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HORIZONS Dairy Edition

Meeting your evolving needs in new ways With advanced cattle genetic solutions, value-added reproductive resources, innovative herd care products and a one-of-a-kind connection with professionals dedicated to ensuring your herd is ready for tomorrow, today.


2019 Vol. 25/No. 3


Published three times a year for GENEX members and customers ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE


GENEX P.O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166 info@genex.coop 888.333.1783 www.genex.coop

COOPERATIVE COUNCIL 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, NY, 585.344.0758


Jon Wayne Danielson Cadott, WI, 715.289.3860 Casey Dugan Casa Grande, AZ, 520.251.3492


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

04 We Are Proud

06 Celebrating 5 Years of the ICC$™ Index

Jody Schaap Woodstock, MN, 507.215.2257

12 Delegate Adventures in Bulgaria

Daniel Tetreault Champlain, NY, 518.298.8690

14 In the News

Bill Zimmerman Foley, MN, 320.355.2191

#OurGENEX, Fall Input Meetings Scheduled, Pay Ahead & Earn 5% Credit

15 Denton Receives Kevin Boyle

Leadership Award

HORIZONS STAFF Jenny L. Hanson, Editor, jlhanson@genex.coop

16 We’ve got Your Fresh Cows Covered

Opportunities for Creating Ideal Commercial Cows

22 Find Your Leaders 24 Who Benefits When

the Employee is Trained? 26 Breeder Checkups

Help Drive Repro Success 28 Do You Have Picture

Perfect Technique?

For a Smooth & Healthy Transition

Amy Seefeldt, Graphic Designer


18 Sire Features

Material may not be reproduced in any fashion without permission from GENEX. Genex Cooperative, its 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.




We Are Proud By Huub te Plate, Chief Operating Officer, GENEX

Food, water, shelter and clothing. These are the basic needs of humans. At GENEX, we are proud of the role we play in fulfilling people’s basic need for food. We are even more proud to work with you – dairy and beef cattle producers around the world – who day in and day out put your heart into producing safe food in a sustainable way. You are faced with frequent challenges caused by political, environmental, technological and economic changes, yet you plow forward and continue to labor so the world can eat. As a cooperative, we are proud it is those exact same producers – you, our members – who drive our future direction. We are passionate about your success, the success of our customers and the success of our employees. That’s why we roll up our sleeves and deliver advanced genetic and reproductive solutions. That’s why we bring the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index and its emphasis on high-producing, trouble-free, feed efficient cows to producers around the globe. Now, we are proud to celebrate five years since the launch of the ICC$™ index, an index developed after our producer members loudly and clearly proclaimed the need for a better way to identify genetics that excel in the commercial cow environment. As part of a larger organization, we are proud to help you gain access to valuable products and services from our sister companies in the URUS family. Through URUS, which is now one year old, we can provide access to high-quality colostrum products from SCCL as well as an array of products and services from VAS, such as DairyComp, ParlorComp and FeedComp. The whole URUS family is centered around the cow and dedicated to meeting the needs of the dairy and beef cattle producers operating in today’s complex ecosystem. Thank you to all producers who work with us. Cooperatively, we will feed more mouths long into the future. Be proud of what we have accomplished together thus far and what we will accomplish together in the future. 







Celebrating 5 Years

of the ICC$™ Index

Progressive producers requested a better way to rank sires that would create cows that excel in commercial conditions. In response, GENEX introduced the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index for Holsteins in August 2014 and later added the ICC$™ index for Jerseys. While enhanced over time, this global index remains economic based, real-time and flexible. It utilizes data-driven genetic evaluations and research from multiple sources, so you can capitalize on the genetic potential of your cows. Why utilize the ICC$™ index? Here's what others have said about the index and the type cow it creates:

The GENEX kind of cow is …

High-producing, trouble-free & feed efficient. FERTILE with GOOD BODY CONDITION and excellent energy-corrected production.


She’s healthy, trouble free, breeds on schedule and calves in easily.

PRODUCES MILK EFFICIENTLY and adds to your bottom-line profit.





The ICC$™ index is different …

IT IS DESIGNED TO BUILD THE COW OF THE FUTURE. Includes data from multiple source for a more robust index. The first index to truly merge the idea of maximizing efficient yield.


Focused on traits important for botttom-line profitability.

The only index that selects exclusively for cows that are going to thrive in commercial and progressive environments.

