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TRENDS THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS David C. Thorbahn, president and C.E.O.

It’s easy to get caught up in the genetic achievements of our business. Each day, I hear about new sires coming down the pike and I share in the excitement of new production records and greatuddered two-year-olds. It’s a matter of fact that those triumphs reflect our success as a genetics supplier, and oftentimes they call us back and remind us that genetics and good cows first sparked our passion for the dairy industry. For just a moment, I challenge you to put genetics and your day-to-day responsibilities to the side and look at our business through a different lens. In agriculture, your end product is either fiber, fuel or food. As milk and beef producers, you are providing essential nutrients and protein to a growing population. Select Sires wants to be your trusted partner in those efforts. As a farmer-owned cooperative, we want to go above and beyond genetics and reproductive guidance. We want to help you build a profitable business that will carry your legacy into the next generation while affording you opportunities to provide milk and beef to our neighbors near and far. Consumer trends Food purchasers are not just curious about food production practices, but they are leading these conversations. Carbon sequestration, regenerative agriculture and production with a purpose are just a few catchphrases used frequently in articles and blog posts that discuss food trends in 2021. Many of these expected food and nutrition trends tie back to sustainability. Industry trends When we take a few steps back and remember that we are food suppliers, we must ask how sustainability is at play in our cow herd. Yes, I’m sure you recycle water, have great manure management plans and even use byproducts to feed your cattle, but Select Sires is challenging you to take a look at your herd through a new lens. Are you leveraging genetics to create the most sustainable cow for your herd? With genetic and reproductive audits, we’ve been rightsizing our heifer inventories and now, we’re beginning to identify opportunities for additional revenue streams. We’re also identifying opportunities in cow health and longevity. Gone are the days of two lactation cows because farm data illustrates the immense value of later lactation cows. For this model to be sustainable, we will need to breed for healthier cows, with focus on wellness and fertility. This edition of Selections provides a wealth of resources that relate to building profitable businesses for the next generation (page 10), opportunities in the beef x dairy market (page 8) and strategies to create a healthier herd (page 4). u

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7HO15167 14HO15181 7HO15430 14HO15250 14HO15432 7HO15069 7HO15370 250HO15087 7HO14250 7HO15242 7HO15079






3081 3003 2989 2987 2980 2975 2966 2962 2941 2938 2928

949 861 867 834 865 873 838 835 878 883 549

2.67 2.52 2.65 2.51 2.59 2.65 2.56 2.64 2.50 2.58 2.65

104 105 104 106 106 103 106 104 103 105 105

1,162 1,003 1,078 996 959 843 1,012 755 1,029 1,081 959

2.6 3.7 2.3 2.7 2.8 1.9 3.2 2.2 2.9 2.7 2.7

Progeny Proven

250HO13531 7HO12942 7HO13753 7HO12978 250HO12975



2755 2693 2677 2664 2543




603 579 632 506 379

2.63 2.69 2.59 2.66 2.66

104 103 107 105 105

704 564 729 501 322

2.6 2.3 2.4 2.7 1.6

Take genetic strides to reduce mastitis events and improve udder health by adding these wellness superstars to your breeding program. Select Sires offers a diverse portfolio of sires that excel for the Dairy Wellness Profit Index® (DWP$®) and provide powerful mastitis resistance without sacrificing production traits.

250HO13531 TOTEM Daughter Group Stuart K. Martin, Alma, ON *DENOTES NxGEN® sires. 02/21 Zoetis Data. 12/20 CDCB/HA Genomic Evaluation Rel%: GAMEDAY MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 54; TRIBUTE MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 48; EXPECTANT MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 50; HELIOGEN MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 47; EXPEDITE MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 50; TOP DOG MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 46; REGAL MAST 67, SCS 74, Z MAST 49; ROZLINE MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 50; LEGACY MAST 71, SCS 79, Z MAST 60; STELLAR MAST 67, SCS 75; Z MAST 50; ESPIONAGE MAST 67, SCS 75, Z MAST 47; TOTEM MAST 73, SCS 91, Z MAST 58; RESOLVE MAST 80, SCS 96, Z MAST 73; DEVINE MAST 72, SCS 91, Z MAST 59; HOUSE MAST 73, SCS 93, Z MAST 58; PHARO MAST 77, SCS 96, Z MAST 61. TOTEM daughter photo by Jones. All sires listed on this page qualify for semen export for Canada.

