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HORIZONS Dairy Edition

January 2018


Creating Ideal Commercial Cows Economic Based: Data and traits used are directly tied to economic impact on the farm.

Multiple Sources: Data sources include the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB), Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) and the CRI dairy research database.

Real-time and Flexible: Can be modified to reflect economic changes, to address emerging trends or to add new traits of economic impact.

Easy-to-use Sub-indexes: Sub-indexes enable you to narrow genetic emphasis to specific areas of farm management.

ICC$ Index Sub-Indexes for IncludedHolsteins in ICC$

ICC$ Sub-Indexes IndexIncluded for inJerseys ICC$

5% Calving Ability (CABL$) 10% Milking Ability (MABL$) 15% Fertility & Fitness (FYFT$) 24% Health (HLTH$)

Fertility 23% (FERT$) Fertility 23% (FERT$)

46% Production Efficiency (PREF$)

35% Sustainability Cheese Maximizer (SUST$) (ChMAX$) 43%

Sustainability

43% (SUST$) Cheese 35%Maximizer (ChMAX$)


HORIZONS Dairy

January 2018 Vol. 23/No. 3

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Published three times a year for GENEX members and customers

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ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE Genex Cooperative, Inc. P.O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166 info@genex.coop 888.333.1783 www.crinet.com

BOARD OF DIRECTORS John Ruedinger, President Van Dyne, WI, 920.922.9899 Bobby Robertson, 1st Vice President Tahlequah, OK, 918.822.0020 Harold House, 2nd Vice President Nokesville, VA, 571.722.3356 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 Israel Handy St. Johnsville, NY, 518.568.5476 Lamar Gockley Mohnton, PA, 717.283.5586 Kay Olson-Martz Friendship, WI, 608.564.7359 Jody Schaap Woodstock, MN, 507.215.2257 Daniel Tetreault Champlain, NY, 518.298.8690 Bill Zimmerman Foley, MN, 320.355.2191

HORIZONS STAFF

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CONTENTS 04 Without Change, There is

No Progress 06 CRI, GENEX and AgSource Boards

Approve Plan of Merger 08 In the News GENEX Releases Bulls in Partnership with Progressive Brown Swiss Sires, GENEX Now Markets Jetstream Genetics Across U.S.

11 Sit Down and Dream... Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) Index for Jerseys

15 Two New Traits Released Genetic Improvement Through Data‑Driven Innovation

16 New Sires for Creating

Ideal Daughters 18 The Great Eight! Eight New Jersey Sires Released

20 Leading the Way 22 Chemistry, Cows and

RumiLife® CAL24™ Nutritional Supplement 25 Dairy Producer Says Efficiency

is the Number One Opportunity 28 Precision Technology Made

his Good Management Better

Jenny L. Hanson, Editor, jlhanson@crinet.com Andy Graf, Graphic Designer

REPRINTS Material may not be reproduced in any fashion without permission from GENEX. 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.


Without Change, There is No Progress By: Huub te Plate, COO

After 27 years of travelling the globe in international A.I. sales, I am privileged to now serve as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of GENEX. It has been just a couple months since I became COO, but I have already a wealth of new experiences. Among those experiences were the fall delegate input meetings. This past October and November, we held eight meetings spread all over the country. Nearly 100 GENEX delegates attended one of these meetings to hear an update on their cooperative and provide input for the future. At those meetings and today, there are many exciting changes to report on at GENEX. Just like your dairy, we do not sit still. Instead, we embrace change for the purpose of progress. For instance, based on member demand we launched the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index for Jerseys in December. This new index was created to fulfill the wishes of many commercial Jersey cattle producers. With help from AgSource Dairy and the CRI International Center for Biotechnology (ICB), we included two new proprietary traits within the index: Age at First Calving (AAFC) and Calf Survivability (CSRV). These traits are the first of their kind in the industry. Through their inclusion in the ICC$ index, we have changed the way genetic selection takes place for progress in both new and established traits. Recently GENEX also launched a global branding initiative. For the first time, all dairy and beef producers around the globe will know and refer to this organization as GENEX (customers outside the U.S. were previously served by the International Division of our parent company, Cooperative Resources International).

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At GENEX, we live and breathe the cornerstones of our brand, as they reflect our overall purpose. These cornerstones - Comprehensive, Resourceful, Relevant and Forward Thinking – are exemplified in the recent announcement of plans to pursue a merger between CRI and Koepon Holding (see page 5). Another example of how we are willing to change to continue progress.

the trusted brand you all know, this merger will bundle resources allowing us to accelerate genetic progress. Decisions made now and in the future will continue to be tested against our 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.

There are many details of the merger yet to be resolved. When finalized, and if approved by CRI delegates, the plan would result in a unique structure that will allow our relevancy, forward thinking and resourcefulness to remain true. This would be one of the first mergers between a cooperative and a private company. It will preserve the cooperative structure and allow us to remain true to our roots. While GENEX will remain

Whether the merger is finalized or not, there are a lot of changes coming that will accelerate progress. The merger would elevate GENEX progress to a whole new level. This makes me both excited and a touch nervous at the same time; we are entering untested waters. But, this is not the first time your cooperative has led change, and it will not be the last time. Remember, without change no progress is made. 

“Embrace change for the purpose of progress.”

Huub te Plate began his career at Holland Genetics, before joining Cooperative Resources International (CRI) in 2000. During his tenure at CRI, he managed the marketing of GENEX cattle genetics through a network of distributors and owned businesses in more than 70 countries before becoming GENEX COO in August 2017.


Delegate Election Cycle to Change Based on delegate input, the board of directors is changing the annual membership qualification period and delegate election timeframe. Starting this year, the membership qualification period will be May 1 through April 30. For example, to qualify as a member in 2018, a U.S. customer must spend at least $500 on GENEX semen, products and/ or services between May 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. In addition, the customer needs to have submitted membership agreement to GENEX. Starting this year, delegate nominations will take place each June. Delegate elections will be held in July. Only those who qualify as a member can self-nominate and be elected as a delegate. The current delegates and alternates (elected in December 2016) will serve through the 2018 annual meeting and until the next elections are held this July. 

Thanks for Serving GENEX

Delegates engage in discussion at the fall input meeting in Syracuse, New York.

GENEX COO Huub te Plate addresses delegates at a meeting in Neenah, Wisconsin.

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 eight 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 Huub te Plate also presented an overview of the A.I. industry and challenges facing the worldwide ag industry. Delegates reviewed real-life situations board or management had recommended for input, including customer communication on changes to billing statements and the GENEX equity program. The input gathered will be used by the board and management in future decisions. To learn more about becoming a delegate and providing grassroots input into the cooperative, contact Terri Dallas at 888.333.1783. 

Annual Meeting to Take Place Jan. 23-24 Members currently elected as delegates and alternates are invited to the annual meetings of GENEX and CRI to be held Jan. 23-24 in Bloomington, Minnesota. At the annual meeting, delegates will elect directors for membership regions 3, 6, 9 and 12. Each region will also elect a delegate to be on the redistricting committee. In addition, the event includes educational sessions on industry topics and a banquet. 

In March 2018,

GENEX will roll out a new statement look.

Action Required: In recent weeks you should have received a mailing with detailed information about this change. Remember to: 1. Determine the statement type you want to receive 2. Complete and return the postage-paid postcard

The statements feature:

Enhanced design At-a-glance detail Delivery options

If you do not select a statement option, you will receive the summary statement. Please note: Payments must be received by GENEX on or before the 20th day of the calendar month. Payment due dates are indicated on the account statement, however GENEX provides a 10-day grace period. If payment is not received by the last day of the calendar month, the account incurs finance charges dating back to the original due date. GENEX accepts payment via Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, John Deere Financial, check or ACH by calling 888.333.1783. If you have questions, contact 888.333.1783 or info@genex.coop.