THINK OF IT AS AN ENHANCED LNM$ INDEX. Emphasis on measurable performance





When integrating the ICC$™ index as a selection tool …

Select on the overall index value. CONSIDER SPECIFIC AREAS for genetic improvement.

Target selection through a sub-index. Build on GENETICS for the FUTURE: Consider your future milk market.

Use an economic index or sub-index; focus on one or two traits can narrow genetic selection.

The ICC$™ index benefits you …

By producing a healthier, more productive, feed efficient herd. Embrace the index that comes closest to estimating true profitability. The bottom line is the bottom line.

With its focus on commercial cows and economically relevant traits.




The Ideal Index

Comprised of Sub-Indexes for Targeted Genetic Selection

Sub-Indexes Included in ICC$

5% Calving Ability (CABL$)

ICC$™ Index for Holsteins

10% Milking Ability (MABL$)

Released in August 2014

15% Fertility & Fitness (FYFT$)

Updated in December 2016 and December 2018 to better meet producers’ needs!

46% Production Efficiency (PREF$)

Released in December 2017


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



Producing high yielding cows with lower feed costs

Optimizing efficiency with trouble-free milking cows and ideal commercial udders

Maximizing component yields while neutral on milk

Breeding for improved health, sustainability and longevity

FYFT$ Emphasizing reproductive efficiency


CABL$ Focusing on live calves born without difficulty

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




Sub-Indexes Included in ICC$

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

24% Health (HLTH$)



ICC$™ Index for Jerseys

SUST$ Breeding for sustainable health and longevity

FERT$ Emphasizing reproductive efficiency

Commercial Cows … It’s what we do!

JX PVF World Cup Zarifa {5}, daughter of 1JE00935 WORLD CUP {4} and full sister to 1JE01074 ZINC {5}

Identifying genetics that excel in modern commercial conditions with economic-based sub-indexes to target genetic progress: ICC$™



ICC$™ 1JE05000 MR CHAVEZ {4}-P




1JE00935 WORLD CUP {4}


1JE01106 STACKHOUSE {4} 1JE01074 ZINC {5}

+782 +766

1JE01080 JONES {3}


1JE01088 FRANCESA {4}


1JE01130 PULISIC {3}


1JE01118 LEAVALL {3}


1JE01075 AROUND {5}


1JE01081 DOX {3}


1JE01089 MINKO {4}


1JE01028 APPROACH {3}


1JE01105 RASHEED {4}


1JE01128 AINGE {4}


1JE01102 JAMISON {3}



Contact your GENEX representative for more information. 888.333.1783 // www.genex.coop




Delegate Adventures in Bulgaria By Terri Dallas, VP, Member Relations, GENEX

As a global cooperative, GENEX and its members, delegates, council members and employees have a unique opportunity to live out the cooperative principles outside the gates of their farm or ranch. Here, I share the story of a delegate’s and an employee’s recent travels. In May, GENEX delegate Raymond Diederich, a dairy producer from De Pere, Wisconsin, traveled to Bulgaria. The trip, taken alongside GENEX Global Dairy Product Manager Abby Tauchen, was part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emerging Markets Program (EMP). As an agricultural cooperative, GENEX qualifies for EMP funds to help expand the export of U.S. products through technical assistance programs. Raymond and Abby represented the U.S. bovine genetics industry. The itinerary included visits to farms as well as a one-day seminar for 33 participants from across Bulgaria. During the seminar, Raymond presented a virtual tour of his farm and shared some of the challenges facing U.S. producers. Abby talked about the improving herds through genetics.




GENEX Delegate Raymond Diederich of Wisconsin traveled to Bulgaria, visited dairy farms and presented Bulgarian cattle producers with a virtual tour of his farm.

After his return, Raymond shared his thoughts on the experience. Even though it was a couple months after his travels, it was easy to hear the enthusiasm in his voice. He explained how Bulgaria’s dairy industry is behind the U.S. in terms of technology, but in the same breath he noted, “It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, we all have the same challenges.” He chuckled as he told me of one young farmer who wanted to expand his operation, but his dad wouldn’t give him the money. This story hit close to home for Raymond, reminding him of past conversations with his own son. Raymond was surprised to see dairies located on the edge of Bulgarian cities rather than spread throughout the countryside as in the USA. He then realized the reason: power lines only reached to the edge of the cities. There

was no power in the countryside. Another difference was all farms had a gate and guardhouse with a guard at the end of the driveway. For him, this provided a whole new meaning to farm security! Most of the farms he visited milked Holsteins. Producers were paid on hundredweight alone so the more milk the better, with limited emphasis on fat and protein. The exception was a water buffalo herd; that milk was primarily sold for cheese since it had twice as much fat as cows’ milk. Raymond was also impressed by the cleanliness of the dairies. He joked, saying, “They knew we were coming to visit so you’d expect the farms to be clean, but there’s a difference between cleaned up for the day and everyday clean. This was every day clean!”

