat observed. Record all heat periods detected, even if the cow or heifer will not be bred on that heat. Together with breeding calendars or heat expectancy charts, this information can be used to help predict future heats. Operating a successful heat detection program is not a small task. All individuals involved need to realize the importance of heat detection responsibilities. However creating a successful heat detection program through thoughtful preparation, careful training and good communication is the foundation for a profitable reproductive program. Sources omitted due to space - available at: http://genex.crinet.com/page3896/TheImportanceOfHeatDetection
eSTroT TecT™: Applied to the animal’s tailhead, the surface is scratched off after the animal is mounted leaving a bright signal layer for easy observation. ©2011 CRI
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+3.0 to 3.9 SCR
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Hillcrest Hill 3980, Daughter of 1HO09192 HILL, +3.2 SCR, 99%Rep
Preg Checks: Why Frequency and Method Matter By: Colten Green, Reproduction Specialist, Genex The term “preg check” is a misnomer that has been used in the dairy industry for decades. No matter how you determine the reproductive status of cattle following insemination, the goal of the task is to actually find the open cows. My veterinarian friend Dr. Scott Poock has told me, “It was more fun to find pregnancies, but where I made the producer money was in finding open cows.” The aim of this article is to prove his point and allow producers to evaluate if their current preg check procedure is getting the job done. The 21-day pregnancy rate is generally the benchmark of reproductive success because it is associated with decreases in involuntary culling and days open. In fact it has been estimated1 that, depending on the days to conception, the cost of an extra day open can range from $0.81 (80 days to conception) to over $3 per day (140 days to conception). The expected cost of an extra day open increases in herds with less persistency of milk production. While it’s easy to examine submission rate and conception rate with dairy management records, another important component of the 21-day pregnancy rate formula may be often overlooked – the number of days between
services. If you don’t know how fast cows are being re-inseminated, then you should check the average heat interval on your dairy management records. The most decisive factor in how to control the interval between services is the frequency and method of pregnancy diagnosis on your farm.
Preg Check Methods
There are currently five viable methods of pregnancy diagnosis available to dairy producers. The most common methods are estrus detection, palpation per rectum and transrectal ultrasonography. Chances are at least one of these methods is utilized on your farm already. Estrus detection is a form of pregnancy diagnosis and should be treated as such because a cow that is re-inseminated is deemed open to the previous service. Generally cows will return to estrus between 18 to 25 days after the preceding insemination so a farm with a 50 percent estrus detection rate can re-inseminate about half of the open cows during this period. Continued on page 26… ©2011 CRI
REPRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT According to research at Texas A&M2, rectal palpation is highly accurate when used after day 35 of gestation. This method is typically fast and inexpensive, but caution should be used with inexperienced practitioners because rectal palpation can cause damage to fetal membranes which may in turn induce pregnancy loss3. Transrectal ultrasonography is the gold standard for pregnancy diagnosis. The ability to visualize the uterine, ovarian and fetal morphology make transrectal ultrasound a unique tool with capabilities no other method mentioned herein can grasp. Research has shown4 highly skilled practitioners can begin using transrectal ultrasonography on day 26 and 29 of gestation in dairy heifers and cows, respectively. It should be noted, however, that utilizing transrectal ultrasound at this stage will likely decrease the speed and increase the “questionably pregnant” diagnoses at preg check.
generally unsatisfactory, because progesterone is not a pregnancy specific molecule. With a progesterone test there is almost no risk of a false-negative diagnosis, but greater risk of a false-positive diagnosis compared to rectal palpation, transrectal ultrasound or PAG. The advantage of progesterone-based pregnancy diagnosis is cows identified as open are typically 18 to 24 days past the preceding insemination and can be enrolled for resynchronization at that point.
