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HORIZONS Dairy Edition

December 2016

Featuring Today’s Ideal Commercial Cows

Daughters of 1HO11056 TROY

Daughters of 1HO11048 STOIC

Photos by Sarah Damrow.


The dawning of a new horizon.


December 2016 Vol. 22/No. 3

Published three times a year for U.S. dairy producers.


ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE Genex Cooperative, Inc. P.O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166 888.333.1783 CRI Canada 291 Woodlawn Rd W Unit 4C, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7L6 888.354.4622 Publication Number 40022882

On the Cover

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Greene, President Berlin, NY, 518.658.2419 John Ruedinger, 1st Vice President Van Dyne, WI, 920.922.9899 Bobby Robertson, 2nd Vice President Tahlequah, OK, 918.822.0020 Ronald Totten, Secretary Stafford, WI, 585.344.0758 Jon Wayne Danielson Cadott, WI, 715.289.3860 Patrick Dugan Casa Grande, AZ, 520.251.6455 Terry Frost Roundup, MT, 406.323.3415 Lamar Gockley Mohnton, PA, 717.283.5586


CONTENTS 04 The Time for Change is Here 06 GENEX Employees Achieve Industry

Sales and Service Awards 07 Member and Customer

Commitment Key to Success

Harold House Nokesville, VA, 571.722.3356

100,000 First Services

Kay Olson-Martz Friendship, WI, 608.564.7359

08 In the News

Jody Schaap Woodstock, MN, 507.215.2257 Daniel Tetreault Champlain, NY, 518.298.8690 Bill Zimmerman Foley, MN, 320.355.2191



20 Protecting Your Herd From Stinging Cold to Scorching Heat

22 Driving Genetic Progress

in Today’s Jersey Generation Jersey Proof Highlights

24 Lineup Leaders and New Debuts Holstein Proof Highlights

Billing Due Dates to Change, Lyon Earns NAAB Pioneer Award, GENEX Helps Build a Better World

26 Fiscalini Farms:

11 Industry Innovator

28 Setting & Achieving

Continuing our Tradition

15 Breeding for a Healthier Herd

Through Data‑Driven Innovation Introducing SCK, MTR and FH Breeding Values

A Family with Foundation and Future

Dairy Repro Goals 30 Motivating and

Understanding Employees

Jenny L. Hanson, Editor, Andy Graf, Graphic Designer

REPRINTS Material may not be reproduced in any fashion without Genex Cooperative, Inc.’s permission. Genex Cooperative, Inc. agents or employees, cannot and do not guarantee the conception rate, quality or productivity to be obtained in connection with the use of their products or recommended techniques. THEY MAKE NO WA R R A N T I E S O F A N Y K I N D W H AT S O E V E R E X P R E S S E D O R IMPLIED WHICH E X TENDS BE YOND THE DESCRIP TION OF THE PRODUC TS A ND HEREBY DISCL A IM A L L WA RR A NTIES OF MERCHANTABILIT Y AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICUL AR PURPOSE. In the unlikely event that any of the products shall be proven to be defective, damages resulting from their use shall be limited to their purchase price.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE GENEX is the trusted provider of world-class animal genetics, progressive reproductive solutions, value-added products and innovative services to members and customers.

The Time for Change is Here

Just as your life experiences have shaped who you are today, history and heritage have shaped the GENEX brand into what it is today.

Where We Came From We take pride in our history. In a time of small farms and big dreams, producers came together to organize cooperatives that would genetically improve cattle performance and deliver economical reproductive services. In true cooperative fashion, those producer members of yesterday helped guide the cooperative just as our producer delegates and board members do today. Since the formation of predecessor cooperatives in the 1930s, GENEX has brought together reputable genetics and reproductive experts




through nearly 50 business mergers and acquisitions. In fact, many of today’s employees and members have roots in 21st Century Genetics, Eastern AI, Atlantic Breeders or Noba — organizations that helped shape GENEX into a trusted supplier of practical, science‑based and customized animal reproductive solutions. GENEX history also writes a remarkable list of industry firsts. This cooperative has again and again applied experience, science and data-driven knowledge to deliver innovative products and services. GENEX was the first to research

and publish a dairy calving ease summary, herdlife evaluation and total economic sire index; the first in the U.S. to offer a commercially available dairy mating system; the first to offer Pocket Thaw™; the first to provide chute-side beef reproductive service; the first stud to publish data-backed dairy and beef sire fertility rankings; and the first in the U.S. to develop and maintain a nucleus herd. These and more recent developments like the Ideal Commercial Cow index and Subclinical Ketosis, Metritis and Foot Health breeding values have earned GENEX the reputation of the industry’s innovator.

Take great pride in GENEX brand history. It has made GENEX into an industry-leading supplier of science-based animal genetics and customized reproductive solutions. We take pride in our heritage. Since 1993, GENEX has been part of Cooperative Resources International (CRI). At that time, CRI was organized as the nation’s first holding cooperative to provide efficiencies in financial management, human resources, information technology and communications and to unite GENEX with other like-minded subsidiaries. That still holds true today, 23 years later. More recently, CRI has also delivered value to GENEX in the form of business development oversight and expansive research capacity through the International Center for Biotechnology – key areas for business advancement. Take great pride in the CRI heritage. Leveraging CRI’s global scope, resources and leadership has enabled GENEX to bring more value to members and customers. This history and heritage has helped to build GENEX into the brand it is today, but the time for change is here.

Who We Are Today Like you, GENEX has a look and a personality. GENEX has goals, a purpose and stands for something. These attributes contribute to the GENEX brand – how you and others perceive the brand. GENEX is an honest, trustworthy, responsive, innovative, knowledgeable and friendly cooperative. GENEX continually strives to lead the way with sciencebased animal genetics and innovative services producers can trust. Put more simply, GENEX is innovative excellence in animal genetics.

GENEX is an industry leader because ... GENEX provides differentiated offerings to members and customers. GENEX provides different industryleading genetics and consulting services to producers based on their needs and wants. GENEX exemplifies relevancy, a measure of what is personally appropriate and makes a difference to members and customers. GENEX provides progressive innovative genetics and customized reproductive services that are relevant to our members’ and customers’ needs (for example, the Ideal Commercial Cow index and PregCheck™ fertility rankings). GENEX is respected. Members, customers and the industry regard GENEX with respect because the co-op is friendly, knowledgeable, responsive and passionate. GENEX is forward-thinking. This is the culmination of historical brand building efforts and the outcome of professional relationships between members, customers, employees and the brand. Being forwardthinking, GENEX is dedicated to ongoing genetic improvement and data-driven innovation. GENEX is part of CRI. Yet, GENEX is like a teenager moving into adulthood and forging forward with its own identity. GENEX is continuing to leverage CRI’s global scope, resources and leadership. Yet, GENEX is stepping out of the shadow of CRI to further establish its own brand. GENEX is the trusted provider of industry-leading animal genetics, progressive reproductive solutions, value-added products and innovative services to members and customers. GENEX is our brand. 

GENEX Introduces New Brand, Logo HORIZONS



GENEX Employees Achieve Industry Sales and Service Awards At the 2016 National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) convention held in October, six GENEX employees were recognized for outstanding sales and service achievements. “While these awards refer to sales and service achievements, they also are indicative of the individual’s professionalism and their dedication to GENEX members and customers,” explain Keith Heikes, GENEX COO. “These individuals earned these awards because they work hard every day to meet the needs of the producers they serve.” Four employees were recognized for reaching 1 million units of semen sales throughout their careers. These include Jan Longacre of Geneseo, New York; Bill Casey of River Falls, Wisconsin; Jim Engle of Shoshone, Idaho; and Jim Cumming of Madison, Georgia, who retired from GENEX last year. Doug Westenbroek of Ontario, California, earned recognition for surpassing the 3.5 million unit sales level, and George Shue of Paradise, Pennsylvania, was the recipient of a service award for completing 100,000 first artificial insemination services (see page 7 to read more about George).