CRI, GENEX and AgSource Boards

Approve Plan of Merger

On Dec. 15, 2017, CRI and its subsidiaries informed delegates, alternates and employees that the boards of directors had unanimously approved a plan to advance merger discussions with Koepon Holding BV, a Dutch‑based company with businesses similar to CRI. This preceded a general public announcement on Dec. 18. While some GENEX members have been aware of the proposal since then, others may be reading it here for the first time. Discussions between CRI and Koepon (pronounced “Coopon”) were first initiated by the CEOs of both organizations in early 2017. It has been a central topic at regular board meetings in addition to special meetings held to receive updates on progress and to provide input on direction. According to CRI Chairman and GENEX President, John Ruedinger, “Through CRI’s formation and 25-year history, we have been involved in several mergers. This proposal to merge CRI with Koepon has been a more extensive process and has received more thorough discussion and careful analysis at the board level than any we have approached before. As boards of directors, we are confident it is the right direction for our cooperatives and our members.” Koepon Holding consists of enterprises focused on creating value for dairy and beef producers worldwide. Its principle subsidiaries are Alta Genetics and Valley Ag Software. Koepon is a privately-held company owned by the Wijnand Pon family. Wijnand has deep roots in dairy farming and genetics. The family owns five dairy farms in Europe, milking over 3,000 cows. Wijnand’s

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daughter, Fanja Pon, is active in the family’s businesses and serves on the board of Koepon. For more information go to www.koepon.com. The CRI and subsidiary boards and management are confident the vision, culture and philosophy of Koepon is very compatible with CRI. The alliance of Alta Genetics and GENEX businesses will result in a world-leading cattle genetics organization. AgSource and Valley Ag Software hold potential to set a new standard for global dairy information and data services. CRI and Koepon have other businesses, e.g., laboratory testing, livestock marketing and manufacturing operations, that can continue to operate under the new structure. Under the plan, if approved by CRI delegates from GENEX and AgSource, the new organization would be a U.S.‑based Limited Partnership with its corporate headquarters in Wisconsin. GENEX and AgSource would maintain their own independent brands, product lines, sales staff and international distributors. GENEX would continue to compete directly with Alta Genetics. We believe significant savings can be realized through combined programs in product development, animal housing, distribution and many other functions behind the scenes. CRI, AgSource and GENEX will remain cooperatives as part of the new organization. Equity stakes held by CRI in the new company will be assigned to eligible members on the basis of their patronage with the respective subsidiary businesses. Revenue from AgSource and GENEX member sales and services will be distinct and separate from other businesses in the new organization. Retained earnings


and member equity held by AgSource and GENEX at the time of merger will transfer and will remain under authority and control of elected subsidiary and CRI boards. Members will continue to elect delegates, who will elect subsidiary directors as they now do. Subsidiary boards will elect representatives to the CRI board, and to the board of the new organization. Much needs to be done for the merger to be finalized. Business planning and due diligence processes have been initiated. Delegates attending the CRI annual meeting, Jan. 23-24, in Minneapolis will receive more information. If the process is successful, including management recommendations and board approvals, the formal merger will require the support of two-thirds of CRI voting delegates. We would estimate a delegate vote in April or May 2018. If approved by CRI delegates and Koepon owners, the merger could formally occur by early to mid-summer. From the very beginning, CRI’s focus has been on how to best serve the subsidiary statements of purpose, which in turn fit under the CRI mission: “CRI is the global leader delivering excellence, innovation and value to members and customers as a strong cooperative.” CRI and subsidiary boards and management believe we can fulfill our mission most successfully as part of this merged organization. For more information, contact any member of the GENEX board of directors or GENEX Chief Operating Officer Huub te Plate. 

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GENEX Releases Bulls in Partnership with Progressive Brown Swiss Sires

Apply for the Collegiate Scholarship

This past September, GENEX added two Brown Swiss bulls to the lineup as the result of a partnership with Progressive Brown Swiss Sires.

Youth attending a four‑year university or two‑year technical college in fall 2018 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 on the scholarship and to access the application, visit www.genex.coop. 

“The objective of the partnership with Progressive Brown Swiss Sires, a breeder-based organization and a segment of the Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders’ Association, is to make high-genetic caliber Brown Swiss bulls available to GENEX members and customers on a more consistent basis,” explains Roy Wilson, GENEX Senior Vice President of Dairy Marketing, Sales and Product Development. The bulls released were 1BS00601 HANK and 1BS00602 SHAR-P (D*). Both possess the elite genetic credentials today’s progressive Brown Swiss breeders demand. HANK, a Cadence x Driver, is +175 PPR. He stands out for his huge production figures (+1342 Milk, +46 Fat, +43 Protein) while also siring long‑lived daughters (+4.6 Productive Life) and improving udders (+1.06 Udder Composite). SHAR-P, a Jay-P son out of a Cartel daughter, is one of the highest genetic merit polled bulls available in the breed today. He stands at +166 PPR and +440 Lifetime Net Merit and is a breed leader for Fat at +51 and +0.12%. Rely on SHAR-P for fantastic fertility (+1.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate) and longevity (+3.0 Productive Life). For more information on these bulls, contact your local GENEX representative or visit www.crinet.com. 

Now Accepting Nominations for Repro Awards Annually, GENEX recognizes members and customers with the Excellence in Reproduction & Genetics award. If interested in having your herd nominated for this award, contact your local GENEX representative. 

GENEX Employees Give Back to Their Communities

GENEX employees are making a difference by volunteering in their communities. From left, Anne Davison volunteered at the New York state fair birthing center; Jim London delivered cheese for the Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, football boosters; and Morgan Kliebenstein helped with preparations for Wisconsin’s Lafayette County dairy breakfast.

Employees are encouraged to exercise the cooperative’s value of stewardship by volunteering their time to support public or community activities. Starting this past year, all full-time employees had the opportunity to get paid for one day of volunteering. In total, GENEX employees dedicated more than 420 hours to brightening lives and making meaningful contributions to their communities. From working at a state fair birthing center to coaching youth football and from organizing dairy breakfasts to donating blood, GENEX employees are giving back.  8

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Gilbert Retires After 40 Years of Service Glen Gilbert retired from GENEX on Dec. 31. As Mike Kaproth, Vice President of Laboratories and Production Technologies, states, “Throughout his career, Glen made a tremendous impact on the cooperative. He helped lead the way for where GENEX is today.” Glen spent all of his 40 years in the Production Division for GENEX and predecessors, paving the way to ensure top-notch semen production. For most of his career, he worked under the title of Vice President of Production. His ability

to adapt and push for excellence led GENEX to the forefront of bovine genetics suppliers. Glen contributed much dedication and precision to bring producers the high-quality product they expect today. When he began his career with the cooperative, Glen worked as an administrative assistant in the production division of Midwest Breeders Cooperative. Glen’s hard work, accuracy and hunger to improve quickly earned him the leadership role he retired from.

Glen announced his retirement plans earlier this year. In July, Kristi Fiedler, previously the GENEX Associate Vice President of Technical Services, filled the role of Vice President of Production. With this transition, Glen served in a mentorship role up until his retirement. 

