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SPRING/SUMMER 2014


Into Tomorrow Together The world is pondering where its water, commodities and even milk will come from to feed its growing population and hungry nations can’t wait. By working side-by-side with you in over 80 countries, it’s clear that the world needs Genetics for Life. Genetics for Life is about genetic solutions, our commitment to research & development and most importantly, developing long-lasting, profitable herds and lifelong partnerships.

Genetics for Life is all about enhancing lives and how we will feed the lives of tomorrow together.

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Beyond 20

Seven Questions for Semex’s Chief Operating Officer

People: Our Most Important Asset pg 4 Delivering on Disease Resistance Promise: Immunity+™ pg 6 A Smart Business Choice: Sexxed™ pg 8 Setting The Stage pg 12 A Case for Polled pg 17

12

Setting The Stage

Seven Questions for Semex’s Chief Operating Officer pg 20

22

Advanced Reproductive Management (ARM) pg 22

Advanced Reproductive Management (ARM)

6

Cenatte Embryos pg 26

A Case For Polled

17 26

Cenatte Embryos

BEYOND BORDERS IS A MAGAZINE DESIGNED TO PROMOTE DAIRY GENETICS, TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT PUBLISHED BY SEMEX Comments or submissions to the editor should be forwarded to Brenda Lee-Turner, Semex, 130 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 3Z2. tel: 519-821-5060, fax: 519-821-7225; email: bturner@semex.com.

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Brenda Lee-Turner, Semex Marketing Communications Specialist

282 Corporate Semex Staff

336 Subsidiary & Joint Venture Staff

Our Vision: We demand the best… Of ourselves,

People: Our Most Important Asset We’re working shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients worldwide, listening and watching in order to ensure our products and services exceed their expectations. This makes our people our most important asset. In 2013 we added key individuals to both our sales and genetics teams. These hires are all highly qualified, having real-world experience and practical on-farm knowledge. We believe that surrounding both ourselves and our clients with the best, brightest and most aggressive professionals ensures mutual success. As we restructured our Sales Division into a Global Business Development Team, we took the opportunity to be introspective, promoting from within and adding team members to align territories, match needs and further drive our programs, services and investments in people.

our company and what we do for our customers

NEW ADDITIONS TO THIS TEAM IN 2013: • Dany-Pierre Rondeau as the primary Sales Manager working within the Middle East and North Africa

Russell Gammon, Jersey Program Manager

• Michael Dennison as the Sales Manager for

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Semex UK, alongside of continuing sales leadership within the UK • Zoltán Veres as the Sales Manager in Central and Eastern European markets • Harry Schuiling as the Sales Manager focusing on South Africa and European markets • Pierre Marx as the Sales Manager focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa • Mauricio Chinchilla as Sales Support in Central America • Adriano Boer as Sales Support in Brazil and South America “We truly believe that people are our most important asset,” says Paul Larmer, Semex Chief Executive Officer. “And, we’re very excited to have these gentlemen be promoted from within and join our global organization in these new positions. They all have an exceptional history with the Semex family and we’re pleased that they will be joining our global management team to further our growth strategies worldwide.” No breed is experiencing faster growth than the Jersey breed, and with a 24% increase in Jersey doses sold in 2013 versus 2012, Semex’s


L to R: Zoltán Veres Pierre Marx Adriano Boer

Jersey program is one of the world’s fastest growing programs. To support this growth, Semex has hired David Ertl as the US Jersey Sire Analyst. In this role, David will report directly to the Jersey Program Manager, Russell Gammon, and will be responsible for executing Semex’s Jersey sire selection and acquisition strategy in the US. This newly created position supports Semex’s growing Jersey Genomax™ program, ensuring Semex continues to obtain the breed’s best genetics. Additionally, David will be working directly with the Semex Team from coast to coast, supporting sales and providing Jersey knowledge and genetic expertise.

AT SEMEX, WE BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE NOT ONLY THE CORNERSTONE TO OUR SUCCESS, BUT ALSO OUR FOUNDATION.

“We could not be more excited to add David to our Jersey team,” says Russell Gammon, Semex Jersey Program Manager. “With his practical knowledge of modern dairy farming, a world of energy and drive, and an ocean-deep knowledge of the Jersey breed, David is the perfect choice for this position! Semex’s Jersey program is expanding year after year and now with David on board, we look forward to even greater successes and accomplishments.” Also added to the Genetics Team was Chris Studer, as Semex Ayrshire Sire Analyst. Chris has been the Semex Ayrshire Coordinator, working part-time coordinating all genomic testing, matings and purchases of all Ayrshire bulls while also working as a Progeny Analyst at CIAQ. Now, in this fulltime role, Chris is completely focused on Semex’s popular Ayrshire lineup, ensuring the implementation of the modern selection philosophy. “Chris’ successful experience with Semex since 2006 as our Ayrshire Coordinator makes him a logical choice and fit for our Genetics Team,” says Pierre Laliberté, Semex Senior Vice President, Genetics & Research. “We’re excited to have him working 100% of his time with us, focusing exclusively on Ayrshire breed improvement.”

