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Horizons JANUARY 2010


A How-to Guide with Options for Revising your genetic plan p.4 Utilizing genomic-proven sires p.18 Incorporating GenChoice™ p.21 Making technologies work for you p.25

Would you rather… Be purchasing semen on elite sires like 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I and 1HO02565 CASSINO %-I now

OR already have FREDDIE and CASSINO calves on the ground?

Join the

G e n omic Generation

What are you waiting for? Genex is reaping the benefits of these genomic sires with 26 FREDDIE sons and 13 CASSINO sons already on the ground. Reap the benefit of genetic progress in your herd by incorporating a group of new genomic-proven sires into your breeding program today. Believe in the power of genomics – we do. 1HO02683 SEBASTIAN


1HO02468 BINAS %-I

1HO02655 LATH

T abl e o f co n t e n ts

Horizons January 2010 Vol. 16/No. 1 Published three times a year for dairy producers around the globe.

Address correspondence Cooperative Resources International 117 E. Green Bay Street, P. O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166


BOARD OF DIRECTORS Duane J. Nelson, President Winthrop, Minn., 507.647.2540

Jimmy Franks, 1st Vice President Waynesboro, Ga., 706.437.0527

John J. Ruedinger, 2nd Vice President Van Dyne, Wis., 920.922.9899

Paul Greene, Secretary Berlin, N.Y., 518.658.2419

Jacques Couture Westfield, Vt., 802.744.2733

Jim Crocker Valley City, Ohio, 330.483.3709

Jon Wayne Danielson Cadott, Wis., 715.289.3860

Kay Olson-Martz Friendship, Wis., 608.564.7359

Bobby Robertson Tahlequah, Okla., 918.456.2357

Ronald Totten Stafford, N.Y., 585.344.0758

Clarence Van Dyke Manhattan, Mont., 406.282.7579

Richard Vold Glenwood, Minn., 320.634.4665

Alfred Wanner, Jr. Narvon, Pa., 717.768.8118

HORIZONS EDITORIAL BOARD Members Raymond Diederich, De Pere, Wis. Gerald Evenson, Mora, Minn. Jared Franklin, Bradyville, Tenn. Dave Loewith, Lynden, Ont., Can. Bob Prahl, Wausau, Wis. Ben Wilson, Mount Berry, Ga. Employees Angie Coburn, Dairy Procurement Manager Ron Hanson, Area Sales Manager, Vt. Aimee Itle, Area Program Consultant-Apprentice, Pa.


4 Now’s the Time to Revise Your Genetic Plan

Genetically speaking

5 Time for Change

7 Economic Index Promotes Profitability

10 Continuing to Help You SynchSmart™

IN THE NEWS 11 Genex Updates

AMÉLIS 12 Asking Amélis: Jean Crosville, Board Member 13 BINAS – A Toystory Son with French Flair

GRASSROOTS 14 Our Members Stand to Make Some Rapid Improvement in Their Herds

GENOMICALLY SPEAKING 18 Genomics: The Past, Present and Future

GENCHOICE™ 21 2010 Welcomes Elite GenChoice Sires 22 How Do I Make GenChoice a Success in My Herd?

PROFIT STRATEGIES 26 Calf Math™ - A New Tool for the New Year!

EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT 29 Determining Leaders and Their Importance to Your Organization

Sarah Thorson, Training Programs Manager John Underwood, Area Sales Representative, Ariz. Ron Visser, BPS Team Leader, S.D.

HORIZONS STAFF Jenny L. Hanson, Editor, Angie Kringle, Assistant Editor, Amy Seefeldt, Graphic Designer

REPRINTS Material may not be reproduced in any fashion without Cooperative Resources International’s permission.

Cover: Hallet Dairy Farm, LLC is home to the healthy Jersey calf featured on the cover. Located in Casco, Wis., Hallet Dairy Farm is owned by Genex delegate Randy Hallet.

Mission Statement: Provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers worldwide while maintaining a strong cooperative. ©2010 CRI



P e rsp e ctiv e

Now’s the Time to Revise Your Genetic Plan By: Tom Bjelland, Vice President, Domestic Marketing, Genex The January 2010 sire summary had with it many changes. There were more adjustments and changes to formulas that influenced the ranking of bulls than normal, which calls for the review of your genetic decisions. The genetic base change and its effect on Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) made the largest impact. Because of the base change, all animals in each breed experienced reductions in LNM to account for the higher genetic level of dairy herds today. In addition, the revision of the LNM formula has led to some re-ranking of sires as more emphasis was placed on health traits and less on components. One key to remember with the base change and LNM formula revision is that all bulls are not equal. Some sires available in the industry today (such as low-ranking or negative LNM bulls) do not have the potential to increase your dairy herd’s genetics. It is important to avoid these sires if striving for genetic progress.

At Genex, our emphasis on Holsteins was to have sires in our active lineup above +$250 LNM. That was accomplished with, in fact, only five bulls below the +$300 LNM level. Use LNM as an initial screening tool for sires; choosing higher ranking sires for optimum genetic progress. Genex recommends utilizing sires within the 90th percentile of the breed for LNM. The changes to the TPI™ formula make it an effective initial sire screening tool too. Though TPI and LNM have slightly different emphases. The TPI range of Genex active Holstein sires is from +1570 to +2313 with only one sire under +1600. Again, as with LNM, it is important to utilize the sires on the top of the list. The changes that took place with the January 2010 sire summary include the genetic base change, LNM formula revision and TPI formula revision. (There are a number of articles in this issue of Horizons that go into detail on the changes.) This indicates a point in time to review your breeding goals. The opportunities available for all breeds today compared to five years ago (at the last base change) and even just 12 months ago have significantly increased. With the addition of genomics and GenChoice™, the new tools available today can advance genetics within your herd faster than at any time in the past. With the additive effect of genetics on each generation of dairy cattle, evaluating your genetic plan and goals is essential. Shouldn’t you be utilizing the genetic opportunities available today?



©2010 CRI

G e n e tically sp e a k i n g

Time for Change

Change is inevitable, especially in sciencebased industries that strive for progress, such as the dairy industry. This January, one change affected all genetic evaluations and all breeds. This change was a genetic base change.

What is a genetic base? Genetic evaluations of dairy cattle (such as +1500 PTA Milk or -0.02% Fat) are expressed relative to a base population. The genetic level of the base population is known as the genetic base. Why have a base change? A base change serves two basic purposes: 1) It measures the genetic improvement of the dairy population by trait, and 2) it adjusts the sire evaluations to a more current genetic level in the dairy population for each breed. In other words, the genetic base change subtracts accumulated genetic gain that occurred since the previous base change so all animals are compared with a more recent cow population. How often does a base change occur? In the

United States, the evaluation system is updated to a new genetic base every five years.

What is the base population for the new genetic base? The base population for the

January 2010 base change is heifers born in 2005. This means the basis is the production from those animals in 2007 and later. (The previous genetic base was established from heifers born in 2000.) Continued on page 6‌ Š2010 CRI



G e n e tically sp e a k i n g Table 1. Genetic gain by breed between 2000 and 2005.

Genetic Progress Holstein 132

Jersey 119

Brown Swiss 60

Guernsey 50

Ayrshire 37

Milking Shorthorn 71

Protein (Pounds)







Fat (Pounds)







Milk (Pounds)







Productive Life (Months)













Trait Lifetime Net Merit (Dollars)

Somatic Cell Score Daughter Pregnancy Rate (%)







Udder Composite







Foot & Leg Composite







PTA Type







What amount of genetic improvement occurred between the previous genetic base and the new genetic base? The table, above, indicates the

After the base change was accounted for, the additional genomic or milking daughter data for a sire also impacted his evaluation. In addition, the LNM index and TPI™ formula were updated with this sire summary.

accumulated genetic gain by breed that occurred between the animals born in 2000 and the animals born in 2005. The genetic gains are published by the United States Department of Agriculture. While all evaluated traits are adjusted, the more significant traits are shown in the table.