Raymond’s view at 4 a.m. in Bulgaria was a bit different than 4 a.m. at home.

Much of the work done on the farms was not automated. Said another way, there was a lot of hand labor. He was intrigued by their version of a manure spreader, or rather, manure wagon. Once the wagon was filled and in the field, the side dropped down and manure was pitched out with forks. As the saying goes, it’s a big world yet a small world at the same time. While visiting one of the dairies, Raymond had a first-hand small-world experience. During the conversation, Raymond learned the herd owner and Raymond’s son Daniel were friends on Facebook. Raymond exclaimed, “He almost knew as much about our farm as I do!”

Cows on this dairy were milked in a flat barn parlor. It was hard to determine how many cows the parlor could hold, as they weren’t secured in the parlor. Cows were chased in and then chased out.

On the day of the seminar, Raymond was truly impressed by the attendees’ level of engagement. “They asked a ton of questions and were very eager to learn,” said Raymond. “I’m not sure if we sold one unit of semen, but that was not our goal. A program like this is a long-term investment. We want them to remember GENEX and to think positively about GENEX.” As the GENEX Vice President of Member Relations, I might be a little biased (or a lot), but I’d say mission accomplished. Thank you, Raymond and Abby, for sharing GENEX with Bulgaria. 

The Bulgarian dairies they visited did not have box manure spreaders, only manure wagons.





Fall Input Meetings Scheduled

“There’s no doubt in my mind that being a cooperative differentiates GENEX. As a cooperative member, you have the opportunity to add value, influence programs and control your future. Your input and involvement make your cooperative ‘street smart’ so products and services can be developed to better address your needs. That’s the power of cooperatives and cooperation.”

As your Vice President of Member Relations, Terri Dallas’ role is membership and cooperative governance. That means she has the pleasure of working with members, delegates, alternates and the council. If you have a question about GENEX membership, contact Terri at tdallas@genex.coop or by calling GENEX at 888.333.1783. 

Pay Ahead, Earn 5% Credit Pay ahead for your 2020 expenses during 2019 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 2020. A 5% credit is added to the member or customer’s January 2020 activity statement (received in February) based on credit remaining on their open account as of December 31, 2019. Those who utilize John Deere Financial can also participate in the pay-ahead program. All money will be credited to the 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, 2020. 




GENEX members, who were recently elected as cooperative delegates and alternates, are invited and expected to attend a fall meeting to provide input to your cooperative’s leadership team. This is your chance to represent all GENEX members in the governance of your cooperative. The dates and locations for this year’s meetings include: Nov. 6 Alexandria, Minnesota Nov. 7 Rochester, Minnesota Nov. 12 Albany, New York Nov. 13 Syracuse, New York Nov. 14 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Nov. 18 Neenah, Wisconsin Dec. 10 Las Vegas, Nevada Dec. 11 Kansas City, Missouri New for 2019 is the “Bring a Buddy” program. Each delegate and alternate is invited to bring along a neighbor, producer, relative - someone they think would be a great GENEX delegate – to the fall input meeting. Delegates and alternates are also asked to attend the GENEX annual meeting March 24-25, 2020, in Bloomington, Minnesota. Event information will be sent at a later date. 

Denton Receives Kevin Boyle Leadership Award by Brenda Brady, Senior Communications Coordinator, GENEX How does a determined college kid studying for a career in music end up receiving the highest dairy leadership award your cattle genetics cooperative bestows? The story takes a lifetime to unfold for Mike Denton, who recently received the Kevin Boyle Leadership Award from GENEX, and the same ambitious spirit of that young man remains! The year was 1974 and a young Mike Denton was following his passion for music on scholarship at McLennan Community College, where he joined a jazz band. However, a love for music wasn’t enough when he had the opportunity to return home to his roots on the family dairy farm.

