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PROVEN FAMILY, PROVEN RESULTS Semex’s 0200HO02235 Smithden Admiral



Page 12-13 GETTING OUT EVERY DOLLAR YOU INVEST Keys to Efficient Reproductive Management


Page 16-17 REPROMAX™ CONCEPTION RATES Ring Bells At Australia Dairy

Page 18 STILL WONDERING ABOUT AI24™? Don’t Just Take Our Word For It...

Page 19 SWISSGENETICS SETS NEW EXPORT RECORD Balance is a magazine designed to promote dairy genetics, technology and management. The magazine is published by the Semex Alliance. The Semex Alliance is focused on global leadership in the genetics marketplace. Semex Alliance Canadian Partnerships:


Semex Solutions

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Semex’s mandate is to offer our clients the most profitable genetics available anywhere.

In this issue of Balance, we invite you to learn more about why everyone at Semex believes Every Dose Counts.

We work hard to identify cow families that continuously offer profitability and longevity to their owners. These cow families, combined with the world’s best sires, have always been evident in the 200 stud code. Semex’s August proof round was no exception, and was highlighted by the addition of several graduates of its Premier™ young sire proving program from profitable, deep cow families.

Learn more about our #1 LPI sire, 0200HO02235 Smithden Admiral on pgs 4-5.

Breeding philosophy.

For more information on these or any of Semex’s sires or solutions visit www.

See how the Semex Gold Standard includes advanced semen testing to ensure 200 code semen has the highest fertility and quality possible on pgs 6-7. Read about the international success of our Repromax™ product in Australia impressive results for this enthusiastic dairyman on pgs 16-17.

We’ve also included a We’re also synopsis of taking Cover photo by Ruth Demandt, Canada three university advantage academic of genomic papers studying ai24™’s selection and identifying Heatime® system for those future champions from the wondering how this system pool of young sires for our can help them have a more Genomax™ lineup, while profitable reproductive maintaining a crisp focus program on page 18. on our time-tested Balanced Each and every mating focuses on one very simple and key question… ‘Will this bull help dairymen add value to their operations and increase their profits?’.

Comments or submissions to the editor should be forwarded to Brenda Lee-Turner, Semex Alliance, 130 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 3Z2. tel: 519-821-5060, fax: 519-821-7225; email: SEMEXX™, Genomax™, Genomaxx™, Repromax™, ProMate™, ReproMix™ , Semex Premier™, Health$mart™, ai24™ , Designer Series™, .25Plus™ and CVG™ are registered trademarks of the Semex Alliance.

Semex is committed to bringing to its clients all the rewards of genomic selection

Dairymen have the opportunity to use Semex’s Genomax™ bulls in addition to progeny tested sires. Genomax offers the industry’s leading genomically tested bulls to Semex clients. Genomax is an effective way for dairy producers to utilize the newest and most genetically advanced bloodlines in the world. When utilizing Genomax sires in your breeding programs, Semex has always recommended a “team approach”. To limit the risk associated with each individual bull, Semex recommends that enough different Genomax™ bulls be used at the same time, for example 5 bulls or more. With 5 bulls, the reliability of the group average is close to the reliability of an individual bull proven for 100 daughters provided enough doses of semen are used per bull to produce daughters from each bull.

Equivalent reliability of GenomaxTM bulls when used in groups*










*For unrelated bulls.

The rate of genetic progress in herds that use Genomax™ bulls depends upon the average genetic merit of the bulls used. Because Genomax™ bulls are selected based on their DNA profile and the resulting GPA, this average merit is high, and clients can make significant strides in the genetic quality and profitability of their herd.

Breeding the best dairy cattle is an art and a science. At Semex, we use both to increase your profits!




Smithden Admiral GOLDWYN x ALLEN x RUDOLPH

Mike West, Semex Alliance Sire Analyst & Product Support Specialist

Since the first day that Semex received genomic information on a young sire named 0200HO02235 Smithden Admiral, we’ve been anticipating great things from this Goldwyn son. He’s built just the way you would want him to be, from a solid cow family. Supported by these high genomics through his sampling period, Smithden Admiral VG EXTRA emerged as the #1 LPI sire in the August 2011 proof round. Admiral’s ability to create the next generation of high producing, profitable cows pushed him to #1, and is now solidified with proven results in the field.

The Family Tree This Goldwyn son comes from a long line of successful breeding cows. His dam is Smithden Allen Alison, a VG-88 cow who already has 13 brood stars, and is one of the celebrities in a family that definitely knows how to work. In three lactations Alison has produced more than 66,000 kgs of milk with a 4.0% F and 3.5% P. The next three dams all have two Superior Lactation Awards, the first is a VG-89 4* Rudolph with over 81,000 kgs lifetime, then a VG-87 2* Lindy with nearly 100,000 kgs of 4.5% F lifetime and then an EX-CAN 8* with over 108,000 kgs lifetime! Still active in her Smithden herd, Alison comes from a cow family that her breeder Jim Smith says, “Has been able to produce extremely well generation after generation. This family has been able to transmit the correct structure in their feet & legs.” Alison is truly built to last, and has transmitted these qualities on to her daughters and sons. To date, Alison has 18 daughters averaging over 14,000 kgs of milk, with 11 of the 18 scoring VG or EX. One daughter, Smithden Goldwyn Alexandra, is a full sister to Admiral scoring the maximum VG-89 in her second lactation. A genomically prolific cow herself, Alexandra also passed on this family’s great genes. She has three VG-86 daughters including one who already has a son at Semex, 0200HO02729 Zimmer Bud Light, who is a high-ranking Genomax™ sire. Semex Sire Analyst Lowell Lindsay comments, “The cow family behind Admiral is one that I always had a great deal of confidence in. High producing cows with correct feet & legs and quality udders. Their solid type and longevity are traits that everyone can benefit from.” 4

