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Horizons December 2011


Cooperative, Inc. A Subsidiary of Cooperative Resources International

If you’re thinking Jerseys...

Think GENEX Seven new, high-ranking sires strengthened the lineup:

1JE00785 PERCIVALE [Louie x Jacinto] +$662 Cheese Merit • +5.37 JUITM

1JE00783 AZTEC [Vermeer x Jevon] +$648 Cheese Merit • +2.84 SCS

1JE00764 HOLLY [Tbone x Impuls] +$550 Cheese Merit • Balanced Production

1JE00786 LAN [Lennox x Impuls] +$524 Cheese Merit • +6.0 Productive Life

1JE00775 KINGSLEY [Renegade x Avery] +$500 Cheese Merit • Elite components

1JE00772 SERENITY [Region x Artist] +$499 Cheese Merit • High, wide rear udders

1JE00777 SABINO [Headline x Abe] +$493 Cheese Merit • +6.0 Productive Life USDA/12-11, AJCA/12-11

T able o f contents

Horizons December 2011 Vol. 17/No. 3 Published three times a year for dairy producers around the globe.

Address correspondence Cooperative Resources International P. O. Box 469, Shawano, WI 54166 888.333.1783

CANADA - Genex Cooperative, Inc. 291 Woodlawn Rd W Unit 4C, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7L6 888.354.4622

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Greene, President Berlin, N.Y., 518.658.2419

Duane Nelson, 1st Vice President Winthrop, Minn., 507.647.2540

Jimmy Franks, 2nd Vice President Waynesboro, Ga., 706.437.0527

John Ruedinger, Secretary Van Dyne, Wis., 920.922.9899

Jacques Couture Westfield, Vt., 802.744.2733

Jim Crocker Valley City, Ohio, 330.483.3709

Jon Wayne Danielson Cadott, Wis., 715.289.3860

Harlin Hecht Paynesville, Minn., 320.243.4386

Kay Olson-Martz Friendship, Wis., 608.564.7359

Bobby Robertson Tahlequah, Okla., 918.456.2357

Ronald Totten Stafford, N.Y., 585.344.0758

Clarence Van Dyke Manhattan, Mont., 406.282.7579

Richard Vold Glenwood, Minn., 320.634.4665

Alfred Wanner, Jr. Narvon, Pa., 717.768.8118

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.

On the Cover: Ed Jasurda is pictured in the 60-cow rotary parlor at United Pride Dairy in Phillips, Wis. Jasurda owns and operates


4 I Own Genex


5 Genex Membership Update

IN THE NEWS 6 7 8 10

CRI Hosts Dairy Tour for International Guests Genex Farm Systems Expands into Ohio Take a 360-Degree Look at the New GENESIS Calf Facility Do you Follow Genex on Facebook?

Genetically Speaking 12 20 24

U.S. Dairy Industry Looks to Position for the Years Ahead Look Who is Getting a Good Grade! Genetic Road Map: Which Direction are You Heading?

COOPERATIVE IN THE COMMUNITY 14 Genex, Employees and Members Support Youth Through Dairy Challenge

Proof Highlights 16 Introducing the Elite 8

HERD Management 18 It's Not What You Make, It's What You Keep

Reproductive Management 22 Lessons Learned

Herd Story 28 A Day in Minnesota’s Dairyland Take Advantage of the 2012 Pay Ahead Program There is still time to benefit from the savings offered through the Pay Ahead Program. For more details, talk to your local Genex representative or contact Kris Vomastic at the Shawano, Wis., office at 715-526-7519.

United Pride Dairy along with Jon Pesko. The 1,600-cow herd was one of several dairies visited during a recent CRI international profit tour. See Page 6 for more details.

Mission Statement: Provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers worldwide while maintaining a strong cooperative. ©2011 CRI




I Own Genex

By: Paul Greene, President, Genex

WANTED! I own and operate a dairy called Mapledale Farm located outside of Berlin, N.Y. This farm, dating back to 1853, is now an LLC between my son John and myself. Together, we milk and manage over 400 Holsteins. Working with cooperatives enables us to do things on the farm that we could not do ourselves. In the area of genetics and reproduction, we utilize Genex for once-aday artificial insemination (A.I.) service, mating through MAP TM (Mating Appraisal for Profit) and consulting through RPMTM (Reproductive Profit Manager). While A.I. is something we physically could do ourselves, having Genex provide that service enables us to do other things better - better focus on other management areas. Plus, our Genex representative delivers good results. In addition to owning Mapledale Farm, I own Genex. By utilizing Genex semen and service, I became a Genex member. By being a member, I became an owner. As an owner, I was determined to have “a say” in my company. I was elected to serve on the Eastern A.I. board of directors (a predecessor of Genex) in 1995 and have served on the Genex board since the merger. Now if you are reading this, it is likely you are a Genex owner (member) too. And if you have not already taken an active role in the governance of your cooperative, I encourage you to do so now. Genex is the strong organization it is today, because past members like you took initiative, developed a vision and made that vision reality. Today, there are two ways you can best guide the future of the cooperative. You can become 1) a delegate or 2) a member of the board of directors. Annually, we seek members to fill each of these roles (see Page 5 for more on the upcoming delegate and board member elections).



Delegates Genex needs delegates that represent various geographic areas as well as a variety of dairy and beef operations. This allows for balanced input and development of a balanced strategic business plan. Delegates are invited and expected to attend two meetings each year – the annual meeting and a fall delegate meeting. These events allow delegates to meet face-to-face with Genex senior management and directly provide them with input on current and upcoming company and industry topics. These events give delegates an incomparable opportunity to shape the direction of the cooperative. Every three years, delegates also elect a board member to represent their membership region.


Board Members As with delegates, it is important to have board members who represent the various geographical areas as well as the variety of dairy and beef operations owned by our members. Again, this allows for balanced input and development of a balanced strategic business plan. Board members have several responsibilities and expectations. Board members attend all board meetings and attend and speak at membership meetings. They also contribute to, analyze and approve the Genex budget, key performance areas and strategic plan. It is the board’s responsibility to hire the Genex Chief Operating Officer. And, it is the board’s responsibility to keep informed on the latest cattle genetics technology. Based on my personal experience, serving as a delegate or a board member is a great opportunity. We are all very busy, but the time spent is rewarding. I encourage you to carefully consider your current impact as an owner of Genex and the potential impact you could offer by becoming a delegate or board member. Look deeply at yourself and determine if you can fill one of these roles. If so, take the initiative and run with it!

M embership M atters

Genex Membership Update By: Terri Dallas, Vice President Information and Public Relations, CRI Genex board members are elected to three-year terms. At the 2012 annual meeting, elections in Regions 3, 6, 9 and 12 will take place. Due to redistricting changes, there will also be an election in Region 13 to complete a one-year term. Current board members Jimmy Franks (Region 6) and Clarence Van Dyke (Region 12) have decided to not stand for re-election. We appreciate their many years of service to the cooperative. Any member in good standing, including members presently serving as delegates, is eligible for election and nomination.



ELECTIONS The Genex bylaws allow for the election of delegates to take place at a membership meeting or by mail-in ballot. Board members decide which type of an election works best for their region. Region 9 will hold elections at membership meetings. All other regions will hold elections by mail-in ballot. Members will receive a mailing in mid-December including a business reply postcard. Members interested in having their name on the ballot should complete the self-nomination postcard by the date indicated. Their names will be included on the ballot and sent to members in their respective region/district to elect their delegates and alternates for the upcoming year.