About the Award The Kevin Boyle Leadership Award was established in honor of Kevin Boyle, a former GENEX employee who demonstrated vision, devotion and pride for the cooperative. Recipients of the award exceed expectations in the following five categories: Commitment to improving dairy reproduction and genetics, willingness to help others, ability to provide superior support services, excellence in communication skills and positive attitude.

Dairy farming is where Mike remained for over 20 years. Then in 1998, he became the first full-time GENEX employee residing in Texas. While his position title has changed several times during the past 21 years (currently Territory Sales Manager), his role has generally stayed the same and so has his passion for working with cows and people. Mike worked closely with Kevin Boyle, whom this award is in remembrance of, and says, “During his career, Kevin instilled in me that our GENEX members and customers always come first.” Mike has taken that to heart and works tirelessly to serve the needs of each farm in his territory. The size of Mike’s sales area, encompassing central and eastern Texas as well as central Oklahoma, does create a challenge, but he has developed solutions and works with multiple communications channels to make sure he is staying in contact with customers.

Dave Goedken (left), Vice President of U.S. Sales and Service, presents the 2019 Kevin Boyle Leadership Award to Territory Sales Manager Mike Denton.

While bringing knowledge and solutions to customers is his job, Mike says, “If I had been in this position before farming, I would have been a much better farmer. I bring insight to dairy farmers, but they provide me with so much more.” Mike is willing to assist producers even if they don’t reside in his area. Several years ago, he was a part of an assessment team sent to the Dominican Republic to research dairy market conditions and needs. His work set the stage for an ongoing USDA project that GENEX is a partner in. The project works with farmers in that country to improve genetics and farm efficiency. Dave Goedken, Vice President of U.S. Sales and Service, sums up Mikes service to GENEX, “Mike is the ultimate team player with a servant’s heart, who has earned the respect of customers, fellow GENEX employees and the dairy industry. His dedication to customers and to GENEX is second to none.”  HORIZONS






We’ve got your fresh cows covered

for a smooth & healthy transition By Tracy Mitchell, Herd Care Line Advisor, GENEX

Following calving, a fresh cow’s energy and essential nutrients are depleted. If not addressed, these deficiencies can lead to decreased feed intake resulting in lower milk yields, decreased fertility and an increased susceptibility to mastitis, ketosis and metritis as well as a multitude of other issues. All of this means lower profitability – ugh! How do you give her a great start to her lactation? Overcome those issues and set her up for a smooth and healthy transition using GENEX herd care products.

Step 1: Replenish her calcium Your average cow has about 10 grams of calcium available in her extracellular fluid, however during the transition period her body may require 4-10 times that amount as she prepares for calving, colostrum production and the onset of milk production. This drastic increase in calcium demand within a short timeframe can cause calcium deficiency and lead to milk fever (hypocalcemia). RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement, the only “once and done” calcium supplement on the market, is a uniquely formulated bolus that helps fulfill the cow’s calcium needs. The formulation allows for two boluses (one dose) to be given immediately at freshening. Doing so provides 24-hours of coverage, as the product contains calcium chloride, a fast-acting calcium; calcium carbonate, a medium-acting calcium; and calmin, a seaweed-derived calcium with a sustained release. RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement contains 100g of calcium per dose as well as magnesium and vitamin D to help regulate and maximize calcium absorption.

Step 2: Refuel her with nutrients It takes a combination of proper hydration and nutrition for optimal post-calving recovery. Decreased consumption around calving and the increased bodily demands for colostrum and milk production can put your cow in a delicate situation where additional water and nutrients are necessary. RumiLife® M Drench™ is a ready-to-use oral supplement specifically formulated for post-fresh cows. The product provides bioavailable sources of nutrients to promote fresh cow health such as:

Calcium propionate and calcium chloride for highly available calcium

Magnesium sulfate for replenishing magnesium and regulating calcium

Potassium, chloride and sodium for electrolyte replacement

Glycine for optimal electrolyte absorption

Dextrose for added energy

Depending on the nutritional needs of your cow, add one half-pound packet of the drench to 5 gallons of warm water or two packets to 10 gallons. It is suggested RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement be given at the time of calving and RumiLife® M Drench™ nutritional supplement be given 12 or more hours after calving for those cows needing additional nutrient support.*

Step 3: Relieve her udders Complete your fresh cow care with UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion or spray to relieve udder swelling caused by the stress of calving. UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ is a blend of natural plant oils (mint, tea tree and calendula) with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Both the lotion and spray options work to increase blood flow in the udder, helping to better fight infections and relieve udder edema. They also have analgesic properties to soothe and soften the udder. Simply apply the product to the udder after milking for up to five days post-freshening for best results. Different size, application and color options are available to best fit your needs. Use this cow care trifecta and your fresh cows will be well on their way to a smooth, healthy transition from freshening into the milking herd.  *RumiLife® M Drench™ nutritional supplement can be given to cows at calving, but it will likely not keep cows from experiencing subclinical hypocalcemia 24 hours post-calving. If subclinical hypocalcemia is a concern, RumiLife® CAL24™ nutritional supplement is recommended.