GENEX Now Markets Jetstream Genetics Across U.S. Under a new agreement, GENEX has become the exclusive distributor of Jetstream Genetics to Holstein cattle breeders throughout the U.S. “By adding the Jetstream Genetics portfolio to our lineup, we are providing members and customers with even more genetic options to meet their individual herd goals,” states Huub te Plate, GENEX Chief Operating Officer. “This helps us achieve our goal of being a

comprehensive brand, providing different products and solutions to fulfill customers’ unique needs.” The Jetstream lineup is comprised of approximately 50 sires, including tremendous new releases like the +2742 GTPI® 734HO000083 MASTERMIND and the +2797 GTPI® 734HO00082 MONSTER. “At Jetstream Genetics, we seek to provide breed-defining sires through

the upper echelon of genomics, whether those genetics are from deep-pedigreed cow families or high numbers, extreme type or extreme production, Red or Polled, or the very best bulls that combine these attributes,” explains Roger Turner, global sales and genetic manager. For more information or to purchase Jetstream semen, U.S. dairy producers should contact their local GENEX representative. 

NEW RELEASES

MASTERMIND Photos by Beth Herges

734HO00083 | MONTANA X SUPERSIRE X BOOKEM DOB: 07/07/16 | 840 Reg. 3133065125

MONSTER 734HO00082 | JEDI X BOMBERO X PREDES DOB: 08/01/16 | 840 Reg. 3133065179

GTPI +2797

GTPI +2742


It’s Hard to

Conceive

of a simpler way to keep pregnancy rates in check. PregCheck™ fertility rankings are easy to use! The rankings are set to a 100-base system, meaning a value of 100 is average. Every one point difference is equivalent to a 1% difference in conception rate. PregCheck™

NEW

1JE00892 VANDRELL {2}

BBR 87

105

1JE00991 GRIEZMANN {4}

BBR 89

105

1JE00916 TRISTAN {5}

BBR 100

104

1JE00862 BADGER {3}

BBR 93

103

1JE00922 RONALDO {3}

BBR 92

103

1JE00946 LARS

BBR 100

103

1JE00950 TOTTI {4}

BBR 100

103

1JE00982 TEX {3}

BBR 90

103

Daughters of VANDRELL {2}, a fertility leader at 105 PregCheck™

GENEX/12-17


Sit Down and

Dream...

At the end of the day when you finally have a moment to sit down and relax, your mind wanders back through the day’s events. You think about those fresh cows that are struggling, wondering if you did everything you could for them. You think about that calf with no appetite and droopy ears. Will she survive? Is she hardy enough to make it through this life event? You wonder about your herd’s fertility. It seems more difficult to get your cows bred than it did 10 years ago. In a nutshell, you dream of a day when more of your cows fit your ideal – trouble‑free, breeds back easily and has a balanced udder that can last lactation after lactation. Continuing our tradition as the industry innovator, GENEX has set out to make those dreams reality. Continued on page 12.

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From Dreams to Reality After surveying some of the largest and most progressive Jersey herds in the U.S. to gain a better understanding of the breed’s needs today and in the future, it was clear that Jersey producers desired a more complete index that specifically looked at genetic selection for commercial operations. Responding to our customers and members, GENEX launched the most progressive and industryleading index now available. With the December 2017 sire summary, the Ideal Commercial Cow Index (ICC$) is the leading genetic selection index for Jerseys.

Continuing the Tradition Back in 2014, when the ICC$ index for Holstein cattle was first introduced, the GENEX Chief Operating Officer stated, “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, that statement applies to even more producers. We are proud to extend our innovation to Jersey producers by developing a version of the ICC$ index specifically formulated to meet progressive commercial Jersey producers’ needs. This ICC$ index focuses genetic improvement on three general areas identified as most critical for Jersey herds: 1. Component Yield; 2. Sustainability; and 3. Fertility.

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A Global Index Designed for Commercial Herds The ICC$ index for Jerseys is designed for commercial herds around the globe. The description of a commercial herd is quite simple: one that generates revenue from the sale of milk and meat products. Like the ICC$ index for commercial Holstein dairies, the Jersey version is economic based, includes data from multiple sources, was developed to be real-time and flexible, and is comprised of easy-to-use sub-indexes. The ICC$ index is all about farm profitability and efficiency. It is economic based, meaning the index is tied to the economic values associated with each trait. Unlike other selection indexes, the ICC$ index includes data from multiple sources. It allows for inclusion of traits that are not part of the U.S. national evaluation. For instance, the index includes two new GENEX proprietary traits that impact Jersey herd profitability: Age at First Calving (AAFC) and Calf Survivability (CSRV). These breeding values were established based on information from the CRI dairy research database, which includes genomic profiles, on-farm health and fertility records, and real-time production records. In all, the database includes 54 million health records on nearly 12 million cows as well as AgSource Dairy records (milking testing and herd management information) with more than 720,000 cows tested monthly.


Another prime example of incorporating data from multiple sources is the inclusion of Mastitis Resistance from the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN). Mastitis Resistance combines both clinical and subclinical mastitis into a single genetic selection index. Including traits like this – which are well established, scientifically sound and economically important – from other reputable data sources, makes the ICC$ index unique. The ICC$ index is real-time and flexible. It’s nimble and adjustable. The index can be altered in a timely manner to reflect economic changes, address emerging trends or to add new traits of economic impact. Finally, the ICC$ index for Jerseys is the summation of three easy-to-use sub-indexes that address specific areas of farm management. Selection based on the overall ICC$ index aids in genetic improvement in all areas at a balanced rate. Remember that ICC$ index values are reflective of the revenue and expenses across the farm. With this in mind, the three sub‑indexes – Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$), Sustainability (SUST$) and Fertility (FERT$) – can be used by producers who want to focus on a specific area of genetic selection.

The ICC$ index allows you to create cows that fit your ideal – trouble-free, breeds back easily and carries a balanced udder that lasts lactation after lactation. The ICC$ index for Jerseys is just another example of GENEX making producers’ dreams reality and is reflective of the continued genetic excellence and industry-leading innovation this organization provides to all our members and customers. 

Looking at the Index from All Angles Scott Carson, GENEX Procurement Manager, is a longtime Jersey enthusiast and former Jersey producer and breeder. He led the team that formulated the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index for Jerseys. His background provides unique insight into this new index.

Our goal was to create an index that would enable producers to select bulls that will positively impact their bottom line. The idea was to emphasize traits that are really important to our customers and weed out extra information that doesn’t really impact farm profitability. Over the past couple decades, the Jersey breed has changed significantly. The population has grown remarkably. With that, the Jersey cow grew taller, stronger and added a lot more width. Udder

confirmation improved dramatically in the 1990s and then deteriorated a bit before improving again over the last 5-6 years. While Jersey producers have selected for these traits as well as enormous gains in yield traits, there has been a significant decline in fertility traits. That’s a natural tradeoff of selecting aggressively for yield traits. Today, that decrease in fertility is a real cause for concern among Jersey producers. It’s one of the concerns the ICC$ index for Jerseys addresses.

From my perspective, one of the things the index does best is provide producers with a way to rank bulls on fertility traits and on health traits. Through its sub-index structure, the ICC$ index is setting a framework for the industry. The sub-indexes provide producers with tools to focus on their traits of interest. The ICC$ index gives anyone interested in brown cows – the smaller cows that are more feed efficient – the tools to breed cows that are ideal for a commercial setting. HORIZONS

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You Asked.

GENEX Delivered. Sub-Indexes Included in ICC$

Fertility 23% (FERT$) Fertility 23% (FERT$)

The Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index for Jerseys is the ideal selection tool for creating commercial cows. It is the summation of three easy‑to‑use sub-indexes. These sub‑indexes are tools for producers who want to focus more specifically on component yield, sustainability or fertility.