Why is there limited or no change to the base in DPR with the emphasis put on it today? DPR is a

relatively new trait, first published in 2003. Since the base population for the base change is heifers born in 2005, one would not expect large genetic gains in the short time period between 2003 and 2005. However, it is important to note that previous to its introduction DPR was a more negative figure in each base change as milk yield increased. The recent move from a negative to a break-even trait was probably in part due to selection for Productive Life. The emphasis Genex has placed on DPR when procuring sires and the emphasis by dairy producers to utilize these bulls will force faster genetic improvement in the future.

The figures within the table are evidence the traits within the Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) formula have had significant genetic influence. Those traits of Fat, Protein, Productive Life, Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and Udder Composite are the traits that have made substantial improvement. This is much in-line with what dairies have asked for: high components cows that have longer productive lives.

How does the base change affect sire evaluations?

The genetic gain for each trait (as shown in the table) is subtracted from each bull’s August 2009 evaluation for that trait. For instance, in August 1HO08784 FREDDIE’s evaluation for PTA Milk was +1549. With the base change, you would expect his January evaluation for Milk to be about +1132 (1549 – 417 = 1132). While the genetic gain for individual traits can simply be subtracted from a sire’s proof, indexes or composites are treated differently. This is because indexes include various percentages of several traits, and each trait exhibits differing levels of genetic gain. All bulls industry-wide were impacted by the base change. However, that fact may not be easily evident.



©2010 CRI

How will genomics affect base changes in the future? Genomics will have a significant affect on the

2015 base change - although not to the degree one might expect. The basis for the 2015 base change will be cows born in 2010. Since genomic sires were first introduced industry wide in early 2009, only a portion of heifers born in 2010 will have significant influence from genomics. The affect of genomics under the current system, with five years between base changes, will be better expressed in 2020. The genomic influence will show in the heifers born in 2015. These animals will compose the base population for the 2020 base change.

The base adjustment for the Jersey udder composite is a summation of the values for udder traits used in calculating LNM and is not synonymous with JUI™.




Economic Index Promotes

G e n e tically sp e a k i n g


By: Angie Coburn, Dairy Procurement Manager, Genex

LNM Formula Revised



Feed Cost to Milk Price Ratio




Average Milk Hauling Costs



Replacement Costs



Value of Heifer Calf



Value of PTA Somatic Cell Score



energy required for body maintenance. For many years, cows have increased in total body size which is now less than optimum for farm profitability. Not only does it require more feed to maintain the cow, but cows are having more difficulty fitting into today’s parlors and housing systems. Therefore a negative weighting is applied to body size to stop the trend of ever-increasing stature. The increased rearing costs are, of course, directly tied to higher feed expenses. Ultimately by improving cow reproductive efficiency, cow longevity and calving ability, there is greater potential for higher net margins on farms that can reduce involuntary culling. Increased fuel price similarly reduces the margin on a hundredweight of milk. Additionally, the ratio of milk pounds to fat and protein allows for dairy producers to breed for higher component milk that fits the U.S. utilization statistics for cheese, fluid milk and other dairy product production. Continued on page 8…

Traits in new Included theLifetime Net Merit H


Productive Life 22%

i ts Tra

DPR 11%



Fat 19%

4 8%

SCS -10% Protein 16%

p. 4%

FL Com

e -6%

Body Siz

The biggest drivers of change to the formula are first and foremost the increased feed costs. Not only does this reduce the profit margin on milk production, it leads to the need to breed for greater feed efficiency and less feed


Value of Protein


Table 1 displays the changes to the USDA economic statistics since the 2006 revision to LNM. The current and future estimates of farm income and expenses have changed significantly. Future estimates of milk value are fortunately higher than the most recent year. However, feed costs have risen to 41 percent of the milk price. While the price of corn and soy may decrease slightly from today’s value, future trends remain higher than five years ago. Additionally, fuel costs have increased milk hauling deductions. The cost to raise a replacement is also greater, mostly due to feed expenses. Furthermore, the USDA has applied a more accurate estimate of the value of a heifer calf and somatic cell premiums included in the milk check.

Value of Fat (per lb.)


The goal of LNM is to maximize a cows’ profit potential through genetic selection. The index weights 13 individual traits relative to their overall lifetime impact on the profit of a dairy herd. The relative trait weightings highlighted in the pie chart are derived by using industry estimates of current and future economic statistics related to milk income, feed costs, dairy replacements, health and veterinary care, and breeding expenses. Using this approach, LNM ranks bulls based on their ability to improve net return to your dairy.



tion Traits 35%

Many factors influence income and expenses on the farm. Since 1994, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has evaluated the measurable factors of farm profitability and published the economically-based genetic selection index, Lifetime Net Merit (LNM).

Table 1. Changes in USDA Economic Statistics.

uc Prod

Striving to be profitable… it’s any dairy producer’s goal. In recent times, it has required hard work, thoughtful control of expenses and creative use of inputs. Often overlooked is the way genetics impacts farm profitability. The genetic level of your service sires can help determine how efficient and profitable you may be. I often repeat a practical statement made many years ago by Bennett Cassel, Virginia Tech Extension Dairy Scientist; “The one purpose of a breeding program is to increase the frequency of genes that contribute to a profitable herd.”





Udder Comp. 7%





©2010 CRI



G e n e tically sp e a k i n g

Three Indexes for Optimal Results

The USDA also publishes two profit indexes specific for cheese and fluid milk processing markets, simply named Cheese Merit (CM) and Fluid Merit (FM). Table 2 outlines the relative weight of each trait in the indexes which differs slightly based on the value of fat and protein and as a result of how the traits are correlated to one another. Table 2. Trait Weightings for Each USDA Profit Index.

Relative Value (%) LNM CM FM 16 25 0

Trait Protein

for Milk, Fat and Protein. Using LNM will reverse the trend for DPR and allow dairy producers to make significant gains in reproductive efficiency. Body size should stabilize to reflect a 57- to 58-inch cow as feed efficient, healthy and of optimum size for parlor and housing conditions. Table 3. Expected Genetic Gain Per Decade.

Trait Protein

Breeding Value Change Per Decade 43









Productive Life






Somatic Cell Score

Productive Life





0.8 0.8





Feet & Legs





Body Size

Feet & Legs




Daughter Pregnancy Rate


Body Size




Calving Ability $


Daughter Pregnancy Rate




Calving Ability $




Somatic Cell Score

For example, greater value is given to protein in the production of cheese. The need to reduce the water carrier in milk is more optimal. Because lower milk pounds are related positively to cow health and conformation, there is a lower net weighting for Productive Life, Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and the other various traits. The expected genetic progress remains the same for these traits. For fluid milk markets, protein receives little value in the milk check. High quality milk is still required, but lower total somatic cell premiums are generally reflected in the processor payments. For dairy producers paid greater than $2.65 per pound of protein, CM will provide the greatest net profit. FM is more suitable when paid less than $1.35 per pound of protein. LNM is the optimum selection index for the majority of U.S. dairy producers.

Striving for Progress and Profitability

Using LNM to choose service sires provides opportunity for progress in all traits of priority. The expected genetic trend per decade is shown in Table 3. Even with reduced weighting on production, significant progress will result



The three USDA indexes are equally applicable to all dairy breeds. Because there are slight differences in the type and calving traits summarized, each dairy breed has its individual LNM formula calculation and relative trait weightings. Although, separate breed genetic base levels result in individualized PTA gain per decade, the overall genetic trend for each trait should be similar. At Genex, we’ve always strived to breed for a profitable cow. Simply stated, Genex procurement programs focus on cows that are healthy, long-lived, with correct udders and feet & legs. Our selection of bulls and cows for contract matings is designed to be diverse in pedigree, represent a variety of production levels and be size neutral. The common theme among Genex sires are improving traits that contribute to a profitable herd. LNM is a very forward-looking and extremely comprehensive tool to help you be more profitable by using top genetics. As you strive for profitability, use LNM. Cow longevity will improve. You will continue to breed for healthy udders. You can expect reduced health care and feed expenses while maintaining modest improvement for yield. Most importantly, LNM will set the way to generate more profit per cow for your dairy.

Angie Coburn is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in dairy science. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in dairy genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in dairy sire procurement at Genex since 1999. She serves as the Dairy Procurement Manager overseeing the procurement of all dairy sires. 8


©2010 CRI

The daughters of tomorrow depend on the genetics of today. Build Your Herd with Bull Power

Sires represented in the top portion of the graph will have the most impact on a herd’s genetic level. These progeny-proven and genomic-proven sires greater than +$500 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) ensure a bright future for any herd.