Each member of the Semex family creates value for our clients each and every day, ensuring that we develop and deliver innovative genetic solutions.

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L to R top: Mauricio Chinchilla Chris Studer David Ertl L to R bottom: Michael Dennison Harry Schuiling Dany-Pierre Rondeau


T HE PATH FOR DEVELOPING MORE DISEASE RESISTANT, HEALTHIER COWS IS SIMPLE AND CLEAR... IT STARTS WITH IMMUNITY+ SIRES.

Delivering

innovative solutions pg 6

Brad Sayles, Semex Vice President Global Marketing and Dr. Bonnie Mallard, Professor of Immunogenetics at University of Guelph


Jay Shannon, Semex Global Dairy Solutions Manager

Delivering on Disease Resistance Promise No matter whether you manage your cows on pasture, in commercial housing or by other methods, it’s a big challenge to maintain a healthy herd of profitable and efficient cows. If a cow becomes affected by disease, modern management and medicine are used to remedy the situation. If that’s not possible, the unfortunate decision to cull the animal may have to be made. Either way, both result in added costs that must be absorbed by the dairy… But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way to breed cows that have a higher immune response, and thereby have a greater resistance to disease built right into them?

Immunity+ sires are those possessing an extremely high immune response rate, with only one in 10 bulls qualifying as Immunity+. Based on the extensive research of high immune females, and applying genetic transmitting principles that go with a 25% heritable trait, we can estimate that Immunity+ sires’ daughters will have 4-8% less disease incidence. Although this technology is new, (only released about a year ago), early data appears to validate the technology and then some!

Semex was able to retrieve data from US dairies in herds with both excellent health recording and sufficient Immunity+ daughters in order to make a valid comparison. Although the analysis For generations, we’ve all observed cows or cow is very limited at this stage due to low numbers families that were more resilient (less sick) than and specifics cannot be responsibly shared, others. At Semex, we believe the key to better the three large dairies studied showed no less health lies in the genes and with Immunity+ sires than an 8% reduction in disease incidence we can successfully breed both a healthier cow when comparing daughters of Immunity+ sires and a healthier herd. to daughters of other sires. So far, the largest differences observed were for mastitis and calf The High Immune Response (HIR) technology pneumonia. These early indications show lots developed by Dr. Bonnie Mallard and her of promise, and it will be interesting to see how colleagues at the University of Guelph has the higher than expected differences hold up as been more researched than most technologies more daughter data becomes available. that are brought to the farm. This research tells us that HIR cows have 19-30% lower Additionally, we have been excited to hear incidence of disease compared to the herd unsolicited anecdotal evidence from dairymen. average. And, these cows respond better to For example, recently a dairyman using several commercial vaccines and also produce higher studs, reported that a bug hit his dairy’s calf pen. quality colostrum for their calves. As a result, Unfortunately, he lost 11% of the daughters from they’re more profitable, by bringing in more other sires (3/4 of all calves), but none of his revenue, lowering costs and wasting less of the Immunity+ sired calves (1/4 of all calves) were dairyman’s time. lost. The discovery of HIR was a game changer, as it revealed that high immunity is passed on from parent to progeny at rates much like production and some conformation traits. Compared to most health traits with low heritabilities of <10%, immune response is considered moderately to highly heritable at 25%. This means it can be selected for and improved upon with each generation. Semex has applied this technology, and developed an exclusive line of HIR bulls known as Immunity+™ sires.

More validation is seen when looking at sons of Immunity+ sires. Seven current Immunity+ sires have had sons tested for HIR. Over 50% of these bulls’ sons qualified to be Immunity+, compared to the standard of 10% of all bulls tested. If we assume transmission from sire to daughter is similar, then the advances achievable in just one generation are very exciting! And, knowing it’s a trait based on over 2,000 immune-related genes, the health benefit will be repeated with each subsequent generation. Immunity+ is Genetics for Life.

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HIR is

25% heritable

Early herd data supports a

4-8% reduction in disease

1 in 10 bulls tested qualify as Immunity+


A smart business choice to expand the number of quality heifers within your dairy.