The Daughters As a young sire, Admiral’s high Genomic Parent Average predicted that he would be outstanding in both fat and protein, while transmitting longevity and a functional type pattern. This is exactly what we are seeing in the field. Proven in Western Canada, the Admiral daughters stand out in their competitive environments, performing above and beyond their breeders’ expectations. Herd after herd have the same comments about their Admiral daughters being trouble-free with aggressive appetites. Looking at the milk records, the Admirals are among the top ranking cows in their herds for fat levels, and are consistently above herd average for milk production. It’s this production pattern that makes these cows the kind that will thrive in herds and be profitable for their owners. Admirals consistently show quality udders with excellent support, having a correct foot structure with solid, dairy frames. With Allen shining through in these daughters, Admiral is truly a unique Goldwyn son. Admiral’s breeding profile fits the needs of all profitminded dairymen. He excels in all the traits that develop the profitable, long-lasting individuals. They are correct, functional cows that will be easy to work with and manage day in and day out. Longevity, calving ease, low SCS, high components and solid type…. It’s everything we’re looking for in a high LPI sire!

How To Use Him Used as a sire of sons before being released, Admiral will breed his family’s longevity into matings and future generations. Admiral is best used on cows that are needing additional milk and fat production, balanced with a solid type profile. This family that has created a lot of excitement worldwide, and the demand for Admiral embryos and his usage on high-ranking females from coast to coast will certainly produce the next generation of profitable Holsteins.

Pat and Jim Smith with the dam of Smithden Admiral SMITHDEN ALLEN ALISON VG-88-5YR-CAN 13* 3 lactations: 66,328 kgs milk 4.0% F 3.5% P Photo by Ruth Demandt


ANALYZING SEMEN KEY TO HIGH FERTILITY & QUALITY Patrick Blondin, PhD, Director of Research & Development, L’Alliance Boviteq


Semex believes one of the keys to ensuring 200 code semen is of the highest quality and fertility possible is by developing better semen analysis tools. At many AI centers, microscopes are used to analyze semen. These evaluations, unfortunately, are not always objective with variations of up to 60% reported in the literature. Semex has taken semen analysis to the next level by investing in a more advanced tool, the Computer-Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA) system. CASA is a powerful tool that provides an objective analysis of sperm motility and quality. This technology utilizes a microscope, a digital camera to capture images and specialized software that analyzes the semen’s movements.


HOW DOES IT WORK? One of the most important characteristics analyzed before semen is released to the field is the sperm’s ability to travel up the female reproductive tract after insemination. This is commonly called the sperm’s motility. These motility tests are conducted postthaw and are commonly considered the measurement of choice when determining if semen has been damaged in the freezing process. The essential principle behind CASA is that it takes a successive series of digital pictures of the sperm, utilizes computer software algorithms to scan the images, identifies individual sperm and then traces their motility. This gives a view of how well sperm can travel in the desirable straight line.

WHAT DOES IT DO? CASA is able to also breakdown a sperm’s trajectory, or movements, into multiple motility parameters, scoring the semen sample on these results. This gives the semen motility a more objective numerical evaluation, and provides Semex with the information needed to determine if the semen is of good quality, or if it should be discarded before it is ever sent to the field. The parameters typically collected using CASA systems are velocity (speed), linearity (straightness of path) and lateral displacement of sperm as they progress along their paths. Each of these parameters give specific information regarding the sperm, and thus can be correlated to its potential field fertility. To get this information, the software detects the motile/immotile sperm automatically, performs an accurate count and accordingly provides the concentration, percentage of motility and velocity results.


TOTAL & PROGRESSIVE MOTILITY EVALUATION The percentage of total motility and progressive motility are the most important motility parameters in the evaluation. Total motility refers to the fraction of sperm that display any type of movement. A sperm that swims forward in essentially a straight line is desirable; this is called progressively motile. Sperm that swim in abnormal paths, such as tight circles, are called non-progressively motile sperm and are undesirable.


CASA AT SEMEX Semex’s R&D partner, L’Alliance Boviteq, has developed strong expertise in frozen-thawed semen analysis with this CASA technology. They have analyzed a large semen bank with CASA, and correlated these results to field fertility data. This has helped establish cut-off values that allow for an incredibly accurate quality and fertility assessment. This expertise has been transferred to Semex’s AI centers, which are all now equipped with the CASA technology.