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TO RE-THINK YOUR GENETIC IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY TO COMBAT MASTITIS AND LAMENESS Chuck Sattler, vice president of genetic programs Select Sires Inc.

The use of beef sires on dairy cows and right-sizing heifer inventories have been some of the most sweeping changes on dairy farms in recent years. Now that many of these changes have been implemented, it is worthwhile to spend a minute and think about how they might impact your future dairy herd. The obvious impact is that, as you raise fewer replacement heifers, the turnover rate of your herd will likely decline. The turnover rate of your herd determines the average age of the cows in your herd. As turnover rates decline, the average age of your herd increases. Relationship between turnover rate and the average cow lifespan Managing a herd that is Avg. No. of made up of 40 percent first Turnover Rate Lactations/Cow lactation cows is different 40% 2.5 than managing a herd where 35 percent of the cows are 33% 3.0 fourth lactation or greater. As the average age of your herd increases, achieving production goals will be easier, but you will have more challenges in keeping cows healthy and keeping days open at reasonable levels. Management changes that impact the size of your heifer inventory should also include a review of your genetic selection strategy. Your selection index is the primary tool for implementing your genetic strategy. Reviewing this periodically is a crucial part of planning your dairy’s future. Considering the herd demographic changes that are coming, shifting to more emphasis on direct selection of health traits should be seriously considered. Another reason to consider more direct emphasis on health traits is that they typically have an unfavorable genetic relationship to production traits. As we select for more productive cattle, we unintentionally are breeding for cattle less resistant to disease. Like what we learned with fertility traits over the course of the last several decades, a similar situation exists with health traits. Fortunately, we’ve had indirect genetic evaluations for health traits by selecting for things like Productive Life (PL) and Somatic Cell

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Score (SCS) that have allowed us to maintain genetic levels for resistance to disease. Availability of direct evaluations for health traits now make selection for disease resistance more effective and can help us do better. Most industry indexes like Net Merit Dollars (NM$) include health traits but only with a small emphasis. Dairy Wellness Profit Dollars® (DWP$®) is an alternative that has a different approach. A quick comparison of the two indexes shows the difference. Comparison of trait weightings in NM$ and DWP$ One thing that stands out in this comparison is the difference in emphasis on mastitis resistance. Direct evaluations for mastitis have been available from Zoetis since 2016 and from the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) since 2018. These evaluations are independently validated Trait NM$ DWP$ and when conducting herd audits, it is clear these Production 45% 36% evaluations effectively Mastitis, SCS 5% 14% identify cows that have the Fertility 10% 12% genetic capability to resist Other Cow Health 21% 19% clinical mastitis. Below are Calving Ability 4% 3% genetic audit results for second lactation cows in Calf Health 0% 6% a large herd with genomic Conformation 10% 0% evaluation results. Size -5% -10%

CDCB GPTA for Mastitis Quartile Analysis of second lactation cows Mastitis is a management challenge for almost all dairies. The costs of clinical and sub-clinical cases of the disease are significant and it is a major reason why cows leave the herd. Now that we have evaluations that directly assess genetic resistance to mastitis, it is highly recommended that traits like CDCB Mastitis Resistance and Zoetis Mastitis be included in selection indexes. Lameness is another management challenge for most dairies and an important animal welfare concern. DWP$ is the only national index that includes lameness resistance. It is summarized in the table on the previous page as part of the Other Cow Health category. Traditionally, the industry has focused on feet and leg conformation traits as an indirect indicator of hoof health and mobility. When studying genetic evaluations of high reliability bulls, we see the expected positive correlations between lameness resistance, Productive Life (PL) and Livability (LIV). Correlations of the conformation traits, Feet and Legs Composite (FLC) and Feet and Legs Score (FLS), have negative correlations with PL and LIV which is opposite of what we expect. The correlations between lameness GPTA Quartile

No. of Cows

Avg. GPTA Mastitis

Avg. SCC

% of Cows w/ Mastitis





















resistance and the feet and leg conformation traits are slightly positive. Including lameness in your selection index will be much more effective at improving hoof health than using the traditional feet and leg conformation traits. Trait




Productive Life












Correlation between common feet and leg traits and lifetime performance traits DWP$ and NM$ are industry-wide indexes routinely available for your use. Industry indexes are very comprehensive to address the needs of a wide range of herds. They may not adequately address the uniqueness of your herd. They also may include more traits than what is needed for your dairy. Working with your Select Sires genetic consultant to develop a customized index is a viable alternative to using national indexes. This can allow you the opportunity to focus on traits essential to your operation and to tailor the index to your specific milk pricing situation. Whether you use a customized index or an industry-wide index, it is important to keep in mind the capabilities your cows will need to be profitable members of the herd in the future. As heifer inventories shrink and culling rates decline, future cows will need to have a higher level of disease resistance to allow them to last another lactation or two. Mastitis and lameness are common health issues and should receive focus when choosing or designing a selection index. u

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T he health and wellness of your herd is a top priority.

