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News M ay

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We all need a little help sometimes As a business owner you have a few “keys to success” stored in your mind’s library. Unfortunately, there is one key to operating a successful dairy that often gets tossed off the shelf – the willingness to ask for help. According to dairy producer Chris Osentoski, allowing others to help was the turning point in making his dairy more successful. “It’s not easy to admit that you need help making improvements on your farm,” explained Osentoski. “But looking at our herd’s progress today, I’m so glad I asked for help from my NorthStar team!” Utilizing NorthStar’s Dairy Herd Information (DHI) and genetic consulting (SMS) services for more than 10 years, the 280-cow Holstein herd has experienced progression in production and health, but felt some aspects of their reproduction program could be better. “Doing the breeding myself, it was really discouraging to see that cows weren’t getting pregnant,” admitted Osentoski. “I couldn’t understand why because I had a very aggressive approach, breeding any cow showing the slightest signs of heat.” “Understanding my frustration, Leigh [Franklin, NorthStar Sales Representative] put me in contact with Karmen [Loney, NorthStar Reproductive Solutions Specialist],” recalled Osentoski. “I was hesitant to reach out to her at first – mostly because I didn’t want to admit to myself that I could use help.” After visiting the herd and reviewing their DHI and reproduction records, Loney determined that Osentoski

had the necessary tools but needed help with a few finer details of the breeding process. Providing an A.I. refresher course was the first step in combatting Osentoski’s low pregnancy rate. “Karmen helped me expand my breeding techniques, which was a huge factor in improving our pregnancy rate,” claimed Osentoski. “Today, our pregnancy rate has reached 30 percent! That alone has increased our bottom line significantly.” Having doubled their pregnancy rate, the Cass City, Michigan herd also credits their bi-annual records analysis from NorthStar for increasing their profitability. “Though a lot of improvement in our reproduction program is due to the breeding techniques Karmen showed me, we have also gained a lot of knowledge about our herd from the analysis she provides,” explained Osentoski. “With these reports, we can see how well we’re doing in nearly every aspect of the dairy because they factor in all of our DHI data and other important information we track in PCDART. Our nutritionist also refers to these reports when determining if a ration change has positively or negatively impacted our herd’s reproduction.” “From the data in the reports, Karmen helped us determine that a presynch program could be beneficial for our reproduction program,” stated Osentoski. “We start with a shot of Lutalyse® at 45 DIM and two weeks later we give another shot. If we’re still

Looking at our herd’s progress, I’m so glad I asked my NorthStar team for help! not seeing signs of heat, we’ll get those cows started on Ovsynch. Once we had this program going we were able to make small tweaks to advance further, which has really helped our two-yearolds who weren’t getting pregnant. We also changed their VWP to 70, and we’ve been really happy with the results!” With continuous improvements in the herd’s reproduction program and the use of gender SELECTed® semen, now Osentoski’s biggest issue is finding housing for the dairy’s 300+ heifers. “We had to expand our heifer barn, and we’ll likely have to complete another expansion soon,” explained Osentoski. “It may seem like a pain some days, but it’s definitely a good problem to have!” As a professional in your industry, asking for help may sometimes feel like admitting defeat; however, Osentoski is proof that sometimes all we need is a little help. “The in-depth reports, along with refresher work on A.I. technique has strengthened our dairy’s bottom line by increasing our pregnancy rate and decreasing our semen expenses,” said Ostentoski. “In today’s market, we’re all looking for ways to improve our herds – we can’t afford to not ask for help!”


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NorthStar News May/June 2018  
NorthStar News May/June 2018