Make the Most of Your Re-insemination Program
There is no right method or best practice for managing repeat inseminations. Each producer must weigh what system best fits their farm. The examples discussed here are aimed at helping producers who choose to use synchronization programs to determine when, how and how often (i.e., weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) they want to preg check cattle. However, all cattle diagnosed for pregnancy before day 60 of gestation should be reexamined at a later date as this practice safeguards farms from unidentified pregnancy loss. The most traditional and simplistic procedure for pregnancy diagnosis is a combination of estrus detection and rectal palpation. This system can be very effective if a respectable estrus detection rate and reasonably fast resynchronization (Figure 1 and 2) of previously unidentified open cows following palpation are in place. Figure 1. Potential Resynchronization: Ovsynch-32 Protocol Sun Mon Tue Wed THur Fri SAT Timed A.I. -1 Day 3 Day 10
In addition to the more common methods of pregnancy diagnosis mentioned above, cattle can also be diagnosed for pregnancy using laboratory tests for either pregnancyassociated glycoproteins (PAG) or progesterone. There are two options commercially available for PAG pregnancy diagnosis - one of which is DG29™ marketed by Genex in the U.S. These tests are pregnancy specific and highly sensitive, which means the risk of falsenegatives (misdiagnosing a pregnant cow as an open cow) and false-positives (misdiagnosing an open cow as pregnant) is similar to transrectal ultrasonography. Furthermore, these tests can be used from day 28 to 30 of gestation through parturition. Progesterone tests are commercially available through multiple vendors but the sensitivity of this method is 26
Day 17 Day 24 Day 31
Timed A.I. -2
When incorporating pregnancy checks into these four protocols, be sure the pregnancy check occurs prior to the first luteolytic dose of prostaglandin (highlighted in gold). This program can be used with or without an estrus detection program. DG29 is a highly reliable method of early pregnancy diagnosis that can be incorporated in to your re-insemination program. All of the re-insemination programs highlighted in this article can utilize DG29 as a method of pregnancy diagnosis.
REPRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT Figure 2. Potential Resynchronization: GGPG Protocol Sun Mon Tue Wed THur Fri
Timed A.I. -1
them to treat open cows with a luteolytic dose of prostaglandin (PGF2∝) ∝ at preg check (Figure 4). ∝) Figure 4. Potential Resynchronization: Double Ovsynch Protocol Sun Mon Tue Wed THur Fri SAT
Timed A.I. -1
Day 24 Day 31
Timed A.I. -2
The use of transrectal ultrasonography or PAG pregnancy diagnosis paired with estrus detection enables producers to be even more aggressive and re-inseminate cattle at ≤ 35 days after the previous insemination (Figure 3). Figure 3. Potential Resynchronization: Ovsynch-25 Protocol Sun Mon Tue Wed THur Fri SAT Timed A.I. -1 Day 3 Day 10 Day 17 Day 24
Timed A.I. -2
Farms that do not employ estrus detection can use transrectal ultrasonography or PAG pregnancy diagnosis at roughly 30 days of gestation which enables the use of “presynch-resynch” protocols (this tends to have improved conception rates compared with Ovsynch®). For example, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison5 were able to start a Double Ovsynch resynchronization protocol 22 days after the previous timed artificial insemination because they used transrectal ultrasonography on day 29, which enabled
Timed A.I. -2
If interested in using progesterone-based pregnancy diagnosis, there are a couple caveats to consider. First, a cow diagnosed as open by progesterone will not have a functional corpus luteum, meaning the cow will not respond to prostaglandin at the time of pregnancy diagnosis. Second, all non-cycling cows will be included in the group of cows identified as open by progesterone pregnancy tests. Therefore, producers using progesterone pregnancy diagnosis will likely benefit from incorporating an EAZI-BREED™ CIDR® or presynchresynch strategy (i.e., Double Ovsynch or GGPG) to manage re-insemination in this group of cattle.
Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to preg check until most of the pregnancy loss has occurred. Remember, the goal of a preg check is to find open cows - not to make sure cows are pregnant. A decrease in re-insemination interval will improve your 21-day pregnancy rate and decrease involuntary culling and lactation length. For farms that have good estrus detection capabilities, the fastest way to re-inseminate cows is to inseminate off detected estrus. If you are considering making a change to your re-insemination program, make sure to include your veterinarian, extension specialist, employees and/or industry consultants in the decision.
de Vries, A., J. van Leeuwen, W. W. Thatcher. 2005. Economics of improved reproductive performance in dairy cows. IFAS Extension Document AN156. Romano, J. E., J. A. Thompson, D. C. Kraemer, M. E. Westhusin, D. W. Forrest, M. A. Tomaszweski. 2007. Early pregnancy diagnosis by palpation per rectum: influence on embryo/fetal viability in dairy cattle. Theriogenology 67:486-493. 3 Franco, O. J., M. Drost, M. J. Thatcher, V. M. Shille, and W. W. Thatcher. 1987. Fetal survival in the cow after pregnancy diagnosis by palpation per rectum. Theriogenology 4:631-644. 4 Romano, J. E., J. A. Thompson, D. W. Forrest, M. E. Westhusin, M. A. Tomaszweski, D. C. Kraemer. 2006. Early pregnancy diagnosis by transrectal ultrasonography in dairy cattle. Theriogenology 66:1034-1041. 5 Giordano, J. O., M. C. Wiltbank, S. Bas, A. P. Cunha, R. A. Pawlisch, J. N. Guenther, and P. M. Fricke. 2009. Fertility after timed artificial insemination in lactating dairy cows resynchronized using Double-Ovsynch or standard Ovsynch. Pages 188-189 in ADSA National Meeting Proceedings (Abstr.). 1 2
F I E L D F E AT U R E S
exPerIence Genex Service Advantage the
By: Adam Koppes, Tech Specialist, Genex Every day, field employees take on the vital role of providing the outstanding service Genex is known for. Eastern Iowa holds a diverse mix of herd sizes and setups. Satisfied customers share some of their experience with Genex service and give a glimpse of the diversity of services provided.
In eastern Iowa, the majority of herds use the Genex call-in system for daily technician service. If herds need a technician to stop by and conduct artificial insemination (A.I.), they call the service number and the days’ calls are delivered right to technician voicemail. Many of these herds use the Mating Appraisal for Profit™ (MAP™) program to take care of matings. The Genex team works with individual producers to determine what traits to breed for and prepare a list of suitable bulls. The cows are mated through pedigrees and linear scoring to determine the best possible bulls for each breeding. Kent Franks with KRF Holsteins has been using Genex arm service for over 20 years. “With our herd size
of 100 cows, heat detecting isn’t a problem for us. But it’s sure nice to be able to have someone take care of the breeding. Adam Koppes and I choose the best sires for udder 28
and type, and Larry Anderson takes care of keeping the MAP program updated to make the mating decisions. When she’s in heat, I’ll call in and Chuck Shekleton takes care of the breeding needs.” Mark Hageman has been using Genex call-in service on his 60-cow herd for the past 12 years. “I leave
the breeding up to Genex. I have enough to do with fieldwork and other tasks around the farm. I give a price range for sires and utilize MAP to mate the cows. I trust the technician to choose the specific bull for the breeding, they’re the experts – it’s what I pay them for. I’ve been very satisfied with everything Genex provides.”
Hageman is among the herds that utilize DG29™ blood pregnancy analysis to detect pregnancy as early as 29 days. Each herd has their own protocol for including DG29 with routine herd health and utilizes it to
find open cows sooner to decrease the number of days open.
“We have incorporated it in addition to our monthly herd checks. DG29 works great for catching everything in between herd checks. It’s nice to get quicker results and reduce the days open. After we get the e-mail with results, we enroll the open cows in Ovsynch®.”
Some farms in the area have switched from call-in service to fullservice reproductive programs. A member of the Genex team will make a daily stop to perform a variety of tasks. Each herd can customize full service to include whatever they need. Genex can assist with herd health and synchronization, perform daily heat detection and offer reproductive troubleshooting. With a mixed herd of 160 head of Holsteins and Ayrshires, Aaron
F I E L D F E AT U R E S
Genex field personnel possess a wide variety of strengths and backgrounds. Read below to see what brought this article’s author to his career with Genex.
