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ai24™’s NEW HR-TAG® AT GOLDEN OAKS pg 6-7




THE 30-60-90 RULE IN BREEDING COWS pg 10-11



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Genetics For Life

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Semex’s mandate is to offer our clients the most profitable genetics available anywhere. And, we know that genetics is not just a part of the industry.... It is the industry. We invest deeply in genetic research and development in order to deliver the best possible solutions in dairy and beef cattle breeding. This focus on you, our customer, is what propels us forward and is the driving force for the Semex programs covered in this issue of Balance including: Genomax™, our genomic sire program; our global Jersey program; the Semex Learning Centre; our Premier™ young sire program and ai24™. These same thoughts were the catalyst for Semex’s newest video entitled, ‘Genetics For Life.’

Photo of 0200HO03591 Beaver Ray Mural daughter, Retour Lyne GP-83-CAN by Vicki Fletcher, Canada 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:


“At Semex we’re working hard every day to add value to our customers’ businesses and lives,” says Paul Larmer, Semex Alliance Chief Executive Officer. “We feel this video conveys this to our customers, because in the end, we’re a farmer-driven business. We’re owned and directed by farmers for farmers.

We know what is going on where it matters most, and we think about tomorrow every day.” The ‘Genetics For Life’ video details Semex’s obligation to our customer and our belief that genetics are at the heart of any operation. This commitment is evident within several aspects of the Semex organization beyond our product: • We’re working hard to continually develop a profitable genetic product suite and solutions for cattle producers • We’re training our staff to be the best partner in your business • We’re investing in the right research and development to ensure our product is the very best product on the market The new video can be viewed on Semex’s Youtube page:

In early 2012 watch for additional versions in French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Portuguese.

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™, CVG™ and Robot Ready™ are registered trademarks of the Semex Alliance.

DELIVERING GENETIC STRATEGIES Identifying problem areas Finding the right solutions Working together to meet your dairy’s objectives

Semex Genetic Consultants work hard to identify challenges on your dairy, providing solutions and strategies through time-tested programs including: ai24™ features Heatime®, a 24-hour a day, 365-day a year heat detection system. The Client Value Guide™ is a formula for sire selection customized to your operation.


ProMate’s™ extensive pool of sires finds ideal mating solutions to meet your herd’s goals. Semex Genetic Consultants are regularly trained in courses accredited by the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.




Contact your Semex Genetic Consultant today to learn more. Tel: 519-821-5060 | Fax: 519-821-7225 |




Brad Adams, Semex Global Training Manager

training to Semex employees on four continents and in over 10 countries. Early on, our focus was to help the Semex sales force to best identify customer needs. This training continues today in all that we do, but now we’re transitioning to be even better genetic consultants, providing services and tools that lead to been actively profitability on the dairy.

Just a few short years ago, Semex’s global training program took hold, and the Semex Learning Centre was born. Our goal has been simple: Semex staff will be the best-trained staff in the world.

Striving to be the best in any discipline is a lofty goal, and it’s a credit to Semex’s diligent Semex has planning at all levels that started these wheels turning, and formed transforming into a our global training department, the company known to Semex Learning Centre.


Becoming a Semex Genetic Consultant is not an easy road. These staff members will have completed basic have the best-trained sales and technical training, and will Now, we’re pleased to report to our Genetic Consultants in have demonstrated general consultative customers and partners worldwide attributes. In 2012 you will see this that Semex has been actively the industry. certification process take hold, with transforming into a company known individuals earning sales distinction from the Canadian to have the best-trained Genetic Consultants in the industry. Professional Sales Institute. Any Semex Genetic Consultant These employees are working side-by-side with producers who earns this honor will have proven themselves to be worldwide to increase profitability and plan for tomorrow. of high ethical standards, showing that they add value to The Semex Learning Center has delivered and executed their customer visits.

Semex expects the best from its people and that includes a strong technical knowledge of not only artificial insemination, but also the entire dairy industry. We are working hard to live up to this expectation through a number of new initiatives.

Microsoft Office training to Genetic Evaluation training as well as an introduction to Reproductive Physiology.

One of the new initiatives in 2011, and one which will carry forward into 2012, is the addition of the Semex Dairy School. This program has been delivered to all staff in the United States, with plans to go international in 2012.

However, the common denominator will be that your Semex representative will be working even harder to find ways to make your business more profitable, because just like you, we’re busy thinking about your tomorrow each and every day.