SEMEX GOLD STANDARD The cut-off values used to assess frozen semen quality are now part of Semex’s quality control and the Semex Gold Standard. CASA’s integration within Semex is one of a multistep plan in the Semex Gold Standard, leading to the Semex product’s standardization worldwide. This will further ensure quality and fertility of code 200 semen for Semex’s clients through the production and distribution chains.

FERTILITY ASSESSMENT It has been shown in scientific literature that CASA can be used to assess semen fertility. There is a well-established positive correlation between semen motility and fertility, with semen that has high motility (movement) being more fertile than those with lower motility. CASA improves the accuracy of this data collection, and avoids any errors due to subjective evaluation by different technicians. This makes CASA an extremely powerful tool for predicting fertility.

Also, as part of Semex’s Gold Standard, Boviteq is transferring new, innovative tools to Semex’s AI centers. Because motility alone does not determine fertility, we are integrating other tools that conduct even better cellular diagnostics. One tool that Boviteq has developed intensively is Flow Cytometry.



As seen in the figure above, Flow Cytometry, like CASA, gives lab technicians better objective analyses, and therefore more precise quality control testing. CASA and Flow Cytometry do not analyze the same parameters and thus, when done simultaneously, can give a more complete fertility analysis. Watch the next issue of Balance for more on semen Flow Cytometry and its usefulness in analyzing fertility at Semex.



- By Dianna Malcolm, Semex CHOOSING Australia

Unprecedented interest in elite North American embryos is intensifying the registered cattle market in Australia and around the world, pushing Semex’s embryo exports to record levels. Based on the recent annual report by the Canadian Embryo Transfer Association, Semex exports 60% of all Canadian dairy embryos, an increase of 7.1% increase over Semex’s exported percentage in 2009. In Australia, Semex is the busy hub for embryo importations. Its sales have trebled since 2006 and this year’s trading has included some critical advantages and success stories for Australian buyers. It has deepened their commitment and made the world sit up and take notice. Bouyant elite cattle prices continue Down Under with an Australasian record price being broken in May at $49,000 AUD for a 10-month-old Wilcoxview Jasper daughter. The other key component is Australia’s strong dollar, the immediacy of the internet, with the connections and knowledge it naturally brings, genomics and an increasing number of affordable quality embryos. There are also now well-documented success stories within Australia of animals born from embryos, which has


highlighted the investment opportunities Paradise EX-96-2E DOM 3*. and the truth in the callarrival from Australia’s Since the of genomics, have had proving “There breeders are now many examples celebrated auctioneer Brian Leslie that several choices when selecting mating the world is whole sires: lot ‘closer’ than it was buyers should, ‘Buy the best and breed years ago,” Dann said. “I was extremely ‘em better!’. impressed with the professionalism and

1) Bulls with first crop daughters; typically, these

In January 2011, Semex’s Manager of outstanding quality of cattle during my bulls are five to nine years of age and were first International Embryo Sales Dann Brady, last Australian trip. And they just keep anytime thebetter!” last proof round and who is basedproven out of Semex’s head between office getting in Guelph, Ontario, visited Australia’s a proof round four years ago “I am always impressed with the premier show, International Dairy Week outstanding older cows in Australia. (IDW) to speak with Australian breeders Whether it be at the show or within 2) Bulls which now have a lot of second crop of and staff. It was his second visit in five IDW is of oneage of theand best and can daughters, are at leastherds. 10 years years. certainly be considered a prime event

typically have hundreds or thousands of daughters on the international show calendar.”

Dann said embryos have undoubtedly in production helped Australia onto the world stage.

The Semex Spectacular Sale, held at “We’ve seen embryos be one of ... if IDW every January, is the first and the 3) Baffordable ulls thatway do for not have daughters milk not THE most buyers highest profile in cattle saleyet in thebut country. around the world getgenomic in on theseevaluation; It is accepted as Australia’s haveto a typically, thesebarometer bulls great familiesare andone have to thethree possibility priceswe can be years for of what agetop-flight and atcattle Semex of great results within their own herd, in expected to achieve throughout the year. call them Genomax™ bulls their own country,” Dann said. “We did a quick calculation, and in the The most glaring Australian example is the 2010 IDW Grand Champion, Dryfield Dundee Paradise. Paradise was originally bought within a package of 10 embryos through Semex by Colin Steel at Numurkah, in northern Victoria. He had three heifers and three bulls born from Miss Paradise Presence VG89-2YR 3* who was the 2005 Reserve All-Canadian Sr. 2 Yr Old, a Silky Gibson daughter of the World Dairy Expo Champion Vandyk-K Integrity

IDW sale this year there were seven calves sold in the sale that Semex had sold as embryos,” Dann said. “They averaged $12,214 – $4000 AUD above the sale average of $8400 AUD.”

“We deal with a large number of countries around the world and each of them has their specific requirements,” he said. “And then of course within a country you have all different types

“There are now many examples proving the world is whole lot ‘closer’ than it was years ago.”