AdAm Koppes Grew up on a 150head Holstein farm near Maquoketa, iowa
Schatz of Schatz Dairy Farms has been using Genex full service since September 2010. “Prior to
September, we’d been doing bull breeding. I knew I wanted to switch to A.I. and didn’t have the time to do the breeding and heat detecting myself. Genex had been on the farm a few times and the time was right to go with them. “Genex stops by every day and finds the cows in heat. I don’t have to worry about getting it done on my time. Sires are chosen through MAP. It’s been real easy; the breeder just comes and goes as they need. They’ll track me down or leave a note if there are questions. It just makes one less thing to worry about.”
In addition to the man-power for heat detecting and breeding, the
Genex team also offers numerous programs to help herds stay on track to reach reproductive goals. The most commonly used program is Reproductive Profit Manager™ (RPM™), which benchmarks a farms’ data against similar herds to show areas of improvement (to read more about RPM and input from producers who use it, turn to page 30).
Custom Options for Every Dairy
Not every operation or farm is the same, and not one solution can fix every problem. With Genex you’ll find that programs are tailor-made to each specific operation and geared toward meeting individual herd needs and goals. It fits perfectly in line with the mission statement of CRI, to “Provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers.”
Koppes has had an interest in reproduction and cattle breeding ever since he was a little boy and remembers helping his dad with breeding on their family farm. Graduated from iowa State university with a degree in dairy science To prepare for a career in the dairy industry, Koppes was active in ADSA-SAD (American Dairy Science AssociationStudent Affiliate Division) and participated in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. Spent two summers interning for Genex in eastern iowa and southwestern Wisconsin Koppes got a jump start on his career by gaining handson learning in problem solving and troubleshooting as well as great exposure to efficient and successful reproductive programs on the herds he visited.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Genex services offered in your area, call customer service at 888-333-1783 or visit with your local Genex representative.
F I E L D F E AT U R E S
Rev Up Your Engines!
Just as a pit crew assists professional race car drivers in achieving optimal performance on the track, Genex consultants assist dairy producers in achieving optimal performance on the farm. Their tools for on-farm improvement are a combination of Reproductive Profit Manager™ (RPM™) reports along with consultation.
Get the Green Flag Waving
An RPM report includes information derived from a herd’s management records. The dairy’s data for milk production, somatic cell count (SCC), reproduction and culling is transformed into an easy-to-understand comprehensive herd analysis. While including the herd’s current and past data points for each focus area (milk production, SCC, etc.), the data is also benchmarked for comparison against a peer group. Through face-to-face consultation, farm management teams, Genex consultants and allied industry professionals (veterinarians, nutritionists) examine RPM reports and diagnose problem areas. Through further discussion of these yellow-flagged areas, the groups brainstorm possible causes and solutions. They then implement the steps to solve or improve the problem.
Fuel for Thought
RPM has revved up the profit power of dairies across the United States and Canada as well as in Chile, Mexico and Iran, earning the deep respect of dairy producers and dairy industry professionals. “By using RPM, we benchmark our dairy to like-size dairies and then fine-tune our management skills accordingly,” explains dairyman John Ruedinger. “I believe we can only get better if we discover our shortfalls and how they relate to our management style.” For Da-Ran Dairy, manager Dave Stahl believes, “RPM has been a true indicator of what we do right and wrong.”
Both Ruedinger and Stahl have extensive experience utilizing RPM reports combined with management team meetings. This consulting service has been part of their management program for several years. Pauly Paul, a dairy management consultant, uses RPM as a starting point when consulting with a new dairy. “RPM reveals important information I can use to identify and convey to a dairyman the areas in which the dairy is losing money and where improvements can be made.”