This program is led by Dr. John Fetrow, DVM, Professor of Dairy Production Medicine at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Dairy Health, Management and Food Quality and Dr. Curtis Harms and Dr. Dave Ohman from Diamond V, a nationally recognized USA animal nutrition company that leads the industry in providing science based nutritional fermentation products. These experts instruct participants in the areas of reproduction, nutrition, dairy economics and cow comfort. This classroom style training incorporates several onfarm applications including DC305 and standard dairy economics, while also providing instruction on conducting valuable on-farm walk throughs. These walk-throughs teach Semex staff to look for bottlenecks on a dairy and show (sometimes even help) the producer how to remove them. Our objective with this training is to provide our customers with an additional set of eyes, and to better support what other allied industry experts are already doing on the dairy. As a dairy producer wouldn’t you want an extra set of eyes on your dairy? “We’re working side-by-side with dairymen every day to help resolve real life issues on their dairies,” said Paul Krueger, Director, Sales and Business Development, United States. “Our customers demand value from their suppliers, and we’re working hard to ensure Semex’s Genetic Consultants are the best-trained, most solutions focused representatives that walk on to a dairy.”

Semex’s goal in our training is to deliver the best-trained Genetic Consultants to our industry. What this means will differ from producer to producer.

“We’re working side-by-side with dairymen every day to help resolve real life issues on their dairies,” said Paul Krueger, Director, Sales and Business Development, United States. “Our customers demand value from their suppliers, and we’re working hard to ensure Semex’s Genetic Consultants are the best-trained, most solutions focused representatives that walk on to a dairy.”

Semex is also deploying online follow-up technologies within the Semex Learning Centre. Research proves that 80% of training is lost if it is not followed up on. By conducting regular follow-up meetings and webinars, and increasing post-classroom communications, we ensure that these ideas and trainings are not lost, but instead are transferred to the dairy. In addition to the live webinars, we just recently launched the Semex Learning Centre-Online. This training tool continues to support the webinars and live in-class training. It’s an e-learning, self-paced training that all Semex sales representatives have access to in the same way that you would at a community college or university. With the Semex Learning Centre-Online, we are working to constantly add new courses and languages, with plans to deliver training content in eight languages. E-learning courses are being offered in a variety of topics from


The New HR– Focusing On

Chris Sheahan, ai24™ Program Manager

In the Chicago suburbs, it’s not surprising to see large, beautiful homes, parks and picturesque lakes. But, also found in these suburbs is a long driveway lined with oak trees, leading to one of the nation’s superior dairy operations, Golden Oaks Farm. Golden Oaks Farm of Wauconda, Illinois was originally established in 1948 by Chicago’s Crown Family. At the time, this location was an influential dairy production area. Over 60 years later, the urban sprawl surrounds the dairy, but the focus of this now 700-cow, 1600acre dairy remains the same… Breed and develop superior Holstein genetics with an annual goal to produce 18,700,000 pounds of milk with solid components each year. This is accomplished through careful genetic selection and by utilizing an extensive embryo transfer program. However, being located just 45 minutes from the O’Hare International Airport, Golden Oaks has to make sure that positive public perception is calculated into each management decision. A positive public perception is important to Golden Oaks, and led them to establish Midwest Organics Recycling (MOR), a composting business in 2004. MOR provided Golden Oaks with a solution to sustaining its large dairy on the outskirts of Chicago while providing its urban neighbors with a valuable commodity. Its Organimix® brand compost is made from materials including leaves, grass, woodchips and cow manure, and can be used as a soil amendment, lawn dressing, potting soil component or mulch.

Using the HR-Tag® also gives the dairy an added confidence in the heat list produced each day, further demonstrating the related drop in rumination with an increase in activity. “We see a spike in activity and the rumination go down in pretty much every cow,” says Nate. “We line up the columns side-by-side to see that. It gives us the secondary indication that the cow is in heat.” How’s It Working On Golden Oaks? Shortly after installing, the Golden Oaks team began seeing the value ai24™ provides to a herd. “Before ai24™ we would only rely on daily milk weights to give us a cow’s status. Now, we use three different tools,” says Ethan. “We see rumination changes as the first signal… These come 1218 hours before the milk weight drop. This lets us focus on those cows that definitely need the attention,” says Ethan.

“Now, we are able to target these cows and examine them more closely than before.”