“Using sexed semen gives me the breeding options required to protect the investment we’ve made in genetics and quality cow families.” John Allan of Bleak House Farm at Burton-on-Trent , UK

“We are now averaging 95% heifers from all of our breedings to sexed semen.” Steve Little of Casehill Farms in Little Britain, Ontario

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Brenda Lee-Turner, Semex Marketing Communications Specialist

A Smart Business Choice Since 2006, Semex has been selling its Sexxed™ semen as a ‘smart business choice to expand the number of quality heifers within your dairy.’ Today, the decision to make sexed semen part of your reproductive strategy may be one of the smartest economic decisions you can make. Recent analysis of 2,390,000 lactation records covering 1,490,000 cows showed Katie Hindie of Harvard University a clear pattern… Cows produce more milk after having heifer calves than bull calves. In particular, the sex of the first calf was important, as it can influence how much milk was given in both the first and second lactations. Ms Hindie’s work at Harvard in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology had her investigating how animals invest in their young. In particular, she was researching the common belief that mothers of all species favour their sons over daughters, as males generally have better opportunity to propagate. Armed with lactation records from 1995 to 1999 (prior to the commercialization of sexed semen) from the Dairy Records Management System in the United States, Katie discovered quite the contrary to the common theory. She found that cows having a heifer in both their first and second lactations produced 445 kgs/1000 lbs more milk over those first two lactations than a cow that had two bulls in her first two lactations. We turned to Eastgen’s Reproductive Strategy Manager Mark Carson, MSc., BSc. Agr for some answers. “The Harvard paper is an interesting look at how fetus sex is associated with milk yields,” says Carson. “With females

providing less calving issues, I believe the reduce risk of dystocia is leading to the overall increase milk production. That being said, it’s entirely plausible that a female fetus could provide benefits to terms of mammary develop of the dam. Whatever the reasoning, the end benefit shows that having female calves leads to increased milk yields.” For our clients, this means the choice to use Semex Sexxed semen is obvious. Ensuring your cows are as productive as possible and getting females from your best cows is simply smart business. Steve Little of Casehill Farms in Little Britain, Ontario has been using Sexxed semen exclusively on his herd for two and half years, and says they’re using Sexxed to ensure he keeps his herd numbers up. “Our herd was reproducing only 45% heifers at birth verses 55% bulls,” says Steve. “Add in some fatalities and the odd non-breeder heifer or any other issue and we found that we were having trouble keeping herd numbers up, especially with good cows. We’ve been a closed herd since 1996 and had poor results with purchased cows or heifers before then. We want lots of replacements from our own herd and sexed semen is the answer.” “We started about two and a half years ago by breeding every heifer and 50% of the cows to sexed semen. The other 50% of the cows were bred with the same bull (non-sexed). After two months we found the conception rate to be very similar between the two. We are now averaging 95% heifers from all of our breedings to sexed semen. We’re moving our cow numbers back up, and with good cows at that. Now, we’re getting heifers from our best cows! We look forward to a better

Continued on page 10

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2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

SEMEX SEXXED SEMEN

SALES OVER TIME


B Y USING OUR SEXXED PRODUCT BREEDERS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO USE MORE PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED GENETICS IN THEIR HEIFER BREEDING PROGRAM

1000 lbs More Milk Over First Two Lactations If Both Are Heifers

Sexed semen technology has been around for

35 years Semex has been selling sexed semen since

2006 Semex Beef™ Sexxed semen sales up

13% in 2013

herd. I remember years ago our best cow was around for about eight years and never had a single heifer calf… Do the math if we had of been using sexed semen!” In the United Kingdom, John Allan of Bleak House Farm at Burton-on-Trent agrees. “Using sexed semen gives me the breeding options required to protect the investment we’ve made in genetics and quality cow families,” says John. “We’ve used a significant volume of sexed semen to achieve faster genetic progress, increase overall cow numbers and still have surplus heifers to sell; it makes sound business sense from my perspective.” Not exclusive to dairy semen, Semex Beef™ has an extensive lineup of Sexxed semen available to meet the growing demand for gender-sorted semen within the Beef industry. With sales up over 13% in the past year, Semex Global Beef Manager Myles Immerkar doesn’t see demand slowing down. “The use of Sexxed semen in the beef sector has continued to grow as breeders look to specialize their programs to their markets. By using our Sexxed product breeders have been able to use

pg 10

more performance oriented genetics in their heifer breeding program with the guarantee of a heifer calf, where in the past they would have to focus on elite calving ease bulls to ensure a problemfree calving,” says Myles. “The selection for extreme calving ease always means giving up performance, but our Sexxed lineup allows them to choose from a larger genetic pool that provides them with balanced traits. Other breeders have learned to specialize their programs. Rather than trying to select replacement heifers from their own herd, they have decided to outsource replacement heifers and while using male sexed semen to increase the pounds of beef produced per year and increase their commercial operation’s profitability.” Offering our clients cost-effective breeding and reproductive solutions is the direct result of understanding their needs. We believe that this is Genetics for Life.


A smart business choice for expanding the number of quality heifers within your dairy.