1 Million Unit Lifetime Semen Sales Jan Longacre has served GENEX members and customers in western and central New York for the past 32 years. As a Territory Sales Manager, he is driven by success, not for himself, but for members and customers. He works diligently with producers to help them achieve their genetic and reproductive goals. Jan is also a previous winner of the GENEX leadership award. While attending the University of Minnesota, Bill Casey started his career as a summer intern. He has over 33 years dedicated to GENEX members and customers. While he’s held many different positions, he most enjoys his current position of Territory Sales Manager, serving producers in western Wisconsin and a portion of eastern Minnesota. Seeing herd improvements made through the selection 6



of good genetics and the relationships he’s formed with members and customers are what makes Bill thrive. His positive attitude, high level of integrity and outstanding service is unparalleled. Territory Sales Manager Jim Engle has dedicated 13 years to GENEX members and customers in southern Idaho, primarily with producers on the north side of the Snake River. Jim is a Washington State University graduate with a degree in dairy science. Following college, he worked on dairies, and he also operated a dairy alongside his wife for a couple years. A good sales representative always cares that the customer is happy, but Jim truly takes it to heart. His personable approach and ability to put members’ and customers’ needs first has helped him excel in all facets of his job. Jim Cumming was born and raised in the dairy industry. He was actively involved in his family’s operation before accepting a position in the A.I. industry. Two years later, Jim accepted the position of sales representative with a GENEX predecessor. He continued his career with GENEX until his retirement in August 2015. Jim has also earned the Georgia Milk Producers’ Friend of Georgia Dairyman Award in January 2016. In addition to working in the A.I. industry, Jim proudly served 23 years in the Army National Guard.

3.5 Million Unit Lifetime Semen Sales The enthusiasm Doug Westenbroek has for the dairy industry stems from his childhood in Michigan where he grew up next door to a dairy. He later attended the University of WisconsinMadison and earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture with an emphasis in dairy science. Upon graduating, Doug began his A.I. industry career and later joined GENEX in 2001. Today, he serves as a Territory Sales Manager who works with producers from Ontario, California, up to Fresno. Doug attributes his success to God, stating he loves what he does and is confident he’s where God wants him to be. 

George Shue of GENEX, center, has achieved a coveted milestone among A.I. industry service reps. He has reached 100,000 first services! He’s pictured with Matthew Walton (left) of Walton Farms LLC, Cochranville, Pennsylvania, and Ed Rzucidlo, herd manager.

Member and Customer

Commitment KEY TO SUCCESS 100,000 First Services

George Shue began his career with GENEX predecessor, Atlantic Breeders in 1975 as a technician in York County, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. As the cows steadily left York County, George chose to move his family to eastern Lancaster County, where there were (and still are) plenty of dairy cows. He has remained dedicated to the same service unit for over 30 years. Ninety percent of George’s customers are Amish farmers in eastern Lancaster and part of Chester County. George and his wife, Karen, live in Paradise, Pennsylvania, and have three children and nine grandchildren, all of whom live close

by, allowing George to spend lots of time with his grandchildren. George is also active in his church, Lions Club and is an avid hunter. He states that one of the biggest rewards of his career is the large number of friends he has in the dairy industry.

of cows. The results are obvious in producers’ herds. Pete Hamming, George’s Area Sales Manager, says, “George also takes the management side of his business very seriously. He is a stickler for accuracy and precision in everything that he does.”

George achieved his 100,000 first service at Walton Farms LLC, an 800-cow dairy in Chester County, owned by Matthew and Steve Walton. George knows customer loyalty is key to long-term success. He continues to work hard to build trust with his customers. They have confidence knowing George will provide the genetics and service they need to milk a profitable herd

Charlie Smith, GENEX Territory Sales Manager, confirms George’s commitment to his members and customers, “I’ve worked with George for quite a few years. His customers always come first. They know his integrity and trust him to make the best decisions for them on the genetics they are using on their dairy.” 




Billing Due Dates to Change The GENEX Finance Division, with the approval of the board of directors, is changing the due date on monthly statements. Effective on the statement members and customers receive in January 2017, due dates will change from the last day of the month to the 20th. As in the past, finance charges on overdue accounts will be calculated as of month’s end. For your convenience, GENEX offers several payment options: Credit card: Call to pay via Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover® or John Deere Financial. ACH (check): Call to provide payment information. Payment will be processed the same day. Automatic payment: Set up your credit card, checking or savings account to automatically pay your balance (or any agreed upon dollar amount) any day of the month you choose. Milk assignment: Payment can be set up through milk plant monthly milk assignment. For more information or to make a payment, please call the GENEX credit department at 1-800-333-9007 and select option 3. 

Annual Meeting Scheduled for January


Members elected as delegates and alternates will be invited to attend the annual meetings of GENEX and CRI this January in Bloomington, Minnesota. The CRI annual meeting will be held January 24 and the GENEX annual meeting will be held January 25. The event also includes educational sessions on industry topics as well as a banquet. Watch for more information to be mailed. 

Read more about how cooperatives build leaders among members at

Thanks for Serving GENEX In mid-October and November, GENEX delegates and alternates gathered to provide grassroots input to the cooperative. Delegates and alternates were invited to attend one of nine fall input meetings held across the country. At each meeting, delegates heard an update on the state of the cooperative from one of the 13 GENEX board members. GENEX COO Keith Heikes also presented an overview of the A.I. industry, new opportunities for the GENESIS Cooperative Herd and current research projects. Delegates reviewed real-life situations the board or management had recommended for input, including such topics as billing statement changes and delegate elections among others. The input gathered will be used by the GENEX board and management in future decisions. To learn more about becoming a GENEX delegate and providing grassroots input into the cooperative, contact Terri Dallas at 888.333.1783. 




Pay Ahead, Earn 5% Credit

Pay ahead for your 2017 GENEX expenses during calendar year 2016 and earn an extra 5% back. With the pay-ahead program, members and customers can pay ahead any dollar amount provided the resulting credits are used in 2017. A 5% credit will be added to the member or customer’s January 2017 activity statement (received in February) based on credit remaining on their open account as of December 31, 2016. Those who utilize John Deere Financial can also participate in the pay-ahead program. All money will be credited to the member or customer’s open account. All invoices will be applied to the open account until the pay-ahead money has been used, at which time further payments can be made through John Deere Financial. Contact your local GENEX representative for a pay‑ahead agreement form. All forms and payments must be received by GENEX no later than  January 15, 2017. 

Gilbert Elected to Industry Committee

Lyon Earns NAAB Pioneer Award

A.I. industry’s national trade organization recognizes former CRI CEO and leader of a GENEX predecessor for his visionary leadership. The National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) bestowed Tom Lyon with the Pioneer Award at this fall’s NAAB convention.

Glen Gilbert, Vice President of Production for GENEX, was elected to the executive committee of the National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB). Glen is in his second year of a 3-year term on the board of directors for the national trade association. Glen is a 39-year veteran of the A.I. industry. All 39 years have been spent serving the members of GENEX and predecessors. Glen oversees care of the cooperative’s dairy and beef cattle as well as semen laboratory operations. 