FALL DELEGATE MEETINGS Genex delegates and alternates from membership regions throughout the U.S. recently attended Genex fall delegate meetings. Ten meetings were held and 156 delegates/alternates were present to receive a cooperative update from board members and provide input on cooperative issues.

2012 CRI Annual Meeting Set for March 20-21

Members elected as delegates have the opportunity to attend the fourth annual national meeting for Genex and CRI in Bloomington, Minn. The event features break-out sessions on current issues, the annual meeting of CRI and Genex, and a banquet. Delegate expenses are paid to and from the meeting. 2011 GENEX REDISTRICTING The 2011 Genex Redistricting Committee met July 13 in Shawano, Wis. Committee members were elected in March at the annual meeting. This committee meets every three years to redistrict the membership area to be compliant with the bylaws. The committee voted to make no changes to Regions 1 through 11 but voted to change the boundaries of Regions 12 and 13 (see map at right).

2011 Genex Redistricting Results

Redistricting Committee members: (l to r) Steve Damin, Region 2; Tom Tibor, Region 10; David Ebersviller, Region 11; Cheryl Machia, Region 1; Patrick Dugan, Region 13; Jeff Grove, Region 4; Don Taber, Region 12; Ray Diederich, Region 8; Caryl Peck, Region 9; Alan Collins, Region 3; Steve Hendress, Region 5; and Brock Bailey, Region 7. Due to weather issues, Randy Morell, Region 6, was not able to attend.




Region 1


Region 8


Region 2


Region 9


Region 3


Region 10


Region 4


Region 11


Region 5


Region 12


Region 6


Region 13


Region 7


Grand Total 15,913

Š2011 CRI





The Genex and CRI booth at the 2011 World Dairy Expo featured the cows and bulls of the GENESIS Cooperative Herd.

CRI Hosts Dairy Tour for International Guests in Conjunction with World Dairy Expo In early October, CRI hosted over 90 visitors from 14 countries for a profit tour – an educational event featuring profitable dairy genetics and commercial dairy operations. The international guests included dairy producers and industry professionals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine. The CRI profit tour began in Madison, Wis., at World Dairy Expo. While in Madison, guests attended World Dairy Expo’s expansive industry tradeshow, viewed elite show cows and visited the CRI booth (which featured the GENESIS Cooperative Herd as shown above). The group then headed to northeast Wisconsin where they toured the cooperative’s Shawano, Wis., headquarters. There, they observed semen collection and semen processing. In addition, the group attended educational sessions on GENESIS, genomic technology, the accuracy and acceptance of genomic proofs, and agriculture as a global industry. 6


The highlight of the event for many guests was visiting U.S. dairy herds. The visitors toured United Pride Dairy of Phillips, Wis. (pictured on the cover of Horizons); Ruedinger Farms Inc. of Van Dyne, Wis.; Rosendale Dairy of Pickett, Wis.; and Hall’s Calf Ranch of Kewaunee, Wis. The tours provided the opportunity to learn about U.S. farming practices directly from dairy owners and managers. The guests were also able to view the results of utilizing high Lifetime Net Merit sires as well as the positive reproductive impact of high fertility CRI genetics.

Dairy producers from around the world participated in CRI's profit tour and visited several dairies including United Pride Dairy in Phillips, Wis.


Genex Farm Systems Expands into Ohio CST Storage – manufacturer of Harvestores® and Slurrystores® – has announced Genex Farm Systems as the new authorized sales and service organization for the majority of Ohio. This means Genex members and customers throughout Ohio can look forward to dependable service and longterm stability from a company with a 56-year history in marketing and servicing CST Storage products. For more information or for purchasing and service assistance, contact Genex Farm Systems’ Lake Odessa, Mich., office at 855-517-6281.


expectations Eight new sires over +$700 Lifetime Net Merit NAME


1HO10275 DREW










1HO10285 LEDGE


1HO10405 FILKE





Genex is home to the most comprehensive sire lineup in the industry. Whether you’re looking for industryleading progeny-proven sires or the most aggressive genomic lineup, Genex has what you’re looking for.

Define Your Genetic Demands. • Lifetime Net Merit • Productive Life • Sire Conception Rate • PTA Milk • Daughter Pregnancy Rate • Sire Calving Ease • TPI

You Want It. We’ve Got It!


Take a

360-Degree Look

@ the New GENESIS

Calf Facility

The GENESIS Cooperative Herd is a herd of Genex-owned cattle. This herd was developed to produce elite animals, both artificial insemination bulls to profitably influence Genex members’ herds and high genetic merit females to serve as the next generation of bull dams.

Renovated calf barns in Tiffin, Ohio.

Mature GENESIS females are housed at nucleus herds while mature bulls (Genex active sires) reside at the cooperative’s bull stud facilities. Calves are kept at the cooperative’s Tiffin, Ohio, facility and Stony Hill farm west of Shawano, Wis. In Tiffin, Genex renovated former “in-waiting” bull barns to house calves from 4 months to 9 months of age (see photo at right). At Stony Hill, Genex traditionally housed GENESIS calves in hutches, but has now built nursery barns to better house and care for the growing number of newborn calves. The two new nursery barns - the most recent completed in November 2011 - have several amenities to provide calves with a consistent and healthy start on their way to becoming the next influential A.I. sires and bull dams. To take a 360-degree look at the new nursery facilities, check out the video available at: As a Genex member, take great pride in owning the GENESIS herd - a herd that’s years ahead of the industry and is producing progressive genetics like those of elite bull 1HO09167 Co-op O-STYLE Oman Just-ET and high genetic merit cow Co-op Boliver Yoyo-ET, VG-86, VG-MS. 8


©2011 CRI

New nursery barn at Stony Hill farm.


expectations Top Five Productive Life Sires NAME

Define Your Genetic Demands.




1HO10245 ABRAHAM %-I




1HO10085 YANO




1HO09800 ERDMAN %-I




• Lifetime Net Merit

1HO10260 ZIGGY




1HO10225 BUD %-I




• Productive Life

Top Five Daughter Pregnancy Rate Sires NAME

• Sire Conception Rate • PTA Milk




1HO10218 DENIM %-I




1HO10245 ABRAHAM %-I




• Sire Calving Ease

1HO08631 LES









1HO10285 LEDGE




• Daughter Pregnancy Rate

USDA/12-11. G=Genomic Proven.

Genex is home to the most comprehensive sire lineup in the industry. Whether you’re looking for industryleading progeny-proven sires or the most aggressive genomic lineup, Genex has what you’re looking for.

You Want It. We’ve Got It!

IN THE NEWS Do you follow Genex on Facebook? If not, you’ve been missing out!

Since the last issue of Horizons, the following contests and promotions have taken place: Genex Representative Appreciation Month September was Genex representative appreciation month. Several Genex members and customers took the opportunity to share a story on the Genex Facebook page about how their rep has helped improve profitability on their ranch or dairy. In turn, each individual who shared a story earned a promo item prize. Check out one of the awesome submissions: “Kevin Spencer (pictured above) in Colorado has helped us make very wise moves in our program to keep the preg rate moving up to levels that are Micheal Jordan type performance while keeping within our goals of outcrossing without sacrificing Net Merit.” ~ David L Smith Future of Your Herd Contest in Conjunction with World Dairy Expo Facebook was a springboard for promotions at World Dairy Expo. Visitors to the Genex booth who were able to name the “GENESIS Cow of the Day” received entry into a special drawing. Visitors were also encouraged to share a photo showing the ‘future of their herd’ as they saw it. Chelsey Johnson was randomly chosen those who submitted photos to win a $1,000 prize package.