Healthy heifers are critical in herd replacement strategies. Having the option to select for gender translates to better control over your herd’s future. Semex’s Sexxed™ semen has high conception rates, giving you breeding options, while maintaining genetic integrity. Put yourself in the driver’s seat by breeding the heifer you need, when you need her.

pg 11


PASSION

FUELS OUR RESULTS pg 12


N

S

Paul Larmer, Semex Chief Executive Officer

Setting The Stage Semex’s strategic plan was designed to enhance our growth and stability, with a focus on revenue, profit and returning dividends to our owners. Since it was put in place six years ago we have seen impressive results, confirming our belief that what gets focus gets results. In 2013 our revenues continued to climb, exceeding our goals originally set for 2015, with successes felt in developing countries, as well as mature markets. In fact, 2013 marked the sixth year in a row where we saw year-over-year sales growth in the USA. This is only possible due to our commitment to people, training and delivering a solutions approach to clients. At Semex, we’re also working on revolutionary solutions that impact our clients’ bottom lines. As disease continues to impact overall herd health and profitability, we recognized long ago the need to help breed a healthier, disease resistant herd. In 2013 we launched our Immunity+™ sires worldwide to assist our clients in this battle. The industry recognized it as a game-changer and Dairy Herd Management awarded it as an Innovative Product of the Year at the 2013 World Dairy Expo.

WE RECOGNIZED LONG AGO THE NEED TO BREED A HEALTHIER, DISEASE RESISTANT HERD.

Sophisticated clients worldwide demand innovative tools designed to increase profitability and drive efficiency. In 2013, Semex launched another exclusive, cutting-edge tool with SemexWorks™. Showcased first at World Dairy Expo and then at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, SemexWorks is an easy, step-by-step digital process that will not only help define breeding strategies with customized economics, but it’s flexible and will fit anyone’s goals. Semex Genetic Consultants worldwide now have the opportunity to help their clients design customized economics and genetic plans related to their farm’s goals, and generate return on investment statistics in order to ensure a truly customized breeding strategy. Semex’s commitment to research, development and quality remains steadfast, as 3% of our revenues are invested into research and development through L’Alliance Boviteq, our international Research & Development (R&D) centre. Additionally, our 140 staff working at our housing, production and distribution teams on four continents have over 400 years combined international experience in making fertility their number one priority. Governed by our Gold Standard™ that ensures the strictest protocols are followed throughout each and every phase of the production process, our staff works diligently to ensure we achieve our objective of the highest quality product at the lowest possible price. As a genetics company, we can be extremely proud, as our lineup continues to be the envy of the industry. Since 2009 we’ve

pg 13

increased the number of Holstein bulls genotyped from 1300 to over 4800 in 2013. We’re very proud of these successful bulls we call Genomax™ sires, as they are the direct result of intense selection and offer tremendous potential for GLPI, GTPI, Type, Net Merit $, Calving Ease and many other traits breeders are interested in. Topping lists worldwide, Semex is home to three of the top 10, six of the top 20 and nine of the top 30 from Holstein USA’s Top 100 TPI Genomic Young Bull list in April 2014. Our Jersey team has much to be proud of, with a 24.6% increase in doses and 22.1% increase in dollars sold in 2013 versus 2012. Our Semex Beef™ team shares our goal of feeding the world, and has been adding new products to our lineup, allowing our clients to better select genetics that will work for them, and is proven by a 14% growth in 2013. This strategy is netting great results, with a 4.2% increase in units sold and double digit increases in Sexxed™ semen revenues in 2013. In 2013, strategic plans were put into action as our Semex Operations Team worked to further increase efficiencies at all levels, both at home and abroad. This includes consolidation of efforts domestically, expansion of our Hungarian facilities and breaking ground on a new isolation facility in Ontario. In November 2013, we announced a joint venture with The Cenatte Group in Brazil. Located in Pedro Leopoldo, MG, Brazil, Cenatte is one of the world’s leading biotechnology and bovine reproduction companies, working to increase beef and dairy client productivity for nearly 30 years. Cenatte will be integrated with our North American IVF technologies, further strengthening our product line while offering the most up-to-date technologies to our Brazilian customers. Working together with Cenatte as one of our global partners, we’re looking forward to further developing long-lasting and profitable herds for our clients. Semex is positioned extremely well to meet the changing global marketplace. Our recent investments in people, facilities and technologies will allow us to continue to meet the needs of our clients, while continuing on our growth trajectory. We are proud to continue growing relationships and our global footprint, while putting our strategic plan into action. Certainly this would not be possible with out the commitment and dedication of our Owner Partners, our Board of Directors and most of all, our valuable staff. As our goals and objectives evolve with our global clients, we will continue to strive for more and push ourselves further. All of this is a result of our Vision to ‘Demand the best… Of ourselves, our company and what we do for our customers.’