Sire Features: Opportunities for Creating

Ideal Commercial Cows

BLOWTORCH daughters with Phil Finger of Finger Family Farm in Wisconsin.

All-Round Genetics

Yield and Quality

With a diverse pedigree, 1HO13356 CENTRO is a well-rounded genetic option for any operation. He sits at +980 on the Ideal Commercial Cow (ICC$™) index. This Jump son improves milk while adding components (+118 Combined Fat & Protein). Use CENTRO to improve udders (+2.24 Udder Composite) while improving daughter fertility and milk quality (+2.60 SCS). CENTRO is also +769 Lifetime Net Merit (NM$) and +2596 TPI®.

1HO13849 OBVIOUS checks the boxes for elite yield. He is +1936 Milk while maintaining +147 pounds of Combined Fat and Protein (CFP). This Frazzled son out of an Octoberfest delivers exceptional milk quality (+2.59 SCS) and elite longevity (+8.4 Productive Life) while also improving udders (+1.68 UDC). OBVIOUS is +1201 ICC$™ and among the best for the Health (HLTH$ sub-index).

Optimizing Efficiency for Trouble-Free Milking If looking for ideal commercial udders look no further than 1HO13399 TRIBE, the lineup’s leader for the Milking Ability (MABL$) sub-index. This DAMIEN son excels in functional udder traits with his +2.94 Udder Composite (UDC) and +3.0 Udder Depth. He also moderates frames and improves daughter fertility (+2.0 Daughter Pregnancy Rate) while earning a +1101 for the ICC$™ index. This high fertility (+103 PregCheck™) sire is +767 NM$ and +2590 TPI® too.




Go-To Daughter-Proven Option 1HO13023 MR WISCONSIN is ideal for nearly all herds with a low 5.5% Sire Calving Ease, moderate frames and standout udders (+1.74 UDC). Slotting in over +1000 Milk with positive component percentages, he will also improve production along with daughter fertility (+2.5 Daughter Pregnancy Rate). He’s a +965 ICC$™ sire at +657 LNM$ and +2361 TPI®.

Great Dad, Great Daughters The now daughter-proven standout 1HO11905 BLOWTORCH is sure to add heat to your herd. This Silver son adds over +1200 pounds of Milk with +123 CFP. He slots in at +940 ICC$™ and is over +1.50 on PTAT, UDC and Foot and Leg Composite!

A2A2 & Calving Ease 1HO12996 KANZO is an ICC$™ index elite at +1218 and also checks the box for A2A2. This Damien son adds elite Milk, +132 pounds CFP and can be used universally with his low 5.0% SCE. Use him as a go-to udder improver at +2.63 Udder Composite (UDC) as well.


New A2A2 Genetics 1HO14116 FRAMPTON, a newcomer to the GENEX lineup with August proofs, features a diverse pedigree being a Juicy out of a Profit. He is +1042 ICC$™, possesses an elite +143 CFP and will improve milk quality with a low +2.66 SCS. Another calving ease sire, FRAMPTON also improves longevity at +7.0 Productive Life.

High Genetic Merit GenChoice™ Sexed Semen Capitalize on GenChoice™ semen from 1JE01080 JONES {3}, a bull with an impressive +706 ICC$™. This Marlo out of a Pilgrim carries a no-holes genetic profile. He has an industry-leading +2.6 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) as well as a +15.9 JUI™.


Introduced in August, 1JE01141 AINGE {4} is only available in GenChoice™ semen. This early CESPEDES {3} son will improve yield with a +109 Combined Fat and Protein (CFP) and positive component percentages. A leading A2A2 sire, 1JE01105 RASHEED {4} is the GENEX leader for JUI™ at +29.0. Use this FUTURE {3} son to add elite longevity (+5.6 Productive Life) to the next generation. 1JE01041 KAZAN {3} and 1JE01047 ARENA {3}, both Avon {2} sons, can be used in any breeding program. Use KAZAN {3} to increase fertility in the next generation with his +0.5 DPR. ARENA {3} is a Type specialist with +26.7 JUI™ and +2.10 PTAT.