What Would You Like to Read About in Horizons? When asked the above question on the Genex Facebook page, Nathan Brandt suggested we share how the polled gene works. Breeding with Polled Genetics By: Ami Lasecki, Genomic Program Specialist The polled gene (P), or naturally hornless, is dominant and the horned gene (h) is recessive. The dominance makes breeding for polled much easier than breeding for a recessive trait, such as red coat color. Each animal has two genes, one from each parent. If a homozygous horned cow (hh=two horned genes) is mated to a heterozygous polled sire (Ph=one polled and one horned gene), there is a 50 percent chance of polled offspring. Most sires currently available are heterozygous polled, thus this is typically the most common mating (Diagram 2). If a homozygous polled sire (PP=two polled genes, also known as True Polled) is used on the cow above (hh), 100 percent of the offspring will be polled. Thus, in one generation polled offspring can result (Diagram 1). Heterozygous polled bulls (notice the “P” in their name) available from Genex include 1HO03045 DIPRED ISY P-RED, 1HO09248 SIGNIF-P, 1HO10451 TYLER-P, 1JE00750 Cecil-P and 1JE00774 DOC-P. 10


©2011 CRI


expectations Top Five Sire Conception Rate Bulls NAME

Define Your Genetic Demands.




1HO02789 SASON








1HO02681 PENN-E




• Lifetime Net Merit





• Productive Life





• Sire Conception Rate • PTA Milk

Top Five Sire Calving Ease Bulls NAME

• Daughter Pregnancy Rate




1HO10257 TUCK %-I




1HO10213 FATHOM %-I




• Sire Calving Ease

1HO10000 FRANK













USDA/12-11. G=Genomic Proven.

Genex is home to the most comprehensive sire lineup in the industry. Whether you’re looking for industryleading progeny-proven sires or the most aggressive genomic lineup, Genex has what you’re looking for.

You Want It. We’ve Got It!


U.S. Dairy Industry Looks to Position for the Years Ahead By: Keith Heikes, Vice President, Dairy Genetics and Global Alliance Development, Genex In the age of genomics, high-quality data needs to continue being collected to confirm and re-calculate genetic effects. It is important for the U.S. dairy industry to work together in continuing to have a large database of production, type, health and management information that will allow the U.S. to maintain its position as a global leader in genetic improvement. Thus far, the U.S. dairy industry has been very fortunate. We have had world-class researchers, outstanding data collection and data processing for both production and type traits, and delivery of genetics through a competitive industry. This has allowed for innovation and progress while at the same time providing good value to dairy producers. This good fortune has occurred as a result of ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory (AIPL) and the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB). The CDCB - which consists of members of the National Association of Animal Breeders, National Dairy Herd Information Association and Purebred Dairy Cattle Association collects large amounts of cattle data from producers within the CDCB’s organizations, and AIPL applies up-to-date research and data evaluation methods. This

cooperation has allowed the U.S. to maintain the most respected genetic evaluation system in the world. Over the past two years, USDA and CDCB have discussed modifying this relationship. They propose a new cooperative agreement which would transfer much of the genetic service work currently provided by AIPL to the CDCB. At the same time, it would allow AIPL scientists to further focus on the development of new research methodology. (AIPL staff have been instrumental in the implementation of the genomic era and are respected world-wide for developing first-class evaluation models.) Staff at Genex and our sister subsidiary, AgSource Cooperative Services, have been involved in discussions on this new cooperative agreement as we are CDCB member-organizations. Our boards of directors reviewed and discussed the proposal. Both Genex and AgSource support the agreement and the formation of a new business controlled by the CDCB to take on genetic service work. This change will position the U.S. dairy industry for the future – ensuring the continued collection of high-quality cattle data, the continued application of first-class genetic evaluation models, and the continued development and refinement of genetic research methods.

Sort, Find and Compare Bulls From Throughout the Past 40 Years A new online Genex program enables you to sort bulls in the comfort of your own home. The MPG program allows you to:  Sort dairy bulls from the entire industry dating back 40 years  Find a bull by his short name, NAAB code or registration number  Compare up to four bulls side by side  Sort bulls on traits like LNM$, Milk, Protein and DPR, plus new characteristics like Heifer and Cow Conception Rates and haplotypes  Export a CSV file of the bulls with the traits of your choice  Find a replacement bull if your favorite bull is no longer available To access MPG, go to The program is accessible on any device with Internet connection. Once you have accessed the online program, click on the help button at the top of any page for detailed instructions. 12


©2011 CRI


expectations Top Five Production Sires NAME

Define Your Genetic Demands.








1HO03074 DUGON ISY %-I








• Lifetime Net Merit





• Productive Life

1HO02747 MAYHEM %-I




• Sire Conception Rate • PTA

Progeny-Proven TPI Chart Toppers




• Daughter Pregnancy Rate

1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I



1HO08778 SUPER



• Sire Calving Ease

1HO09167 O-STYLE



1HO08658 LOGAN



1HO09192 HILL





USDA/12-11, HA-USA/12-11. G=Genomic Proven.

Genex is home to the most comprehensive sire lineup in the industry. Whether you’re looking for industryleading progeny-proven sires or the most aggressive genomic lineup, Genex has what you’re looking for.

You Want It. We’ve Got It!


Genex, Employees and Members Support Youth through Dairy Challenge Cooperatives follow seven cooperative principles. The focus of the seventh principle is concern for community. Throughout this “Cooperative in the Community” series, learn how Genex and Genex staff demonstrate support for their local communities and the agricultural community. The North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge is a non-profit organization hosting contests tailored to tomorrow’s dairy leaders. As former Dairy Challenge participant Ashley Sprengeler describes, “Dairy Challenge provides a unique hands-on approach to teaching students how to apply and connect their education to real-life situations in the dairy industry. Through Dairy Challenge, students improve their dairy management, communication and overall business skills.” Sprengeler now uses those same skills in her career as the Genex Marketing Support Specialist. In its 10 years, Dairy Challenge has helped prepare over 3,000 students for careers in the dairy industry. The contests held annually on regional and national levels attract college students from across the United States and Canada. At each event, students are grouped in four-person teams. They receive cow production and farm management data from a real-life dairy and then get to meet the dairy owners and employees, ask questions, and personally observe the farm’s routines, feed, cattle housing, etc. Following the on-farm evaluation, each team develops an analysis of the farm’s operations. This includes recommendations for improvements in nutrition, reproduction, milking procedures, animal health, housing and/or financial management. Each team of students presents their farm analysis and recommendations to a panel of judges as well as the farm’s management team. “Participating in Dairy Challenge taught me the ‘truth’ about the dairy industry,” says Jon Myers, Genex Breeding Program Specialist from Gouverneur, N.Y., who participated in the regional and national competitions. “In school, you are taught how things are supposed to work and how the numbers are supposed to add up. Through Dairy Challenge you begin to see what works for one dairy may not work for another. Every dairy is different.” Genex, our employees and our members are proud to support Dairy Challenge because of these positive impacts on tomorrow’s dairy leaders. 14


©2011 CRI

Genex – Providing Financial Support

Genex is a foundation sponsor having annually donated monetary funds and/or in-kind gifts towards to the Dairy Challenge since its inception. “We support Dairy Challenge because the future of the dairy industry is the future of Genex,” explains Terri Dallas, Vice President of Information & Public Relations. “It is also an investment in employee development as several past participants are now employed by the cooperative.”