Apply for the Collegiate Scholarship Youth attending a four‑year university or two‑year technical college in fall 2017 and pursuing a degree in an agricultural field can apply for a scholarship from GENEX. Applicants must also be affiliated with a GENEX member by having an active role on a member’s dairy or ranch. The cooperative will provide a minimum of six $750 scholarships. For more info on the CRI Collegiate Scholarship, visit the GENEX website at 

Tom entered the A.I. industry in 1967 when he joined the public relations department of Midwest Breeders Cooperative, a GENEX predecessor. He soon moved into marketing and management roles, and a few years later became the General Manager of Midwest Breeders. Early in his career, Tom was a strong supporter of farmer-owned cooperatives and the need for cooperation with other cooperatives. This led to numerous consolidations and mergers in the A.I. industry, and served as the basis for many of the organizations that Tom was involved with and provided leadership to throughout his career. While responsible for numerous milestones and achievements in the industry, a few of Tom’s accomplishments stand out. Tom led the charge in the formation of Cooperative Resources International (CRI), which was the first of its kind organization in the U.S. combining an A.I. company (21st Century Genetics) and a DHIA company (Wisconsin DHIA). Formed in 1993, CRI showed that organizations with similar objectives of member service could combine and provide a more efficient model to provide products and services to its membership. Because of the formation of CRI, other A.I. organizations were able to join CRI and eventually form the A.I. cooperative GENEX. At the same time Wisconsin DHIA (now AgSource Cooperative Services) was able to grow its business because of the expanded opportunities available.

NAAB board chairman Charles Sattler (left) presents Tom Lyon, former CRI CEO, with the Pioneer Award for providing outstanding leadership within the A.I. industry.

Tom was also early in his recognition that the international marketplace would expand and become competitive. He led the decision for CRI to establish an International Marketing Division with direct sales around the globe, and also set up a global development structure to utilize U.S. government funding in expanding the cooperative’s business internationally. Around the world, Tom has been respected for his knowledge and foresight of the industry, in leading CRI and bringing new opportunities to the table. Tom’s visionary leadership for GENEX, CRI and the A.I. industry; as well as leadership to the cooperative community and the education and dairy industries; and contributions to the state of Wisconsin, have made him a deserving recipient of the NAAB Pioneer Award. 




GENEX Helps Build a Better World GENEX employees are helping to increase the value of the dairy and beef food chain within the Dominican Republic’s agriculture industry. The opportunity to assist with the agricultural improvements originated from the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) League of the United States of America, funded by the USDA. NCBA invited CRI, which GENEX is a part of, to assist with this project. In September, GENEX staff members traveled to the Dominican Republic to begin an initial assessment. Matthew Rhody, Dennis Jahnke and Mike Denton spent time learning about the tools and procedures used in the Dominican Republic’s agriculture production system. GENEX’s involvement in this project aims to improve agricultural productivity in many facets, including agricultural techniques, farm management, and expanding trade of beef and dairy products. Over the course of the next three years, staff will travel to the Dominican Republic to provide training that will improve agriculture and production techniques. Artificial insemination, genetics, embryo transfers and the use of veterinary pharmaceuticals are just a few of the

GENEX and CRI representatives visit a farm in Miches, Dominican Republic, during an initial assessment phase of a global develop project.

topics to be covered in addition to training key stakeholders in pasture management, animal nutrition, herd management, and sanitary milking and milk handling practices. “This is the first time CRI has been invited to participate in one of NCBA’s projects,” states Matthew Rhody, “CRI is a member of the Overseas Cooperative Development Board along with NCBA. Through this relationship, NCBA has come to recognize GENEX as a world leader in the A.I. industry, with expertise in cattle genetics and training.”

Throughout the next year, more than 10 employees will travel to the Dominican Republic to host nine different training programs. Through these trainings, extension agents, producers, veterinarians and key farm employees will gain a better understanding and better resources to improve their current agriculture standing. Through this international development project, GENEX is proud to be part of cooperatives helping cooperatives to build a better world. 

GENEX employees visited farms in the Dominican Republic as part of an NCBA project to help improve agricultural productivity in the country.




Industry Innovator Continuing our Tradition By: Leah James, U.S. Dairy Marketing Manager, GENEX

Over the past 15 years, the U.S. dairy industry has experienced considerable change brought on by a number of factors, with technology and innovation at the forefront. The cows have changed, too. This change has been driven by the need for cows that excel in feed efficiency, animal health and fertility all while continuing to increase production levels. That’s why we created the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index, and why we’ve updated the index with the December sire summary. Read on to learn more.




In 2014, when the ICC$ index was first introduced, GENEX Chief Operating Officer Keith Heikes wrote in Horizons, “We believe this index is appropriate for many producers and are proud to have the reputation of ‘sticking our neck out’ to provide solutions for progressive producers that challenge traditional thinking.” Now, two years later, more and more producers have found ICC$ is the ideal index for their operation. These progressive producers, who previously utilized LNM$ and TPI®, have realized ICC$ is the most progressive and efficient index to identify cattle and genetics that excel in the commercial cow environment.

A Global Index Designed for Commercial Herds The ICC$ index is designed for commercial herds around the globe. The description of a commercial herd or a commercial dairy is quite simple: it’s one that generates revenue from the sale of milk and meat products. ICC$ fits the demands of commercial herds for several reasons: ICC$ is all about farm profitability and efficiency. It’s economic based, meaning the index is tied to the economic value associated with each trait. Think about ICC$’s Fertility and Fitness (FYFT$) sub-index. In this sub‑index, even the cost of employee labor for dehorning is factored in, albeit a minor cost when looking at overall farm expenses but it speaks to how complete the ICC$ index is. Unlike other selection indexes, the ICC$ index allows for the inclusion of traits that are not part of the U.S. national evaluation. With this sire summary, GENEX added three new proprietary traits – Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH) – to the ICC$ index to better meet the needs of members and customers (learn more about these traits on page 15). In the future, other proprietary traits will be added as they become available.

Another prime example is Body Condition Score (BCS) from the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN). BCS, which reflects an animal’s energy balance status, is important in today’s commercial herds. Research has clearly shown ideal body condition is associated with improved female fertility, longevity and disease resistance. Including scientifically-sound, economically important traits like these, from other data sources, makes the ICC$ index unique. ICC$ is scientifically sound. The index includes well-established genetic evaluations from the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) and Holstein Association USA. However, ICC$ encompasses so much more. Like BCS, the values for Mastitis Resistance and Milking Speed and Temperament come from CDN, yet another credible source. The aforementioned new MTR and FH breeding values are derived from CRI’s International Center for Biotechnology (ICB) research database which includes nearly 4 million cows and over 26 million health events. Additionally, the new SCK breeding value was developed from CRI ICB data analysis which built on initial

Did You Know? GENEX was the first to research and publish a dairy calving ease summary, herdlife evaluation and total economic sire index; the first in the U.S. to offer a commercially available dairy mating system; the first to offer Pocket Thaw™; the first stud to publish data-backed dairy and beef sire fertility rankings; and the first in the U.S. to develop and maintain a nucleus herd. These and more recent developments like the Ideal Commercial Cow index and Subclinical Ketosis, Metritis and Foot Health breeding values have earned GENEX the reputation of the industry’s innovator.




ketosis research by AgSource Cooperative Services and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science and School of Veterinary Medicine.

The ICC$ index is designed to be adjustable. Traits, like the new proprietary Foot Health (FH) breeding value, can be added as they become available.