Dairy Wellness Profit Index® (DWP$®), derived from Zoetis CLARIFIDE® Plus testing, helps identify sires that produce offspring that experience fewer health issues and in return, improve the profitability of your herd. Call your Select Sires representative today to choose these wellness specialists!











7JE1904 BOSA














614JE1885 JADYN







117 7.4







7JE1490 GREG


126 1.9









100 4.2









36 2.7


7JE1817 POBOY {6}







94 2.9


14JE1818 DARBUN {6}





12/20 CDCB/AJCA Genomic Evaluations. 02/21 Zoetis data. All bulls listed on this page except JX STORMCLOUD {4} qualify for semen export to Canada. All bulls listed on this page are BBR 100. DECATUR and JADYN are JH1C, CHROME and ENSIGN are JNSC.

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Undesirable haplotypes are a hot-button topic and social media is abuzz with dairy farmers asking questions about responsible breeding. In the last decade, genomic testing and genetic research have unveiled a handful of breed-specific undesirable traits. Most recently, the American Jersey Cattle Association made known a new undesirable trait known as Jersey Neuropathy with Splayed Forelimbs or JNS. Each time undesirable traits and haplotypes are put in the spotlight, a new wave of question and hesitation follows. The reality of genetic research From parent averages to genomic test results and even herd and health monitoring programs-we have loads of information available at our fingertips. On both the cow and sire side of the equation, genetic research has led to fascinating discoveries and a wide range of on-farm benefits. These discoveries often appear either favorable or unfavorable, but in the complete picture, all information benefits genetic advancement. Carrier sires in A.I. Today and throughout history, there have been many breedleading sires that achieved great success while also carrying an undesirable trait. Avoiding these sires altogether would have hindered our genetic progress, but instead, our industry combined the available genetic information with a strategic breeding model to take advantage of the best genetics. As guided by the cooperative’s farmer-led sire committees, Select Sires deliberately reviews undesirable traits in sire selection and development. Any carrier sire that is accepted into Select Sires’ A.I. program has been identified with leading genetic merit and is poised to provide substantial genetic progress, creating more profitable cows for dairy herd owners.

A haplotype is a group of genes/markers that was inherited from one of its parents. This group of genes was inherited together because they are located close to each other on the same chromosome. Nucleotide base4Gene4Haplotype4Chromosome4Genome

What’s the risk of using a sire with an undesirable haplotype? Another genetic defect?! Why do we have so many? Is it irresponsible to use a sire that carries an undesirable haplotype?

Responsible genetic strategies By using genetic test results, pedigree information and precise mating strategies, dairies can avoid carrier-to-carrier matings and successfully manage undesirable traits. It is entirely possible to avoid experiencing economic loss caused by undesirable haplotypes and reap the benefits of the industry’s best genetics. Irresponsible behavior is not disclosing the carrier status of an animal, not testing an animal to avoid knowing its carrier status or willfully disregarding information about undesirable traits when making mating decisions. Select Sires publishes all relevant genetic information on each individual sires webpage. Leverage all available genetic information to make the best breeding decisions and rest assured that you can responsibly use carrier sires to advance your herd's genetic success. u

SMS protects your herd from unfavorable haplotypes and offers guidance in selecting the most valuable genetics. By using pedigree information and genetic test results to avoid carrierto-carrier matings, your SMS genetic consultant can help you capture genetic benefits from carrier sires.