Employees – Offering People Power

Genex employees have volunteered their time to serve on the Dairy Challenge board of directors, organize regional and national contests, and act as contest judges. “It was a great honor to be a judge,” explains Pete Weber, Genex National Account Manager. “I served on a panel of judges with some of the industry's finest veterinarians,

C O O P E R AT I V E I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y owner of Murcrest Farms in Copenhagen, N.Y., who served as a host for the 2011 northeast regional Dairy Challenge. “It allows students to see real-life situations on real-life farms. At the same time, it was great for our dairy. I had 40 students here virtually acting in the role of consultants along with several industry professionals. That totals about 45 consultants on our farm in one day – how can it get any better than that!” Genex board member Ron Totten of Stafford, N.Y., served as a host for the 2010 northeast Dairy Challenge and was equally impressed. “The students arrived at the farm, we were introduced, and then they took off. Each one knew exactly what they wanted to do. They were measuring barns and feed bunks, counting the cows in different groups, and asking very well thought out questions.” Totten pointed out that the students picked up on an issue he was already aware of – overcrowded dry cows – but they also brought new issues to his attention. “The students noticed the automatic milking units came off too slowly. By analyzing a scatter graph of somatic cell counts per cow, they also recommended we cull some high somatic cell cows especially since we have an abundance of heifers.”

(Top) Students ask questions during the northeast Dairy Challenge at Murcrest Farms. (Bottom) Students analyze manure in a pasture at Shiver's Dairy Farm during the southern Dairy Challenge.

financial planners, nutritionists, herd managers and CEOs. Having judges from so many areas of expertise even helped me see the dairies from a new perspective.” Similarly, Genex Area Sales Manager Ed Silba thought the opportunity to judge alongside other industry professionals was eye opening. However, “the major high from the contest was the teams’ presentations and the realization that the future of dairy is in very good hands.”

Murray categorized the teams’ recommendations for Murcrest Farms into two types. “There were the more obvious issues that all teams picked up on, and then there were more subtle issues that only a few discovered.” An example of an obvious issue included the need to determine what to do with their abundance of heifers. The students recommended Murray either sell animals or look into building additional barns. His example of a more subtle issue was that of transferring the farm to the next generation. “Only a few groups picked up on our need to begin planning and partaking in the process of transferring farm ownership to my son and daughter-in-law.”

Members – Hosting and Learning

Keith Shiver, owner of Shiver’s Dairy Farm in Mayo, Fla., and host for the 2011 southern regional contest, simply shared that the students reinforced what his dairy’s strengths and weaknesses are. “The students confirmed some things I know I need to change around my operation.”

“Dairy Challenge is an outstanding program for both students and the host farms,” explains Lynn Murray,

Sponsors, volunteers, owners of host farms and participants all agree Dairy Challenge is a unique and important hands-on method of educating tomorrow’s dairy leaders. “This is the future of ag,” notes Murray. “Soon, these youth will be on farms; they will be our nutritionists, veterinarians and crop people.”

Amy te Plate-Church, Genex National Alliance Manager, represents Genex on the Dairy Challenge board of directors because she enjoys giving back to the industry.

Genex members have welcomed the chance to play an important role in educating tomorrow’s dairy leaders and at the same time have benefitted from the students’ analyses of their operations.

©2011 CRI




Proof Highlights


Introducing the Elite 8


Eight new release sires over +$700 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM), and all but one has a Genex sire in its pedigree – now that’s something!

At +$783 LNM, 1HO10275 DREW (Man-O-Man x Wizard) leads the new debuts for profitability. DREW mimics his maternal grandsire, Genex’s Wizard, with incredible health and fitness: +6.1 Productive Life, +2.61 Somatic Cell Score (SCS), 6% calving ease and +2.7 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). In addition, his pleasing production numbers drive him to +$840 Cheese Merit (CM).

1HO10175 MARCELON %-I (Freddie x Shottle) joins the lineup as another high-ranking son of a Genex sire. MARCELON is attributed with outstanding feet and legs (+2.28 Foot & Leg Composite) and standout style (+1.93 PTA Type).

Look no further for an outstanding combination of style and appeal, health and fitness, and profitability. 1HO10285 LEDGE %-I has it all! You’ve got to see it to believe it: +1.97 PTAT, +2.00 Udder Composite, +2.60 Foot & Leg Composite, 5% Sire Calving Ease, +2.8 DPR, +7.1 Productive Life, +2259 TPI and +$728 LNM!

Healthy, trouble-free udders abound in daughters of 1HO10464 VIBRANT %-I. This bright new debut (a Cassino x Obrian bull) is the lineup’s leader for SCS sporting an extremely low +2.41. He also excels in Fat percent (+0.11%) too, leading to his $839 CM. To top it off, VIBRANT is an excellent option for heifer pens (6% Sire Calving Ease).

And now, Genex is introducing the lineup’s first active 1HO10405 O-STYLE son in 1HO10405 FILKE %-I. His solid production (+1520 PTA Milk), +1.63 PTAT, +2.51 Foot & Leg Composite and impressive health traits will meet the demands of many producers.

Top-notch Fat yield and impeccable daughter fertility definitely describe 1HO10420 DESIGN (Russell x Wizard); his +82 pounds of Fat and +2.8 DPR are impressive. Good conformation, sturdy feet and legs and calving ease make him even more attractive.

Rounding out the elite eight is FREDDIE son 1HO10254 LEBRON %-I. LEBRON posts a very respectable all-round proof. His highlights include +1687 PTAM, +1.95 PTAT, +1.73 Udder Composite, +2.22 Foot & Leg Composite, +6.7 Productive Life, and 6% Sire and Daughter Calving Ease.

#1 on the LNM & Top 100 TPI Lists SM

Dam of GOLDENGATE: Co-op Jose Geegee CRI-ET, VG-85, VG-MS

Readily Available in GenChoice and Conventional Semen!

1HO10255 GOLDENGATE %-I hails from the GENESIS Cooperative Herd. This +$749 LNM 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I son improves feet and legs, increases percent Fat (+0.12%), and possesses elite calving ease (5%) and exceptional longevity at +6.8 Productive Life.

O’Harrows Freddie 7023, GP-83, second lactation



Schmidts Ponderosa Freddie 4660



It’s that time again … when new sire evaluations are released and the latest bulls appear in the Genex lineup. Staying up-to-date on the new information to maintain genetic progress in your herd isn’t impossible. You may just need … the inside scoop. Topping the Official Top 100 TPISM List Genex bulls made their mark on the December proof’s top TPI list. Farmer favorite 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I tops the industry. 1HO08778 SUPER ranks number four. 1HO09167 O-STYLE stands seventh. 1HO08658 LOGAN earned the number 10 spot. 1HO09192 HILL is 11th. And 1HO09321 SUDAN sailed into the 13th spot.