Semex Australia’s Tyson Shea & Semex International Embryo Manager Dann Brady Photo by Carl Saucier

of buyers. Some are looking for pedigree, others want high genomics, high production or show cows.” “With Australia it seems there are all types of different buyers. We get requests for those high genomic animals where a customer is looking for those high numbers to try and get high value genomic offspring. And then we see some customers looking for those great older proven star brood cows. They want to buy into something consistent because they will be their next family to build their herd around. So, they buy embryos by Goldwyn or Goldwyn sons from these great proven brood cows.” He says families which he expects will interest breeders worldwide in the next 12 months are not hard to pinpoint. “In terms of families, the Barbie and Atlee families are two that are extremely popular right now. It has a lot to do with that the fact that these families are relevant for a broad range of buyers.” “They include something for everyone. They have show type, high genomics, AI interest, good production and deep pedigrees. So they can be marketed to multiple different buyers.” And the power of genomics has not been not lost on producers Down Under and worldwide. “The world of genomics has opened up a lot of borders and opportunities as well. In the past we saw a lot of North American genetics being sold. However, genomics now means that the owners of the heifers born in other countries can also get their animals tested on the GLPI or GTPI scale and see how they compare. It allows for the possibility of new families being discovered, contributing to the breed’s genetic advancement and it opens up even greater sales opportunities for embryo buyers. We are seeing that happen now.”

Embryos sold through Semex avg AUD $12,214 – $4000 above the sale avg of AUD $8400 at IDW’s Semex Spectacular Sale • Photo by Di Malcolm

Australia’s Product Support Specialist is Tyson Shea. The young breeder is in his element facilitating the needs of his country’s breeders. He says competitive prices on quality embryos have helped the market. He makes the most of the internet, emails and his connections from his own travels into Canada and the US. “Dann and I work very closely,” Tyson said. “We speak many times a day because embryo sales are an extremely fastmoving business and communication is key.” He says it is also critical to listen to producers. “Every buyer is different and has their own goals and we never make assumptions. We always like to ask, ‘What are your breeding goals?’ This allows us to find those pedigrees that would be interesting to help them meet those goals. We want the buyers to be happy and we do have a lot of repeat buyers, so it’s nice to know they have confidence in the results.” Tyson has also noticed a spike in the number of young breeders moving into the embryo market as more young people travel to the World Dairy Expo and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “Embryos are a great way for our younger clients to access the world’s best cow families. And the success is not limited to female progeny. We have also had bull mothers for AI born here and three or four bulls have been genomically tested and subsequently dual sampled.” Both men say it is an exciting field to be involved with. “We would like to thank everyone who has trusted us with their pedigrees and breeding goals,” Dann said. “We greatly appreciate helping each and every breeder, whether they are a young breeder just starting out or a breeder that knows exactly which cow or embryos they want.”

For some time Semex has fielded repeat buyers – happy with the results and Semex’s exceptional service and seamless delivery. 9

Y O U R 0200HO05588


















G O L D W Y N 0200HO05548
















GETTING OUT E YOU INVEST Keys To Efficient Reproduction Management Mark Carson, MSc. BSc. (Agr)., EastGen Reproductive Specialist

A key part at any successful dairy is its ability to get the most of out of every dollar it invests in the herd. When it comes to reproduction management, efficiency is measured two ways: First, and most obviously, the goal is to reduce the number of breedings that it takes to get a cow pregnant; the second is to focus on the length of time it takes to get cow pregnant... Many set 100 days in milk as a goal. Without a question, pregnancy rate captures both of these goals, and is the best measurement for the overall effectiveness of a herd’s reproduction management. But, having a high pregnancy rate doesn’t necessary mean you’re running an efficient breeding program. To find the areas where you have the opportunity to become more efficient, you must dig deeper into the numbers and find out where your pregnant cows are coming from and when your breedings are taking place.


EVERY DOLLAR Here are a couple of areas to check when looking for breeding program efficiencies: 1. N  umber of Breedings Occurring 4-18 Days After Insemination: When looking to find efficiencies, a good place to always start is by looking at the number of breedings occurring 4-18 days after a previous breeding. If the number of breedings in this period makes up more than 10%, its time to dig deeper into why your breeding so many cows off cycle. If conception rates for these breedings are poor then the obvious question is are these cows really in heat when you’re breeding them? However, if the conception rate is average or even improved, then we need to ask why are they showing heat so soon after a previous breeding? When trying to get this number below 10% there are three areas to focus on: a. Heat detection skills: Investigate the heat detection skills of the people working with your cows. Are they really identifying cows in heat? Or, are there other heat detection programs that will net you better results? b. Analyze the effectiveness of your timed AI protocols (TAI): If a large group of cows are showing heat 4-18 days after TAI, then look at how effective the protocol was delivered to the cows. To get a handle on whether or not cows are in heat during this period, consider progesterone-testing cows. If progesterone levels are low, then the cows are likely to be in heat. Reducing this percentage to below 10% will help make your breeding system more cost-effective. c. Check for cystic ovaries: Examine cows for cystic ovaries that can cause irregular cycles. To reduce cases of cystic ovaries, look at your herd’s nutrition and amount of metabolic disease. Work with your veterinarian to discuss treatment options for cows that develop the condition. 2. Ability to Find Open Cows: If timing is a key part of efficiency, then your ability to find open cows in heat is a critical component for success. In recent years a lot of focus has been given to getting the first breeding done by 72 Days In Milk (DIM). But, after the first breeding is completed, 50-70% of cows often remain open. This makes our ability to find open cows quickly critical to success and puts additional focus on two key areas: Pregnancy confirmation and post breeding heat detection. a. Pregnancy checks are ideally done 28-39 days post breeding. This rapid identification