35% Sustainability Cheese Maximizer (SUST$) (ChMAX$) 43%

Sustainability

43% (SUST$) Cheese 35%Maximizer (ChMAX$)

ICC$ Index for Jerseys

Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$) focuses on component yields and provides equal weightings on both Fat and Protein pounds. Unique among Jersey indexes, the ICC$ index is neutral on milk – instead focusing on total Combined Fat and Protein. Sustainability (SUST$) consists of traits that are critical to keeping animals healthy and in production. One is a new GENEX proprietary trait, Calf Survivability (CSRV). Also included are udder traits that impact culling rate (35% Udder Cleft, 30% Udder Depth, 25% Fore Udder and 10% Teat Length). Selection for the SUST$ sub-index emphasizes udder health, longevity, functional udder traits and calf survivability. Fertility (FERT$) contains five measures of cow and heifer fertility. This sub‑index includes the GENEX proprietary trait Age at First Calving (AAFC) to meet the needs of producers looking to emphasize reproductive efficiency. Selection of bulls with high FERT$ rankings results in optimal age at first calving, reduced days open and shorter calving intervals.

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50% Protein 50% Fat

35% Productive Life 15% Udder Traits 14% Livability 12% Calf Survivability 12% Mastitis Resistance 12% Somatic Cell Score

50% 25% 15% 5% 5%

Daughter Pregnancy Rate Heifer Conception Rate Cow Conception Rate Age at First Calving Fertility Haplotypes


Two New Traits Released

Genetic Improvement Through Data-Driven Innovation Two traits with direct impact on Jersey herds’ health and profitability were debuted with the December 2017 sire summary. These new traits are in addition to three proprietary Holstein health traits GENEX released in December 2016. GENEX has released Calf Survivability (CSRV) and Age at First Calving (AAFC) evaluations to address critical areas of concern within the Jersey breed. “CSRV brings awareness to genetics that instill hardiness and survivability in newborn calves,” explains Leah James, U.S. Dairy Marketing Manager. “AgSource Dairy data for a five-anda-half-year period from January 2012 through July 2017 shows that 6.5% of Jersey calves died between 2 and 120 days of age,” adds Leah. “The new CSRV breeding value, included in the Sustainability subindex of the Ideal Commercial Cow index for Jerseys, aims to provide genetic selection to improve the survivability of Jersey calves.”

past 120 days of age. The breeding value is set to a base of 100, meaning 100 is average. Expect about a 5.5% difference in calf survivability between daughters of a 105 CSRV bull and daughters of a 95 CSRV bull. CSRV has an 8.1% heritability. The second trait, AAFC, highlights the importance of daughter fertility among Jersey cattle. “In surveying some of our Jersey customers, it was clear that getting heifers calved in early is a point of focus, especially considering the negative trend for daughter fertility over the past 50+ years,” notes Leah. “AAFC aims to get heifers calved in early because that equals bottom‑line profit for the dairy.”

The CSRV breeding value, available on all GENEX sires, reflects the percent of female calves that survived

The AAFC breeding value is indicative of the heifer growing and maturing faster and being reproductively viable at a younger age. It is included

95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 B E L O W

A V E R A G E

A B O V E

A V E R A G E

GENEX proprietary traits are set to a base of 100, meaning a breeding value of 100 is average.

within the Fertility sub-index of the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index for Jerseys. The breeding value is set to a base of 100. Expect about a 44-day difference in age at first calving between daughters of a 105 AAFC bull and daughters of a 95 AAFC bull. Heritability is at 18.7%.

Health Traits for Holsteins One year ago GENEX released three proprietary health traits for Holsteins. Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH) were incorporated into the ICC$ index for Holsteins to enable producers to breed for even healthier animals. All three traits are included in the Health (HLTH$) sub-index. All GENEX proprietary health traits are calculated by the CRI ICB using the CRI dairy research database, which includes: Genomic profiles On-farm records Real-time production values The database continues to grow and currently includes over 54 million health records on nearly 12 million cows. 

“The development of the ICC$ index and proprietary traits illustrates our commitment to providing customers with innovative excellence and science‑based cattle genetics.”

Huub te Plate, COO, GENEX

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New Sires

for Creating Ideal Daughters With the December sire summary, GENEX added 25 new Holstein sires to form a diverse lineup of progressive genetics. New release 1HO12943 HEXER leads the lineup for the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index, a sire ranking tool published exclusively by GENEX to meet the needs of commercial cattle producers. HEXER debuted at +1221 ICC$ and +888 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) with elite health traits: +10.6 Productive Life (PL), +3.7 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), +2.50 Somatic Cell Score (SCS) and 108 Metritis (MTR). This Damien out of a Caspian delivers pedigree diversity and is suitable for heifer pens with a low 4.8% Sire Calving Ease (SCE). 1HO12980 IKE, another new sire, ranks second for the ICC$ index at +1207. This Jedi son sports a +2712 TPI® as well. Rely on IKE with his elite longevity (+10.1 PL), impressive daughter fertility (+5.1 DPR) and +1.51 PTA Type. 1HO12917 MIKE makes his debut in the No. 4 spot for the ICC$ index, right behind the big-time production and health trait specialist 1HO19955 BEYOND. MIKE has an impressive +1174 ICC$, improves component percentages and sires fertile

1HO12943 HEXER

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daughters (+5.1 DPR). This Jedi son can be used universally with his low 6.9% SCE.

displays impressive values for the GENEX proprietary traits MTR (104) and SCK (100).

A Livewire son, 1HO13369 DAVARI, joins the lineup at +1164 ICC$. Count on him to improve milk quality (+2.50 SCS) and sire healthy daughters with his 106 MTR and 104 Subclinical Ketosis (SCK). DAVARI adds type (+1.44 PTAT) and can be used in heifer pens (5.9% SCE).

1HO12487 JENKY-P is a new sire for polled cattle enthusiasts. JENKY-P debuted at +880 ICC$ and adds yield (+109 CFP) while also improving health traits (104 SCK, 102 MTR). Use this Powerball-P son to improve daughter fertility (+3.8 DPR) and add longevity (+7.6 PL) too.

1HO12902 TAPPS, at +1128 ICC$, is a new sire that improves component production (+130 Combined Fat & Protein) and offers calving ease (5.4% SCE). This Modesty out of a Jabir is +893 LNM$ and +2726 TPI®.

Along with these and other newrelease sires, the previous release 1HO11989 ROMERO maintained elite rankings across indexes. He is +1152 ICC$ and +2737 TPI®. He also decreases incidence of health issues, ranking above average for the GENEX proprietary health traits: 104 SCK, 106 MTR and 101 Foot Health.

New release 1HO12930 MALCOM ranks well for LNM$ at +950 and for the ICC$ index at +1099 ICC$. This Damien son can be used with confidence in heifer pens (6.3% SCE) and will transmit outstanding health traits: +10.0 PL, +4.4 Livability (LIV), +3.5 DPR and a low +2.65 SCS. 1HO12932 JUICY will sire cows for the commercial environment (+1148 ICC$) and excels for TPI® (+2800) This new Magnus son out of a 1HO10824 TANGO daughter is sure to please as he adds pedigree diversity, is +2.34 for Udder Composite (UDC) and

Co-op DD Platinum 40739, Daughter of 1HO11096 PLATINUM

The daughter-proven 1HO11096 PLATINUM continued his impressive rank as well, now at +2653 TPI® and +1050 ICC$. This Mogul out of a Super adds type at +1.93 PTAT and +1.58 UDC. The iconic 1HO10396 CABRIOLET is not to be overlooked. Now with over 8,500 daughters, this extremely reliable sire can be used to add a balanced genetic profile while improving components (+149 CFP) and moderating frame size. 

Co-op DD Cabriolet 40222-ET, Daughter of 1HO10396 CABRIOLET


1HO11889 AVENGER daughters at River-Bridge Holsteins, Brillion, Wisconsin.

Make a Commitment to Your Cows The Best of the Best for the HLTH$ Sub-index Choose the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index, which breeds for a healthier herd through inclusion of Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH) breeding values. These GENEX proprietary traits are part of the Health (HLTH$) sub-index of ICC$.