Search and Sort

Ideal Commercial Sires Download the GENEX Dairy Bull Search App! Search sires industrywide Filter by traits and indexes Create favorites for easy reference





January 6-10, 2020 | Madison, WI

A world-class program for the most elite undergraduate dairy students. Learn

Work with experts on dairy record analysis, reproduction, genetics, calves and conditions that impact herd performance.


Collaborate as teams to evaluate and analyze real-world dairies through a mix of classroom and on-farm learning. Students will present their findings at the end of the week with the chance to win the opportunity to participate in a 1-2 weeks international work assignment, with travel and other costs covered by URUS.


Network with industry leaders from URUS companies: Alta, GENEX, VAS, AgSource, and SCCL. Students will gain real‑world experience from hands-on programs and industry expert interactions.

Don't miss this five day, all‑expense paid experience to open doors for internships and careers!



Applications due November 1, 2019

Find Your




Find Your Leaders As a dairy manager, you understand that people are key to your dairy’s success, even with today’s rise in use of automated technologies. As a manager, it’s your job to identify leaders among your team and place them in a work environment that meets your needs and their needs. Remember, leaders are not just executives. Leaders exist at all levels of your dairy. Leaders are those individuals who have the ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute to the dairy’s success – be it as part of the milking team, repro team, feed team or any other team. So, how do you identify the leaders on your team?

Look for individuals who possess the seven competencies of successful leaders: emotional intelligence, integrity, drive, leadership motivation, self-confidence, intelligence and knowledge of the business.


Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and regulate emotion in oneself and others. In other words, you need to determine if the employee has the ability to control himself or herself under pressure. If the person gets angry quickly and takes it out on other staff or cows, this person is not ideal for leading others.


Integrity is the ability to not only be truthful and honest, but to put these words into action. An employee who takes the responsibility to let you know he couldn’t find all the cows on the synch list possesses integrity.


Drive is an internal motivation to do well or succeed. To find those with drive, you look for employees who take pride in their work and try to do their best even without being pushed. People with drive want to learn. As a manager, you need to supply these individuals with training and tools to meet their internal forces.


Leadership motivation is a need for socialized power. These people want to lead others as a team to meet objectives. They feel a need to encourage others to work towards the same goal. To simplify this, you are searching for the person that tries to motivate his or her co-workers to do well.


Self-confidence, as a leadership competency, is the belief you have the skills and ability to lead others to achieve goals.


Intelligence is the above-average cognitive ability to process large amounts of information. This doesn’t mean leaders are geniuses; it simply means they are able to identify several solutions or areas of opportunity. For example, headlock time is an important measurement for dairies striving to improve cow efficiency and comfort. Leaders are those who find different ways to minimize the time in headlocks during heavy breeding days, whether it be breeding at an earlier time or using chalk marks on cows to locate synched animals.


Knowledge of the business is the leader’s understanding of the dairy’s environment to make more intuitive decisions. Employees who understand the parlor flow system, the synch schedules, the transition program and cow movement on the dairy are better able to make smart decisions that improve effectiveness in obtaining goals.

There’s no doubt people are the biggest asset to any organization. Robert Waterman, co-author of “In Search of Excellence,” argues that the best-performing companies provide their employees with the following: ❯

Something to believe in

A feeling of control

Job challenge

The opportunity to engage in lifelong learning

Recognition for achievements

He continues, “…[the best firms] are better organized to meet the needs of their people, so that they attract better people than their competitors do and their people are more greatly motivated to do a superior job, whatever it is they do.” People are the largest contributors to your dairy’s success. Attracting, hiring and sustaining the leaders that possess the seven competencies will help set your farm up for success long into the future. 