of open cows lets you quickly focus on getting these open cows pregnant. b. An opportunity exists in many herds for better heat detection post first breeding. TAI protocols lose efficiency by breeding on approximate 32-42 day intervals because a cow with an unsuccessful first breeding at 72 DIM may not have a second chance to be bred until 114 DIM. Many herds have started using automated heat detection systems, like Semex’s ai24™’s Heatime® system to help close this gap. Activity monitoring systems can help cherry pick many of the open cows during the period inbetween breedings and herd health checks. c. Another good way to see how well your herd is doing is by going into your Dairy Comp 305 program and pulling up the days since last heat/breeding graph. This graph helps you see the interval that exists between breedings in your herd. 3. Breeding cows too early: From a profitability point of view, the optimal days open is around 100-110 days. This gives cows time to have a productive lactation, achieving peak milk production with very few days where she’s not paying for her spot in the barn. a. If your goal is to achieve an average of 100-110 days open, you must end your voluntary waiting period somewhere between 50-70 DIM. This may seem early, but remember that average conception rates are approximately 37%, and cows only come into heat approximately every 21 days. b. In attempt to boost pregnancy rates, some herds breed a large portion of first services before 50 DIM with very poor conception rates relative to breedings even a cycle later. This affects the overall efficiency of breeding program by using a lot of semen and labor to get very few pregnancies. c. If a herd choses to breed cows before 50 DIM, conception rates from those breedings need to be monitored closely. If the conception rates are poor, it is probably best to hold off and wait until above 50 DIM. Remember, getting cows pregnant at 100 days is optimal in order to maximize the current lactation. Getting cows pregnant very early in lactation may help to make your herd average look good, but it is not be the most efficient or profitable solution.

13 13


SEMEXX™ GENDER SORTED SEMEN Tom Kroetsch, Semex Director, Production and Quality Control

Figure 1 at right illustrates fertility as a Non-Return Rate (NRR) of SEMEXX™ sexed and Semex conventional semen from the same bulls used over the same period of time based on special CDN reports. In 2004, the Semex Alliance’s research and development arm, L’Alliance Boviteq, purchased their first semen sexing machine. Since then Boviteq’s team of scientists have worked hard to ensure that Semex’s sexed semen product, SEMEXX™, is among the very best on the market. Recent data released by the Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) underscores this commitment, showing that producers looking capitalize on gender-sorted semen can trust the Semex’s code 777 SEMEXX™ product to accurately deliver more heifer calves and increase their profitability. The performance of sex sorted semen is measured by two parameters: 1. Fertility 2. Percent of calves born of the desired sex


Semex’s SEMEXX™ sexed semen product has proven to be an outstanding success based on both of these measures.

These CDN reports show SEMEXX™ to be at 53.9% and conventional semen at 72.3% NRR. It’s well-known that the fertility of all sexed semen is below that of conventional semen. Therefore, a term has been developed within the sexed semen industry to describe this relationship between sexed and conventional fertility. This term is called ‘percent of conventional’, meaning this figure describes the sexed semen fertiliy as a percentage of conventional semen by the same bulls. When looking at a ‘percent of conventional’ value, over 70% is considered acceptable for sexed semen fertility. The SEMEXX™ product has continued to show steady improvement in this area, surpassing the acceptable recommendation of 70%. As shown in Figure 1 Semex’s SEMEXX™ product has achieved 74.6% ‘percent of conventional’ in Canada. In Figure 2, SEMEXX™ users can remain confident in their choice of 777 semen, as it is proven to deliver over 40% more heifers than the conventional semen! And at 93.2% females SEMEXX™ is well above the expected 90% industry standard.

Sexed semen is a delicate product that must be used carefully and appropriately to achieve success. This includes proper handling and usage at all stages of production and at all points of transfer. Semex’s Director, Production and Quality Control, Tom Kroetsch recommends the following as Steps for the Successful Use of Sexed Semen:

Together Semex and L’Alliance Boviteq work hard to ensure that SEMEXX™ is the best product on the market. This has resulted in a very strict application of the following: •E  nhanced system used for the selection sires to be sexed

To maximize your chances for success focus on two key areas: 1. SELECTION AND CARE OF HEIFERS TO BE BRED

Only virgin heifers that are well-managed, well-grown and in moderate or better body condition are suitable to receive thawed sexed semen. Efforts must be made to reduce stress; suitable group size in a familiar surroundings combined with a consistent feed plan, will contribute to your success.