In addition to credible data sources, ICC$ has been thoroughly reviewed by dairy geneticists with doctorates in animal breeding. Supporting ICC$ development and research are more than a dozen staff members with Ph.D.s who are devoted to the priorities of GENEX and CRI. ICC$ is the summation of five easy-to-use sub-indexes addressing specific farm management areas. Selection, based on ICC$ as a whole, aids in genetic improvement in all areas at a balanced rate because the overall ICC$ value reflects the distribution of revenue and expenses across the farm. Understanding every farm is different and breeding goals vary, GENEX created the economically-driven sub-indexes so producers can emphasize specific management areas – Health, Calving Ability, Production Efficiency, Milking Ability, and Fertility and Fitness. For example, a producer may first sort sires based on a minimum ICC$ level and then sort those sires on the Calving Ability sub-index to identify the most appropriate sires for the heifer pens. Learn more about the sub‑indexes on page 18. ICC$ is adjustable. Being a proprietary index, ICC$ is nimble; it can be altered in a timely manner to address genetic trends or changing economics. This can be seen with the addition of the SCK, MTR and FH breeding values with December proofs.

From the start, ICC$ was meant to be real-time and flexible. As COO Keith Heikes shares, “When creating ICC$, we envisioned it as an index that could quickly address producers’ emerging needs and an index where new traits could easily be incorporated.” He goes on to say, “That vision has become a reality with this update to ICC$ and the inclusion of the new proprietary health traits.” The ICC$ index produces balanced ideal commercial cows desired by producers all around the globe … cows that lead to farm profitability, efficiency and sustainability.  HORIZONS



You Asked.

GENEX Delivered. A Global Index Designed for Commercial Producers The Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index uses real‑time economic indicators and science-based genetic principles to address the needs of commercial dairy producers. The index incorporates data-driven genetic evaluations and research from multiple sources.

ICC$ Compared to LNM$ The ICC$ index puts more emphasis on health and fertility selection as well as longevity. Specifically, ICC$ leads to improved female fertility as well as fewer health events through inclusion of the GENEX proprietary health traits – Subclinical Ketosis, Metritis and Foot Health.

ICC$ Compared to GTPI ® The ICC$ index stops the trend for increased stature and focuses on efficient cows. Selection is for cows with optimal body condition and problem-free transition periods. Additionally, the ICC$ index provides greater improvement in health and fertility traits while focusing on longevity.

“Functional, durable and invisible – that is what I’m looking for. That is what ICC$ selection provides.” Darin Dykstra, Dykstra Dairy, Maurice, Iowa

Breeding for a Healthier Herd

Through Data‑Driven Innovation

By: Leah James, U.S. Dairy Marketing Manager, GENEX

Continuing the tradition for innovation, GENEX began publishing proprietary breeding values for Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH) with the December sire summaries. These values were incorporated into the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index to provide members and customers the opportunity to breed for even healthier ideal commercial cows. The ICC$ index provides a distinct advantage in breeding for a healthier herd with the inclusion of the new SCK, MTR and FH traits. The three new traits were incorporated into ICC$ as part of the Health (HLTH$) sub-index.

“These proprietary breeding values were developed because each condition has a profound impact on a dairy,” states Keith Heikes, GENEX Chief Operating Officer. “Use of these breeding values within the Health sub-index and subsequently the ICC$ index will enable members and customers to further improve the health and well-being of their cows and to positively impact farm productivity and profitability.” Each of the new breeding values is set to a base of 100, meaning 100 is average. Sires with breeding values above 100 are expected to have daughters with fewer of the specific health issues.

6% 6% 6% Body Subclinical Metritis Condition Score Ketosis 6% Foot Health

31% Productive Life 27% Locomotion 18% Somatic Cell Score

Health (HLTH$)


Subclinical Ketosis (SCK) Cow number 8798 freshened eight days ago. She appears to be transitioning well, at least from the outside. What you can’t see is what’s going on inside of her. Ketosis is a common metabolic issue that puts cows at higher risk for other early lactation metabolic diseases. Both the clinical (observed) and subclinical conditions can be costly to a dairy. In fact, the impact extends beyond the digestive system and can cost producers an average of $289 per case.1 Research by CRI’s International Center for Biotechnology (ICB) staff indicates cows with subclinical

Breed for healthier cows so you can spend less time in the hospital pen and more time with her.




ketosis have lower peak milk yield, higher somatic cell count, lower first service conception rates, higher cull rates and higher risk for a DA. The new SCK breeding value enables producers to breed for cows that transition better and have lower incidence of ketosis. Sires with higher SCK values are expected to produce daughters that average lower in blood-based beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA). A build-up of BHBA, due to the cow being in a state of negative energy balance following calving, is a cause of ketosis. The SCK breeding values are calculated by CRI ICB staff using data from KetoMonitor®, a management tool monitoring herd ketosis prevalence through layering of milk-based diagnostics and individual cow data. This data

source makes SCK an industry-leading comprehensive measure because it includes both clinical and subclinical ketosis figures. KetoMonitor®, available from AgSource Cooperative Services, was developed in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Dairy Science and School of Veterinary Medicine. Learn more about KetoMonitor® on page 31. Impact of one case of ketosis: $289 economic loss1 3.4-8.2 pounds lower peak milk yield Up to 18,000 higher SCS 3-4% higher risk for DA 5-7% lower first service conception rates 5-8% higher cull rates

The less events she has on her cow card, the better.




Metritis (MTR)

Foot Health (FH)

Cow number 2264 recently freshened. Calving went well, but this morning when you walked into the pen you noticed she is suffering from one of the most common reproductive diseases that occurs within the first 21 days post‑calving: metritis.

Cow 784 was the high cow on test day. She continues to impress with high production levels and bottom-line profitability, but she came up lame yesterday and was moved to the sick pen.

Fresh cows are at a higher risk of developing metritis with economic loss per case averaging $396. Studies have shown metritis reduces milk yield and reproductive performance, and increases culling rates. Aggressively working to prevent, diagnose and treat metritis are the first steps in lessening the economic impact of this disease. Now prevention begins before the calf is even born.

Lameness affects roughly 15% of dairy cattle.

MTR, as part of the HLTH$ sub-index and ICC$ index, is a genetic selection tool to help producers manage the cost and impact associated with metritis in future generations. Choosing sires with above average MTR breeding values will lead to daughters that experience fewer metritis cases.

Sole ulcer, digital dermatitis, foot rot – whatever the cause, foot issues affect a cow’s ability to be a productive and profitable member of the herd. Furthermore, CRI ICB research shows that lameness affects roughly 15% of dairy cattle and the incidence rate increases with each lactation. Other industry studies estimate lameness costs can range from $130 to over $450 per case. In addition to economic impacts, foot health is particularly important from an animal welfare point of view.

Fresh cows are at a higher risk of developing metritis. MTR was developed by CRI ICB researchers based on analysis of the cooperative’s research database, which contains nearly 4 million cows and more than 26 million recorded health events. Impact of one case of metritis: $396 economic loss1 Reduced milk yield Lower reproduction performance Higher cull rates

Choosing sires with above average FH values will lead to cows with fewer foot health issues. Like MTR, FH was developed by CRI ICB researchers based on analysis of the cooperative’s research database, which contains nearly 4 million cows and more than 26 million recorded health events. Impact of one case of lameness: $130-450 economic loss Reduced milk yield  (1) J.A.A. McArt, D.V Nydam, M.W. Overton, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 98, Issue 3, 2015, 2043‑2054.

SCK, MTR and FH are each set to a base of 100, meaning a breeding value of 100 is average.



