Who Benefits When the Employee is Trained? Negative energy balance, rumen acidosis, toxic metritis, LDA, RDA, ketosis, milk fever, hypocalcemia, fatty liver syndrome and mastitis – most of you with dairy work experience know these are all potential transition cow problems. To a new employee or laymen, however, it can seem like a foreign language. When you have an employee who is unfamiliar with terms related to their tasks, it can be difficult for them to correctly fulfill their job and can ultimately cost your operation. In contrast, when an employee is properly trained, your entire operation thrives. This is true not only with transition cow management, but also with your repro team. When an employee is put into a position on the breeding team without any prior experience or training, the employee may have the fear of failure in the back of his or her mind. To overcome it, the employee uses all the knowledge, experience and ideas he or she can muster to accomplish their work. Often in this situation the inexperienced employee creates unrealistic protocols as he or she tries to survive. For example, his or her focus may be more on breeding cows quickly than doing so effectively. Perhaps the employee is not waiting the full 2-3 minutes for semen to thaw via the Pocket Thaw™ method or is lifting the semen canister above the frost line unknowingly damaging the sperm. While no one will argue that proper training is important, for many reasons it often just doesn’t happen. Some may feel it’s not economically feasible or perhaps training is difficult because of language barriers. Time can also be a factor if an experienced member of the breeding team

leaves, and the position needs to be filled immediately. However, proper training helps your employees help the dairy and enables you to be more satisfied with the results. Think about your synchronization protocol training. Does it stress the importance of giving the right cow the right shot at the right time? It may, but does it also teach why each shot is important and why timing is crucial? A deeper understanding can lead to better buy-in from your employee and therefore increased protocol compliance. Your cooperative is here to support you in your employee training endeavors. Your local GENEX representative is a good source of information regarding heat detection, semen handling and artificial insemination protocols. GENEX also offers the A.I. AccuCheckSM service where training specialists observe and evaluate your herd inseminator’s technique. The training specialists provide customized recommendations for improvement through hands-on instruction as well as routine follow-up for continued personal development. The end goal is a more educated and more successful herd inseminator. For those seeking new ways to learn, there’s also dairylearning.com. Visit the website and explore the many opportunities for online learning. Courses such as Reproductive Anatomy & Physiology and Semen Handling Procedures are available in multiple languages. Commit to employee training for your employees' benefit, your benefit and your dairy's! 




Breeder Checkups

Help Drive Repro Success

Today’s farm-employed breeders may be graduates of an artificial insemination (A.I.) school or may simply have received on-the-job training. Regardless, continual learning and evaluation is necessary to ensure ongoing breeding program success. The GENEX A.I. AccuCheck program was built for this purpose. It is aimed at observing, evaluating, educating and assisting herd inseminators so they can achieve optimal performance results for the long term. SM

Why is the program needed? In today’s world, herd inseminators are busy and can have a difficult time keeping up with A.I. advancements simply because they are focused on their daily work. In other instances, breeders are shown how to perform a task but not taught why it is important to do it correctly, eventually leading to protocol drift. Other herd inseminators are veterans of the position, having been trained years ago with no follow-up. Moreover, while no one likes to admit it, it is human nature to cut corners and develop bad habits over time. The A.I. AccuCheck program provides herd inseminators with the opportunity to overcome those challenges. GENEX training specialists travel to your dairy and work directly with herd inseminator(s). They observe the breeder’s technique, provide tips and recommendations, and share new ideas and recent research to supplement inadequate or outdated training. SM

More specifically, the A.I. AccuCheck program focuses on equipment handling, heat detection, breeding technique, cleanliness and record keeping. Here are some examples. SM

Equipment Handling: All equipment must be in good working order and functioning properly. For instance, is the thaw unit the right temperature? Is it clean? How often is the water changed? If a gun warmer is used, how often is the insert cleaned or changed? Is it dirty inside? GENEX training specialists also observe how equipment such as scissors and tweezers are stored. Those items should be stored in a container, such as a breeding kit, for cleanliness and to prevent loss or damage. Heat Detection: If heat detection is used, the training specialist walks pens with the breeder to evaluate if detection is conducted properly. Is tail chalk or paint applied and read correctly? Does the breeder know and understand the signs of heat? If the breeder is asked how they decided a particular cow is or is not in heat, can they respond correctly and confidently? Semen Handling: More infractions are committed in this performance area than any other, so the training specialist goes through a semen handling checklist explaining the importance of each step and the consequences of cutting corners. Also evaluated is thaw time, time from straw thawing to semen deposition, etc.

While the frequency of these visits varies from farm to farm, it’s important they occur on a regular basis. This helps the breeder overcome the anxiety associated with having someone evaluate their work and builds a level of trust between the breeder and training specialist.