NEW NEW

NEW NEW

1HO11889 AVENGER 1HO12152 ALTIVO 1HO10802 YONEX 1HO11346 GALLOWAY 1HO13256 ATLANTIS 1HO13299 TERRANO 1HO13369 DAVARI 1HO13323 CARGO 1HO12782 GUINESS 1HO12980 IKE 1HO12917 MIKE 1HO12134 LIVEWIRE

533 530 507 482 478 469 464 456 454 451 446 436


The Great Eight!

Eight New Jersey Sires Released Eight new Jersey sires joined the lineup with the December sire summary, including 1JE01057 CESPEDES {3} – a bull that’s elite across indexes! At the same time GENEX released the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index for Jerseys, a sire ranking tool that addresses the needs of commercial Jersey cattle producers. CESPEDES {3} debuted second in the lineup for the new ICC$ index, behind producer favorite 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2}. CESPEDES {3} also ranks exceptionally well for Sustainability (SUST$), one of three ICC$ sub-indexes. SUST$ encompasses Productive Life, Livability, Somatic Cell Score, Mastitis Resistance, functional 1JE01057 CESPEDES {3} udder traits and the new GENEX proprietary trait, Calf Survivability. Furthermore, the Marlo son leads the industry with his outstanding +233 JPI™ and +839 Cheese Merit (CM$). Count on him for exceptional yield at +138 Combined Fat & Protein (CFP), daughter fertility (+1.4 Daughter Pregnancy Rate) and improved udders (+22.6 JUI™). CESPEDES {3} is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only. Another new graduate to the lineup is 1JE01056 COUSINS {3}, an Avon son at +856 ICC$, +689 CM$ and +199 JPI™. Rely on COUSINS {3} for his exceptional +19.4 JUI™. He’s a great choice for improving fertility in the next generation as well; he is +128 for the Fertility (FERT$) sub-index of ICC$, which includes Daughter Pregnancy Rate, Cow Conception Rate, Heifer Conception Rate, the fertility haplotypes and a new GENEX proprietary trait, Age at First Calving. Look for COUSINS {3} to be available in GenChoice™ semen. 1JE00994 ASTRIX {3} debuts at +816 ICC$, +662 CM$ and +189 JPI™. This Avon out of a Magnum meets the needs of producers looking to improve daughter fertility too; he stands at +3.2 DPR and +92 FERT$. ASTRIX {3} will improve udders (+18.3 JUI™) and is available in GenChoice™ semen. 1JE00991 GRIEZMANN {4} is an early Leonel son at +680 ICC$. His +136 CFP makes him a yield specialist and earns him a +599 for the Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$) sub-index of ICC$. GRIEZMANN {4} is +180 JPI™ and +630 CM$ while maintaining a +18.7 JUI™. A trio of VANDRELL {2} sons joined the lineup with impressive ICC$ index values. These sires include 1JE00992 CONTENDER {3} at +770 ICC$, 1JE00986 TAX {3} at +763 ICC$ and 1JE00998 FEARLESS {3} at +743 ICC$. Look to these sires for component production power as each is over +430 ChMAX$. CONTENDER {3} is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen. 1JE00999 CARPDIEM {3}, the final new graduate, is an Avon out of a Soprano that adds pedigree diversity. He is +722 ICC$, +599 CM$ and +177 JPI™. CARPDIEM {3} is +0.7 DPR and an udder specialist at +24.8 JUI™. 

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Crowd Favorites 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2} and 1JE00889 PROP JOE {3}, two bulls from the same maternal line, remain in the JPI™ top 10 for daughter-proven sires. Along with his +710 CM$ and +215 JPI™, VANDRELL {2} tops the GENEX ICC$ listing at +992 and is the FERT$ sub-index all‑star at +182.

VANDRELL {2} Daughters

Adding more daughters to his proof, PROP JOE is now +775 ICC$, +693 CM$ and +191 JPI™. He offers an elite combination of udders (+22.0 JUI™), daughter fertility (+0.2 DPR) and exceptional PregCheck™ and PregCheck+™ sire fertility rankings. 1JE00966 FUTURE {3} at +895 ICC$, 1JE00984 USAIN BOLT {3} at +874 ICC$, 1JE00962 DEGROM {3} at +873 ICC$ and 1JE00971 CURRY {3} at +865 ICC$ all moved up in rank with the December proofs now standing at or above +200 JPI™. 


Data-Driven. Cutting Edge.

Commercially Focused. Use the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index to … Choose genetics that will boost your herd’s bottom line. Customize genetic emphasis through three sub-indexes: Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$), Sustainability (SUST$) and Fertility (FERT$). Enhance your herd’s genetics through two GENEX proprietary traits: Age at First Calving and Calf Survivability.

ICC$ Leaders NEW

1JE01056 COUSINS {3}

NEW

NEW

1JE00994 ASTRIX {3}

ICC$ ChMAX$ SUST$

FERT$

1JE00892 VANDRELL {2}

BBR 87

+992

+460

+350

+182

1JE01057 CESPEDES {3}

BBR 92

+954

+599

+325

+30

1JE00966 FUTURE {3}

BBR 93

+895

+538

+320

+37

1JE00984 USAIN BOLT {3}

BBR 90

+874

+616

+267

-9

1JE00962 DEGROM {3}

BBR 100, JH1C

+873

+509

+345

+19

1JE00971 CURRY {3}

BBR 92

+865

+452

+350

+63

1JE01056 COUSINS {3}

BBR 92

+856

+443

+285

+128

1JE00981 HORFORD {3}

BBR 93

+826

+406

+284

+136

1JE00922 RONALDO {3}

BBR 92

+821

+643

+239

-61

1JE00994 ASTRIX {3}

BBR 85

+816

+473

+251

+92

1JE00935 WORLD CUP {5}

BBR 100

+804

+436

+267

+101


Leading the way

Rachel Freund monitors the new robotic milking system at her family’s dairy in Connecticut.

By: Brenda Brady, Senior Communications Coordinator

You might not guess it from her petite build and twenty-something age, but Rachel Freund is a leader in the dairy industry. As herdsperson for Freund’s Farm in East Canaan, Connecticut, Rachel doesn’t shy away from new ideas or opportunities to improve her family’s 300-cow dairy. Cow Comfort and Human Conveniences The industry is no stranger to technological advances, and the Freund family has embraced many of them. Installed in March 2016, the Freunds became the first farm in Connecticut to have robotic milkers. These five machines provide a succession plan of sorts for the younger generation on the farm, as they typically prefer to spend time with other aspects of the dairy rather than milking. One of those areas for Rachel includes the heifer raising area. Before the robots, calves were immediately sent to a custom raiser. Now, calves are raised on the farm until weaning, allowing the Freunds to focus on calf health.

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A new barn was built to accommodate the robotic milking system, and with it came an automatic feed pusher, cow brushes, an activity monitoring system and waterbeds. These features have meant happier, healthier cows and labor savings, but they certainly don’t mean less human eyes on the cows. Rachel makes a point of closely monitoring each animal; she even knows which ones are shy and will only eat in a certain spot of the barn.


Genetic Progress For the Freunds, forward-thinking isn’t limited to gadgets. All heifers are genomic tested, and the GENEX team then helps by preparing a Calf Math program report to assist with breeding and culling decisions. Low genetic merit animals are sold, and GenChoice™ sexed semen is used on the remaining heifers for the first three services. First lactation cows over +375 Lifetime Net Merit also get bred to sexed semen. The bottom 10% of cows are bred to beef sires. Sires currently used include: 1HO12980 IKE, 1HO13369 DAVARI and 1HO13323 CARGO. SM

Cooperative Governance A 2014 graduate of the University of Vermont in community entrepreneurship, Rachel’s first dairy management experience was in the college’s Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management (CREAM) program. This program offers students the opportunity to oversee the university’s dairy herd.