107 108




5% Calving Ability (CABL$) 10% Milking Ability (MABL$)

Five Sub-Indexes

Target Specific Management Areas

15% Fertility and Fitness (FYFT$)

46% Production Efficiency (PREF$)

24% Health (HLTH$)

Sub-Indexes Included in ICC$

ICC$, the ideal selection tool for creating commercial cows, is the summation of five easy-to-use sub‑indexes: Health, Production Efficiency, Fertility and Fitness, Milking Ability, and Calving Ability. The sub-indexes enable producers to narrow their genetic emphasis to specific areas of farm management.

Production Efficiency (PREF$) pinpoints genetics resulting in high yielding cows with lower feed costs. Emphasis is placed on pounds of protein. Use of PREF$ and ICC$ reverses the trend for taller cows.

Health (HLTH$) breeds for improved, sustainable health and longevity. High-ranking HLTH$ bulls have daughters with proper body condition, low somatic cell scores and excellent locomotion. With inclusion of the proprietary health traits SCK, MTR and FH, this sub-index also selects for lower predicted blood BHBA and fewer cases of metritis and lameness.

Fertility and Fitness (FYFT$) emphasizes reproductive efficiency. Bulls with high FYFT$ rankings result in optimal age at first calving, reduced days open and shorter calving intervals.

Milking Ability (MABL$) optimizes efficiency with troublefree milking cows. MABL$ includes mastitis resistance, milking speed and temperament, and ideal commercial udder conformation and function. Ideal udders have strong attachments, are above the hock, and include proper teat placement and length. MABL$ also enhances udder texture and manages the emerging trend of short teat length.

Calving Ability (CABL$) focuses on live calves born without difficulty. High-ranking CABL$ sires with high ICC$ values can maximize genetic progress in heifer pens while ensuring an easy transition into the milking string.

36% 36% 18% 10%

Marginal Feed Costs Protein Yield Fat Yield Milk Yield

31% Productive Life 27% Locomotion 18% Somatic Cell Score 6% Body Condition Score 6% Foot Health 6% Subclinical Ketosis 6% Metritis

51% 36% 6% 5% 2%

Daughter Pregnancy Rate Heifer Conception Rate Cow Conception Rate Polled Genotype Fertility Haplotypes

70% 15% 12% 3%

Udder Traits Mastitis Resistance Milking Speed Milking Temperament

45% 29% 16% 10%

Sire Calving Ease Daughter Stillbirth Daughter Calving Ease Sire Stillbirth

“Development of the SCK, MTR and FH breeding values is another example of GENEX’s dedication to data-driven innovation for the genetic improvement of members’ herds.” 18



Keith Heikes, GENEX COO

Strategic Breeding

for Achieving the Real Ideal

CONSIDER YOUR GOALS for the future and the number of replacement calves needed to meet those goals.

COMPARE BREEDING STRATEGIES using the Calf MathSM program and determine the most effective combination of semen products (dairy or beef conventional semen, GenChoice™ sexed semen or Breeding to FeedingSM semen).

SORT COWS AND HEIFERS with the Sort-Gate


program to define which females are appropriate for each semen product.

DEVELOP PROTOCOLS for mating and breeding to

get the preferred semen product into the designated cows and heifers.

From Stinging Cold to Scorching Heat

Protecting Your Herd By: Kirsten French and Kenzie Smith, Resale Product Advisors, GENEX

Like any animal, cows and calves can be greatly affected by cold or hot temperatures. Temperature can affect a cow’s milk production, reproductive fertility and health, whereas calves can have increased rates of illness and a decreased rate of gain. Minimizing these effects is important for maintaining a profitable herd. But at what point is a cow or calf too cold or too hot? Understanding their thermal neutral zone can help you address their needs before temperature takes too great a toll.

Protect the Future of Your Herd By mid-December, it’s easy to feel the sting of cold temperatures; multiple layers, heavy jackets and durable working gloves become necessities. While the cold affects everyone, it can have a greater toll on babies and young children. The same is true when it comes to cattle. Calves are at greater risk in cold temperatures. The internal temperature of cattle can fluctuate within a comfortable range called their thermal neutral zone (a range in temperature in which the animal does not use




additional energy to maintain its core body temperature). With a thermal neutral zone of 50-68° F, calves are more susceptible to temperature fluctuations and the cold than mature cattle.1 The range of a calf’s thermal neutral zone is so small that fluctuations between the upper critical temperature (UCT) and lower critical temperature (LCT) can happen overnight. When temperatures are below the LCT of 50° F, calves will need protection from the elements otherwise they burn body fat to maintain their core temperature.1 By burning body fat, a calf will lose needed weight. Burning body fat also suppresses a calf’s immune system during a period of life in which the calf is still developing it.1 Calf coats are a valuable management tool to help prevent environmental temperatures from affecting a calf’s energy expenditure. By using a calf coat during the first 30 days, a calf can retain energy, directing it more towards growth and a strong immune system rather than the basic need to maintain body temperature.

Extreme temps can wreak havoc on the milking herd. In those stressful situations, use RumiLife™ Electrolyte M™ nutritional supplement to help the herd maintain normal hydration, electrolyte balance and dry matter intake.

Protecting Cow Health & Productivity While calves have a hard time adjusting to cold temperatures, cows have difficulty adjusting to really warm temperatures. Cows are homoeothermic animals that seek to maintain a constant body temperature despite environmental factors.2 A dairy cow of European origin has a thermal neutral zone of 41-77° F, meaning any temperature below 41° F can cause cold stress and anything above 77° F can cause heat stress.3 The severity of heat stress can grow tremendously as temperatures rise and humidity increases. In fact, the impact of heat stress can increase at a mere 10% humidity,3 which is considered very dry by weather standards.

To maintain a constant internal temperature, cows may alter their behavior. In the case of heat stress, they respond by bunching, reducing activity levels and reducing feed intake. Bodily functions are also impacted. Due to heat stress, cattle can suffer from dehydration due to water loss through evaporation and can experience a change in blood hormones and increased respiration.3 Increased respiration alone can lead to rumen acidosis, a major contributor to laminitis.4 Many management tools have been developed to help cows cool down to maintain their thermal neutral zone, but producers should also consider replacing what cows lose through natural methods of coping with heat. Researchers have suggested supplementing sources of potassium, magnesium, sodium and fat soluble vitamins.3 With that in mind, GENEX offers RumiLife™ Electrolyte M™ nutritional supplement, a readyto-use oral electrolyte for mature cattle designed to help meet the needs of a cow’s battle to

maintain temperature regulation and defeat the toll being outside a thermal neutral zone can have.

Address Their Needs for Optimal Growth & Performance Research has increased tremendously over the past 20 years to identify different ways we can help cows and calves maintain optimal energy levels within their thermal neutral zones. By addressing these needs, calves can maintain efficient growth and begin life with a strong start, and cows can focus on milk production, reproduction and overall health. 