Holstein Lineup Comparison

52% 50

Percent of Lineup >+$500 LNM




27% 19%





Stud Code









0% -10


Percent of Lineup <+$250 LNM


20% 28% 38%







61% The graph includes the Holstein sires on each stud’s 1-2010 U.S. active A.I. list that were assigned a retail price.

Don’t Become Genetically Challenged

Avoid sires represented in the bottom half of the graph. Sires below +$250 LNM do not have the potential to increase your herd’s genetic level. 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I


1HO02565 CASSINO %-I

1HO02571 COLE

G e n e tically sp e a k i n g

Continuing to Help You SynchSmart™ By: Gamal Abdel-Azim, PhD, Research Geneticist, Genex Accompanying the January 2010 sire summary, Genex released an updated ranking system for sire fertility. First released in 2007, SynchSmart rankings indicate sire fertility as part of a synchronization program. Since the initial release, Genex has utilized its strong employee technician force to collect additional data on synchronized breedings.

A Missing Answer

When the topic of synchronization fertility was first addressed, Genex staff turned to the scientific community for previous research. What was found was a complete absence of any research on this topic. After two years of data collection, Genex has prepared data and shared these findings with the scientific community through a scientific article published in the Journal of Dairy Sciencei.

Collecting Research Data

Genex artificial insemination (A.I.) technicians recorded 543,941 breedings from 438 herds. Data included synchronization status and protocol, sire, farm name, technician, date and whether the inseminated female was a cow or heifer. This data was recorded due to the effect on fertility. Other factors included were service number and age of the bull. Two protocols were used in the analysis, Cosynch (25 percent) and Ovsynch (75 percent). The two protocols were treated equally in the analysis and were both categorized under one category of synchronized services. Synchronized services accounted for 27 percent of the data. To remove bias, at least 200 synchronized breedings and 200 conventional breedings were recorded for each bull. Each A.I. technician was recorded for at least 1,000 breedings.

Genex is committed to helping you achieve the most pregnancies possible. Finding the Facts

This analysis showed bulls differed significantly in their reaction to synchronization. To test this, bulls were given two rankings based on conception rates, one ranking for synchronized breedings and the other for non-synchronized breedings. If bulls were indifferent to synchronization, it was expected that no difference Gamal Abdel-Azim. 2009. Effect of synchronization and semen sorting on artificial insemination bull fertility. Journal of Dairy Science 93:420.




©2010 CRI

would exist between the two rankings. However, this was not the case. There were major rank differences among bulls. For example, 19 percent of bulls differed in rank by at least 10 places. For a breakdown of all rank changes, see Table 1. Table 1. Differences in bull rankings across two sets of bull conception rates when used with synchronized and non-synchronized services.

Absolute change in rank Number of bulls

> 30

> 20

> 10






Producer Advantage

What impact does this research have on your herd? This research has shown changes for bulls could potentially be ±3 points from an average bull when used on estrous-synchronized cattle. This finding can be utilized to significantly boost conception rate of bulls by optimizing their usage. For example, if a bull is known to perform poorly when used on synchronized cattle – restrict that sire’s usage to only non-synchronized females. Herds that regularly synchronize cows can increase their average conception by carefully selecting bulls that perform better with synchronization. When it comes to improving conception rate, every little bit helps. Choose high Lifetime Net Merit, SynchSmart sires to complement your synchronization program. Genex cares about your bottom line and is committed to helping achieve the most pregnancies possible. Look to the Genex lineup for the SynchSmart ranking – no other stud can offer this important conception advantage.


Dallas Accepts New Role with WI 4-H Terri Dallas, CRI Vice President of Information & Public Relations, has been named the 2010 President of the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation. She previously served as Vice President. The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation Terri Dallas provides essential funding for 4-H programs throughout Wisconsin. Individuals, corporations and the 4-H Foundation are partners in supporting more than 100,000 youth who take part in various 4-H activities throughout the state.

TPI™ Formula Updated By: Angie Coburn, Dairy Procurement Manager, Genex Coinciding with the base change and Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) revisions that occurred with the January sire summary, Holstein Association USA has modified the TPI™ formula. With the new formula, relative weighting for Productive Life increased by four percent and Daughter Pregnancy Rate increased by two percent. Less emphasis was placed on final score with the relative weighting for PTA Type reduced by three percent. Slightly less emphasis was also placed on the yield traits. The new version of TPI more closely reflects the breeding objectives long used by LNM.

CRI Leadership Changes Genex and CRI are now positioned for a strong future within the rapidly changing artificial insemination (A.I.) industry. The creation of a new division – the Genex Dairy Genetics and Global Alliance Development Division – and the reorganization of CRI’s International Division will allow the cooperative to better develop, utilize and promote new technologies as well as foster global alliances. The restructuring includes strong leadership appointments as Keith Heikes will manage the new division and Huub te Plate will oversee all international marketing for CRI.

Keith Heikes

Huub te Plate

As Vice President of the new division, Heikes’ responsibilities now encompass dairy genetics, global development projects and global alliance development. His experience will aid him in this new position. Heikes previously worked for KABSU (Kansas Artificial Breeding Service Unit) and Noba before becoming CRI’s Vice President of International Programs. During his tenure, CRI developed marketing organization ownership in several countries, established record international sales volumes and developed global relations. As Vice President of International Marketing for CRI, te Plate is responsible for the International Division’s plan of work including the cooperative’s globally-owned marketing organizations. Te Plate’s A.I. career began with several international responsibilities for Holland Genetics (now known as CRV). In 2000, he joined CRI as Associate Vice President of International Marketing before being promoted to Vice President.

Genex Equity Redemption By: Larry Romuald, Vice President, Finance, CRI The Genex and CRI boards of directors have authorized the retirement of Genex equity for the years 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981. For active Genex members, the equity retirement will appear as a credit on their billing. There are no tax implications on this retirement. All equity redemptions have been from qualified issuances with taxes paid at the time of their allocation. This is the official public notice of this retirement and former members must notify Genex headquarters for redemption of their equity. The board reserves the right to suspend redemption if cash flow needs of the cooperative are impaired. If there are any questions, contact Genex Controller Diane Patza at 715-526-7520. The Genex and CRI boards of directors are pleased to take this action to help dairy producers and beef ranchers in this time of financial stress. ©2010 CRI




Amelis : Jean Crosville, Board Member


In the summer of 2007, CRI entered an important partnership with French artificial insemination cooperative Amélis. This partnership has flourished, allowing for availability of popular French sires to U.S. producers and vice versa. In this issue of Horizons, we hear from Jean Crosville, an Amélis board member. As you will read for yourself, many of his breeding goals and that of Amélis align closely to those indicated by the members and board of directors for Genex. Progressive dairy producer Jean Crosville entered into the dairy industry with 29 acres and 35 pregnant heifers. Today his operation includes a total of 188 acres of pastures, corn silage, wheat and grains. The current operation is home to 190 animals with average production per cow of 25,353 pounds milk on twice-a-day milking.

Breeding Goals and Marketing

Each year we purchase 25 recipient cows to carry embryos. We collect embryos six times a year from our own herd as well as purchase embryos from the GENESIS program at Genex. We sell about 35 young milking cows each year and currently have 10 young bulls from our herd waiting on genomic testing. I breed for a cow with a high level of milk, a good level of protein, great feet and legs and very strong udder attachments. We breed for average-sized cows with a definite importance on fertility.

More than 50 percent of our inseminations are carried out using genomic bulls. We already have threemonth-old calves from 1HO02460 ARTHUS, Climb and Camvil with pregnancies on the way from 1HO09527 MASSEY and HoHo. Second crop daughters from Revivien and Serplan are calving now. Our current matings are to sires such as Urbiel, Usolen, 1HO07235 TOYSTORY, 1HO08778 SUPER and 1HO09248 SIGNIF-P.