Following graduation and her return home to the farm, a longtime Freund’s Farm employee and GENEX delegate, George Russell, noticed Rachel’s interest in how the cooperative was run. He felt it was time to step down from his position as delegate and suggested Rachel consider running for the seat. Fast forward one year and Rachel now has an annual meeting and fall delegate meeting under her belt. She recommends becoming a delegate to those considering the experience. “Not only is it a chance to find out how the cooperative works, it gives you an understanding of the issues the board and management are currently facing. In addition, it is a great way to network with others from around the country,“ comments Rachel. “I appreciate the continuing education I receive by attending the GENEX annual meeting. The time away is worth it when I can bring great ideas home to help improve our farm.”  Innovation is in Rachel’s genes. Her father, Matthew, developed CowPots™, a biodegradable pot for starting seeds, to deal with a growing nutrient flow problem.

Run by Rachel’s mom, Theresa, a farm market and bakery are also located on the farm.

HORIZONS

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21


Ca Hg

Se

Chemistry, Cows and

RumiLife CAL24 Ni Nutritional Supplement ®

Cr

By: Suzanne Lois, Resale Product Advisor

P

Na

Pb

Mn

Zn Al

Cd Mg

22

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HORIZONS


Think back to Chemistry 101 during your high school or college days. Did you think the material you learned would be useful on the farm today (or in any career in agriculture for that matter)? I sure didn’t. Remembering the periodic table and terms such as bioavailability, particle size and surface area post-college was for engineering, chemistry and pre‑vet majors.

Fe

Cu

K

Fast forward to today. I use chemistry daily to understand the benefits of RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement. Particle size, surface area and bioavailability are all terms used to describe how the calcium and magnesium in this product sets it apart from other fresh cow calcium supplements.

What Makes RumiLife® CAL24™ Nutritional Supplement Unique? It’s all in the science. The bioavailability of a mineral is dependent on the amount of surface area and the ability of the cow’s rumen and digestive system to break it down to a useable form. RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is made up of calcium carbonate. There are, however, different sources of calcium carbonate, and the source dictates the structure and bioavailability. One source of calcium carbonate is limestone. The calcium carbonate from this mined rock has a very small surface area, making it less bioavailable, especially in comparison to calcium sulfate, calcium propionate and calcium lactate (types of calcium found in many of today’s fresh cow calcium supplements). With its small surface area, calcium carbonate from limestone takes longer to break down in a cow’s

rumen or digestive tract, meaning the cow doesn’t have the opportunity to utilize all the calcium. Luckily, limestone is not the source of calcium carbonate included in RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement. Instead, it uses a plantderived version of calcium carbonate with a honeycomb structure and larger surface area. The honeycomb structure allows the cow’s rumen to break this plant-based calcium carbonate down quickly and therefore makes it highly bioavailable the entire time it is in the cow’s rumen and lower digestive system.

The Big Bonus This plant-based calcium product also provides the magnesium needed for optimal calcium absorption. Magnesium is important because a cow’s body has difficulty regulating blood calcium concentration when blood magnesium levels are marginally low.1 Furthermore, a cow’s body does not store much magnesium or have a specific regulatory mechanism (e.g., hormonal) to maintain magnesium homeostasis (a cell’s ability to seek and maintain a condition of stability).2,3,4,5 Put simply, the magnesium in RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is necessary and beneficial.

Caring for Cows Beyond DCAD Diets A cow’s dry matter intake typically declines 20-30% a day or two prior to calving and does not recover until 1-2 days post calving.6 Then how do we make sure she has the tools needed to meet the demands of calving, colostrum production and upcoming milk production? DCAD

(anionic salts) diets address a large portion of these needs prior to calving and are the most useful tool available today for addressing clinical milk fever post calving. But how do we address the drop in dry matter intake and pick up where the DCAD diet stopped? RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement provides the calcium, magnesium and Vitamin D the cow needs within the first crucial 24 hours post fresh until her appetite picks up and she can regulate calcium levels on her own. The calcium chloride (an immediate calcium source) and the high bioavailability of the calcium and magnesium source (for sustained release up to 24 hours) allows RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement to be the only ‘once and done’ calcium supplement on the market. Feeding two boluses consecutively and not having to catch the cow 12 hours later means less stress on the cow and less stress for you and your employees. 

(1) Goff, Jesse (2001). Mineral problems facing the fresh cow. National Animal Disease Center, USDA-ARS. (2) National Research Council (2001). Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle, 7th ed., National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. (3) Littledike, E.T. and Goff, J. (1987). Interactions of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D that influence their status in domestic animals. Journal of Animal Science, 65(6), pp. 1727. (4) Schultz, L.H., Maynard, H.F. and Emerick, R.J (1988). Metabolic problems related to nutrition. In: D.C. Church ed., The ruminant animal: digestive physiology and nutrition. Englewoods Cliffs, NJ, Prentice-Hall, Inc. pp. 511-523. (5) Martens, H. and Schweigle, M. (2000). Pathophysiology of grass tetany and other hypomagnesmias: Implications for clinical management. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice, 16(2), pp. 339-368. (6) Bertics, S., Grummer, R., Cadorniga-Valino, C. and Stoddard, E. (1992). Effect of prepartum dry matter intake on liver triglyceride concentration and early postpartum lactation. Journal of Dairy Science, 75(7), pp. 1914-1922.

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Daughters of 1HO11889 AVENGER

Creating Healthy

Ideal Commercial Cows ICC$ LeadersÂ

ICC$

SCK

MTR

FH

NEW

1HO12943 HEXER

+1221

103

108

95

NEW

1HO12980 IKE

+1207

105

107

97

1HO11955 BEYOND

+1190

103

103

95

1HO12917 MIKE

+1174

103

106

98

1HO11665 GENIUS

+1171

102

108

95

NEW

Daughter-Proven Standouts

ICC$

SCK

MTR

FH

1HO10802 YONEX

+1119

105

106

114

1HO12054 DAKOMIN

+1054

103

111

104

1HO11096 PLATINUM

+1050

99

110

99

1HO11346 GALLOWAY

+1030

100

117

102

1HO10396 CABRIOLET

+961

102

106

96

1HO11889 AVENGER

+943

109

107

94

ICC$Sub-Indexes Index Included for Holsteins in ICC$ 5% Calving Ability (CABL$) 10% Milking Ability (MABL$) 15% Fertility & Fitness (FYFT$)

46% Production Efficiency (PREF$)

24% Health (HLTH$)

GENEX proprietary traits Subclinical Ketosis (SCK), Metritis (MTR) and Foot Health (FH) are included in the HLTH$ sub-index. They are set to a base of 100, with values over 100 being more desirable. GENEX/12-17


Dairy Producer Says

Efficiency is the Number One Challenge Opportunity By: Gwen Powers, Director of Strategic Accounts

The team at Vander Woude Dairy – general manager Jason Dores, herdsman Israel Varela and owner Simon Vander Woude – uses a strategic breeding program to make the operation more efficient and profitable.