(1) Broadwater, Neil. “Caring for calves in cold climatic conditions: Dairy extension: University of Minnesota extension.” University of Minnesota Extension. 19 Nov. 2010. Web. 14 Nov. 2016. (2) Quigley, Jim. “Calf Note #59 – Environmental Effects on Calf Feeding – Basic Concepts.” Calf Notes. 20 Mar. 2000. Web. 14 Nov. 2016. (3) Nickerson, Stephen C. “Management strategies to reduce heat stress, prevent Mastitis and improve milk quality in dairy cows and heifers (B 1426).” UGA Extension. Animal and Dairy Science Department, 7 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016. (4) Wheelock, J. B., et al. “Effects of Heat Stress on Energetic Metabolism in Lactating Holstein Cows.” Journal of Dairy Science 93.2 (2010): 644–655. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Calf Coats Help Keep Calves Growing in Cold Temps GENEX offers strong and durable Calf Coats. These coats are assembled in the U.S., feature a waterproof outer lining and a quilted inner lining, are machine washable, and contain a Velcro front closure and buckle leg straps for easy on and off. GENEX Calf Coats are available in three sizes – small, large and x-large – to ensure a perfect fit for any breed. To outfit your calves in calf coats, contact your GENEX rep or visit




Driving Genetic Progress in Today’s Jersey Generation With the December sire summaries, GENEX added six Jersey bulls to the lineup. This diverse group, backed by a long list of other popular GENEX sires, is certain to drive genetic progress in members’ and customers’ herds. 1JE00964 JODECI {3} leads the list of new releases with his +251 JPI™ and +704 Cheese Merit (CM$). His attributes include a +0.6 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and +15.5 JUI™ as well as outstanding components: +80 Fat and +50 Protein for a huge +130 Combined Fat & Protein (CFP). A Tyrion out of a Daybreak, JODECI is a diverse-pedigreed sire from Faria Brothers Dairy. Also impressive is 1JE00939 NEYMAR {3}, an early Mackenzie son with high cheese yield traits. NEYMAR debuts at +654 CM$ and +234 JPI™ while posting a +24.6 JUI™. His +0.15% Fat and +0.07% Protein, which contribute to a +119 CFP, mean he will improve components. NEYMAR hails from a reputable family; he’s out of a high-scoring young Irwin daughter from Faria Brothers that goes back to Faria Brothers Action Dean Smith {1}, EX‑92%. Note, NEYMAR is JH1C. 1JE00955 DIMMER {4} is the lineup’s first son of the popular 1JE00889 PROP JOE {3} and offers a genetic

SIGN UP NOW For the GENEX Jersey E-Newsletter. 22



profile similar to his sire. At +211 JPI™ and +597 CM$, DIMMER adds yield while also improving udders (+19.1 JUI™). He will produce fertile, longliving daughters from his elite +1.7 DPR, +2.2 Cow Conception Rate (CCR), +2.1 Heifer Conception Rate (HCR) and +5.9 Productive Life (PL).

genetic profiles. VESTIGE-P is +216 JPI™ with a +14.2 JUI™ while also adding milk yield at +1079. Full brother VISUAL-P adds fluid pounds with +1371 Milk and +207 JPI™. He is +6.1 JUI™ with +2.3 HCR. Note, VISUAL-P is JH1C and 93 BBR, while VESTIGE-P is 89 BBR.

A new graduate from the GENESIS Cooperative Herd, 1JE00952 HESTON {5} is the son of GENESIS star Faria Brothers Marvel Hamm {4}-ET. This son of 1JE00882 FORMIDABLE is an elite DPR sire at +2.4 and comes in at +197 JPI™. HESTON is expected to sire daughters with improved udders (+16.6 JUI™), impressive longevity (+7.7 PL) and elite fertility (+3.5 CCR).

Among other Jersey sire highlights, 1JE00922 RONALDO {3} now stands at +289 JPI™. The Harris son also boasts over +1600 Milk and +150 CFP with a positive Sire Conception Rate (SCR) and 103 PregCheck™ fertility ranking. VANDRELL and PROP JOE, from the same maternal line as RONALDO, jumped to +273 and +213 JPI™ respectively. All three are available in GenChoice™ sexed semen with SexedUltra™. 1JE00935 WORLD CUP {5} ranks high for CM$ at +761. This sire of sons is also +271 JPI™ and +23.5 JUI™. He adds daughter fertility (+1.9 DPR) and longevity (+8.2 PL) as well.

Faria Brothers Marvel Hamm {4}-ET, dam of HESTON and WORLD CUP

Rounding out the new debuts are two polled sons of 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2} with roots in the GENESIS herd. 1JE00954 VESTIGE {3}-P and 1JE00953 VISUAL {3}‑P both sport impressive

1JE00859 GUS {3} leads the GENEX daughter-proven list at +188 JPI™. This fertility specialist (+3.0 SCR, 102 PregCheck™) added daughters and posted impressive values for yield at +916 Milk and +85 CFP. Daughters will carry beautiful udders (+14.7 JUI™) and last in the herd (+5.2 PL). 

3 E A S Y W AY S T O S I G N U P ! 1. Scan the QR code 2. Visit 3. Text GENEXJERSEYS to 22828 (U.S. only. Message and data rates apply.)


Genetics JPI ™ CM$

1JE00922 Faria Brothers RONALDO {3}-ET



1JE00935 Co-op AD WORLD CUP {5}-ET

AJCA/12-16, CDCB/12-16 All bulls are JH1F, JH2F unless otherwise indicated.

1JE00946 Cal-Mart Chili LARS


1JE00922 RONALDO {3} 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2}

+289 +727 +273 +677

1JE00935 WORLD CUP {5}

+271 +761

1JE00921 EUSEBIO {4}

+271 +707

1JE00964 JODECI {3}

+251 +704

1JE00919 TUPAC {4}

+248 +623


+246 +577

1JE00939 NEYMAR {3} JH1C +234 +654 1JE00946 LARS

+228 +632

1JE00944 TAD

+224 +607


+222 +543

1JE00954 VESTIGE {3}-P

+216 +557

Lineup Leaders and New Debuts Another Montross son, 1HO11694 MICKY, is an elite new graduate at +1056 ICC$ and +892 LNM$. He adds Milk (+1686) and impressive +165 Combined Fat & Protein (CFP). With a +6.0 PL, +1.4 DPR and 6.6% Sire Calving Ease (SCE), this sire is suitable for heifer pens.

Co-op Robust Galina 6447-ET, dam of GENIUS, GAGE and GUINESS

Leading the ICC$ index rankings this sire summary is 1HO11665 GENIUS. This Montross out of a Robust is +1101 ICC$, +918 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) and +2748 TPI®. GENIUS is joined at the top of the list by maternal brothers 1HO12800 GAGE and 1HO12782 GUINESS at +1055 and +1051 ICC$ respectively. These sons of 1HO11056 TROY have balanced genetic profiles offering type and production. All three also recorded impressive breeding values for the new proprietary health traits, Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH).

TROY now has early daughters in his production proof and maintains his ideal combination of elite genetics and fertility. One of the first sires selected based on his ICC$ value, he continues to rank near the top of the ICC$ chart (+1048). He also leads the way for health traits; he’s the MTR leader at 110 and improves daughter fertility (+3.2 DPR) and longevity (+8.0 PL). Adding to his outstanding credentials, he has a +3.2 Sire Conception Rate (SCR) and extremely low 5.5% SCE. Carrying an impressive rank across indexes, 1HO11905 BLOWTORCH stands at +2772 TPI® and +994 ICC$. He is +2.0 SCR and over +1500 Milk with a +136 CFP. This SILVER son rates well for MTR and will add type at +2.21 PTAT and +1.71 UDC. Adding some color, 1HO11970 PUNK-RED joins the lineup as a high ICC$ (+704) Red and White sire. This Desire son adds diversity while also improving production at +1382 Milk. He is a type specialist at +1.95 PTAT and +1.91 UDC.

1HO11955 BEYOND stands as the highest new release at +1067 ICC$. This Josuper son has impressive health traits at +2.4 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and +8.6 Productive Life (PL) and ranks above average for MTR and FH. Use BEYOND to add pedigree diversity and components (+127 Combined Fat & Protein).