Frozen sex-sorted semen is unique in many ways and although strict quality control remains a big part of the process, it must be remembered that: • The sperm cells may have been challenged during the sorting and freeze-thaw Maximized sexed semen production by process sorting the better performing sires on a • There are fewer sperm in each straw compared to conventional semen. Therefore, larger number of machines proper AI procedures are more critical and if done properly can contribute even Optimized processing and freezing stages more towards your success. Enhanced sexed semen quality evaluation HANDLING SEX-SORTED SEMEN by applying post-thaw tests, beyond the • Always keep the sexed semen straws submerged in liquid nitrogen criteria required by licence • Move the frozen sexed semen straws as little as possible from tank to tank Continued fine-tuning of sexed semen • Always use nitrogen cooled tweezers to handle the straws fertility data collection from major • Identify the semen in your tank without raising the straw as this will lead to SEMEXX™ markets in order to provide reduced quality. valuable feedback • If finding the straw requires more than 5 seconds lower the canister back into the tank for at least 10 seconds before trying again. FIGURE 2: THAWING SEX-SORTED SEMEN Sex of Holstein Calves (%) obtained with FIGURE 1: TM • Routinely verify the thaw-thermos thermometer. TM conventional semen and Semexx Semexx vs Conventional Semen Fertility - Holstein Heifers 37°C before each straw is removed CANADIAN DAIRY NETWORK – JULY 2011 100% • Check that the thermos water temperature is% from the tank. % % 80% 80% • Ensure a warm, draft free environment for thawing semen. % % 60% 60% • Thaw, only one % straw at a time, in 37°C water for 40 seconds. • Remove the straw from the thaw water, wipe it dry with warm paper towel and do 40% 40% not allow it to cool again. 20% 20% • Be sure to verify the donor bull’s ID • Be sure that all equipment including guns, sheaths, and paper towels are warm 0% 0% beforemale coming in contact with thawed straws. Conventional Sexed % of Conv female female INSEMINATING WITH SEX-SORTED SEMEN: conventional sexed • The traditional AM-PM rule can be followed so heifers are inseminated eight to 12 hours after observed estrus. FIGURE 2: • The use of estrus synchronization combined with observed estrus, is acceptable. Sex of Holstein Calves (%) obtained with conventional semen and SemexxTM Timed breeding is not recommended. % 100% • Increased estrus detection efforts will contribute to better results. • The thawed semen must be inseminated, only by highly experienced technicians, 80% within 5 minutes of removal from the tank. % 60% • Deposit the semen in the body of the uterus or opening of the horn. Do not % attempt to deposit the semen at the tip of the horn as unnecessary manipulation 40% will decrease the pregnancy rate. 20% • It is recommended that sexed semen be used for the 1st and 2nd services with conventional non-sexed semen suggested for subsequent services. 0%

•S  trict criteria used to select individual ejaculates for sex sorting

• •



Non-Return Rate (%)




49.64 50.36




Best Handling Practices:

49.64 50.36

male female conventional

female sexed


Conception results ring bells at Australia dairy Dianna Malcolm, Semex Australia

This 300-cow herd is located 15 km from Toowoomba, in Queensland, Australia. Photo: David Ninness.

A new automated dairy system has clarified alarming conception differences between individual sires in the 300cow Australian herd of Camlou Holsteins, run by the Janke family. David and Cindy, their son Cameron and his wife, MaryLouise, farm close to 1,000 acres at Westbrook, 15 minutes southwest of Toowoomba, in Queensland. They supply four million litres a year to National Foods, with individual lactation averages of 10,000 kgs (3.3% protein, 4.0% fat). Their seven-day, rolling average of just over 33 kgs/cow makes reproduction a daily management focus. Cameron, 32, drives the dairy, anchored by their near-new, fully automated, threeyear-old, 24-a-side, double-up, rapid-exit parlor.

“It was a coincidence and a matter of timing that I discovered the Repromax™ statistics at all,” Cameron said. “It happened when we had only just started to use a Repromax™ bull and the initial numbers were alarming for us.” “There’s not a doubt in my mind that the Repromax™ sires were more potent than we expected. Jim Conroy, Semex Australia’s General Manager, told me to expect higher conception. I believe we’ve achieved a lot higher than he suggested — more like 15% higher on this farm.”

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that the Repromax™ sires were more potent than we expected.”

Cameron says they “tripped over” the defining conception figures with the Alpro computer system when he was checking pregnancy figures. He discovered that a high fertility sire (identified as a Semex Repromax™ sire) was achieving close to an 80% conception rate, while other sires were much lower, at closer to 50%. Semex scientists, who developed the world’s first international fertility evaluation, importantly identified high fertility sires that 16

were also highly reliable for conformation, production and health. This means producers don’t have to endure genetic sacrifices to pursue improved conception.

The first numbers that floated to the top included the Repromax™ sire 0200HO01712 Wallaceview Aladdin, which achieved 80% conception.