POSITI TO B

THE INTERN

LEADER IN

GENET

OVER 5400 SIRES GENOTYPED IN 2013

CREATING

INNOVATIVE TOOLS DESIGNED TO INCREASE PROFITABILITY

pg 14

SEME

GENE FOR


IONED BE

NATIONAL

N BOVINE

TICS

3%

SEMEX PRODUCTS SOLD TO

EX IS

110

OF REVENUES INVESTED IN R&D

COUNTRIES

ETICS LIFE

SIRE AND PRODUCTION FACILITIES ON

4 CONTINENTS DELIVERING GENETIC SOLUTIONS pg 15


GROWING OUR GLOBAL FOOTPRINT pg 16


Show Time

TM

Elite Show Sires

Master Series

TM

TM

Time Tested Sires

Repromix

TM

High Fertility Pooled Semen

M

Calving Ease Polled & White A Red case for Polled Semex Tropical Genomax Plus TM

TM

TM

al s

TM

TM

Polled genetics has been around for decades in dairy cattle, but in the past few years there’s been an increased focus on the polled gene. There are many reasons for the new interest in breeding for polled cattle including easier management, reduced labor and public perception. The industry at large already agrees that there are many benefits to having cattle without horns. On the farm, cattle are dehorned to improve worker and animal safety, decrease the need for bunk space and to reduce feed bunk aggressiveness. These benefits quickly outweigh the short period of discomfort at dehorning time.

conducted in 1977 on Brahman crossbred steers in north Queensland by Drs. Winks and O’Rourke sought answers regarding TM this relationship between dehorning and weight gain. Dehorning effects were measured in two experiments, both showing significantly depressed weight gains in the month following dehorning. Five months after dehorning proceduresTMthe dehorned steers had gained 10.2 kgs/22.4 lbs and 13.6/29.9 lbs less than horned steers. However, as this study was done on steers, there may be less of an effect on dairy calves as they tend to be dehorned at a more consistently young age and may be better managed.

Megan Wynands

Dairy Solutions Specialist EastGen

Genomax-Repromax-Calving Ease

Certainly, however, while most would agree hornless cattle are easier and safer to manage, many would also admit that dehorning calves is not necessarily a pleasant experience. Aside from the labor required to dehorn calves, employees must be effectively trained to ensure the task is performed as efficiently and painlessly as possible. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) recommends that, when dehorning is necessary, it be performed within the first week of life. Additionally, according to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, many calves experience decreased growth in the weeks following dehorning, particularly in older calves. Research

E ASIER MANAGEMENT, REDUCED LABOR AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION Continued on page 18

pg 17


Hornless Black & White Holsteins were exhibited at the Amsterdam show in 1886

The earliest American-recorded polled Holstein was the bull

Depending on the method used and age at dehorning, the calves could also be prone to infection. These losses need to be considered in the long-term economic calculation of polled versus non-polled genetics as the savings in labor and anesthesia alone may cover any additional costs associated with the polled gene. There has also begun to be public discussion regarding the welfare ramifications of the dehorning process. As a business, dairymen

are becoming more and more conscious of the consumer advocate. And, public perception has become increasingly important in all animal husbandry practices. As consumers change, the industry must anticipate and proactively develop solutions to any perceived public concerns. One non-invasive solution is to breed for a polled animal, and at Semex we’re proud to offer our clients exceptional polled offerings to complement their mating programs.

Lophelias Prince born April 22, 1889

The polled gene has been known for over

70 years Semex Polled™ semen sales have increased

214% since 2009

Brian Behnke, Semex Sire Analyst

Semex and Polled Semex recognizes the potential of the polled gene both in the marketplace and on the dairy. At Semex, we’re listening to our customers worldwide and working to offer them the very best genetic solution for them. One of those is our Polled™ lineup. Our sire acquisition team is actively seeking the best polled females of the breed to use with the top non-polled bulls with the chance to make an extremely high bull to be used as the next polled sire of sons. Conversely, we are using a high polled bull on non-polled females to get that outcross, heterozygous polled bull that can compete on the non-polled playing field. One of those new, exciting Polled sires is 0200HO06584 Bryhill Science P. A son of

pg 18

the genomic superstar himself, 0200HO07450 Amighetti Numero Uno, he’s built in at +2290 GTPI/+3096 GLPI (December 2013), making him both exciting and easy to use in many, many herds. “With the increased interest in polled genetics, we certainly see our sales of polled bulls increasing,” says Pierre Laliberté, Semex Senior Vice President, Genetics & Research. “We expect this to continue increasing as the genetic level increases, becoming closer to the non-polled population. This may take a few generations, but it is definitely gaining momentum. Our clients are looking for this diversity in our product line, and we’re getting it for them.”


New to the marketplace, Semexâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exclusive, patented Immunity+ sires have been tested and confirmed to have high levels of immune response. Studies show that Immunity+ sires pass on their natural defense to their daughters and future generations.