A Progressive Future

I consider genomics as a fantastic means of progressing. By genotyping both males and females with the same precision at a very young age, we can plan out the original matings. Having the genomic information early helps eliminate the costly wait for cows to come into milk and bulls to be proven. By using a large number of genomic bulls, we are able to increase the security of genetic progress. Amélis provides us with semen and insemination service. Amélis technicians also handle the embryo transfer service, pregnancy checks, mating and genotyping of our female calves and bulls that are of interest to them. We are currently using a new apparatus supplied by Amélis which informs me when the cow is about to calve by transmitting a signal from a bolus in the cow. This signal is sent directly to my cell phone. In the future, this same apparatus will allow me to monitor temperature, estrus activity and metabolic problems.

The Co-op Connection

In 1974, I became a member of one of the original predecessor cooperatives that now make up Amélis. Ten years later I became a member of the board with a clear objective of making genetic progress move faster for the benefit of all dairy farmers in our region. One of the main reasons Amélis stands out from the competition is the ideal location in a very dense dairying region. The management team of Amélis is very dynamic with ambition to succeed and anticipate the future. The close collaboration with CRI is proving to be a major success.

From left to right: Damien Lechat - Amélis genetic team, Francois Mahieu - Amélis technician and Jean Crosville - farm owner. 12


©2010 CRI


–Toystory Son with French Flair S BINA

Son of the world-renowned 1HO07235 TOYSTORY, 1HO02468 BINAS %-I provides an international pedigree with some of the same strengths possessed by his sire. In addition to improved type (+1.92 PTA Type), profitable udders (over +2.5 for udder attachments, udder height and udder wdth) and outstanding production, BINAS daughters are also born easily, evidenced by the low 5% Sire Calving Ease ranking given to this sire.

From an Exceptional French Cow Family

Luke Loseille, EX-90-FRA, fourth dam of BINAS is a well-known udder specialist with production figures to match. In her first lactation at 305 days, she produced 22,471 pounds of milk with 3.5% Fat and 3.8% Protein. She classified with a Very Good udder, as did the rest of BINAS’ maternal line. Third dam, Wallace CC Parade, VG-85-FRA, granddam Jocko Besne Suedoise, VG-87-FRA and O Man Vinasse, GP-83-FRA all classified with Very Good udders and produced over 22,200 pounds of milk in their first lactations. BINAS is not the only son to emerge from this family. Popular French sires Pagase (Wallace x Luke), Newcastle (Gibbon x Luke) and Slick (Jesther x Luke) are all products of the Loseille family.

Offering A Plethora of Mating Options

Coming from a deep international pedigree, BINAS possesses no Addison, Storm, Rudolph, Durham, Juror or Garter blood. This makes him an easy mating decision on daughters of many of today’s popular sires. At a low 5% Sire Calving Ease, he is a great fit for virgin heifers of 1HO06360 WIZARD, 1HO06721 HOSEA, 1HO06833 TRES, 1HO06827 DEANN, 1HO06845 LETHAL, 1HO06959 SATIRE and 1HO07127 SHARKY as well as the numerous daughters of Shottle and FBI. BINAS provides even more excitement from an already exciting family. His international pedigree makes him a great fit for a majority of the U.S. Holstein heifer population. For a great way to add TOYSTORY genetics to any breeding program, look to the calving ease, profitability king – BINAS.

Since the partnership with Amélis began two years ago, many elite U.S. bulls have been made available to members of Amélis in France and elite French sires have entered the active Genex lineup. Through this partnership, both parties have also taken advantage of utilizing high ranking sires as mating sires. One success story is that of BINAS.

+$698 LNM • +1646 PTA Milk 5% Sire Calving Ease +2.34 Foot & Leg Composite 1HO02468 BINAS ISY HA-Trait Profile -2





Short Stature Frail Strength Shallow Body Depth Tight Rib Dairy Form High Pins Rump Angle Narrow Thurl Width Posty Rear Legs-Side Vw. Rear Legs-Rear Vw. Hock-In Low Foot Angle Low Feet & Legs Score Loose Fore Udder Attach. Low Rear Udder Height Narrow Rear Udder Width Weak Udder Cleft Deep Udder Depth Wide Front Teat Place. Wide Rear Teat Place. Short Teat Length -2

Tall Strong Deep Open Rib Sloped Wide Sickle Straight Steep High Strong High Wide Strong Shallow Close Close Long -1



©2010 CRI

1.9 1.1 1.5 1.8 0.7 1.6 1.7 2.3 3.1 2.1 2.5 2.9 2.6 0.2 1.6 0.9 0.3 0.2




G rassroots

Our Members Stand to Make Some Rapid Improvement in Their Herds By: Jacques Couture, Genex Board Member Jacques and wife Pauline own Couture’s Maple Shop and Bed & Breakfast, a 325-acre farm in Westfield, Vt. The Couture’s dairy consists of 68 Holstein cows and 55 head of young stock. In addition to their land, they rent about 100 acres of cropland. Their farm, which received the Vermont dairy farm of the year award in 2004, is certified organic with milk shipped to Organic Valley Cooperative. They also harvest sap, produce maple syrup and market maple products. I have done business with farm cooperatives for almost 40 years. I believe co-ops not only look at the bottom line, but work for the good of the members. In 1996, I became a Genex delegate and was elected director in 1997. Being a co-op leader gives me the opportunity to grow personally and it provides me with a way to give back to our co-op. Genex provides several services to our dairy. We utilize the MAP mating program to select the most appropriate sires.

We also purchase liquid nitrogen, semen and some herd management products carried by our local Genex rep. There’s been several changes in the dairy industry recently. At first, I was a little nervous about the new genomic technology. However, after seeing the numbers and how they have proven to be reliable, I am very excited about it. I feel comfortable in stating our members stand to make some rapid improvement in their herds by using these sires. GENESIS, a program revitalized by genomics, was a gem from the beginning. To have an elite group of animals owned and controlled by the co-ops’ members has proven to be a very good thing. Now with genomics, GENESIS will provide an even greater opportunity to develop superior animals. One of the new programs I am most excited about is Calf Math™. This program will give our members some great information to help them figure out how to use new technologies to benefit their herds and bottom line.

The Tools are Available to Breed a Better Herd By: Alfred Wanner, Jr., Genex Board Member I have been a full-time dairyman since 1965. I worked first with my father, and then my brother joined us in 1970. Over time, we grew from 40 cows to over 112. In 1976, we split the herd. My wife Carolynne and I stayed at the home farm in Narvon, Pa., with 70 cows. In 1997, we formed Wanner’s Pride-N-Joy Farm with sons John and Matt and grew the herd to 300 cows. In 2005, we expanded to 600 cows. Then, in 2007, we began making electricity with an on-farm methane digester. I’ve always liked doing business with co-ops. I feel a co-op can be more customer friendly than a private business, and when a co-op is profitable some of those profits are returned to the members. In the 1970s, I attended a young cooperators conference for a predecessor of Genex. That experience kindled my interest in serving as a delegate. I served two years as a delegate and was elected as a director in 1996 at the time Atlantic Breeders, Eastern A.I. and LABC merged to become Genex. 14


©2010 CRI

Since 1996, our animals have been almost 100 percent Genex sired. Currently, our heifers are bred with GenChoice™ sexed semen. We use Genex service and have used the Reproductive Profit Manager™ (RPM) herd consulting program. Now is an exciting time to be involved in the dairy industry and in this cooperative. I am excited about genomics. Soon, we will be able to use genomics to identify our top animals at a few weeks of age. This will allow us to raise fewer replacements and may also allow us to identify good outcross animals. GENESIS has allowed us to shorten the generation intervals and make it is possible to have a calf on the ground before her dam comes into milk. Back when I started farming, an old-timer with tears in his eyes told me he had spent his lifetime trying to breed a better herd of cows and just when he was starting to see the results, his old age was forcing him to sell out. The tools available to us today can really improve our cows faster than ever before.

Don’t Settle For Less! Genex allows you to accomplish your to do list, without sacrificing your wish list.