Simon Vander Woude, owner of Vander Woude Dairy located near Merced, California, is no stranger to change, especially when it comes to incorporating new technologies aimed at increasing efficiencies. As he puts it, “Efficiency is the number one challenge or opportunity for our dairy to be profitable in the future.” In recent years, after relocating the dairy from southern California, Simon and his team have focused

intensely on improving the reproduction and genetics of the 3,500-cow dairy. It all started with a plan to develop a reproduction and genetic program that would produce profitable, trouble-free, high-producing cows that last into later lactations. Currently, 42% of the Vander Woude Dairy herd is third lactation or later. The dairy has a 36% conception rate on cows (with heavy use of sexed semen), 52%

conception rate on heifers and a 29% annual cull rate. Milk production averages over 28,000 lbs. for DHI 305-day ME (mature equivalent). The reproduction and genetic program that produced such a successful herd includes genomic testing and a strategic breeding approach with stringent sire criteria; sexed semen and beef semen; a mating program; and embryo transfer (ET) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) technologies. Continued on page 26.

HORIZONS

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Genetics & Genetic Progress For quite some time, Simon focused on Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) and Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), when choosing mating sires for the herd. He believes this has helped the herd’s overall fertility. The data backs his belief. Graph 1 below shows the improvement in DPR over the past decade, according to parent average (DPR PA) and as determined through genomic testing (gDPR). While LNM$ and DPR are still part of the dairy’s sire selection criteria, today Simon also emphasizes components, low stature and health traits (such as DWP$) especially for animals in the IVF program. The Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$) index correlates to his herd goals too. Simon explains, “We are looking to create a more compact, longer lasting cow with strong health traits and the ICC$ index matches our objectives.” Simon feels the greatest contributor to genetic progress in the herd has been strategic breeding using genomics. When he began genomic

testing in 2012, the goal was to create more rapid genetic progress and to raise fewer replacements while retaining the milking herd size. The dairy currently has about 2,000 heifers, down from 3,200 when they first started genomic testing. About 100 2-year-olds freshen each month.

Today, Angus semen is used on the lower genetic merit cows and heifers as ranked by genomic test results. The Angus x Holstein calves are raised to 550 lbs and marketed to a local buyer at a premium price. This diversification has created a new revenue stream for the dairy.

In the early stages of the dairy’s strategic breeding program, heifers were sorted by their genomic test results for LNM$. Sexed semen was used on higher genetic merit heifers with lower genetic merit heifers bred to conventional semen. The cow herd was sorted monthly on a custom index that included milk, reproduction and genetics. Initially, the top half of cows were bred to conventional semen and the bottom half were bred to beef semen. Later sexed semen was used on the top cows as well.

Simon has also partnered with the farm’s general manager, Jason Dores, on a separate dairy. In this partnership, Dutch Door Dairy includes 600 milking cows that are bred almost entirely with Wagyu beef semen. The calves are sold to a buyer for a premium. Only the top 10‑15% of cows, based on performance, are bred with high LNM$ sexed semen from Holstein sires.

Strategies for Continual Improvement

This strategic breeding approach consistently increased the genetic level of the herd’s heifers. The genomic LNM$ (gLNM$) average of heifers born in 2011 was +118. Two years later it jumped to +268, and heifers born in 2017 averaged +517 gLNM$ (See graph 2).

This past summer, Simon and his team decided to alter the dairy’s breeding strategy to create a more streamlined and efficient business model with opportunity to grow the income stream from beef calves. To achieve this goal, they stopped using conventional dairy semen

DPR by Birth Year

Graph 1. Placing genetic emphasis on Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) has led to significant improvements in daughter fertility at Vander Woude Dairy.

3.5

DPR PA

gDPR

3.0 2.5 Substantial increases have occurred in both DPR parent average (DPR PA) and genomic test results (gDPR) since 2011.

DPR

2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 -0.5 2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Birth Year

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HORIZONS

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017


The GENEX BOLT program is used to formulate matings for cows and heifers bred with sexed SM

What advice does Simon have for dairies interested in implementing a more strategic breeding approach? “Make sure you are doing it for the right reason. Think it through and come up with a strategy, and finally carry it out long enough to give it a fair shake.”

SM

SM

The newest technology to be incorporated into the dairy’s strategic breeding program is an ET and IVF program. In early 2016 they began aspirating the top genomic heifers to produce embryos through IVF. The goal is to implement this on a commercial level with frozen embryos transferred throughout the week by trained on-farm technicians. Embryos are transferred into heifers and cows that would be bred with beef semen. The prospective recipients are sorted on gDSB (Daughter Stillbirth) and gDPR values along with previous events for mastitis and metritis to ensure the best odds of conceiving with an embryo. Israel Varela started working for the dairy as a herdsman this summer and helps oversee the IVF and ET program along with performing embryo transfers.

Think it Through

As Simon explains, change can be difficult for farms and the people involved certainly make a difference in the success of a program. This dairy’s data, however, goes to show that careful planning and a strategic approach can make a significant impact on the genetic progress of a herd and the ultimate goal of achieving efficient and profitable operation. 

LNM$ by Birth Year

Graph 2. Use of a strategic breeding program has vastly improved the Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) average of heifers in the Vander Woude herd over the past five years.

600

LNM$ PA

+517

gLNM$

500

LNM$

400

+268 300

200

+118

100

0 2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Birth Year

HORIZONS

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The BOLT program indicates which bulls not use to limit inbreeding. For more info, contact your GENEX rep.

When making this change, the team had to evaluate how many replacement heifers were required; the dairy’s GENEX consultant, Gwen Powers, ran the Calf Math program to show the expected results of eliminating conventional semen and to determine the percent of animals that would need to conceive to sexed semen to maintain the replacement rate. It was determined the number of heifers being bred with sexed semen would increase slightly and there would be a significant increase in the number of cows that qualified for sexed semen. In the new program, cows are sorted monthly on genomic values for LNM$ and DPR primarily as well as by times bred, lactation, and health events to determine the semen product used.

semen, to have an inbreeding level less than 3.125%. The mating recommendations are followed by GENEX independent contractor Gerardo Moran, who has been the dairy’s breeder for 12 years. Gerardo is also trained to perform embryo transfers.

i

and switched entirely to sexed dairy semen and conventional beef semen. This new strategy was an option because they had used sexed semen in lactating cows for some time and were confident in conception rates.

27


Precision technology made his good management better By: Sherry Bunting. Appeared in Farmshine (Nov. 3, 2017). Reprinted with permission.

When Lamar Gockley replaced his 50-cow tiestall barn 15 years ago, a larger, curtained tiestall facility was his preference, and it is still beautiful today, as are the highly productive cows at Willow Springs Farm, a Dairy of Distinction on the Berks/Lancaster county line near Mohnton, Pennsylvania. A hands-on cowman who enjoys working with his wife Michelle and their six children – along with a dozen part-time young people sharing three times a day milking and other chores on the dairy – Lamar farms 250 acres, growing all of the corn silage, haylage, high moisture corn and rye for the rations. Among his 119 registered Holsteins, he averages three cows a year reaching 200,000 pounds lifetime 28

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HORIZONS

milk, with one having achieved 350,000 pounds. A star in the barn currently is an EX-90 6-year-old that made 48,000 in her third lactation, producing 152 pounds/day at 30 DIM in her current lactation. Overall, the rolling herd average is above 31,000 pounds. While his numbers are better than average in most every category from production and milk quality to heifer raising and reproduction, Lamar has adapted to managing his herd differently since July 2016 – with precision technology. “I found out I didn’t know my cows as well as I thought I did,” he explains. He was approached by SCR Dairy 15 months ago to participate in a five-month trial with the SCR

Heatime system and admits he went into it thinking: “There’s no chance I would buy-in after the trial.” After all, he manages the cows in a tiestall barn with close observation and interaction multiple times throughout each day. That skepticism disappeared as the overall impact emerged. He recalls the first big response was in heifer reproduction, virtually eliminating timed A.I. shots and getting 9598% confirmed pregnant on 28-day blood tests. “Seeing is believing,” said Lamar. “After the 5-month trial, I saw that it will actually pay for itself every month. I knew it would improve our numbers on the heifers because we aren’t with them and watching them the same way as the milking cows, but


the cows also improved more than I thought. We are able to manage the milking herd more profitably as a result of the 24/7 health monitoring, along with the increased flow of heifers calving-in. Production is up from 91 to 99 pounds and days in milk dropped from 175 to 169.”