The Co-op prefix – representing animals from the GENESIS Cooperative Herd – is the most common prefix on the official Top 100 TPI List! 1HO09167 Co-op O-STYLE Oman Just-ET

Genex Does Have Progeny-Proven Power! While Genex offers an array of high genetic merit genomic-proven bulls, the power of the progeny-proven portion of our lineup is not to be doubted! Genex sires excel compared to the competition. Among all active A.I. bulls with milking daughters Genex claims 7 of the top 20 bulls for Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) – that is more than any other stud! Genex is the source for breed-leading, progeny-proven LNM leaders! 1. 1HO08784 FREDDIE %-I @ +$769 4. 1HO08777 AWESOME @ +$710 5. 1HO09167 O-STYLE @ +$699 7. 1HO08778 SUPER @ +$683 10. 1HO08658 LOGAN @ +$644 12. 1HO09527 MASSEY @ +$631 20. 1HO02565 CASSINO %-I @ +$597

1HO08658 Co-op Oman LOGAN-ET 1HO09225 Co-op DON JUAN-ET 1HO08654 Co-op Oman LOYDIE-ET 1HO09631 Co-op Toystory PRINCE-ET 1HO09315 Co-op Oman ALABAMA Schmidt's Century O-Style Y238

Stars of the Jersey Breed The Genex Jersey lineup has grown stronger than ever with the addition of seven exciting new sires! Topping the new releases and also topping the Genex lineup is 1JE00785 PERCIVALE (Louie x Jacinto) at +$662 Cheese Merit (CM) with an outstanding +5.37 JUI™. With an impressive +$648 CM is the newest 1JE00666 VERMEER son, 1JE00783 AZTEC. Combine his improved cheese yield with a foundation of fitness traits and you have a sire who can find a place in any breeding program. 1JE00764 HOLLY (Tbone x Impuls) provides improved production and components (+914 PTA Milk, +0.10% Fat and +0.05% Protein) while also making positive conformation improvements across the board.

Omro Massey 1444

1JE00786 LAN (Lennox x Impuls) and 1JE00777 SABINO (Headline x Abe) each boast an impressive +6.0 Productive Life. A breeding to either of these sires could mean an additional six months of productivity in your herd. As the only Renegade son in the lineup, 1JE00775 KINGSLEY (Renegade x Avery) holds the advantage of pedigree diversity while also providing improved daughter fertility and productivity. For a true udder improver, look to 1JE00772 SERENITY (Region x Artist) who stands at +1.5 or higher for udder height and width.

O’Harrows Cassino 9647 ©2011 CRI




“It’s Not What You Make, It’s What You Keep” By: Dan Basse, President, AgResource Company “It’s the economy, stupid” was the popular phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton’s successful bid for the U.S. presidency against George H.W. Bush. Then-President Bush was thought to be a shoo-in to recapture the White House, but Americans turned out en masse and voted with their pocketbooks to elect the first U.S. Democratic president since Jimmy Carter back in the late 1970s. What analogies do the 1992 U.S. presidential election have for 2012 U.S. dairy producers – “It’s still the economy, stupid!” Today, economics have become far more important to U.S. agriculture valuations in a world where excessive debt/banking concern reigns amid a lack of political leadership. The instability of the European Union financial markets and the fear of default of European Union member debt have caused extreme ag market anxiety as the memories of the 2008 U.S. sub-prime loan crisis are still fresh. End users of U.S. grain and dairy products are staying very close, both unwilling to extend themselves amid such an uncertain future.




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Copyright © 2011 AgResource Company. All Rights Reserved.



















©2011 CRI

Dairy Production Profit/Loss



Graph 1. .



Rising milk prices helped repair U.S. dairy farmer balance sheets in 2011 with Wisconsin producers especially benefiting from favorable summer weather and enlarged harvests (see Graph 1). The graphic reflects that U.S. dairy producers were able to post some much needed balance sheet gains from March onward. The key 2012 unknown is whether this milk profit fortune will continue.


The inability of the U.S. congressional “super committee” to agree on $1.2 trillion of U.S. budget cuts in late November will likely cause an extension of the current U.S. farm bill. This means U.S. dairy farmers should be preparing for at least another year of managing their own milk margin. And, with the U.S. budget deficit rising to an unprecedented $17 trillion in 2013, the budgetary pressures on U.S. ag programs will be severe during the upcoming farm bill debate.

Beyond the 2012 presidential election, U.S. economic austerity will be rudely applied. And following the recent rising financing costs of Europe, the financial markets will be more acutely focused on U.S. politicians and their plan to dramatically curtail the U.S. budget deficit. Unsettling would be any rise in U.S. debt financing costs amid investor avoidance.


In recent years, it was the management of feed costs that has proven to be the arduous task of U.S. dairy producers as corn and protein meal costs soared. The competition for cash corn supplies by the fast growing U.S. ethanol industry has been unrelenting. The U.S. ethanol industry now consumes 42 percent of the 2011 U.S. corn harvest or just over 5 billion bushels, which has shifted the price skew of U.S. cash corn basis upwards. U.S. dairy producers were hoping the December 2011 expiration of the U.S. ethanol blenders’ credit of $0.45/gallon would produce feed cost relief. However, the U.S. is now exporting seven percent of its ethanol production to an unlikely source – Brazil. The rising price of world sugar will cause Brazil to import over 1 billion liters of U.S. ethanol in 2012, thereby preventing any sharp decline in U.S. ethanol corn consumption. It’s the price/ profit relationships of sugar, corn and crude oil that will have to be closely followed by the U.S. livestock industry. The good news for dairy producers is U.S. unleaded gasoline consumption has peaked and expanding domestic ethanol demand will be slow. The days of heady U.S. ethanol growth have passed as the U.S. ethanol industry has reached a mature stage. Future ethanol crop year growth will be less than 150 million bushels. U.S. feed costs have already started to relax and, short of a dire central U.S. drought in 2012, this trend is likely to persist. Dairy farmer margin focus should turn to milk price management. Graph 2.

Total US Dairy Product Exports 1 ,000 MT 2,000 1,800 1,600 1,400 1,200 1,000

However, if the European debt crisis were to worsen or spread, it would have a chilling impact on Asian dairy product demand as European banks are critical in the finance of world dairy/ag trade. And there are clear signs China’s economic growth is slowing along with other countries in the Asian corridor. Rising Asian caloric intake has been a hallmark of the five-year bull market in U.S. agriculture. Any diminishment of U.S. dairy export demand would have a noticeable negative impact on forward milk prices as U.S. per capita fluid milk demand continues to slowly fade. This is a reason why CME milk futures contracts are trading at a discount to current spot cash bids. In the absence of a new 2012 farm bill, U.S. dairy producers are encouraged to be protective of any positive milk margins until there is clarity in the European Union and Asian economic landscape. Ever increasing world demand for U.S. dairy products is far from assured. World economic headwinds abound and political fighting within Washington will not be tolerated by the financial markets beyond the 2012 election. Clarity on U.S. debt reduction, jobs and tax policy are at the forefront. “It’s the economy, stupid!” Washington did not pay attention back in 1992 which produced a new administration and a change in political parties. But, the risks are much larger in 2012 amid our $14 trillion in U.S. debt. In this new global dairy market landscape, economic uncertainty will produce heightened milk market volatility with limited forward price visibility. Amid retreating feed costs, producers need to make sure to lock in profitable milk margins for at least 50 percent of 2012 estimated production. In uncertain times, protecting margin has always been the best advice.

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Copyrig ht © 2011 AgResou rce Co mpany. All Rights Reserved .