Wish Lis _ t [ ] Inc reas

e Produ ct

ist L o D o T_ s w o C t Ge nant! g e r P

ion [ ] Imp rove Pr ofitabilit y [ ] Wor ry-free Calving

Dependable fertility from sires ≥ +3.5 Sire Conception Rate: and +1000 PTA Milk

1HO09092 LAZARITH • 1HO08778 SUPER • 1HO09208 SHAMPOO • 1HO08997 PENOSH • 1HO08305 BINKY • 1HO08812 MARCELLUS • 1HO02571 COLE

and +$500 Lifetime Net Merit

1HO09208 SHAMPOO • 1HO02571 COLE • 1HO08778 SUPER • 1HO09040 CAVANA • 1HO09103 CABHI • 1HO08654 LOYDIE

and 6% Sire Calving Ease

1HO09103 CABHI • 1HO08654 LOYDIE • 1HO08764 LOTTA %-I • 1HO06833 TRES

USDA/01-10. HA-USA/01-10, IB-M/USA/01-10, HA-M/USA/01-10


Holstein Highlights

Jersey Lineup Bursting With Options

At an exceptional +$824, 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I maintained his #1 rank for Lifetime Net Merit (LNM). He also ranks #1 for Productive Life and #2 for TPI™. Popular sire 1HO08778 SUPER touts many excellent qualities with +$670 LNM, a #3 TPI rank, high production, outstanding health and type traits. He now adds a +4.4 Sire Conception Rate to his credentials. Other high ranking LNM and TPI sires with milking progeny are 1HO08658 LOGAN and 1HO09040 CAVANA. Not to be forgotten are the health traits specialist and industry mating sire, 1HO08631 LES, and the elite components bull, 1HO08642 GARNETT. Sixteen new graduates further strengthened the Genex lineup. Among the 16, are 10 bulls over +$600 LNM. The new debuts are led by 1HO09728 CARCAJOU at +$704. The Mac son 1HO02809 LIESL joins the lineup with PTAs of +$647 LNM, +5.0 Prod. Life, +1.2 Daughter Pregnancy Rate, 3% Sire Calving Ease, +3.30 Udder Composite and +2.92 Foot & Leg Comp. Furthermore, there are two bulls (1HO02700 LEGEND and 1HO02769 DALT) above an amazing +3.00 for PTA Type, plus four additional sires over +2.00. In all, the 16 new graduates average +$610 LNM, +4.5 Prod. Life and +2.30 Udder Comp. The new graduates include elite red carrier bulls, 1HO09951 PEMBROKE *RC and 1HO02480 CAMARY *RC, at +$645 and +$629 LNM respectively as well as 1HO02740 SATCHEL-RED, already in demand as a global mating sire. This group of new bulls have 12 different sires; eight do not have O Man in their pedigree. The overall genetic diversity of the lineup continues to grow.

With the addition of seven new sires, the Genex Jersey lineup has improved in depth and quality among both genomic- and progeny-proven bulls. The lineup acquired four new genomic-proven sires including 1JE00750 CECIL-P. This Matinee x Action son is the industry’s highest ranking Polled sire for Cheese Merit (CM) at +$507. 1JE00711 PLUS is an all-round sire standing at +$434 CM and +221 JPI™ with high yield (+1396), excellent type (+1.8) and outstanding udders (+6.62 JUI™). 1JE00672 GOOSE, a maternal brother to 1JE00604 GANNON, follows suit at +1.3 PTAT, +4.24 JUI and +203 JPI. 1JE00700 LEXICON, a Lexington x Rebel son, sires deep and open-ribbed cows with outstanding udders. Genex also graduated three new progeny-proven sires that fit the total performance label. 1JE00654 ALLSTAR is a high CM bull from Sunset Canyon MBSB Anthem-ET, EX-95%. He transmits tremendous component percentages as well as outstanding conformation (+1.0 PTAT) and udders (+5.27 JUI). At +$458 CM with 91 daughters in 47 herds, 1JE00631 NESTOR is known for great solids (0.13% Protein, 0.23% Fat) and fitness traits. 1JE00644 VETERAN is a low EFI sire that improves both type and fitness. With these additions to an already outstanding lineup, Genex has something for everyone: improved profitability, high reliability, show caliber type, great yields, elite Polled genetics, outcross pedigrees and a GenChoice™ sexed semen lineup featuring 12 Jersey sires. Genex has the Jersey to fit your breeding goals.

New and Improved

SynchSmart Evaluation! Read more about the evaluation update on page 10.

1HO02683 SEBASTIAN +2.5 SynchSmart



©2010 CRI

Choose high Lifetime Net Merit sires with a positive SynchSmart™ ranking to help increase conception rates while still breeding for the complete cow that performs well in all areas.

Dam: Dutch Hollow Rebel Diva VG-86%

+1.8 PTA Type


1JE00711 PLUS

Conception Ability

+2.3 SCR

Dam: Cal-Mart Lemvig Narda 6600 VG-89%

MGD: Woodstock BVD Celia-P EX-92%

0.13% Protein

Show Style

Dam: Dutch Hollow Rebel Diva VG-86%

Components Specialist +$507 CM 1JE00750 CECIL-P

0.23% Fat

1JE00654 ALLSTAR 1JE00631 NESTOR Amazing Udders

1JE00672 GOOSE

+5.27 JUI™ Fertile Daughters

Trinity’s All Star Melody

Outcross Genetics

+1.0 DPR Dam: Oomsdale Gordo Goldie Gratitude EX-90%

4% EFI Dam: Wilderness Lemvig Verve-ET EX-90%


The breed that just achieved a record year

for registrations and average production

Now has more reasons to celebrate:

A collection of new and exciting Jersey sires.


Genomics: The Past, Present and Future By: Jenny Hanson, Communications Manager, CRI; Roy Wilson, Vice President, Large Herd Business Center, Genex; and Angie Coburn, Dairy Procurement Manager, Genex In the past year, much has been said about genomics. In all, it’s been a lot of information to take in so here’s a brief recap of what genomics is and how it came about. The article also features a new genetic comparison of genomic-proven sires that now have milking daughters as well as a glimpse into the future of genomics.

Back to the Basics

Each cell within a bovine contains 30 chromosomes. The chromosomes contain strands of DNA. The DNA consists of different pairs of nucleotides or those little letters. The sequence of those 3 billion nucleotides contains all the instructions for the bovine body. The different sequences of nucleotides between animals in a population are what makes some animals better than others.

Chromosomes DNA

that had semen collected throughout the past 40 years. The associations observed between the SNPs and the known genetic abilities of these highly reliable, progenyproven sires made it possible to identify SNPs that impact the genetic traits the industry measures. Now, genomics has made a large impact on the dairy genetics industry because geneticists are able to analyze the DNA from a baby calf and better determine the animal’s genetic ability. In a previous issue of Horizons, Dr. Kent Weigel of the University of Wisconsin-Madison explained the improvement in reliability with genomics, “Genomic research shows that, for a young Holstein bull or heifer, we can combine the animal’s parent average with genomic information to get a ‘genomic PTA’ with a reliability of 60 to 70 percent. This is vastly better than the reliability of merely its parent average which is typically only 30 to 40 percent.”

How Dependable Are Genomic Rankings?

Do not doubt the ability of the 50K SNP chip to, on average, correctly predict the genetic merit of sires. On the one year anniversary of when genomic predictions were publicly released, milking daughters are telling us these predictions are correct. Cell Nucleotides

Genomic selection is the process of combining information from a large set of genetic markers (which cover the entire genome) with traditional genetic evaluations to select the best animals. What are the genetic markers? The genetic markers are SNPs (pronounced snips). These are the variations in a DNA sequence that occur when a single nucleotide is altered. How is the information from the genetic markers gathered? First, samples of blood, hair or semen are collected. From these samples, extract DNA. The DNA is placed on a chip that examines over 50,000 SNPs evenly distributed across bovine chromosomes. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted research to determine about 38,000 of those 50,000 SNPs on a bovine’s DNA are informative for calculating genomic evaluations. The USDA did this by analyzing the DNA from the sperm of thousands of bulls 18


©2010 CRI

Today, there are over 6,200 bulls reported with genomic predictions. The marketplace has well over 250 active status genomic-proven sires being promoted and marketed by artificial insemination (A.I.) companies. Just a quick 12 months ago, Genex activated 34 genomicproven sires. (The industry, as a whole, activated approximately 250.) Those original 34 Genex sires have progressed exceptionally well. Thirteen now average 70 milking daughters. The January 2009 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) average for the 13 was +$588. Now with a total of 910 milking daughters, they average +$444. Before comparing these numbers, the base change and LNM formula change must be accounted for. Because of the base change and LNM formula change all sires across the industry decreased by an average $114 for LNM. Therefore, here’s the math $588 – $444 – $114 = $30! That’s right, the genomic prediction of this group of sires was only off by $30 LNM.