In a 3,000-cow herd study, results showed high immune cows are healthier and more efficient compared to their herd mates:

% 27 LESS

MASTITIS

% 17 LESS

METRITIS

32% LESS RETAINED PLACENTA

In the 64 North American herds analyzed by University of Guelphâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immune response research, all herds ranged between 19 to 30% less incidence of disease when comparing high immune responders compared to the herd average.

pg 19


Seven Questions for Semex’s Chief Operating Officer Semex’s Brockville isolation facility will have capacity for

230 bulls

Robert McRae joined Semex in August 2011 and is Semex’s Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Robert ensures Semex’s Global Operations Division maximizes quality and efficiency while aligning with Semex’s global operations strategy. Robert leads Semex’s global bull housing, production and distribution teams worldwide, aligning all facets with Semex’s industry-leading Gold Standard™ that ensures strict protocols are followed throughout each and every phase of the production process. Additionally, Robert oversees Semex’s research and development and embryo divisions, consisting of the Boviteq in North America and Cenatte in Brazil.

Approximately

90% of all Semex bulls are EU qualified

On average nearly

80,000 doses of semen collected daily

Sire and production facilities on

four continents

1. SEMEX SEEMS TO BE IN EXPANSION MODE! TELL US ABOUT SEMEX’S NEW FACILITIES AND RENOVATIONS. In Québec, we’ve been working on consolidating two facilities into one for sire housing and semen production (conventional and Sexxed™). The Ste. Madeleine facility has capacity for over 700 bulls and has daily average production of over 25,000 doses. In Ontario, ground was broken on a new central isolation facility in Brockville last Fall. This facility will have capacity for 230 bulls and is designed to move our young sires through the isolation and health testing process as quickly and efficiently as possible. This facility will be open in the Summer of 2014.

2. WHY BUILD A NEW ISOLATION FACILITY NOW? The timing was right for us. We were looking at consolidating facilities in Québec, and made the decision to put more focus on the care of our young sires at entry into stud. This new facility allows us to really put more focus on different types of sires and their individual needs.

3. HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM CONVENTIONAL FACILITIES? Traditional isolation facilities are generally at or very near production facilities. We chose to place this one centrally and to have a dedicated, fulltime staff ensuring the best care and testing of these young bulls. And, we want to reduce any biosecurity risks at our production facilities, so moving the isolation facility to a separate location makes perfect sense. The new facility will reduce the risk for any cross contamination. In turn, our staff at the production facilities can now focus on just production. It’s a win-win for us!

4. WHAT IS THE BIOSECURITY IMPACT? We feel we’ve really minimized the risk for production facilities. At our new isolation facility, bulls will continue to be housed in individual pens, but we will have much more flexibility in reducing the size of isolation

pg 20


Robert McRae Semex Chief Operating Officer

groups. This means that if for some reason there’s a delay with one bull in the group, fewer bulls are held up with him and it mitigates any risk of exposure.

5. H  OW DOES THIS CHANGE HOW WE DO BUSINESS? Our goal is to have bulls in and out of the facility in as quickly as possible for their health testing. This will help ensure our bulls are producing semen sooner. We’re going to minimize any delays and really put emphasis on the care and handling during the extremely important pre-production stage of a bull’s life.

6.WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO THE END USER? For our genetic suppliers, we plan to be able to bring bulls in for testing sooner and get them moving towards production faster. And, for our clients we will be able to supply them with valuable young sire semen faster. We’re doing everything we can to control this period of time in a young bull’s life and we’re emphasizing his care sooner.

7. WHAT’S NEXT? We’re working towards further consolidations and updating our production facilities in Canada. These projects will focus on efficiency, sire care and sire comfort. And, our Gold Standard™ ensures that strict protocols are followed throughout each and every phase of the process.

pg 21


Paul Krueger, Semex Director, Sales and Business Development, USA

Advanced Reproductive Management (ARM) We believe that Genetics for Life is about relationships, lifelong partnerships and presenting our clients with the best, most advanced options for use in their reproductive strategies.

 OT ONLY DOES N IVF ALLOW FOR YOUR OPERATION TO REALIZE MORE HEIFERS, BUT IT CAN ALSO CREATE SOME REPRODUCTIVE EFFICIENCIES.

Worldwide, dairy producers have put a great deal of focus on improving efficiencies through standard operating procedures, herd nutrition and reproductive strategies. But, now producers are now looking for additional ways to improve herd performance. One of these new trends in reproduction is a concept called Advanced Reproductive Management (ARM). Genetics is one of the most reliable ways to increase herd performance each subsequent generation as genetic increases are permanent, additive and rate limiting. And, we can probably all agree that since dairy cattle breeding began, it’s been in a constant state of improvement. However, with ARM, dairy cattle improvement can accelerate at levels we could only have imagined just a few years ago. First, let’s talk about what ARM really is. ARM is a process of amplifying the best genetics in your herd by utilizing your lower value animals as recipients to carry higher value offspring. When applied correctly, the top 5% of your herd could potentially produce enough replacements to populate nearly 50% of your herd’s future replacement needs. This is definitely a more accelerated way for your herd to progress than ever before. And, if you’re able to utilize your best individuals to supply your herd’s future replacements