In 2011, the U.S. exported just under 14 percent of its dairy production – a record high (see Graph 2). It’s the export of dairy products that allowed milk prices to recover and for the U.S. dairy industry to enjoy its best profitability since 2007. U.S. whole milk powder exports to China were particularly robust during the first half of 2011. U.S. cheese and butter stocks declined, and processing margins soared. ©2011 CRI




Look Who is Getting a Good Grade! By: Roy Wilson, AVP-National Accounts, Genex Three years ago genomics was the new kid in the classroom. Over these past three years, there have been hundreds of articles written on genomics, it has been the hot agenda item for conferences and it has been the topic of countless one-on-one debates in barns, parlors and offices. Well, it is time to take a look at genomics’ report card. In January 2009 at the time of the public release of genomic-proven bulls throughout the industry, Genex activated 34 Holstein bulls based solely on their genomic predicted transmitting abilities (PTAs). At that time, Genex also made the decision to list those genomic-proven bulls right alongside the daughter-proven bulls on the website and investment guide and priced the bulls based on their genomic genetic value. It was exciting times as Genex demonstrated confidence in this new revolutionary technology and led the industry through uncharted waters. Three years later, these 34 bulls are now daughterproven. They average 149 milking daughters and 66 classified daughters each. Those daughter numbers earned the bulls reliability levels that dairy owners have traditionally had significant confidence in. Take a look at the following table (1) and consider the average genetic change we have observed in this group of 34 bulls since January 2009. Table 1. Proof Comparison of 34 Genex Bulls.


PTA Type

January 2009



December 2011



Average Change



Source: USDA/12-11 and USDA/01-09. *Calculation adjusted for USDA 2010 base change of $114. **Calculation adjusted for USDA 2010 base change of 0.87.



©2011 CRI

Although this first class of genomic- to daughterproven sires receives an impressive grade A, we wanted to broaden our analysis. The following table (2) demonstrates the same type of summary across the entire artificial insemination industry. Over 2,400 genomic bulls are represented. On average, each now has 104 milking daughters. Table 2. Proof Comparison of 2,400 Bulls.


Average Change* from Jan. ’09 to Dec. ‘11



PTA Milk


PTA Protein (lbs)


Daughter Pregnancy Rate


Productive Life


Source: USDA/12-11 and USDA/01-09. *Calculation adjusted for USDA 2010 base change of each trait.

These two tables, with the thousands of bulls behind the data, show the revolutionary genomic technology has earned straight As on its report card. Genomics, now three years old, will continue to prove itself. It will continue to stretch our thinking on what is possible. It will continue to influence how we do things at Genex and how you operate on your farm.

Owen Powell pictured at Diamond P Ranch, Blue Grass, Iowa.

Financing for Their Future.

Rely on John Deere Financial for the financing you need. Genex has partnered with John Deere Financial (formerly Farm Plan™) to provide you with unique finance options to meet the specific needs for your operation. Whether you’re thinking about tomorrow or their tomorrow, John Deere Financial is a name you can rely on.

R eproductive M anagement

Lessons Learned

The 2011 Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council Annual Meeting In November, several Genex employees attended the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council annual meeting in Kansas City, Mo. The meeting was a melting pot of dairy producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, dairy industry representatives and academia. Many concepts were presented including those that can be applied directly to your farm. Here, two of the Genex attendees have reviewed a topic presented at the meeting, provided the key points and offered their personal insight.

“Integration of Synchronization Programs and Estrus Detection”

Summarized and Reviewed by Colten Green, National Account Manager Dr. Todd Bilby of Texas A&M presented research he conducted in collaboration with Dr. Ricardo Chebel from the University of Minnesota. According to Bilby, most timed artificial insemination (A.I.) programs are developed with the idea cows will be bred almost exclusively by timed 22


©2011 CRI

A.I. with little to no heat detection. In practice however, most dairies use some combination of heat detection and timed A.I. The goal isn’t to have every dairy use the exact same system, but to decide what system best suits your individual dairy. There are a few things to remember when setting up a breeding program. 1. First service timed A.I. works best with a presynchronization phase (a series of treatments preceding the final Ovsynch or Cosynch phase of timed A.I. programs). Likewise, timed A.I. for repeat services also works best with a pre-synchronization phase. The challenge is PGF2α must not be given to cows prior to pregnancy check. 2. Pre-synchronization programs are designed to put cows in the optimal stage of the estrous cycle at the beginning of Ovsynch or Cosynch, but sometimes the most convenient timed A.I. program for the dairy doesn’t put cows in the optimal stage of the estrous

R eproductive M anagement cycle. For example, if you are on a Presynch-Ovsynch program and want to keep things simple, consider using a 12-day interval rather than a 14-day interval between the second PGF2α and the first GnRH. This allows you to keep the same shot days but a greater proportion of cows will be in the optimal stage of the estrous cycle at the start of your Ovsynch or Cosynch program. 3. Utilizing heat detection is an effective method to inseminate cows quickly. Farms with good heat detection and good conception to those breedings often have a good pregnancy rate. The reason for the good pregnancy rates is simple, less days between services equals a better heat detection rate. This was the focus of Bilby’s presentation. 4. For many producers, a combination of heat detection and a well planned timed A.I. program will yield the best possible results. Many cows show heat 20 to 28 days after previous insemination, so it may be beneficial to delay resynchronization until after this period to maximize the amount of heat detection breedings before timed A.I. Good reproduction is generally a result of healthy cows and attention to detail in a breeding program. You might be happy with a program that relies 100 percent on heat detection or 100 percent on timed A.I. However, if you don’t think your reproduction program is where you want it to be, consider making revisions that allow you to utilize both heat detection and timed A.I. But remember, it takes several months to truly evaluate a breeding program.

“On-farm Application of Chemical Test for Pregnancy Diagnosis”

Summarized and Reviewed by Gustavo Pena, National Account Specialist Dr. Matt Lucy from the University of Missouri and Johan Vosloo, manager of Country Dairy Inc. in New Era, Mich., explained that technology is changing the traditional role veterinarians play in dairy farms The most important component of a reproduction program is the early determination of open or non-pregnant cows so they may be entered into a resynchronization program. Currently, rectal palpation is the most common method used for pregnancy determination; it is used between 35 to 45 days post insemination. Ultrasound allows for determination of non-pregnant cows as early as 29 days post insemination; however, price and training of the operator poses a limiting factor for many farms. Sensitive

enzyme immunoassays have opened the door for the development of several chemical tests to detect specific pregnancy proteins in blood and serum. Including a chemical pregnancy test in your daily management will help improve reproduction efficiency and reduce cost by detecting open cows earlier. By reducing the number of days a cow is open, a producer can maximize milk production and increase returns. One of these tests is the DG29™ pregnancy test, available from Genex. DG29 can be used as early as 29 days post breeding and is simple to use. Blood samples are drawn on the farm, forwarded to a certified laboratory, and results are e-mailed or faxed to the farm. During the presentation, Vosloo explained how they include the chemical pregnancy test into their weekly management plan. The “vet check” has been changed to “blood day.” The vet still visits the farm, but with fewer cows to palpate the vet now focuses more on open and problem cows. In addition, they are able to utilize the vet in more of a consultant role training employees and reviewing animal handling protocols or milk quality standards. The presentation also provided a cost comparison between the traditional veterinary check and chemical test. A few key points were that previously the veterinarian was pregnancy checking more cows thereby spending more hours on the farm, and cows were in headlocks longer increasing stress and reducing milk production. In conclusion, if a chemical pregnancy test fits your management program, it can be economically wise, easy to manage and lead to increased conception rates. Keep in mind the pregnancy test does not replace good animal management or the need for veterinarian service.