In a herd where two-year-old first calvers could achieve 12,000 kg, 305-day first lactations, it was an easy decision for Cameron to start chosing Repromax™ bulls. Repromax™ sires he has used include 0200HO05049 Morningview Ashlar, 0200HO05239 La Presentation Denzel, 0200HO00379 Morsan Frontrunner *RC, 0200HO03488 Gillette Windstorm, 0200HO05592 Crackholm Fever,

0200HO05645 Gen-I-Beq Shotgun. Other Semex sires in use include 0200HO05191 Kerndtway Howie, Hartline Titanic, 0200HO04779 R-E-W Buckeye, 0200HO02072 Stantons Dundas and 0200HO02137 Pine-Tree Sid. Cameron credited Repromax™, combined with including Beta Keratine in the cows’ diet and a deeper understanding of AI (courtesy of some aggressive ET work in the past two years), for the Jankes bolstering their total first-service conception from close to 50% to just under 80%. “Computers have become a large part of our management, but we’ve also built a dedicated AI and flushing area, including a special chute where the cows are fully restrained – and we do have a heck of a good ET vet.” And while the business’ primary focus has been firmly on extreme milk flow, genetics has also been part of the game plan, and Cameron does not mince words when he talks about his ultimate aspirations. “We are about to start showing more, and when we do we’re going straight to IDW [International Dairy Week]. Some people buy race horses, I buy cows and embryos.”

type has led to Camlou choosing sires within their own herd that offer the durability to withstand the family’s Total Mixed Ration-based system and the conformation to take to the show ring.

include drought and a month of monsoonal rain every year.

Mr Burns *RC daughters ready to breed, and heifers calving in, sired by 0200HO05191 Kerndtway Howie.

“In the last four to five years we’ve also been intensively feeding all the dry cattle and we’ve seen a huge advantage in their protein yield when they rejoin the herd.”

“We normally get good planting rain, but we never usually get the rain to finish crops properly. To that end, 15 years “Of our heifers ago we started on the ground making silage; we have an it was the only outstanding way we could group by find to milk cows Denzel. One here profitably. has extreme We can’t walk show potential them to our other and she needs properties and to get to there is such a International Cameron Janke plans to take International Dairy Week by storm. short time frame Dairy Week in Photo: David Ninness. when fodder is at a hurry.” its best. It made sense to us.” Camlou has 0200HO-05024 Dudoc

“They are an impressive group,” Cameron said. “I have six Howies in the herd and one has already peaked at 50 kgs within 20 days of hitting the herd. One of those also needs to be halter broke too.”

“I’ve been home for eight years now and while we have been milk driven and haven’t pushed The Jankes have the registered implanted 51 cows, we like imported embryos milking nice into their milking cows and we herd, from Cameron Janke has invested heavily in exciting genetics. have continued Photo: Kelvin Cochrane. North America’s to develop strongest them within this pedigrees through Semex’s global operation. We are getting more money network, achieving 86% conception. from the milk they produce right now, but only because we haven’t had the Calves from those imported cow time to get the marketing out of our families now landing at Camlou come genetics.” from internationally known families including: Markwell Raven; Blondin All animals on the property are fed cut Supra; Karnvilla Roxes; and the Gillette and conserved silage from 21 days of “C” cow family. Red & White genetics birth. The TMR includes corn silage, include embryos from the Apples and forage silage, wheat, corn, soya bean the Derrwyn “M” cow families. meal and canola meal. TMR feed approach The combination of milk flow and high

“We’ve now extended that feeding management to our heifers, because it costs $5-$7 a week for them to be on pasture, and we can feed them silage for under $2 a week at home, and manage all our own cattle here.” With increasing milk prices and a Queensland milk shortage, the family is poised to move to three-times-a-day milking for cow comfort. “The two-year-olds milking 12,000 kgs are the ones that have forced us there,” Cameron said. “We need two more lactations from our animals and we need for it to be more relaxed for them and for us to look after their udders and their health.” “We are just finding the right staff to make the transition. They tell me I shouldn’t be in the dairy all the time, but the only day I won’t milk will be the day I’m at my own funeral! I think there’s a fine line between getting out of the dairy and keeping animals safe.” From a production perspective the family’s goal is to have cows that last 10 years and have a lifetime total of 100,000 kgs. They’re proud to be striving for these goals with Semex as their partner.

Cameron said they grow their own grain “when Mother Nature allows it”. Challenges on the dryland property 17

Still wondering about ai24 ? TM

Don’t just take our word for it... Mark Carson, MSc. BSc. (Agr)., EastGen Reproductive Specialist