pg 22

your genetic progress is exponentially larger than it was ever before. ARM is realized through the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process, but up until a few years ago IVF was an inefficient process that limited its application beyond seedstock breeders. However, with today’s advancements in the technology, the cost to deliver a pregnancy with a higher genetic value animal can more than pay for itself. IVF is an advanced reproductive technology that is more complex than the well-known embryo transfer process. During IVF, a veterinarian or trained technician will use an ultrasound-guided needle to aspirate follicles off of a cow’s ovary through the vaginal wall. A vacuum system is used to recover the contents of each follicle, including the important oocyte. Once all the follicles are aspirated from the cow’s ovaries, the fluid is taken to a lab and a microscope is used to identify the oocytes. The recovered oocytes are washed and placed into a special media that will allow them to mature for 24 hours. Once they have matured, the oocytes will be fertilized with semen and the resulting embryos placed in an incubator for an additional seven days. Following this time, the embryos are ready to be transferred into recipient animals that are approximately seven days post-heat, similar to traditional embryo transfer programs.

IVF has many advantages over traditional Continued on page 25


IS IT FOR ME? pg 23


HOW CAN YO

pg 24


OU START? IVF can occur as often as every

two weeks

IVF can begin as young as

seven months One donor could produce over

50 offspring each year

embryo transfer. The first of these, is that it can occur as often as every two weeks and can be utilized on heifers as young as seven months of age. Looking at donors, it’s possible that one donor could produce over 50 offspring in a given year. When you combine these advanced IVF technologies with the use of sexed semen, your top donors can now produce over 90% females! Not only does IVF allow for your operation to realize more heifers, but it can also create some reproductive efficiencies. In research conducted at Boviteq, Semex’s Research & Development arm, IVF embryos have shown 10-12% increases in conception rate over conventional semen and a 20-30% increase in conception rates over sexed semen. Additionally, because you are working with a fertilized embryo, they’ve proven to be a great reproductive therapy to use during times of heat stress.

WHO SHOULD CONSIDER USING ARM? IVF embryos have shown

10-12% increase in conception rates over conventional semen

In order for an ARM program to be successful, interested dairies must already have sound reproductive and management records in place. A reproductive program that isn’t already maximizing heat detection, breeding protocols and has above average pregnancy rates for their region, is better served to first embrace current protocols. It’s also important that your herd identification be up to par for two reasons: 1) You must be able to select the very best animals within your herd as donors. 2) You must also be able to identify those lowest ranking animals that will serve as recipients.

pg 25

It’s important to remember that when we amplify our genetics, if we aren’t identifying the best performing and lowest performing populations of our herd, we could easily select the incorrect animals and actually reverse our genetic trend.

HOW CAN YOU START ARM ON YOUR OPERATION? First, have discussion with your herd veterinarian about your herd’s reproduction, and discuss the next steps that are logical for you. If ARM looks like a good option, you will need to identify those animals that are in the top of your herd as potential donors, as well as those that are at the bottom to be recipients. In order to ensure you’ve correctly identified and are working with the right populations you’ll need to genetically identify your outliers through genomic testing. Finally, have a strategic plan in place to manage your genetics. Without a genetic plan, you will not be fully utilizing ARM as a solution. Semex is ready to assist you with ARM on your operation through Boviteq’s world-class, state-of-the-art IVF facilities in Madison, Wisconsin, USA and SaintHyacinthe, Québec, Canada. Work is already underway, assisting customers with valuable IVF solutions in both the commercial and elite genetic sectors. Those interested in exploring these solutions on their dairy should contact their Semex Genetic Consultant.


Dr. Claudio Aragon, Director Leite, Semex Brazil

CENATTE EMBRYOS Cenatte produced

70,000 IVF embryos in 2013

Brazil has

22 million dairy cows

One of Brazil’s largest dairy farms, Fazenda São João achieves a

42% conception rate with IVF embryos

Cenatte has

22% of Brazil’s IVF market

Located in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, Cenatte was founded in 1982 with the goal of spreading Embryo Transfer (ET) techniques across Brazil. Since then through constant technological research and development, Cenatte has become the leader in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), producing over 70,000 IVF embryos in 2013 alone. Recognized as a reference in embryo technology and laboratory procedures, Cenatte was the first embryo company to obtain export authorization, and has exported embryos to numerous countries, including the first milking Gyr embryos to Canada. Having 22% of the Brazil’s IVF market and laboratories spread throughout the country and abroad, Cenatte has developed strong relationships with beef and dairy customers not only throughout Brazil, but also in Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia. These relationships have further solidified Cenatte’s strong reputation as a market leader in ET technological advances. In IVF, major technological breakthroughs have made it feasible for use in commercial settings. For Cenatte, this has been instrumental in several different herd expansion projects, as well as increasing genetic enhancements and reproductive efficiencies in large commercial dairy farms in Brazil. Cenatte, as a major player in the market, has been developing several new important projects that include providing female confirmed pregnancies to large dairy cooperatives that in turn, sell them to their members. One of these projects is located in Lagoa da Prata, in the state of Minas Gerais with Brazil’s largest milk plants, Embaré. Embaré’s membership produces over 2,000,000 litres of milk per day, and working with Cenatte has developed a project providing Holstein female