Passing into Profitability
Input from industry professionals is key to making improvements based on information gleaned from RPM. Stahl shares that their RPM meetings include the herd veterinarian, nutritionist, two herdspeople, Pfizer representative, Boehringer Ingelheim representative, and Genex Breeding Program Specialists Mike Conard and Glenn Derricks. Within the RPM report, reproduction is one of the most important measurements for Stahl. “By stepping up and getting more aggressive with the heifer breeding program, we were able to increase our pregnancy rate and therefore decrease the age to first calving from 27 to 23 months.” “Our group focuses on the four suggested areas: reproduction, milk production, SCC and culling, notes Ruedinger. “These areas create the most opportunities for change. They also can create the fastest financial impact on the dairy and are very interrelated to each other in terms of how they respond to change (either positive or negative). “The SCC or milk quality decisions we have made have had great impacts on the dairy. When we addressed cow comfort issues (stall design, bedding sources, and cleanliness of feet, legs and udders) and worked on milking parlor protocols, we created employee buy-in which was important to maintain consistency. We then started to see a positive change in milk quality and a lowering of the SCC. Slowly, milk production, reproduction and culling also improved. It took time for all four of these areas to show positive results from the changes.” In his consultant work, Paul frequently emphasizes milk production and milk quality data points as well as culling and death loss. “To improve milk production and quality
F I E L D F E AT U R E S on one dairy, we focused on the milking procedures and also worked closely with the milk equipment dealer to make equipment changes. To improve culling and death loss numbers on another dairy, I worked with the dairyman to develop protocols for culling decisions and to improve standard operating procedures for treating and handling cattle.”
Revving Up the Profit Power
For Ruedinger, RPM played a role in identifying the challenges that had to be overcome in order to make expansion from 600 cows in 2006 to 960 cows in 2010 possible. He explains it this way, “If we had not identified our strengths and weaknesses in relation to our dairy management practices and made decisions to better our weaknesses, we would not have increased the necessary profits to grow the business. RPM created discussion points for a systematic approach where all ideas were considered and the best options were implemented.” Ruedinger notes that back in 2006 RPM identified many areas to improve upon. The table below, featuring the four big profit-related areas highlighted in RPM, shows the actual improvement observed at Ruedinger Dairy from 2006 until the most recent RPM analysis. Positive numbers illustrate extra income the dairy stands to gain per year if benchmarks are met for the related RPM data points. Negative dollar values (within brackets) show the dollars the dairy stands to lose annually if current management levels are not maintained. Table 1. Dollars gained or lost as compared to a selected benchmark.
Note: Due to interrelationships between profit-related measures, the four dollar amounts cannot be combined into one figure.
The table shows changes within reproduction resulted in a positive economic response. Tremendous growth in income was observed due to improved milk production, lower log SCC and changes that impacted culling. “With the changes that occurred, we were able to grow our business. We were able to prove we could create a business plan with the ability to achieve results that would incrementally move the business forward. A team approach to problem solving and the use of tools like RPM create the right discussion to make the right decisions.”
inside RPM (U.S. data only)
The over 750,000 cows included in the RPM database provide the benchmarks – such as those below – by which to compare herd performance for more than 185 data points. Average Service Rate for Cows: 56% Average Pregnancy Rate for Cows: 19.3% Average Conception Rate for Cows: 34% Days to First Service: 74 days in milk Average Pregnancy Rate-Heifers: 22% Average Conception Rate-Heifers: 53% % heifers pregnant ages 15-17 months: 44% % heifers bred ages 15-17 months: 35% 1st service conception rate with a clinical case of mastitis: 24% st 1 service conception rate without clinical case of mastitis: 33% First lactation cows average milk with logscc >4: 64 lbs. First lactation cows average milk with logscc <4: 68 lbs. Second lactation and greater cows average milk with logscc >4: 76 lbs. Second lactation and greater cows average milk with logscc <4: 83 lbs. % cows culled in the first 60 days in milk if dry period was <45 days: 8% % cows culled in the first 60 days in milk if dry period was between 45-75 days: 5% % cows culled in the first 60 days in milk if dry period was >75 days: 13% The conversion of powerful dairy performance facts and trends into an easy-to-understand platform combined with an organized meeting of dairy industry experts allows Genex consultants to assist dairies in overcoming profit barriers and drive optimal performance levels. For more information, contact your Genex representative.
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