We can analyze PTA Type and Udder Composite as well. In both cases, the differences were minimal. The difference in PTAT as the genomic sires gained classified daughters was a decrease of 0.29. The difference for Udder Composite was a 0.18 decrease. Whether it is production traits or conformation traits, genomic predictions are very close to actual daughter performance levels. The real question may be - in the old system would these 13 sires have been activated based on daughter information. To answer that, 10 out of the 13 are still on the active list today and another one would be except he died. That adds to 11 out of 13 sires (or 85 percent accuracy). The sub group of 13 sires mentioned above has stood up to the test, but the phenomenal results come from all 273 Genex bulls that were genomic tested and now have milking daughters. These 273 bulls have 20,052 daughters or 73 on average per sire. According to the table below, which shows the difference between these sire’s genomic- and daughter-proven evaluations, these 20,000 daughters speak volumes about the confidence one can have in genomics. LNM had only a $31 difference. Protein had no difference! Table 1. Comparison of genomic proofs (1-2009) to daughter proofs (1-2010) for 273 Genex sires taking into account the genetic base change.

Trait Milk Protein

January 2009 1168 37

January Base 2010 Change 676 417 14

Average Difference from Genomic to Daughter Proven -75



Prod. Life










The early type information is very convincing as well. Genex owns 135 bulls that now have on average 35 classified daughters. In January 2009, these genomic sires had a +1.53 average PTAT. Once daughters were evaluated by a professional Holstein classifier, the sires averaged +1.40 (adjusted for base change). That is only a small difference of 0.13! These comparisons prove we can confidently remove the terms “young sires” and “proven sires” from our vocabulary. Today all A.I. sires are proven sires - some are just proven by genomics and some by daughters.

What Does the Future Hold?

The genomic testing currently conducted with the 50K SNP chip revolutionized the selection of bulls for A.I. and had significant impact among registered breeders in the breeding and merchandising of females. Now, take the genomics thought process one step further as the future availability of a more cost efficient SNP chip or mini chip will open doors of opportunity to every dairy producer for the everyday management of females. The cheaper mini chip will utilize about 3,000 SNPs and return a fairly reliable estimate of the animal’s genetic levels for LNM and most yield, conformation and health traits routinely summarized by the USDA and breed associations. The mini chip could have several potential applications. A dairy producer will have the ability to determine the optimum type of semen to use on that heifer. For instance, some dairy producers may use the SNP chip to identify the top 30 percent of heifers to breed to GenChoice™ sexed semen and thus yield more heifers from the highest genetic females. A more dramatic approach may be to determine the bottom 10 percent of females that should be marked as “do not breed.” Other future applications with the mini chip include official parentage verification, but the potential also exists to conduct parentage discovery. Thinking bigger and farther into the future, there may very well be the capability to group cows according to nutritional needs or provide individualized veterinary care based on the animal’s genotype. Illumina, Inc. recently announced the development of a 500K chip. The better the industry can describe the genetic characteristics of cows and bulls, the more information available to determine how management and environment interact with genetics. Never will genetic testing be smarter than Mother Nature, or replace good common-sense decision making, but future genomic technologies that are cost efficient to the dairy industry will give farmers the powerful tools to better feed the world. The potential of genomics is enormous, and we are just beginning to make use of that potential.

©2010 CRI



G EN O M I C A L L Y S P E A K I N G A Historical Look At Genomics


The term “genome” was first coined. Genome refers to all the genes and genetic material each organism has that predicts how it will act in nature. Each cell in an organism has the exact same copy of the genome.

1970s 2003

The first organisms were DNA sequenced – that of bacteriophages.

The Human Genome Project was completed by scientists around the globe. The unlocking of the human genome led to discoveries of genes that control several genetic diseases.


Researchers first sequenced the bovine genome using a Hereford cow. Through this project it was discovered the bovine genome consists of 30 chromosomes and three billion nucleotides.


Illumina, Inc. developed the BovineSNP50 DNA Analysis BeadChip, allowing scientists to look across all the chromosomes and evaluate the animal for over 50,000 nucleotide markers. Scientists discovered 38,000 nucleotide markers are useful for estimating breeding values.


All new sires are genomically tested prior to entering the Genex sampling program. All females at the GENESIS facility are genomically tested too.


January: The first public release of genomic proofs by the United States Department of Agriculture occurred with the January 13, 2009 sire summaries. At that time, Genex announced it fully embraced this new technology and released several genomic-proven sires into the active conventional semen and GenChoice™ sexed semen lineups. 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I, debuting at +$918 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) with 69 percent reliability, was the first sire in the industry to surmount +$900 LNM.

April: One-third of the Genex lineup was genomic-proven sires. Genomic sires continue to be utilized as mating sires.

August: Milking daughter information was added to the genomic proofs of some early genomic sire graduates confirming genomics is a valuable and accurate selection tool.



& Beyond

This year is expected to bring a more cost efficient genomic test that will allow producers to test large numbers of females. Beyond that, look for genomics to further influence everything from breeding programs to herd management.




1HO02571 COLE

©2010 CRI

1HO09192 HILL

G EN C H O I C E ™

With renovations of laboratories, installation of additional sorters and modifications to existing sire barns, Genex started 2010 with great potential in GenChoice™ options. Not only do these changes signify the expansion of the beef GenChoice product line, but also allow for a greater selection of dairy sires able to produce GenChoice in both GenChoice 90™ and GenChoice 75™ product lines. Prior to the new construction and expansion, production of GenChoice was limited to sires at the Ithaca, N.Y. facility. Completion of these projects brings a considerable increase in options for sires housed in Shawano, Wis. 2010 also brings changes to the Investment Guide. Prior to this year, GenChoice sires and conventional sires were listed on two separate Investment Guides. With the January sire summary, both products have been merged onto one publication. Check out the new Investment Guide found in the center of this issue of Horizons. The Investment Guide confirms the Genex commitment to having the best genetic offering in industry. Packed with some of the industry’s highest Lifetime Net Merit sires, this lineup offers pedigree variety and diversity, with plenty of sire options for use on O Man and Mtoto daughters. Because the world isn’t black and white, the GenChoice lineup includes options for Guernsey, Ayrshire, Jersey and Brown Swiss. New this January is 501JE00631 NESTOR, 501JE00711 PLUS and 501BS00579 RED BRAE.


Sires These 15 new sires average +$569 Lifetime Net Merit and represent the 88th percentile or higher: 1HO02683 SEBASTIAN Mac x O Man 1HO02565 CASSINO %-I Ramos x Shottle 1HO09951 PEMBROKE *RC Mac x O Man 1HO02729 EDEN Shottle x O Man 1HO08658 LOGAN O Man x BW Marshall 1HO02730 ICEMAN %-I Ramos x Shottle 1HO09137 SLY Potter x Orion 1HO02684 RETAIL %-I Ramos x Durham 1HO08919 INFINITE O Man x Ito 1HO02740 SATCHEL-RED Lawn Boy P-Red x Paradox-Red 1HO09544 KAMPMAN Shottle x Durham 1HO09528 BUCKO %-I Boliver x Wizard 1HO02680 MALVO Zenith x Wizard 1HO02584 ANTON Mac x Shottle 1HO08664 PARADISE %-I Ramos x BW Marshall


NEW! PLUS Dam: Dutch Hollow Rebel Diva VG-86%

010 Welcomes Elite 2




Jaeger Logan 2158 ©2010 CRI



G EN C H O I C E â&#x201E;˘





Pete Weber


Steve Bodart


excellent semen advantage best


Albert De Vries



Š2010 CRI





success semen best

female results

improve advantage








investment success






Profit semen


economics advantage semen


best goal








female GenChoice sell

investment economics







GenChoice results improve advantage

economics Profit

G EN C H O I C E ™

How do I Make a success in my herd? Genex looked to professionals in the academic and financial sectors to get their inputs on the economics of utilizing GenChoice as part of a breeding program. With added expertise from Pete Weber, consultant with Genex, we have compiled these thoughts to allow you to analyze GenChoice from all perspectives to be sure your herd and breeding program are ready to successfully implement GenChoice.