pg 26

pregnancies to the Embaré membership. The genetics are focused on donor dams and sires that have high butterfat and protein, significantly enhancing the quality of the animals. More than 3,000 female calves have already been to Embaré’s members’ farms from this project. Another important Cenatte segment is the multiplication and marketing of elite tropical dairy breed genetics such as Milking Gyr and Girolando (Holstein x Gyr). Cenatte is well known to have some of the world’s top Gyr genetics, and is constantly producing IVF embryos from their donor cows and marketing top quality pregnancies throughout the country and world. This service is rapidly expanding due to the ever-growing demand for high quality Gyr and Girolando genetics. One of Cenatte’s fastest growing services, however, is the use of IVF embryos on commercial dairies, replacing traditional Artificial Insemination (AI). In Brazil, the main dairy regions are dramatically affected by the summer’s heat, making efficient reproduction a major challenge. To help combat this, several commercial dairies have begun implanting fresh IVF embryos instead of using traditional AI. An IVF collection involves aspiration or an OPU (Ovum Pick Up) on the dairy’s cows or heifers in order to harvest unfertilized oocytes. Cenatte then utilizes sexed semen in order to produce female IVF embryos. These embryos are then implanted in the lactating cows needing to be serviced. The results are extremely promising with conception rates being much higher than what is seen with AI. One of the largest dairy farms in the country, Fazenda São João, has been using this service from Cenatte and the results are extremely positive.


2013 RESULTS FOR FAZENDA SÃO JOÃO – BRAZIL OPUs

VIABLE OOCYTES

VIABLE EMBRYOS

%

1,219

8,632

3,137

36%

TRANFERRED PREGNANCIES FRESH 1,790

754

% 42%

Another dairy in Brazil using this IVF service is Fazenda Riacho Grande. This is a very particular project, as they are milking close to 300 cows that are 3/4 Holstein and 1/4 Gyr. Maintaining these percentages in their crosses and embryo transfer is their solution, and for the past two years all animals are serviced with embryos. No AI is done on the farm. This way they guarantee the 3/4 Holstein blood and are also extremely efficient in terms of reproduction. Again, the donors are the best 3/4 cows in the herd. The results for 2013 can be seen below.

2013 RESULTS FOR FAZENDA RIACHO GRANDE – BRAZIL OPUs

VIABLE OOCYTES

VIABLE EMBRYOS

%

326

3,034

1,136

37%

These results are very promising, especially when we realize that these are female pregnancies in lactating cows that will generate the future replacements for the herd. Cenatte has been structured in the past to meet the demands of the present and the future. With over 3,500 recipient cows on their own farm, they can provide the services required by the beef and dairy producers with the necessary biosecurity and capacity. They’re achieving above average results because of their rigorous procedures and details. These measures carry through the entire organization from the staff, to the recipient farms, the labs and the quality of the service on farm. This ensures that Cenatte remains the major embryo marketer in Brazil.

TRANFERRED PREGNANCIES FRESH 439

151

% 34%

by-side, Cenatte has access to the state-of-the-art technologies and developments done through L’Alliance Boviteq in Canada. Working closely, Cenatte and Boviteq are sharing experiences and opening possibilities to explore markets that have high demand for the tropical dairy and beef genetics through export of frozen IVF embryos from Milking Gyr, Girolando, Nelore and other important breeds. Providing this unique solution to our global customers is now a reality. Semex remains the only AI company to integrate IVF, ET, Sexxed™ semen, research and expertise all in one company. This is Genetics for Life!

Semex has recently developed a joint partnership with Cenatte Embryos. Realizing the great opportunities in working side-

pg 27


It’s About You. Life is an evolution, building on the past and adapting for the future. At Semex, our vision is directed by what we see in our clients’ eyes. Genetics For Life is this evolution. It encompasses genetic solutions, how we will expand globally, our commitment to research & development, our training programs, and most importantly developing long-lasting, profitable herds and lifelong partnerships. Genetics For Life is all about enhancing lives and how we will feed the lives of tomorrow together.

What we hear, see and learn from you drives us. It’s about you, and we’re evolving into tomorrow together.

www.semex.com pg 28

Beyond Borders - Spring/Summer 2014  

Beyond Borders is a magazine designed to promote dairy genetics, technology and management published by Semex.