Co-op DD Cabriolet 40222-ET, daughter of CABRIOLET

Cool-Lawn Toystory 1951B-ET, VG-87, MGGD of BEYOND

Continuing his impressive rank on the daughter-proven list, 1HO10396 CABRIOLET jumped to +898 LNM$ and +897 ICC$. With his +1023 Milk and +102 Fat, this Robust son sires hard-working daughters that excel in production. His daughters should also experience fewer ketosis and metritis issues. Use CABRIOLET in heifer pens (4.6% SCE) to create daughters that breed back (+2.5 DPR) and last (+8.0 PL). In total, GENEX added 17 sires to a lengthy list, highlighted by elite ICC$ rankings and pedigree diversity. For a full list of available sires, visit 




TROY Daughters

You Asked.

GENEX Delivered. Creating ideal commercial cows

A Healthy Choice


TROY excels for new GENEX proprietary health traits:

1HO11056 River-Bridge Co-op Troy-ET

Mogul x Freddie x Mascol

+1048 ICC$ | +8.0 PL | +3.2 DPR | +3.2 SCR

102 SCK 110 MTR 100 FH

Use these TROY sons with confidence! 1HO12800 GAGE

+1055 ICC$

+839 LNM$

+112 CFP

+9.1 PL


+1051 ICC$

+8.6 PL

+3.8 DPR

+2.6 SCR


+1037 ICC$

+817 LNM$

+2.4 SCR

+3.5 DPR


+1001 ICC$

+4.0 DPR

+1.64 UDC

5.6% SCE


+982 ICC$

+1390 M

+7.4 PL

5.8% SCE

CDCB/12-16, HA-USA/12-16, CDN/12-16, GENEX/12-16

Fiscalini Farms:

A Family with Foundation and Future By: Brenda Brady, Communications Specialist, GENEX

The Fiscalini Family in Modesto, California, has a rich heritage of dairy farming and cheese making with strong values in family, quality, sustainability and animal welfare.




Bandage wrapped cheese aging to perfection at Fiscalini Cheese Company.

Fiscalini Farms milks 1,500 cows, three times a day.

John Fiscalini (top center), along with his family, own and operate Fiscalini Farms and Fiscalini Cheese Company near Modesto, California.

Humble Beginnings Fiscalini Farms traces back to 1914 when the family began dairy farming in northern California. While the dairy initially started with 10 cows, two more generations of Fiscalinis continued the family tradition and substantially grew the farming operation. After John Fiscalini, representing the third generation, traveled to Switzerland to trace the family’s roots, he decided to add another family tradition to the operation: cheese making. This decision allowed the fourth generation to become involved, with John’s children, Laura Genasci and Brian Fiscalini, overseeing day-to-day operations alongside their father.

The quality of the farm and its products can also be attributed to every employee who works at Fiscalini Farms and Fiscalini Cheese Company. Brian boasts that a big part of their success is due to their employees and the excellent relationships that exist. With 39 dedicated employees, the Fiscalinis can trust each task will get done efficiently and effectively.

To ensure customers and consumers understand the industry, Brian became an advocate for agriculture. In fact, he recently starred in a program called Acres and Avenues, where he spent time with an urban guitar maker, and they learned about each other’s trade.

Looking Forward The great care the family puts into every aspect of their operation, makes the Fiscalinis well-positioned for the future, with hopes that a fifth generation will one day carry on the farming tradition. Looking forward, the two main areas of focus are the cheese plant and pushing the herd forward genetically. For Fiscalini Cheese Company that means working to develop their artesian cheeses and expanding the market. For the herd, it means continuing to breed for Milk, pounds of Protein, DPR and Somatic Cell Count. By staying on the cutting edge, while remembering where they came from, the Fiscalini’s have a firm foundation with eyes on a bright future. 




Watch Brian’s episode of Acres and Avenues.

Everything the Fiscalini family does is dotted with leadership and innovation. Currently milking 1,500 cows (100 Jerseys, 20 Brown Swiss and the remainder Holsteins) three times a day, the Fiscalinis strongly believe in animal welfare and cow comfort, and it shows in their numbers, averaging 90 pounds of milk per day with Holsteins, 75 with Brown Swiss and 65 with Jerseys. Brian (pictured above, at left), who serves as the dairy manager, credits genomics as revolutionizing the dairy industry and indicates genomic testing and great nutrition have led to impressive reproductive results. The farm boasts

The value of quality begins with the Fiscalini’s cow care and continues through to their final product: farmstead artesian cheese. Milk from the family’s herd moves to their cheese plant, Fiscalini Cheese Company, just 30 feet from the farm. They make their award‑winning cheese by hand and believe this traditional style is worth the extra effort.

The Fiscalinis are also committed to sustainability. In 2009, two methane digesters were constructed. These digesters produce enough power to run the farm, cheese plant and 300 area homes. The dairy is also able to save 300,000 gallons of water a day by using recycled water.


Leading the Industry

a 27% pregnancy rate and 52% first service conception rate on cows and 64% on heifers. “Genomics have allowed us to cull lots of low Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) heifers,” says Brian. Genomic testing has also meant lower genetic animals can be bred to beef sires, commanding a premium price over dairy calves. A GENEX member for about five years, Brian appreciates the direction the cooperative is moving with the new Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index, stating the focus on commercial dairy producers by highlighting functional traits is spot on for him.

Employee retention is important to the Fiscalinis. They take pride in the dedication of their workforce.

Setting & Achieving

Dairy Repro Goals By: Phillip Lunn, Dairy National Account Manager & Consultant, GENEX

From time to time you daydream. You daydream about what your operation will look like in the future. You daydream about the success you will have – in production, in genetic selection, in reproductive performance. But, how do you take those dreams and make them reality? You set goals and develop plans to achieve them. Setting goals is key in the development and advancement of a dairy’s repro program. To help ensure success, these goals need to be realistic, obtainable and relevant to the future of the operation, and they should include both short-term and long-term goals. There are a number of repro parameters that can be benchmarked to monitor reproductive efficiency. Pregnancy rate is easily recognized as an indicator of overall repro program viability. According to the GENEX Dairy Performance Navigator (DPN ) program, herds in the top 10% for reproduction average around a 30% pregnancy rate with some herds exceeding this by several percentage points. This means preg rates in excess of 30% are reality for quite a few dairies. For most, however, a 30% preg rate is far from reality. Instead, it could be considered a realistic and obtainable long-term goal. SM





Once a dairy’s management team has determined the goals for the dairy’s repro program, the next step is to develop a strategy to achieve those goals. At this point, the team may wonder, “What is the strategy that sets the top 10% of herds apart from their neighbors?” In other words, “What do I need to do to be like them?” Generally speaking, there is no silver bullet to help a dairy team achieve their repro goals. Instead, success relies on a combination of factors. Perhaps, though, these factors could all be combined under one heading: Attention to Detail. Here are a few areas where managers of top repro herds tend to apply attention to detail.

Genetic Selection Paying attention to health and fertility traits, such as Daughter Pregnancy Rate, Heifer Conception Rate, Cow Conception Rate and Productive Life, helps to breed fertility into a

heat detection and Ovsynch. Either way, a good goal is to have 100% of first services occur before 90 DIM. An open diagnosis at vet check usually means these cows will enroll in a Resynch protocol.

Environment, Health and Nutrition

Vet Checks

Cows that are overcrowded, overheated and uncomfortable will not exhibit estrous, conceive or maintain a pregnancy as well as comfortable cows. In addition, maintenance items, such as routine foot care, add to a cow’s comfort level and help the cow exhibit heat. A comprehensive transition program is vital to reproductive success too. Nutritional deficiencies or inconsistencies will play havoc on repro efficiency - watch for warning signs such as high percentages of off-cycle heats and sudden drops in service or conception rates. Also, observe body condition as cows that are too thin or too fat tend to have repro problems.