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DIVERSIFICATION OPTIONS TO BRING GREATER PROFITABILITY TO YOUR HERD Let’s Make a Deal was a popular game show that premiered in 1963. Contestants were tasked with trading and making deals with the host to win unknown, potentially more valuable prizes. The final segment offered contestants an even greater prize, but they had to blindly choose one of three numbered doors. This final segment has a nostalgic theme as the host reveals the prize behind each door, he shouts, “What’s behind door number one?” Contestants had three options and the other side of the door was always a mystery. In today’s beef x dairy market, you could make a few comparisons. Fortunately, we know a little more than the game show’s contestants and instead of numbers to identify “our doors,” we can call them ProfitSOURCE sires, ProfitSOURCE partners and HerdFlexTM. There’s still a bit of mystery, some factors to consider and deals to work out before selecting a beef x dairy venture that works best for your dairy. In early 2020, Select Sires launched ProfitSOURCE, a complete beef x dairy program with a special lineup of sires, exclusive partners and consultative services that ensure dairy farmers ‘pick the right door’ to complement their management and herd goals and bring the most value to their operation. ProfitSOURCE sires Behind door number one is ProfitSOURCE sires, a special lineup developed and selected for crossbreeding on Holsteins and Jerseys. These sires excel for calving ease, growth performance, carcass merit, and offer elite fertility to maximize reproductive performance.

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ProfitSOURCE partners Door number two opens to reveal ProfitSOURCE partners, TD Beef and Power Genetics. TD Beef and Power Genetics represent a network of calf ranches and feedlots with strong relationships to packers interested in source-verified, high-quality calves from superior genetics. The opportunity to work with one of these partners varies by geography, calf pickup logistics, breed preferences, genetic criteria and end product targets. HerdFLEX The latest addition to ProfitSOURCE is behind door number three: Simplot’s SimVitro® HerdFlexTM beef embryos. This is a unique and enticing option for dairy farmers that are right-sizing their heifer inventories and looking for revenue opportunities. Learn more about HerdFlex embryos and the market opportunities on the next page. Let’s make a deal In reality, there are more than three doors, and more than three options in the beef x dairy marketplace. The difference between ProfitSOURCE’s “program” and commodity beef x dairy cross calves comes down to records, validation and traceability. A program offers a plan and a premium. If the guidelines are followed and records validate the claims, then a premium price structure is available. A black hide will no longer be enough to make calves marketable. Genetics, identification and superb calf management are critical— ProfitSOURCE is built to provide the resources and tools to address each of these needs and create the greatest opportunity for profit in your herd. What door will you choose? u

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Tim Baumgartner, genetics manager, Jer-Z-Boyz Together, Select Sires and the J.R. Simplot Company’s Animal Sciences division add a new option to the strategic breeding model. As many dairy farms investigate opportunities for added revenue, beef embryos are now an attainable option. Select Sires is the first and only provider of Simplot’s SimVitro HerdFlex beef embryos. Dairy farmers can capture revenue potential by selling 100 percent beef calves born from pregnancies not needed for replacements, all while advancing elite genetics within their dairy herd and appropriately managing heifer inventories. HerdFlex beef embryos are grade 1, high quality and commercially produced specifically for placement in dairy cows. Each mating is to an elite, proven Select Sires Angus sire to maximize the resulting embryo’s genetic potential and value for key traits such as calving ease, $Beef and ribeye area. The $Beef value index includes weaning and yearling weight, dry matter intake, as well as carcass weight, marbling, ribeye area and fat. Beef calves with superior genetics are in demand and have the potential to earn a more desirable return on investment compared to beef x dairy crossbred calves or straight dairy calves. Resulting calves from HerdFlex beef embryos offer additional benefits related to feeding and finishing, including: A consistent, superior genetic package u All resulting calves can be half-siblings and are highly sought after by calf buyers Cost of gain advantage (COG) u The COG is the marginal cost of putting weight on an animal. Interest, feed, mineral, marketing, pasture/hay, etc. High carcass merit and marbling Availability year-round, delivering a consistent supply to the beef cattle market u Having calves finish when the supply is lowest and prices are the highest can be very valuable

Located in Pixley, California, Jer-Z-Boyz Ranch is a 5,000-cow Jersey herd. With a strategic breeding program in place and on-farm equipment to facilitate embryo transfers, Jer-Z-Boyz quickly recognized HerdFlex as a valuable opportunity. After training technicians, they implanted the first embryos in February 2019.

Herd Profile Owners: Gary and Donna de Graaf and son, Daniel de Graaf Breeding goals: components, fertility, trouble-free cows, longevity Q: How are you using beef embryos in your program and what cows are identified as recipients?

A: At this time, we only implant HerdFlex embryos in our lactating cows. Our goal is to have about 50 percent of the milking females carry a beef calf, whether it be a pregnancy from a HerdFlex embryo or a unit of beef semen. Cows with low classification scores, poor performance or inferior maternal lines usually sort themselves out and are identified as a recipient. Q. How does HerdFlex contribute to your ultimate herd goals?