Change You Can See In the first full year on the system, the herd averaged a half a service less per cow, which comes out to saving about 60 straws of semen for 119 cows. For Lamar, a GENEX board member with a commitment to using elite bulls for all matings, the trend toward reduced services per conception produces considerable cost savings. Berks County Penn State extension educator Mat Haan has been following the herd’s progress, along with other precision technology herds in the region. In addition to his interest in precision technologies in extension programs, Mat participates in profit teams for 10 area farms and has an ongoing relationship with another two dozen. About half of these farms are using some type of

precision technology – ranging from monitoring systems to automated calf feeding to robotic milking. Mat sees the additional management abilities these systems bring that are only realized when producers make the commitment to trust it, use it, integrate it and adapt their management to benefit from it.

“I found out I didn’t know my cows as well as I thought I did.” “We read the stories in the newspapers, and they are always glowing, but we’re following producers with these systems to learn how they really work and how people are using them,” says Mat. “There are no two farms using precision technology the same way with the same results. Lamar is an example of someone starting out with good numbers that have only gotten better.” While Mat points to the improved consistency at the high end of the

upward trendline in reproduction, Lamar says the system keeps him on his toes to where he is calving heifers a month earlier (22 months vs. 23). This gives him more heifers in the pipeline and allows him to be more proactive in his decisions about the milking herd. With older lifetime milk production cows in the Willow Springs herd generating higher lactations to fuel the bottom line, Lamar is also introducing more heifers to the herd over the past year and using this increased turnover to choose to milk the best group of animals available at any given time. Not only is he using 6% less feed by cutting the feeding of non-productive heifers by 21 to 30 days ($4/day feed cost per heifer), he is selling more animals for dairy purposes, spending less on timed A.I. shots and services per conception. Mat used the Dairy Trend Analyzer tool – developed by the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center and the Center for Dairy Excellence – to evaluate the economics of the repro improvement at Willow Springs. Continued on page 30.

On the facing page, dairy producer Lamar Gockley, left, has increased conception rate and reduced services to conception for a pregnancy rate that rose 14 points in one year (from 20 to 34). Those numbers are based on data collected from the farm’s PC Dart and SCR systems by Berks County extension dairy educator Mat Haan (right). Shown at right are members of the 119-cow tiestall-housed herd owned by Lamar Gockley and family. Lamar has used the SCR Heatime system on his herd since July 2016. Lamar has been using the SCR Heatime system on his 119-cow tiestall‑housed herd since July 2016.

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“As a result of their improved reproductive performance, the tool estimated the farm had a savings of $22,848 in the first year ($192/cow/ year),” he notes. In addition, Lamar says he sees firsthand the health, feed efficiency and productivity that have come from improved management of his cow flow. The herd has responded – going from a rolling herd average just under 30,000 pounds to over 31,000 pounds in a year. “I am better able to determine which cows to sell and which cows to keep with better decisions about treating and culling. The degree of an illness is also greatly monitored by this system, so if I see zero rumination, I’ll move that cow out,” Lamar explains. Mat says the data he has been collecting from the integrated PC Dart and SCR systems demonstrate how Lamar has more control over why his cows leave the herd. The number of animals leaving for repro reasons is down while the number leaving for low production or dairy purposes is up. He is identifying cows at a point where he can make the best business decision about treatment and culling. On the incoming side – with 59 heifers entering the system last year versus 47 the year before – he had 12 additional animals in the pipeline fueling how he manages the milking herd.

From Breeding Wheel to SCR System Walking through the barn into the office, one passes the dairy’s old breeding wheel. That task happens effortlessly now, especially when he added PC Dart, which makes the data entry, including DHIA test information, easy to do with automatic transfer to the SCR system. Instead of relying on himself to give timed A.I. shots to the heifers and

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keeping up with that every week, they are bred now on natural heats with better results.

has graphed this, ranging 50 to 80% before the monitoring system with big fluctuations throughout the year.

“The system doesn’t let me get behind,” Lamar explains. “We end up giving shots to about 5% of our heifers instead of 80% now. Those are just the heifers we didn’t get collars on young enough for a first recorded heat.”

“Once the system was in place, the fluctuations disappeared and the trendline continued higher,” he demonstrated. “In July 2017 (one year after the system was installed), heat detection was 100%. The average for the 12 months was 74% compared with 66% for the previous year.”

The overall herd has increased conception rate and reduced services per conception. This has improved the pregnancy rate from 20 in the year before the SCR system was installed to 34 in the year after, according to the data Mat is collecting. Lamar said the management control and flexibility take it further. “It’s not like these savings write us a check, but we see those dollars affect cash flow in animals sold, reduced feed costs, fewer units of semen used and reduced timed A.I. shots.” It all begins with the improved heat detection rates. His aggressive timed A.I. was working and generating good numbers; however, the monitoring system now provides the advice to take it to a new level. Mat

Collars go on the heifers at around 12 months of age with the goal of breeding by 13 months on natural heats via the monitoring system. Cows receive pre-synch when they calve, and the system advises when to breed. This has saved additional shots in cases where the timed A.I. breeding was set for a specific breeding day, but the system showed optimal breeding should occur the previous day. That breeding would have been delayed a month without this advice, says Lamar. “We are still breeding on presynch with the advice of the SCR system but using less of the shots because we are catching these things now,” he adds.


Adapting to Technology No matter the precision technology, Mat observes success lies with the producer taking full advantage of the additional data in their management.

Lamar Gockley enjoys farming with wife Michelle and children Hannah, 17, Danae, 16, Luke 13, and Lydia, 11. Not pictured are Aaron, 23 and Maranda, 21 who work fulltime off the farm and help on weekends. They also employ around 13 young people, some of them homeschooled like their children, and they arrange milking schedules so each teenager, whether family or employee, does three milkings a week. They milk 100 cows 3x/day.

“These systems have to be actively used in order to see the results,” he said. “It’s a change in mindset. One farm can purchase a system and use it and see the benefits, while another can purchase the same system, and not see the benefit because they didn’t change their management. Lamar has done a good job adapting to the technology and using it effectively. He keeps the collars on and uses the data. He started the system, saw what it does and changed his management to get the benefits.” Lamar said it took him a while to trust the system and to get in the habit of looking at the data. He lost two dry cows last August after feeding fresh silage. “I didn’t even know they were sick,” he recalls. After talking to Steve Pavelski from SCR, Lamar discovered “the system showed me the rumination drop two days earlier, but my brain had not allowed me to trust the system, and I had not been

checking twice a day. I thought I would know when a cow was getting sick, but that incident showed me how to trust the system.” Now it’s a routine. “I come out in the morning, take three seconds to turn on the computer, move the mouse, click, click, and it shows me my list for heats and low rumination before I have my boots on,” he explains. “It is so easy, I check it 3 to 4 times a day in the office or on my smart phone and before I go to bed. The information is there 24/7, but it’s up to me to look at it.” As for the tiestall-managed cows, the activity monitoring is continually improving as more tiestall producers adopt the technology and supply data to fine-tune the equations that monitor how cows move in tiestall environments. “Precision technology systems are continually fine tuning and adding functionalities,” observes Mat, explaining the progressive nature of these tools for on-farm management to help producers manage cow flow to always be milking the most profitable group of cows. 

Get the insights you need when you need them. Power-up your herd’s health and reproductive capabilities with SCR Heatime® monitoring systems available through GENEX.

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