Is sexed semen an economical fit for every producer? DAlbert De Vries: Dairy producers should get good conception rates with conventional semen before sexed semen becomes a viable option. The ability to rank animals for genetic merit is also advantageous. Producers that can raise heifers for a low cost will benefit more from the use of sexed semen.

BSteve Bodart: No. Herd management systems need

much more economically feasible. So good reproduction protocols, cow comfort and nutrition all eventually affect the economic feasibility.

BPoor heat detection compounded with a slightly decreased conception rate (from sexed semen) can prolong the age at first calving, an important benchmark to be aware of. Adequate facilities or custom heifer options should also be considered. If heifers are already cramped, their optimum performance may not be realized.

WThe economics of sexed semen are more favorable if: 1. Heifer conception rates are 50 percent or higher, and conception rates in cows are 30 percent or higher (with conventional semen). 2. The herd has low stillbirth rates and low calf mortality. We need to properly raise more heifer calves. 3. Is the herd planning on growing? Using the Results™ program from Genex, we regularly document that homegrown heifers outperform purchased heifers. I recommend all herd owners study the effect of genetics using Results. 4. Does the herd identify its genetically superior females? If so, the herd will benefit most from more heifers from these top cows.

to be in place in order to capitalize on the benefits of sexed semen. Sexed semen will not compensate for poor management.

What economic indicators should be taken into account when considering sexed semen? DA major driver of the economic value of sexed semen

WPete Weber: It is hard to include all herds in one

is the difference in value between a heifer calf and a bull calf. If you can raise heifers cheaper than what you pay to purchase them, the value of sexed semen is greater. Biosecurity issues and information on genetic merit affect this difference as well. Generally, heifer prices decrease when milk prices are low. The question then is what the heifer price will be three years from today. Today’s milk prices should not be a major factor when considering the use of sexed semen. Obviously the price of sexed versus conventional semen needs to be considered as well.

group. Most herds will benefit from the use of GenChoice on females with the highest Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) index. This is a great way to create more top cows for the next generation.

What herd management factors impact the economic feasibility of using sexed semen? DHerds with good conception rates with conventional semen will see better results with sexed semen. Good conception rates with sexed semen make the product

Continued on page 24… Pictured at left

Albert De Vries: Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida D

Albert De Vries is known within the academic community for research in optimization of culling and replacement strategies, statistical process control and economics of reproduction.

Steve Bodart: Senior Business Consultant and Dairy Industry Specialist, Lookout Ridge Consulting B

Steve Bodart has provided dairy financial and consulting services to countless herds through expansion and facility design, inventory and budget management.

Pete Weber: Regional Programs Consultant, Genex W

Pete Weber helps Genex members and customers maximize profitability by realizing their herd potential through Genex programs such as Results™ and Achieve™. ©2010 CRI



G EN C H O I C E ™

BThe big question is what is the purpose for the additional heifers? Does this align with the goals of the business? These factors need to be taken into account to evaluate the economic benefit of utilizing sexed semen.

W• What value does this herd place on heifer calves versus bulls? Does this difference outweigh the investment in GenChoice? • As corn prices increase, bull calf prices have downward pressure making sexed semen a better investment. • As milk prices increase, heifer calf prices have upward pressure, making sexed semen a better investment.

What factors improve success with sexed semen? DSuccess is defined as getting cows pregnant and calving from sexed semen. Some success will also come from using sexed semen on the genetically better animals. Good fertility results and animal identification with sire identification are important.

BTwo management areas can have an impact on success with sexed semen. All technology works best in a well-managed system. Efficient herd management will help to capture success with sexed semen. Accurate management records help ensure sexed semen is only used on first and second service heifers and avoided in animals with a history of health-related issues.

WThe success of a sexed semen program is largely influenced by conception rates. Success follows when excellent artificial insemination (A.I.) technique (by a professional A.I. technician) is combined with: • Cattle in a strong standing heat • Cattle in adequate body condition • Cattle with strong foot and udder health • Cattle with high values for Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). The following chart shows data from six herds using GenChoice on lactating cows. It shows cows sired by positive DPR bulls conceived at a 36 percent rate, while cows sired by a negative DPR bull conceived at a 25 percent rate! Sired by Positive DPR sires Sired by Negative DPR sires

Conception Rate No. Services 36% 521 25% 270

How can producers utilize sexed semen without creating an oversupply of heifers? DLet’s assume the dairy wants to produce enough heifer calves to only replace the culled cows. The question



©2010 CRI

is which animals should produce these heifer calves? Usually the heifers are the genetically best animals, and they have higher conception rates than cows, so many of them will remain candidates for sexed semen. However, genetically better cows, especially early in lactation and producing well may also be candidates. Essentially, the genetic progress on the female side must be weighed against the cost of the lower conception rate.

BMaintain the herd size through internal growth. If planning to expand in two to three years, utilizing sexed semen will allow part of the growth to occur from a known genetic background. WThree ways come to mind. • First, cull more aggressively (less profitable cows, hard breeders, etc.). • Second, use sexed semen to get more heifer calves out of the best cows. • Third, consider new alternatives to breed lower-end cows, with potentially more profit from crossbred calves.

Besides the decrease in conception rate, what other factors should be considered? DAnother factor is the availability of sexed semen from elite sires. Elite sires may not have sexed semen available. When sexed semen from a lower genetic merit sire is used, the chances of a heifer calf increase, but the heifer calf will have a lower genetic merit than if her sire was an elite sire. Obviously price of sexed semen needs to be considered as well.

BAs the result of the decrease in conception rate, the age of first calving tends to slightly increase when utilizing sexed semen. If heifers are already older than your desired goal, implementing change to decrease the age of first calving will be paramount before implementing sexed semen. Other negative factors to consider are the weight of the heifers and the potential for over conditioned heifers if the age of first calving is extended by 30-60 days. WAre the bulls you are using in sexed semen as high in the LNM rankings as bulls available in conventional semen? If you give up $100 LNM to use sexed semen, the daughters resulting from the sexed semen will yield $100 less net income to your dairy in their lifetime than heifers from the conventional semen. When selecting your sires for sexed semen, apply the same criteria in selecting those sires as you would for conventional semen.

TAKE A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON FINANCING. Purchase semen or arm service and take up to six months to pay.

Genex and Farm Plan™ know producers need payment terms that allow for better cash flow management. Therefore, Genex and Farm Plan have teamed up to provide unique finance options to meet the needs of your operation. The 180 program provides 180 days No-Payments/No-Interest.* Get what you need when you need it. Just say, “Put it on Farm Plan.” Contact your local Genex representative for more information on the 180 program.

*Offer ends August 31, 2010. Subject to Farm Plan credit approval and merchant participation. Visit with your Genex representative for complete details. After the promotional period, interest will be assessed at the rate provided in the Farm Plan Credit Agreement. Farm Plan is a service of FPC Financial, f.s.b.


A New Tool for the New Year! By: Diane Schnell, Education and Program Support Manager, CRI

Today, Genex offers dairy producers many semen product options. There’s conventional semen as well as GenChoice 90™ and GenChoice 75™. Determining the ideal mix of these semen product options to maximize profitability on a dairy farm can seem like a daunting task.

With All These Choices, Where Do I Start?

Genex has developed a new tool – a simple, financial spreadsheet called Calf Math™ – to help producers get more profit from every calf. The Calf Math tool helps producers decide how to use the various semen product options to achieve herd goals and maximize profits within their operations. In addition, the thought process behind utilizing Calf Math can help producers improve the quality of genetics in their herd and allow them to capitalize on profits from both female and male calves. To use Calf Math, producers first enter a small amount of farm-specific information - number of cows, number of heifers, cull rate, annual growth goal and calf values. Then, the producer can enter different semen usage scenarios (including conventional or GenChoice semen). By utilizing the farm’s input information, Calf Math calculates the number of heifers yielded from each scenario and the number of heifers needed to achieve the farm’s goals. This is a good way to test different semen usage options on paper before ever making a semen purchase. 26


©2010 CRI

Furthermore, Calf Math can provide financial data indicating the value of the calves born and the potential dollars received from merchandising or marketing excess animals. With this information - an immediate cash message - producers can make better purchase decisions. The calculator can also be used to guide producers through changing costs and fluctuating market prices.