A: Our long-term goal is to strengthen the genetics and performance of our Jersey herd. We work towards this goal by selecting our best females and mating them with the best Jersey sires available. HerdFlex provides us with an incentive to identify our most elite genetics and adds an opportunity for increased revenue from our lesser-performing females. Q: What are your HerdFlex-specific goals?

A: Our goals for using beef embryos are two-fold, yet simple: get cows pregnant and maintain our desired Jersey population. u Pregnancies - From our extensive IVF program, we know that conception with embryos is higher, especially in the warm summer months. We estimate a 10 percent advantage in conception using embryos during the months of July through September. With more consistent pregnancies, we have more consistent calvings throughout the year and find this works best in our management system. Prior to using embryos during the summer, we experienced a roller coaster in our calving numbers and in turn, some calving difficulties. Cows that weren’t settling in the hot weather were conceiving in October and then calving at the beginning of summer. u Population - We use nearly 100 percent sexed semen in our A.I. dairy program. The value of a pregnancy is important and we prefer that investment be profitable, whether it be in the form of an elite replacement heifer or a beef calf to bring additional revenue. Q: Have you had success with your HerdFlex calves? A: Absolutely! No issues or very few issues with calving. Their average birth weight is about 10 pounds heavier than our Jersey calves and they have slightly less health incidences than our Jerseys. The HerdFlex calves have done very well in our program. u

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“Well, Molly always liked cows.”

Sam Yonkman grinned and let out a short laugh at the simplicity of his answer. It was a warm, windy day in McBain, Michigan and Sam stood on a hill with windmills dotting the landscape and an expansive view of Yonkman Dairy just beneath. The question he was answering was “How did things begin and how did you get to this place?” We can agree it’s pretty rare for someone to wake up on a Monday morning and decide they want to trade stocks on Wall Street, teach middle school science or manage a dairy herd. There’s always a motivation-an experience or story-fueling our career decisions. Molly Pluger’s motivation is family, legacy and something most can relate to, a deep love for cows.

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Then and now In 1944, Molly’s grandfather purchased 19 milking cows and a team of horses to establish Yonkman Dairy. Sam, Molly’s father, resumed ownership at a young age. To support his family, he took steps to grow the herd and the land base. It was his developing interest in genetics and appreciation for good cows that led him to Select Sires. Select Sires has been a trusted partner at Yonkman Dairy for two generations of ownership. In that time, the industry has experienced plenty of change, but the crew at Yonkman Dairy has remained persistent in their long-term goals. Sam and Denise Yonkman, daughter Molly and son-in-law BJ Pluger, and sons Ryan and Lucas work together as the management team for Yonkman Dairy. As general herd manager, Molly is directly involved in the genetic and reproductive planning. In recent years, Yonkman Dairy has more than doubled their herd size from 700 to 1,500 lactating cows and Select Sires’ consultative services like ProfitMAX® and Select Mating Service® (SMS®) were key to successfully growing their herd of profitable cows.

“The team approach is vital in caring for our customers. We bring them experts to help meet and exceed their goals.” - Lynnae Dick, sales representative

“I build a very close relationship with my farms. My heart is in their success. My goal is to see them succeed year after year.” - Deanna Pleiman, A.I. specialist

“Raising my kids here on the farm touches my heart. It brings back memories of when I was a little girl growing up on this farm. I want my children to have that same experience,” says Molly. While Molly’s long-term vision is to provide an opportunity for the next generation, the Yonkman and Pluger team recognizes that this begins on the cow level and investing in genetics is paramount to their success. Cow-side goals As the Account Team Leader, Jess Jakubik collaborates closely with CentralStar Cooperative team members Deanna Pleiman, Julie Ainsworth, Lynnae Dick and Moss McCauley. A large part of Jess’ responsibility is managing the dairy’s goals and connecting those goals with the tools and services that can enhance profitability. “The Yonkman Dairy is driven by success. They want this dairy to be here for the next generation,” says Jess. Quality is critical when it comes to Yonkman’s goals for the cow herd. She describes the herd’s context of quality as functionally sound, high-producing cows that remain in the herd for many lactations. Molly says, “We focus on the right cows. We only have 1,500 spots and those spots must be filled with the most profitable cows.” Select Sires created a custom index for the herd based on their quality-driven goals. High priority traits include Combined Fat