We extend a special congratulations to the Genex members and customers who were honored by the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council for their herd’s exceptional reproductive performance: Hourigan Family Dairy, Syracuse, N.Y. River Ranch Dairy, Hanford, Calif. Breitenmoser Farms, Merrill, Wis. Synergy Dairy LLC, Wyoming, N.Y. Frazee Farms, Fabius, N.Y. Michel Ranch and Dairy, Waterford, Calif. Schilling Farms LLC, Darlington, Wis. Hochhammer Dairy Farm, Manitowoc, Wis. Pete DeHaan Dairy, Salem, Ore. ©2011 CRI



genetically S peaking


Genetic Road Map: Which Direction are You Heading? By: Colten Green, National Account Manager, Genex You are already familiar with maps and the four cardinal directions. You also know the combination of north, south, east and west you use determines how fast you get from point A to point B. The purpose of a map is to help you determine the best route to take once you’ve weighed all the information that goes in to your decision. Generally, people choose the most efficient route rather than a route that winds around and may never get you to your destination. This is all common sense, right? Then let me ask, when it comes to genetic selection on your dairy do you choose the most efficient route or are you wandering aimlessly?

Here’s a tip: most bull studs do not have the same breeding philosophy. Some studs focus mostly on the Lifetime Net Merit (LNM) index and fertility, others focus more on type, and others focus primarily on the price of their product. For this reason, if you only buy what each stud considers to be their “top” bulls, you likely fall into the category of wandering aimlessly with your genetic selection. Going back to Genetics 101, let’s discuss why you should have a direction in mind when choosing the bulls you want to sire your future herd and how you can ramp up genetic progress in your herd. Consider the equation for genetic progress (∆G) below. Then we’ll look more closely at it and our genetic road map on the following page.

h2 First, consider that all traits are not equally

heritable (h2). Traits like production and stature are highly heritable (>30%) while traits like Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and Productive Life (PL) are lowly heritable (<10%).

i The second part of the equation is selection intensity (i).

σp The next part of the equation (phenotypic standard

h2 x i x σp gi 24


deviation; σp) accounts for environment, which encompasses management, and other variations.

gi Lastly, generation interval (gi) is how quickly

new generations are added to the breeding population. Generation interval can be influenced from both the maternal and paternal side.

genetically S peaking

Approach your genetic program with a plan and take the most direct route to get where you want to go. Heritability

Generally speaking, the lowly heritable traits can have the biggest economic implications on your selection program1. Take for instance DPR which was inadvertently selected against in the Holstein breed for decades. This lowly heritable trait slowly eroded away until the breed was a net negative2. In 2004, we began using this trait as a way to select for daughter fertility. The year 2009 marked the first time since 1993 that both Holstein cows and sires were net positive for DPR. The message here is that it takes multiple generations to improve or correct a lowly heritable trait while genetic progress through highly heritable traits can generally be realized more quickly. Therefore, if you are overlooking lowly heritable traits and selecting mostly on high heritability traits then you may have a long road ahead of you to improve on things like cow fertility (DPR), longevity (PL) or mastitis resistance (Somatic Cell Score; SCS). The good news for producers using LNM is each of these low heritability traits is fixed into the LNM formula, so sires with negative DPR, PL or SCS are penalized accordingly.

Selection Intensity

You can make genetic progress through selection intensity by using a standardized set of criteria for sire selection. For example, if your breeding goal is to improve production but you also want to utilize high fertility sires for a conception advantage, you would make the most genetic progress by choosing bulls that meet both criteria. If instead you chose to use one group of bulls with high production and a second group of bulls with high fertility (and low production), the average genetic progress

across the herd for production would be limited. Selection intensity can be magnified with the use of technologies like sexed semen, embryo transfer and in vitro fertilization. A second way to increase selection intensity is through voluntary culling. If you have low value cows or heifers in the herd and are in a situation where you don’t need to keep them, then you can make rapid genetic progress through culling. If you find this an interesting concept, you should consult with your trusted advisors about using low density genomic testing (i.e. 3K chip) to identify lowend animals or alternative methods of selecting cattle for culling (i.e. low relative value, low LNM of sire, chronically ill or problem breeder). Herds with excellent reproduction and high culling can make progress very quickly by removing low-end cows from the herd.

The Variance

The wild card in the equation is the σp or the phenotypic standard deviation. This plays a huge role in the amount of genetic progress made, yet you can’t select for it. Instead, it’s the impact the management scheme on your dairy or perhaps the location of your dairy has on genetic progress. I have had a few discussions with producers who are good dairy managers but see little value in increasing selection intensity to improve their herd’s genetic progress. Instead, they believe they can rely on variance or simply “manage” the genetic level of their herd. In other words, they try to use lower genetic merit bulls and good herd management to attain some level of genetic progress. My argument is that in this situation the genetic level of the animals still matters - selection intensity is ©2011 CRI



G E N E T I C A L L Y S peaking Results Example 1.

Results Example 2.

still important even with good management. Think about this: generally the cattle with the best genetics (PTAs) for traits like Milk, DPR and SCS separate themselves from the rest of the herd in each of these categories. For example, the cows in the upper quartile for sire PTA Milk has a higher 305 ME, the upper quartile for DPR has fewer days open, and the upper quartile for SCS has lower somatic cell counts. This fact is shown on the Resultsâ&#x201E;˘ reports, above, from a Genex member herd. The point is the top cattle are going to sort themselves out from the herd average, and in general the top cows in your herd will be the ones with the highest genetic levels.

identified at just a couple months of age and marketed before they are 2 years old. This means a 5 year old sire can have his first daughters evaluated at about the same time his grandson is beginning to be marketed. Do you think it is absurd to turn bulls around so quickly? Cattle genetics has actually lagged behind its poultry and swine counterparts for centuries because cattle have a longer gestation period and it takes cattle longer to reach maturity, both of which extend the generation interval. The combination of genomics, efficient reproduction and high voluntary culling can give dairy producers levels of genetic progress that were never available up to this point.

Generation Interval

We took a tour through the equation for genetic progress and have arrived at our final destination. If you have not thought through your genetics program in a while, now is a great time to do so. Start with the sires you are purchasing. Make sure they have your selected criteria in common. If your situation allows for voluntarily culling, then take advantage of that option to improve your genetic progress. Lastly, decide if it is worthwhile for you to develop a strategy that gives you the most replacements from your best heifers. While A.I. has many benefits, the primary advantage is supposed to be the genetic gains that are made possible. Approach the genetics of your herd with a plan and take the most direct route to get where you want to go.

The final component of the equation is the generation interval or, in other words, the age of your herd. The youngest cattle on your farm should be the most elite genetically. To be even more exact, the youngest cattle on your farm whose dams are in their first lactation should be the most elite. This is important because the most rapid gains can be made through this heifer group. There are technologies available (i.e. sexed semen, embryo transfer, etc.) that can help amplify the genetics of these heifers in future generations. Generation interval is important on the sire side too. It has been known for years that the most elite sires in the dairy industry are the younger bulls. However, bulls had to be identified as genetically elite through extensive progeny testing programs, and they were not available for widespread use until they were at least 5 years old. With the adoption of genomics, elite dairy sires can be 26


References: 1 Cassell, B. Using heritability for genetic improvement. 2009. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Publication 404-084. 2 AIPL Trends Report. cfm?R_Menu=HO.d#StartBody. Accessed November 11, 2011.

Every Daywhen Counts it comes to finding open cows. Know as early as 29 days post breeding with the use of a DG29™ blood pregnancy test.

The complete kit includes all required materials from blood tubes to needles and the shipping container. Test one cow or a whole herd and have results emailed within days.

“With DG29, you can pregnancy check on a daily basis. You don’t have to herd check on someone else’s schedule. We draw blood on all cows 30 days after breeding.”

“With DG29 you get information back in a timely fashion to identify open cows and re-enroll in a breeding program quicker. We’ve seen a 10-day drop in our average days open.”