What is evaluated? The simple answer is the program evaluates everything A.I.! Experienced GENEX professionals evaluate every aspect of the breeder’s routine to help them improve performance and become an even more valuable farm employee. The important thing to remember is the evaluation is not about finding fault; it’s about identifying areas of opportunity, incorporating research-based proven techniques and applauding breeders for what they do correctly. 26



The A.I. AccuCheckSM program provides opportunity for education and reminders on proper semen handling techniques, such as not lifting the semen canister above the tank's frost line.

A.I. Technique: The training specialist observes every part of the insemination process from the point of entry into the cow until the insemination gun is withdrawn. Observation indicates how gentle the breeder is while working the gun through the cervix, the level of ease the breeder has in moving the gun through the cervix, the speed at which semen is deposited, the semen deposit location and more. Cleanliness: Cleanliness cannot be overlooked. Cleanliness is observed in every step – from semen handling until the breeder withdraws the A.I gun. Being clean not only makes a breeder look professional but also increases the chances of attaining a pregnancy. One needs to ensure cleanliness each time the cow is entered for breeding; the uterus of a cow is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to infections. Record-keeping: Accurate record-keeping is necessary for evaluating reproductive performance, and performance results are only as accurate as the data points recorded. Therefore, it is important to correctly and consistently record the bulls being used, the technician name or number, and other comments related to the breeding event. With accurate and detailed information, your dairy management team is better able to the monitor reproductive program success and make decisions regarding farm reproduction and profit goals.

What happens next? Following a thorough evaluation, the training specialist focuses on the most significant areas for improvement. Then, over time, smaller issues can be corrected and overcome as well. The trainer’s goal is not to overwhelm the breeder or dairy with changes, but to make manageable improvements over a logical timeframe. Through the A.I. AccuCheck program and the assistance of a GENEX training specialist, on-farm inseminators can become more knowledgeable, improve their performance and transform themselves into an even more valuable farm employee. SM

To learn more about having a breeding program evaluation conducted on your dairy, contact your local GENEX representative. The A.I. AccuCheck program may not be available in all locations. ď Ž










Store the Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) tank in a dry, dust-free location that allows you to see clearly into the neck tube. Measure LN2 weekly; level should not drop below three inches.




Does your breeding routine include the best procedures to reach peak reproductive performance? Use the semen handling and insemination procedures below as a refresher to perfect your routine and get picture perfect results!


Maintain an accurate semen inventory to lessen the risk of semen exposure.





Raise canister just high enough to grasp the top of the cane with a tweezers – canister should be held below the frost line. Do NOT allow canister or cane to remain in tank neck for more than eight seconds.




A) Pocket Thaw™: Place straw in paper towel in shirt pocket for 2-3 minutes.

Dry straw and check for proper sire identification before loading gun.

Remove sheath through a small hole at the corner of the sheath package.

B) Warm Water Thaw: Place straw in 95-98°F water bath for 45 seconds.




A Warm the gun prior to placing the semen straw inside.






A) After the insemination straw is loaded into the insemination gun, make a clean cut (straight cut for ¼ cc straws, angled cut for ½ cc straws) one-quarter inch from the end of the gun. B) Depending on gun type, straw may be cut before loading gun.



Place the sheath over the insemination gun, seat the straw in the sheath tip and secure it into place.



Prime insemination gun by pushing the plunger until semen is moved to the end of the sheath.



Enter the rectum by forming a cone with your fingers. Thoroughly clean the rectum of manure and check the reproductive tract for abnormal conditions.



Gently, smoothly pass the gun through the vagina to the opening of the cervical canal called the cervical os. Funnel gun tip into cervical os.



Firmly hold cervix. Hold shoulder of gun between ring and middle fingers. Place right fingers against left arm to ensure gun is not pulled back into cervix during semen deposit.



Place loaded insemination gun in a clean plastic glove and then inside your clothing to transport to cow.



Clean manure from vulva and the underside of arm with a paper towel.



Hold cervix ahead of gun tip. Manipulate cervical folds to allow gun to pass. Be certain the gun tip is not caught in a thin area between cervical rings or is too deep into uterus.



Deposit semen into the uterine body by slowly pushing the plunger into the straw gun.



Use a new glove for every insemination. Lubricate the glove with clean, non-toxic lubricant. Also, lubricate the anus with gloved hand.



Place a clean v-spreader in the vulva.



Concentrate on accurate semen placement. Place index finger at uterine end of cervix. Move gun tip forward to index finger. Raise finger before depositing semen.



Gently remove gun. Check for abnormal discharge and a complete semen deposit. Record when and to what sire, the animal was bred.




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