and Protein (CFP), Udder Composite (UDC), Rear Legs Side View and Feet and Leg Composite (FLC), as well as health, fitness and fertility traits like Productive Life (PL), Somatic Cell Score (SCS) and Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). Focus on these areas has created high-producing, consistent and efficient cattle with 42 percent of the herd third lactation or greater. To manage their inventory of replacement heifers, Julie Ainsworth uses the Optimal Genetic Pathways calculator. This innovative tool, available exclusively through Select Sires, identifies opportunities for additional revenue. Yonkman Dairy is breeding their low-end genetic animals to beef sires and selling young calves into the beef x dairy market supply chain. Team approach “The people at Select Sires are a team,” says Julie. As a customer of Select Sires, farmers have access to experts at both their local member cooperative and nationwide-experts that can help them achieve their unique herd goals. It begins with an appreciation for cows and Select Sires has the best cow-people in the business. Hear more about the Yonkman Dairy story and Select Sires’ role in their success on our Facebook page and at www.selectsires.com/Yonkman. u

Cover Photo: Molly Pluger (left) reviews a genetic progress report with Jess Jakubik (right) outside Yonkman Dairy’s 40-stall rotary parlor.

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ADDING DIRECT FED MICROBIALS TO DAILY WELLNESS ROUTINES Jill Strangstalien, director of herd management solutions Select Sires Inc.

If a stranger asked you to describe a direct fed microbial (DFM), what would you be able to tell them? We all have a basic understanding, yet as animal managers, we can benefit from taking a minute to brush up on the basics of DFMs.

A quick Google search reveals, “A probiotic (also called direct fed microbial/DFM) is ‘a live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance’” (Heyman and Ménard, 2001). While this technically counts as a definition, most are seeking to understand further. Think of it this way: direct fed microbials are live or viable, naturally occurring microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits upon the host by competing with and inhibiting the growth of pathogens or regulating the microbial balance in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Direct fed microbial research has demonstrated a positive impact on immune system regulation and overall improvements on the health and performance of animals. Consumers are driving demand for meat and milk from enhanced livestock welfare programs, and without the routine use of antibiotics, DFM products have become a

preferable choice to maintain the health and wellbeing of animals. With less reliance on antibiotics, DFM products have now made their presence known at the farm level.

serves to protect the calf from pathogens. By feeding DFMs and improving the animal’s intestinal microbial balance, we are doubling down on all these benefits.

So how do DFMs work? For this answer, begin with the first days of life. When a calf is born, its body is like a blank slate. Bacterial colonization of the calf gut begins at birth. It is theorized that a newborn’s first “vaccine” comes from the microflora of the mother’s vaginal wall. The bacteria of the new calf’s intestines ferment starches and other carbohydrates that the stomach was unable to absorb. The products of this fermentation process include organic acids, which lower the intestinal pH. Some species of bacteria even produce antimicrobial compounds, both lower pH and antimicrobial compounds inhibit the growth of pathogens. Recent studies have also shown how intestinal bacteria work to bolster the barrier effect of intestinal mucosa and play a direct role in the immune system, all of which

Noticeable benefits of DFMs in calves The result of a stronger immune system is healthier calves. Healthy calves grow faster and more efficiently, and require less time and money to raise than calves experiencing health challenges. It is no secret that stressful events like weaning, dehorning, changes in weather and transportation can upset the normal microflora of the intestine. When this happens, the barrier effect is damaged and the calf is more vulnerable to disease. In this compromised state, the risk of illness and metabolic disorder becomes a serious concern. It can be a race against the clock to repopulate the young intestine with good bacteria before pathogenic bacteria take over. At a time like this, providing a population of live bacterial colonies is a major game changer. Direct fed microbials are a powerful tool to not only prevent illness, but to keep cattle healthy. Lactating cows and rumen health On the adult side, the dairy cow can be compared to an “Olympic athlete.” She is asked to perform at her maximum potential and dairy managers are pushing her even further. From calving to dry-off, a healthy dairy cow can be expected to produce an average of 23,000 pounds of milk (USDA-NASS, 2019). She is asked to spend an average of 3.5 hours every day eating, another 6.5 hours ruminating, walk to and from the parlor three times a day, and on top of that, she is expected to establish another pregnancy within 120 days of completing the last one. Each milk marathon begins with the mammoth task of delivering a calf. Her metabolism then rockets from zero to sixty as fast as it can. Her diet changes, she begins to produce massive amounts of milk,