Activity monitoring systems are rapidly becoming a common tool for herd managers seeking better reproductive performance. Dairymen who have invested in Semex’s ai24™ Heatime® system understand how it can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Now, studies from three respected North American Universities are backing up what is being seen in the field. Recently, at the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) annual meeting held in New Orleans, USA, three separate studies conducted at California Polytechnic State University, University of Guelph and University of Wisconsin-Madison using Semex’s ai24™ Heatime® system were presented, showing the effectiveness of installing activity monitoring systems. Here is a summary of their abstracts as presented at ADSA. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California, USA At California Polytechnic State University, they looked at the impact of installing a Heatime® system with rumination tags (HR-Tags) and integrating into the reproduction protocol at Cal Poly Dairy. They used the system to continuously monitor cow activity and rumination levels over a five-month period. Heatime® was used to flag cows that were suspected to be in heat. Additionally, they used the system to identify animals that need to be checked for sickness due to low activity levels. At the end of the five-month period, the pregnancy rate had increased to 22%, an 8% increase from the start of the study. The study concluded that Heatime® with HR-Tags was an effective tool that helped to increase pregnancy rates at Cal Poly Dairy. University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada A trial at the University of Guelph looked at the effectiveness of activity monitoring in three commercial Holstein dairy herds in Ontario, Canada. The study was conducted over a one year

period where the herds were divided in two, with half of the herd being monitored by the Heatime® system. The other half of these herds were primarily bred with a timed AI system. The study utilized 1,060 cows, and recorded 3,235 AI breedings during the study period. The results from this study show that a breeding system using primarily activity monitoring can yield the same pregnancy rates to that of herds relying heavily on timed AI protocols, with no significant difference between the systems. The final results of this study are due to be published this Fall, and will include a much deeper analysis into factors that affect the performance of activity monitoring systems and any cost saving that can be achieved through the reduction of drugs and labor in timed AI protocols. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA The third study was conducted at University of WisconsinMadison. This study looked at how effective the Heatime® system can predict the timing of a breeding. For the study, cows on a large 900-cow commercial Holstein dairy in southwestern Wisconsin, were given an injection of GnRH from 35-49 DIM (Days In Milk), followed by injection of PGF2, seven days later. Forty-eight hours after the PGF injection, cows were monitored for the presence using progesterone testing and ultrasound every eight hours for 120 hours. The trial used 42 cows for the analysis, and found that Heatime® correctly identified whether or not the cow ovulated 88% of the time. They also found that peak activity occurred on average 67 hours after the PGF injection, and cows were subsequently bred approximately 10 hours later. The University of Wisconsin-Madison trial shows that Heatime® can be used as an accurate tool to predict the timing of breeding.

References: Use of an activity monitoring system as part of the Cal Poly dairy breeding protocol. T. Nutcher* and S. Henderson, Department of Dairy Science, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Herd


reproductive performance with an automated activity monitoring system versus a synchronized breeding program in 3 commercial dairy herds. R. C. Neves*, K. E. Leslie, J. S. Walton, and S. J. LeBlanc, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada. Assessment of an accelerometer system (Heatime®) for detection of estrus and timing of insemination in lactating dairy cows. A. Valenza, G. Lopes*, J. O. Giordano, J. N. Guenther, and P.M. Fricke, Department of Dairy Science University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison.

SWISSGENETICS SETS NEW RECORD +500,000 UNITS EXPORTED Swissgenetics has exported over 500,000 units of semen in 20102011, setting a new company record! This new record is only possible due to the worldwide appreciation of Swiss genetics and the international cooperation of the Semex Alliance. The increase in export volume has been significant during the past decade. Over five times more semen units are now exported by Swissgenetics than was exported at the turn of the century. From less than 100,000 units in 2002-2003, the number now sits at over 500,000 doses exported. This is an increase from just last year in 2009-2010, when close to 450,000 units were exported as shown in Figure 1 below.


SWISSGENETICS – EXPORTED UNITS 500000 400000 300000 200000 100000 0



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Simmental, Red Holstein and Brown Swiss are the three major breeds contributing to this grand total. Internationally popular bulls for the main breeds are mainly the same bulls as those that are popular within Switzerland’s own market. For Red Holstein SAVARD, LEONARD and BENTAL are the most popular. For Brown Swiss it is ALIBABA, CAFINO and JONGLEUR that top the charts. An example of a popular high profile Simmental bull is COSTA. With semen exported to over 50 countries, each having specific breeding requirements and demands, Swissgenetics has shown that it is able to provide breeding solutions for nearly every type of production system. Worldwide breeders are satisfied with their results and continue to turn to Swissgenetics.

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GLOBAL POWER AT YOUR FINGERTIPS World renowned for delivering high quality bovine genetics, Semex has been solving problems and satisfying producers through its distributor network for over 35 years. Working shoulder-to-shoulder with their clients, Semex’s staff is the best trained in the industry, offering profitable genetic solutions for producers worldwide. With a successful history as its foundation, Semex is committed to ensuring success for its clients, owners, employees and partners for generations to come. • Global Housing Facilities with over 1,600 Bulls on 5 Continents • 110 Distributors in 80 Countries • 1,800 Semex Employees Worldwide • Owned by 3 Canadian Partners, Each with 60+ Years Experience • 35+ Years Marketing Semen to Meet Global Demand • Extensive Internal Reproductive, Embryo & Semen Technology R&D Centre - L’Alliance Boviteq • Comprehensive Embryo Export Program • State of the Art Distribution Center • Millions of Doses Exported Each Year


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Tel: 519-821-5060 | Fax: 519-821-7225 |


Balance - Fall 2011  
Balance - Fall 2011  

Balance is a magazine designed to promote dairy genetics, technology and management. The magazine is published by the Semex Alliance. The Se...