Matt Manning, Manning Dairy, Lansing, Iowa

Steve Kayhart, Kayhart Bros LLC, Addison, Vermont

A Product of:

For more detailed information, visit the Genex web site: and search “DG29”. To purchase DG29 test kits in the U.S., contact your local Genex representative, call customer service at 888-333-1783, or order online at

herd story Calves pictured below are from the farm of Mike Rohe, featured on page 31.

d n a l y r i a D s M i n n e s o ta ’

A Da y i n

By: Angie Kringle, Communications Specialist, CRI Central Minnesota is home to the number one dairy producing county in the state, Stearns County. This November, they received their first measurable snowfall right before Thanksgiving and just in time for my visit to three dairies around Freeport, Minn. Genex Breeding Program Specialist Kyle Kuelbs has logged over 30 years of service in the A.I. industry and today serves herds in Stearns, Todd and Morrison counties. Because of his busy breeding schedule, Kyle couldn’t join me for the day so I was instead accompanied by National Account Specialist Dustin Hollermann (who spent the first part of his Genex career serving the herds of Stearns County). As I was given a chance to glimpse into the farms that make up Minnesota’s dairyland, I bundled up for a winter day. I set out armed with a camera, notebook and pen to capture the stories behind three neighborhood dairies who are loyal, long-time Genex members. 28


herd story

Steve Wiechman

At the first stop of the day, Dustin and I were greeted by Steve Wiechman, the third generation to operate his farm. Steve’s father utilized the artificial insemination (A.I.) services of Minnesota Valley Breeders (a predecessor of Genex) in the 1970s. Through a series of transitions, the farm utilized services provided by other companies before switching to 100 percent Genex products and services in the early 90s. Together with his wife Cheryl and their eight kids ages 13-31, the Wiechman farm is run with two goals in mind, “To make a living and enjoy doing it.” Genex plays a part by providing mating service through the Mating Appraisal for Profit™ (MAP™) program, technician breeding service and top-quality genetics. After visiting in the milkhouse, we stepped into the cozy-warm tiestall barn home to the herd of 58 Holstein cows and the friendly farm dog who was insistent on having a picture taken. Steve told me that the cows standing around us had a few expectations to live up to, “They need to do three things: give milk, look nice and

be nice.” In order to maintain a herd which lives up to those expectations, GenChoice™ sexed semen is used on heifers. This assures an ample supply of heifers to choose from when culling decisions need to be made. In the past year he adopted the principles of Calf Math™ to help keep up with his herd goals even better. If a cow lacks in any of the three key areas, they are bred to beef bulls. “Whenever a dry cow freshens, you automatically hope for a heifer calf. You tend to forget how ornery the cow was when she was milking or even that she didn’t milk as much. When you breed to a beef bull, it’s an easy decision at freshening. That calf goes to the sale barn and doesn’t join the milking string, heifer calf or not.” Since he started breeding to beef bulls, Steve has marketed 10 crossbred beef calves. He had recently sent a group of animals containing some beef crossbreds to the sale barn. “The beef are definitely bringing more. The last group really saw a premium for the beef animals.” Before heading to the next farm, we took time to photograph Steve, the farm dog and the picturesque red barn. ©2011 CRI



herd story Triplet heifer calves

Diane, Tom and Bernie Herkenhoff

Herkenhoff Family

At the next stop, we met with Bernie, Tom and Diane Herkenhoff at their Century Farm which is home to 127 milking cows. Bernie started by giving me the background of the herd. It started with 55 cows in 1977. “We increased the herd to 89 cows in 1992 when the boys were getting to a good ‘helping age’. Now we’re at our current number after Tom returned to farm in a partnership with me.”

dry cows. The portion of the barn containing breeding aged heifers has headlocks to facilitate A.I. breeding.

The youngest of the Herkenhoff children is currently a fifth grader and has a soft spot for the red cows in the herd. Their next is in the eighth grade and takes on calf feeding responsibilities with her mom. Their remaining children include a son at St. Cloud State University, a son working as an ag lender at a credit union and a daughter who is a dental hygienist.

To help take a load off the mating process, Herkenhoffs have enlisted the help of MAP to make those decisions. “Tom and I will choose which bulls we want to use, and they’ll run the MAP report accordingly. It sure is nice to ‘unload’ those details on someone else. It’s a lot of work to otherwise keep up with the inbreeding. MAP just does that for you.”

The Herkenhoffs milk cows in a unique setup. You see, they expanded the tiestall barn with every expansion instead of putting in a parlor. With each expansion came minor changes from the previous version, but the end result is a barn full of happy cows chewing their cud. Just outside the milking barn you’ll find new barns which house heifers and 30


“We’re 100 percent registered here. It’s a little extra work with the paperwork, but I feel it’s worth it,” stated Bernie. Breeding goals for this herd include: bulls greater than +2.00 PTA Type, improved feet and legs, good production and good components.

In addition to the MAP program, Herkenhoffs enjoy increased culling opportunities due to the use of GenChoice sexed semen on heifers and some cows. “It takes quite a bit to keep up our herd average of 25,000 lbs. milk and 900 lbs. fat. We’ve been able to keep it at that level for the last three years because we are able to cull more aggressively when we need to.”

herd story

Mike Rohe

Our last visit of the day caught Genex delegate Mike Rohe just prior to milking time on his 250-cow dairy. Since delegate meetings had just taken place around the country, Mike was well-informed of many of the current events at the cooperative as well as some of the issues currently facing the industry.

off big time, especially when you look at all the bulls we’ve got with that Co-op prefix.”

When asked why he became involved as a delegate, Mike answered quickly, “My dad was on the Minnesota Valley Breeders (Genex predecessor) board of directors so it was an easy decision for me to become a delegate when I returned home after school. As a delegate you really learn how the cooperative is run. It’s neat to see that the input we give is actually implemented. They take our suggestions and put them into practice.” Much of the first part of our conversation was centered around the accomplishments and advancements of the GENESIS Cooperative Herd (featured on Page 7). “We’ve got a good thing going there. When you see bulls like O-STYLE come up through the program, you know that 20 years ago we had the right idea. It’s paying

As we continued with the visit, Mike made numerous references to the knowledge and experience he had gained from being a delegate. From the high-ranking Lifetime Net Merit sires in his breeding program, to the plans to utilize genomic testing on his heifers and even on future plans for expansion on the farm. “We’ve really started looking into the automated calf feeders like they put in at Stony Hill. That’s on the horizon for the next year.” In one day, three different neighbors, three different herd sizes and three different operations showed the path to profitability is diverse, but Genex can help you get there. Besides being home to the Wiechmans, Herkenhoffs and Rohes, Stearns County also boasts facilities of Genex Farm Systems, located in Melrose, Minn., and one of the four markets operated by Central Livestock Association, found in Albany. For more information, visit or

Grow your Career with Genex! Start your career with a growing company! For further information visit: or email ©2011 CRI



Red Sires with

Improved conformation and impressive Daughter Pregnancy Rates make these two newest Red Sires hot commodities! 1HO10460 DE PRINCE-RED Destry x Toystory x O Man +3.05 PTA Type +3.00 Foot & Leg Composite +2.33 Udder Composite +1.3 Daughter Pregnancy Rate

1HO10412 VICTOR *RC Destry x Shottle x O Man +2.72 PTA Type +2.47 Foot & Leg Composite +1.88 Udder Composite +1.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate

USDA/12-11, HA-USA/12-11

Š2011 CRI


Product of the U.S.A.

December 2011 HORIZONS  
December 2011 HORIZONS  

December 2011 Dairy Horizons