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her pen likely changes and with it her social hierarchy. The transition period can be the most difficult time in a cow’s life. It falls to her managers to do their best to care for and maximize her comfort, health and performance. Producers commonly supplement minerals and energy to the cow during her transition, but all too often her rumen health is forgotten. A historical rule of thumb in the feed industry is a cow’s rumen needs three to four weeks to completely adjust to a new ration. Until that time, the species densities of her rumen microflora have not caught up with the nutritional makeup of her ration. On top of that, as gestation progresses, the growing calf occupies more space and reduces rumen volume. The density and size of rumen papillae actually decrease, leaving her less able to absorb microbial volatile fatty acids which comprises greater than 70 percent of a ruminant’s daily energy supply. Basically, her rumen cannot completely use the feed she is consuming. If you combine this feed challenge with all the changes associated with calving, it only makes sense to aid a fresh cow’s body in digesting the feed she is consuming. In 2017, a study printed in the Journal of Dairy Science estimated the cost of a single case of ketosis to be as high as $103 (D. Liang, L.M. Et. Al, 2017). The same study found a left displaced abomasum costs on average as much as $316 per occurrence. Tips for choosing the right DFM The outpouring of DFM products in the marketplace has caused confusion and frustration. Raising and caring for animals is not an easy task, and the circulation of misleading information and nonguaranteed DFM products is a reality producers often face. Understanding how DFMs work, and what makes them exhibit their maximum functional properties as commensal microorganisms to the animal host, might assist producers in picking the best product. So, this leads to the questions: What are the most critical attributes of DFM products? What outcome can/should be expected when feeding DFMs? The efficacy of DFM products is directly correlated with and dependent on four factors. The first factor is product stability – some microorganisms are sensitive to oxygen exposure and moisture which explains the importance of the manufacturing process and packaging quality control, whose job is to ensure the organisms live until they reach the animal’s GI tract. The next factor is acid

and bile tolerance – the DFM must be able to survive transit through the digestive process to be useful on specific sites. Next, upon arrival there needs to be a sufficient number of colony forming units (CFUs) provided in the product. CFUs influence a direct-fed microbial’s ability to colonize and populate the GI tract of the host. Multiple colonies and a substantial total population is needed for guaranteed colonization. The final factor is host specificity, the ability to adhere to epithelial cells and mucosal surfaces of the host is essential for colonization and bolsters pathogen exclusion. Combined, all four factors must be evaluated when considering DFM efficacy. Overall, better animal health and performance, caused by pathogen exclusion and enhanced immune function, are expected when feeding a DFM. The presumption is that the establishment of more desirable microflora when coupled with preventing the establishment of pathogenic organisms will work on a basis of competitive exclusion. This is being achieved when DFMs are fed at the correct CFU levels for colonization. Direct-fed microbials produce antimicrobial peptides called bacteriocins. Bacteriocins are natural antibiotics that kill and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Instances of this include Clostridium, Staphylococcus and E. coli, which are sensitive to bacteriocins produced by Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis, whose strategy is to outnumber and block adhesion sites in the digestive system. Lactic acid bacteria (LABs) produce acids that modify gut environmental pH and inhibit the growth of pathogens. DFMs release enzymes that enhance digestibility and lead to better nutrient absorption. DFMs have been successfully incorporated as part of a comprehensive nutritional program and daily wellness routine at many progressive operations. They have become an essential tool to enhance animal health and maintain sustainable animal management and care to ensure they remain healthy from birth to adulthood. The Select Sires Herd Management Solutions portfolio offers multiple DFM products for all stages, as well as many products formulated with DFM inclusion. Contact your Select Sires representative today to learn more about how you can Build a Better Heifer® and Maximize Cow PerformanceTM in your herd. u

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MAKE DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS ABOUT FEED AND TRANSITION MANAGEMENT CowManager’s new Nutrition module provides actionable insights regarding feed and transition management on dairy farms. The module has been expanded with clear graphs and user-friendly comparison functions. Timely notifications identify cows at risk during the transition period, heat stress, low feed intake and herd health to help focus a producer’s attention where it is needed most. These notifications allow herd managers to approach cow management in a preventive, proactive and precise manner, resulting in better cow health and a more productive herd. Global customer panel The Nutrition module was designed with the help of dairy producers and nutritionists in CowManager’s global customer panel. Wilfried Reuvekamp, member of the customer panel and owner of Hilltop Dairy (USA) said, “The insights provided by the Nutrition module encouraged me to implement management changes, which led to a sustained dry matter intake of 38 pounds for our close-up cows. This has already contributed strongly to healthier fresh cows and higher peak milk production. I believe in a few months we will hit the 95-pound milk production mark.” Working preventively The transition period is the primary risk period and 75 percent of all adult cow disease events occur at this time. In the past, producers could only dream of identifying at-risk cows days or weeks before they became sick. Today, this has become reality. Dry cows with decreased eating and rumination behavior will be flagged as being at risk of becoming sick after calving. This type of early intervention prevents losses and results in a healthier herd. All alerts within the Nutrition module are designed to foster preventive management practices. Optimized feed management The Nutrition module consists of various easy-to-read graphs offering full insight into the eating, rumination and activity of each group of cows. The comparison functionality makes it easy to compare certain groups or time frames with each other, allowing the producer and nutritionist to evaluate the impact of ration changes and feed management in a fact-based and quick manner. Access to valuable herd data can be granted to trusted advisors through the MultiView function. The Nutrition module provides producers with the tools to take feed and transition management to the next level. More control and full insights will help producers achieve the goals they have set for their herds with better pregnancy rates, an overall healthier herd, lower feed costs and more milk per cow. u