Pregnancy checks should be performed ASAP, on average around 35 days since bred. Remember the purpose of a vet check is to identify open cows and get those cows back into the repro program.

Members of the repro team need to understand their role and impact on an operation’s bottom line. For instance, shot compliance is absolutely essential for timed A.I. success. The employees responsible for administering shots need to know the role hormones play in reproduction and why it is vital they perform these tasks correctly. This will help create their buy-in.

Synch Programs Timed A.I. programs are geared at getting cows inseminated in a timely manner. However, timed A.I. programs do not necessarily mean trying to breed cows as early as possible. According to DPN, the top 10% of herds for reproduction have an average voluntary wait period of 60.4 DIM. A good rule of thumb is to get cows jump-started with a Presynch program followed by Ovsynch® or a combination of


Employee Education and Buy-in

Now, achieving a goal is certainly something to be proud of, but an increase in pregnancy rate yields more than just bragging rights. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin determined increasing a pregnancy rate from 20% to 30% resulted in a revenue increase of $132 per cow per year. Such an increase, while attainable, should be considered a long-term goal. As mentioned before, goals should be realistic and obtainable. Don’t aim too high too soon. Changes don’t happen overnight. Remember, management decisions, like heavy use of GenChoice™ sexed semen with SexedUltra™, may have an effect on your goals so set goals accordingly. Goals should be specific to the operation and reflect where management wants the operation to be in the future. Finally, don’t obsess over a number. Don’t worry about what a neighbor is doing. It’s your management strategy, and theirs is likely not identical. What to do first? Genex Consultants are available to benchmark your herd. This provides you with an idea of where you stand now, helps in setting goals that reflect where you want to be, and can be used to monitor progress as you work toward your goals. For more information, contact your Genex representative or call 888.333.1783.  HORIZONS


See the effect of genetics in your herd with the Results program. Contact your local GENEX representative.

Be specific to the operation Reflect where management wants the operation to be in the future

herd and sets the dairy up for future success. Managers who have looked at health traits for multiple generations are now seeing Holstein conception rates in the high 40s and even consistently into the 50s.


Goals should …


Motivating and Understanding Employees Farm managers often wonder about employee motivation and performance. They wonder, “How can I motivate employees to follow our protocols? To work as a team? To come to work on time? To perform at their best?” Before one can begin to answer those questions, it’s important to understand what motivation is. Professors in social sciences and human resources describe motivation as having the energy to behave in a certain way and having a sense of direction for that behavior. They explain that trying to motivate another person assumes an individual’s motivation comes from outside factors and is determined by someone else. However, motivation does not come from another person. Instead, intrinsic or self-motivation is all about people doing something because it’s interesting and compelling to them. They take action because they feel a sense of satisfaction in engaging in the activity.

Creating a Motivating Work Environment Supervisors can help create conditions that allow employees to motivate themselves. What actions can be taken to create a work environment where employees are self-motivated? Build relationships through communication. Managers should take time to build relationships. Relationships occur when two people engage in conversations. Over time, each person learns about the other and what is important to them. Building relationships makes employees feel wanted and part of a team. Provide opportunity for feedback and input. Employees need to know how they are doing. Providing constructive feedback and praise allows employees to adjust or maintain behaviors to fulfill their job duties. They also need the opportunity to offer suggestions and input. In fact, giving employees the chance to have their voice heard is one of the easiest ways to increase self‑motivation and job satisfaction. Provide workable and safe conditions. Provide an environment that is organized, where equipment runs properly and where rogue cows are effectively dealt with. A safe environment and a ‘when it is broken, fix it’ mentality allows employees to feel safe and motivated. Offer compliments and provide recognition. People are more likely to feel motivated when others notice the good things they are doing. Even small words of praise every once in a while can significantly impact employee motivation and increase job satisfaction. Don’t be a grumpy boss. Employees can sense their manager’s mood. A sour mood can deter employees from coming to a manager if a problem arises. A positive attitude makes conversation easier and more efficient.

By engaging regularly in conversation, dairy producer John Ruedinger of Van Dyne, Wisconsin, builds relationships and better understands employees. 30



Use Milk Samples To Manage Ketosis Understanding Employee Performance Motivation and performance can go hand-in-hand. Farm managers report two primary areas of unsatisfactory performance. They categorize performance shortfalls as 1) job-task related and 2) unsatisfactory work habits. Job-task performance shortfalls occur when employees are unable or unwilling (unmotivated) to carry out the standard operating procedures that are a part of their job assignment. Examples might include a failure to feed livestock according to protocols, not properly sanitizing milking equipment as instructed, or failing to give synchronization shots to the right cows at the right time according to protocol. Job-task performance shortfalls need to be addressed anytime an employee fails to meet standard procedures or protocols. Work-habit performance problems include issues such as being late, not getting along with other employees and lack of cooperation with teammates.

Why Does Performance Fall Short? Fortunately, most performance shortfalls have causes that supervisors can positively address: Lack of knowledge or understanding of the job. This happens when managers don’t train employees on the proper protocols and procedures. In this instance, employees may simply do what they think is best or what they were taught at their previous job. Job misplacement. Sometimes employees perform poorly because they are like a round peg in a square hole. This person might do better reassigned to a different job where he or she has more interest and ability. Inadequate supervision. Sometimes employees underperform because of managers. When managers invest time and effort into improving their capabilities as supervisors, they can positively impact employees’ job performance.

Performance Management is an Everyday Job

Adapted from articles by Jim Henion, CRI Director of Consulting Services.

Every supervisor knows top performance doesn’t just happen. Monitoring performance and coaching employees is a constant job. Actively supervise. Get to know employees and have a positive relationship with each one. Actively supervising also means being aware of factors that could impact an employee’s motivation. Perhaps an individual has personal matters going on outside of work that resulted in lower work performance. Use one-minute appraisals. When performance slips, address the situation quickly. Continually offer one-minute compliments and coaching sessions.

Research shows ketosis (clinical and subclinical) affects 40 to 60% of dairy cows, at an average cost of $289 per case. KetoMonitor,® available exclusively through AgSource Cooperative Services, provides an easy, cost effective and labor efficient method to monitor herd prevalence for subclinical ketosis using your monthly milk sample. KetoMonitor® combines DHI milk sample component data, such as milk fatty acids, protein and ketones, with individual cow data to accurately estimate the blood-based beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) value normally obtained using a more expensive cow-side test.

To learn more, contact Erin Berger at 715.526.7634 or KetoMonitor® was developed through research conducted by the University of WisconsinMadison Department of Dairy Science and School of Veterinary Medicine.

KetoMonitor Measure Ketosis Prevalence in Your Herd

Reserve formal appraisals for the big picture. Don’t ‘save up’ comments on poor performance until the formal performance review once or twice a year. Waiting to discuss poor performance can cause confusion for the employee and make them wonder why it wasn’t brought to their attention sooner. Take time to implement some of these tips. Start small – choose one or two and work them into the daily routine. Then add another one or two over time. In the end, motivating and understanding employees will become easier. 

KetoMonitor® data is used in the new GENEX Subclinical Ketosis (SCK) breeding value. Learn more on page 15. HORIZONS




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Invest in Your Herd’s Future.

Utilize Push™ Calf Nutritional Paste to jumpstart calves following birth or other stress challenges.

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December 2016 Dairy Edition


December 2016 Dairy Edition