This concern for sustainability and public perception is part of every aspect of their business, including herd reproduction. As they searched for ways to improve reproductive efficiency, the Golden Oaks management team also committed to capitalizing on a cow’s natural heat before intervening with other methods. “We did our research and evaluated the return on investment on the systems,” says Ethan Heinzmann, Golden Oaks Herdsman. “We knew the areas we wanted to improve on and we realized we weren’t taking advantage of enough repeat heats. We chose ai24™’s HR-Tags® because we felt it was the best system for our milking herd and heifer operation. Also, we liked the long term warranty and battery life of the ai24™ system.” With 14 fulltime, several part-time employees and two college students working on the farm, Nate Janssen, Dairy Operations Manager was also concerned about labor issues and the staff involvement in reproduction. “We like to help develop our staff’s skills and empower them to make more cow side decisions, and ai24™ helps us do that.” Golden Oaks chose ai24™ as their solution, putting the new HRTags® on the milking herd and the H-Tags® on the heifers. The advanced ai24™ HR-Tag® was developed by researchers at SCR® to do two things. First, like the traditional H-Tag®, it takes the guess-work out of A.I. and is based on its unique, 24-hour, easy to use, electronic heat detection system that has a 95% tag read rate and an 85-90% true heat detection rate. Second, the HR-Tag® was created as a broader herd management


tool. It has a built-in microphone to record and analyze each cow’s rumination… giving you greater insight into what is happening inside your cow. This rumination information helps to identify any potentially sick or distressed cows as well as any nutritional or management issues before they become larger, more costly issues.

“We have a young man who monitors our fresh cows,” says Nate. “He looks at the rumination list every day and for those with a large decrease and then proactively deals with those cows. This helps us identify any treatment needed for ketosis or a DA.”

“We can use the rumination list to monitor any ration changes,” says Nate. “We know they have gone off feed, and those cows with the decreased rumination can be identified quickly and one of our staff can give them a closer look.” Valuable Pregnancies “Getting more ET pregnancies is very important to us, especially now in the era of genomics,” says Ethan. Golden Oaks uses their heat list information as part of their embryo transfer (ET) program, breeding most heifers with eggs. “By utilizing the system’s heat detection we go through and write down heats and activity levels,” says Nate. “This really helps our vets find the CL and put embryos in the heifers.” Return On Investment Since installing their system at Golden Oaks Farm, the team is definitely enjoying the flexibility and costs savings from ai24™. “We are now using about half the reproductive drugs as we were before. And, we’ve become a lot more selective on which cows are getting treatments,” says Ethan. “Now, the animals that haven’t had a heat by the end of our voluntary waiting period (55 days) are definitely considered cystic or non-cycling cows.” Golden Oaks has reduced their weekly enrollment into an ovsynch program by 85%, and now boasts a 70% palpated pregnancy rate. “Trusting the system was easy,” says Nate. “The support we get from Semex has been tremendous. Our Semex Representives Gale Shelbourn and Jake Kempel are always just a phone call away.”

–Tag® At Golden Oaks The Cows That Need It

Nate Janssen, Golden Oaks Dairy Operations Manger and Semex Representives Gale Shelbourn


SEMEX LINEUP: MORE D Mike West, Semex Sire Analyst & Product Support Specialist

The Semex lineup has never been stronger, with sons from a variety of pedigrees and breeding patterns offering our clients true genetic diversity. One of Semex’s well-known strengths is our superior lineup of Goldwyn sons. Our lineuup is growing, and is now home to some of the world’s top new graduates from the industry’s most highly regarded sires. The December proof round underscored this diversity with the release of a new outcross sire, 0200HO03591 Beaver Ray Mural, and the new #1 Conformation sire, 0200HO03603 Gillette Stanleycup. Second lactation results from 0200HO03501 Gillette Windbrooks tell us these are some of the best cows in herds, giving additional power to Semex’s strong and growing lineup.



EXTRA Mural brings a very interesting pedigree along with his highranking Lifetime Profit Index (LPI) debut as the #1 new release and the overall #2 LPI sire in December 2011. Sired by Toystory and out of a Titanic dam, followed by an Outside granddam makes him an attractive mating sire for many cows in the Holstein breed. Mural’s dam, Beaver Ray Titanic Mira EX-94, has two Superior Lactation awards with exceptional fat production to 5.1% in her two-year-old record of over 28,000 lbs in 305 days. Her dam is a VG-87 6* Outside with one Super 3 and three Superior Lactation awards herself, then a 8* Skychief and then the 10*Starbuck, Beaver Ray Star Modella who produced more than 260,000 lbs lifetime with a 4.3% fat and 3.7% protein. This prolific cow family has many high producing and high scored females, with the #2 LPI sire, Mural, being just their latest credit to the family tree. “Mira, the dam of Mural, is believed to be the highest scored Titanic daughter in the world. She classified EX-94 at only five years of age, with impressive scores of EX-96 in both mammary system and dairy strength,” says Semex Sire Analyst Julien Chabot who purchased Mural. “Mural was the first natural calf of this impressive, powerful cow with a fantastic udder. Mira followed the high fat family tradition, bred right through, with solid, hard-working, brood star dams behind her, sired by Outside, Skychief and Starbuck.”