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% Rel




7HO15069 TOP DOG

















% Rel









14HO15223 CONWAY















14HO15265 TUA









14HO15317 JANGLE










14HO15445 MASSEY





7HO15186 LEXUS





14HO15453 EXOTIC* New





7HO15195 LAZER










7HO15196 VENUS





14HO15478 STINGRAY New




















7HO15370 REGAL New





7HO15436 AVID New





7HO15464 LUNAR New





7HO15465 CRUSHER New





7HO15473 BOLETO New





7HO15479 ENTICE-P New






% Rel




250HO15087 ROZLINE





250HO15152 AHEAD






RENEGADE x Delta-Lambda x Denver HUEY x Achiever x SUPERSIRE LUCIA x HELIX x Rubicon

BIG AL x Blowtorch x YODER LEGACY x HELIX x Rubicon

LEGACY x SLAMDUNK x JEDI LEGACY x Superhero x YODER LEGACY x Achiever x Delta LEGACY x Apprentice*RC x YODER LEGACY x Rubicon x MORGAN


LEGACY x Moonglow x Josuper

Calvary x Legendary x Josuper LEGACY x HELIX x MONTROSS

LEGACY x Windfall x Powerball-P




LEGACY x Guarantee x Delta LEGACY x Burley x Rubicon LEGACY x JARED x Delta

LEGACY x Achiever x Josuper



*EXOTIC is HCD. 12/20 CDCB/HA. 02/21 Zoetis Genomic Evaluations. All bulls qualify for semen export to Canada. GAMEDAY, reversed, photo by Thomas.

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PAID Minster, Ohio 45865 Permit No. 2


11740 US 42 NORTH • PLAIN CITY • OHIO • 43064-0143

To enhance the productivity and profitability of dairy and beef producers, Select Sires is committed to be the premier provider of highly fertile, superior genetics accompanied by effective reproductive- and herdmanagement products and services. For more information, visit www.selectsires.com or call (614) 873-4683. Product of the USA.

gender SELECTED, ProfitSOURCE and Maximize Cow Performance are trademarks of Select Sires Inc. ®NxGEN, ProfitMAX, Your Success Our Passion., Build a Better Heifer, Select Mating Service and SMS are registered trademarks of Select Sires Inc. CowManager is a registered trademark of Agis Automatisering. Dairy Wellness Profit Index, DWP$, Wellness Trait Index, WT$, and CLARIFIDE are registered trademarks of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. Total Performance Index (TPI) is a registered trademark of Holstein Association USA. Simplot and SimVitro are registered trademarks and HerdFlex is a trademark of the J.R. Simplot Company. All rights reserved. The Apple logo is a trademark of Apple Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC. Limitations and Conditions of Sale: gender SELECTED semen shall be used only for the single insemination of one female bovine during natural ovulation with the intent to produce single offspring unless specifically approved on an individual customer basis by Sexing Technologies in writing. As a condition of purchasing gender SELECTED semen, the purchaser agrees that gender SELECTED semen will not be reverse sorted or re-sorted unless specifically permitted, in advance, on a case-by-case basis by Select Sires in writing. Select Sires intends to monitor the use of the gender SELECTED semen and vigorously enforce these restrictions on use. Please see http://www.selectsires.com/designations/genderselected.html for additional details. Buyer assumes all responsibility for use, storage and handling of herd management products. All claims, representations, and warranties, expressed or implied, are made only by the company responsible for manufacturing and not by Select Sires Inc., its member cooperatives, its agents or employees. TM

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