CROSSROAD? Turn to page 28 to find out more.

Scenario 1. Quality, Not Quantity

Table 2. Heifer Comparison

Calf Math can bring into view several ways to achieve greater genetic improvement. For instance, using a sexed product on a herd’s top-end cows will speed up genetic advancement. Let’s assume a producer focuses on breeding his/her highest milk, best component, lowest somatic cell score and most fertile cows to create replacements. Imagine the result. With today’s increasing challenges in herd expansion, using sexed semen can offer producers a chance to make more profit without expanding herd size. Now consider this scenario using the farm-specific inputs in Table 1 below. If a farm can produce more heifers of high quality, it can be more aggressive with voluntary culling. This is something we have dreamed about for decades. Simply by using a GenChoice product that allows for five to 10 percent more heifers out of the best cows, a producer can now cull that same percent of problem breeders, those with chronic mastitis and those not suited to fit the farm’s milk market. Table 1. Herd-Specific Inputs

Number Cows


Annual Cull Rate


Number Breeding Age Heifers


Percent Annual Growth


After entering numbers into Calf Math, here’s what it says. By using 10 percent of GenChoice 75 on the farm’s top cows and 10 percent of GenChoice 90 on the farm’s best heifers, a producer can create enough replacements to do 10 percent more voluntary culling. Now these numbers may seem too simple, but the point is, Calf Math will take into consideration a herd’s individual details and goals to help determine the best mix of products.

Scenario 2. Plentiful Replacements

would the herd yield annually? As Table 2 shows, the herd can produce about 518 females each year (or an 18 percent annual growth rate) from using GenChoice on only 25 percent of their cows and 50 percent of their heifers! Now in this example, the producer can grow their own herd from within, selectively cull or market heifers to other dairies.

Using the same herd-specific inputs as the previous example, the 1,000-cow dairy sorts the top 25 percent of their cows and uses GenChoice 75 to produce heifer calves out of those top genetic females. The dairy also sorts the top 50 percent of their heifers to breed to GenChoice 90. So, on average how many heifer calves

Annual Dairy Heifers Needed


Number of Dairy Heifers Yielded


Scenario 3. Creating New Profit Opportunities

Traditionally all heifers and cows in a herd were used to create replacement animals. Now, through the use of GenChoice, producers can be more selective by only producing replacements from top heifers and cows, and can still maintain adequate replacement animal numbers. How are the herd’s low-end heifers and cows utilized? Since these animals may be needed to calve again in a coming year, one option is to breed them to male-sorted beef GenChoice. Dairies across the country are exploring this option and are determining if they have a market for quality Holstein x Angus steers. Let’s look at the same herd discussed previously with beef GenChoice 75 male semen added to the semen usage scenario. Using beef sexed semen on the bottom 30 percent of the farm’s cows and 20 percent of their heifers, the resulting calf crop would look like this: Table 3. Calf Crop

Total Dairy Male Calves


Total Beef Male Calves


Total Dairy Female Calves


Total Beef Female Calves


I think Calf Math™ is going to be another great tool. It will aid us in selecting the animals we want to breed from and will allow us to breed our low-end animals to beef bulls thereby increasing the value of the calves no longer needed for replacements. -Alfred Wanner, Jr., Genex Board Member The producer would have 208 quality crossbred calves to market and still create enough replacement heifers to maintain current herd size. Continued on page 28… ©2010 CRI




To maximize the return from every calf, dairy producers need to determine the best way to utilize the various semen products within their own breeding program. The industry’s need for source-verified beef creates an opportunity to sell crossbred calves. In fact, with high demand and limited supply in today’s market, a dairy producer could expect to receive a premium for wellmanaged, crossbred steers which are quality bred. How would a producer determine which beef bulls to use? Those not familiar with the Genex beef lineup can look to the “Calf Math Certified” Angus bulls pre-selected by the Genex beef staff. These bulls were selected for their ability to create consistently profitable feeder calves due to their growth and carcass traits as well as calving ease ability. Ask your local Genex representative for a list of Calf Math Certified beef bulls available in conventional and/or GenChoice semen.

New Technologies

To best utilize Calf Math, it is important to know which cows are your best. Producers are already able to sort their animals by using DHI reports and on-farm software that tracks traits like somatic cell score, milk production, transition cow index and the cow’s ability to calve back each year. Programs like Results™ and MAP™ can also help rank females and track progress.





©2010 CRI

In the foreseeable future, expect a genomic test to be available that will allow producers to sort females. Cost estimates for the genomic test range from $25 to $50 per sample. The test results should increase a female’s trait reliabilities 20-30 percent over parent average reliabilities. This reliability level would be similar to that of a female in her fifth lactation. Armed with this new technology, producers would know which heifers to breed for replacements and which to cull or breed to other semen options. Look for Calf Math on the Genex Web site at Use the interactive online calculator to aid in your semen usage decisions. To utilize a more in-depth version of Calf Math which includes additional financial information, contact your local Genex representative. In summary, Calf Math aids a producer in utilizing new technologies to meet herd goals - whether the goals are creating higher quality replacements, expanding or finding new avenues for increasing profits.


As Education and Program Support Manager, Diane Schnell leads a team of trainers responsible for teaching artificial insemination, training new employees and managing support programs.

Use Calf Math to help define your semen usage strategy.


Determining Leaders and Their Importance to Your Organization

By: Kristi Uecker, Area Program Consultant, Genex

Leadership is defined as the ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organization1. Leaders can influence through subtle persuasion or being assertive. The key is they are providing the right motivation and environment in which the employees are better able to achieve the organization’s objectives.

When a farm sets up an Ovsynch program, they use their best employees to ensure the job is done correctly because good reproduction is a vital necessity on all dairies. In order for those employees to be successful, they need the right tools. It is the manager’s responsibility to supply those tools and create the best environment for the employees. To ensure a successful Ovsynch program Continued on page 30… ©2010 CRI




several objectives need to be met such as: healthy cows, accurate records, correct materials and people. If any one of those is missing, the program fails. The focus here is on people. How do managers determine the best people for the job? Simple - find the leaders. Leaders are not just the top people in the organization, they exist on all levels. Managers must find those leaders and put them in a work environment that meets their needs – that is motivation. The seven competencies to look for in a manager are emotional intelligence, integrity, drive, leadership motivation, self-confidence, intelligence and knowledge of the business.

1Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand

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

2 Integrity is the ability to not only be truthful and honest, but to demonstrate words into action. An employee who takes the responsibility to let the manager know he couldn’t find all the cows on the Ovsynch shot list possesses integrity. 3 Drive is an internal motivation to do well or succeed.

6 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 becoming more and more important to dairies to improve cow efficiency and comfort. The leaders are those that find different ways to minimize time in headlocks during heavy breeding days, whether it be breeding earlier or using chalk marks on cows to locate synched animals.

7 Knowledge of the business is the leader’s

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

To find those with drive, managers look for employees who take pride in their work and try to do their best without being pushed. People with drive want to learn. As a manager you need to supply these individuals with training and materials to meet their internal forces.

He continues with, “…[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.”1

4 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, managers are searching for the person that tries to motivate his co-workers to do well.

In conclusion, the key to running a successful program on a dairy is people because they are the largest contributors. Attracting, hiring and sustaining the leaders that possess the seven competencies will set the farm or any organization up for success.

5 Self-confidence is the belief you have the skills and


ability to lead others to achieve goals.

Kristi Uecker grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in animal science. Previously, Uecker served as a GENESIS intern and was employed by AgSource Cooperative Services as a Field Specialist. She now provides reproductive consulting to herds in northeast Wisconsin. References available upon request.




©2010 CRI


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©2010 CRI


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stalls You knowyouhowneedmanyto fill…

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best genetics! Create heifers from your best maternal lines More voluntary culling options GenChoice 90™ and GenChoice 75™ provide more options Outstanding lineup of high genetic merit bulls

January 2010 HORIZONS  

Dairy Horizons

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