Mural debuts as a high LPI sire, showing that he can provide profitability through his breeding pattern. Mural is a well-rounded, balanced sire that provides profitable Mural Daughter, Photo: Vicki Fletcher production, excellent health traits and balanced type. Passing on high levels of fat and fat percentages helps him climb the LPI ranking to sit as the #2 sire. Mural is Canada’s #1 Toystory son and posted impressive MACE GTPI figures of a low SCS at 2.76, +1.30 PL, positive deviations and solid +2.03 PTAT. This high fertility Repromax™ and Health$mart™ offers a balanced type pattern fueled by quality udders, a sound foot & leg structure with a balance of frame and rump figures, allowing him to be used on a variety of matings, adding longevity and profitability.

“Mira, the dam of Mural, is believed to be the highest scored Titanic daughter in the world. She classified EX-94 at only 5 years of age, with impressive scores of EX-96 in mammary and in dairy strength.”




EX-94-CAN EXTRA Stanleycup is a very interesting high type sire, with an appealing pedigree and a debut proof showing a great future. He’s sired by Bolton and out of the famous Gillette Blitz 2nd Wind, making this a pedigree that is not only popular, but proven successful. A former #1 LPI cow, 2nd Wind is scored VG-88 has 34* and 16 daughters classified with all but one being VG. As a two-year-old she produced over 37,000 lbs in 365 days and has sent numerous sons to AI, with her most famous to date being the current #3 LPI sire, 0200HO03501 Gillette Windbrook.

commenting on their quiet disposition, good milk quality and overall performance. This Designer Series™, Repromax™ and Health$mart™ sire is just what many producers are looking for. Stanleycup will improve the quality and structure of the feet and legs, while easily adding a shot of fat performance.

“2nd Wind is the epitome of the modern day, proven bull mother. She is only nine years old, and she already holds the record for the most Class EXTRA sons in Canadian breed history at three; and she also sired two Superior Type bulls,” says Chabot. “We’re on the edge of re-writing history with her upcoming, high type phenomenon son Stanleycup. Her sons sire the 2nd Wind trademark of the perfect balance of strength and dairyness, along with strong feet & legs and text book udders.” The second dam is none other than Braedale Second Cut, and then of course Braedale Gypsy Grand. This is a pedigree that is truly legendary, having one of the greatest impacts ever seen in the industry through both male and female progeny. Stanleycup has a tremendous breeding pattern, that producers and analysts both appreciate. One of the family’s hallmark traits is their ability to transmit high levels of fat and fat %’s. This comes through again in Stanleycup taking Canada’s #1 Conformation title at +19, delivering a ‘no holes’ proof with a +0.18% PTAF. He ranks as the #2 PTAT Bolton son at +2.95 PTAT with extreme udders, posting a +2.67 UDC with +4.06 FU, +3.66 RUH and +3.43 RUW. His daughters have a flat bone, deep heel and ideal foot angle along with quality, shallow udders that will last. It is no surprise that when you go looking for these daughters you will usually find them at the feed bunk. Their wide chests and strength give them great appetites, with breeders continually

Windbrook Daughter



EX-95-CAN EXTRA An FBI brother to Stanleycup, Windbrook has become one of the popular ‘go to’ sires in the Semex lineup. Windbrook was one of the most impressive first lactation sires Semex had ever seen when he debuted in December 2010. But, now that we are seeing his daughters develop in their second lactations, we’re simply overwhelmed with the results. Windbrook daughters continue to calve, and as they work through their second lactation, he’s now at an impressive 80% of his 132 classified daughters scored Good Plus and better. Cited as being some of the best sires for rear udders, rump structure and foot shape, the Windbrook daughters stand out as some of the best second lactation cattle we can find. Windbrook is a bull that breeders continue to go back and use. He’s an FBI from the Blitz daughter, 2nd Wind, which makes him a sire that works on so many pedigrees. This Semex Designer Series™ and Health$mart™ sire offers a type and profitable production balance that makes him useful a variety of cows, while continuing to drive the breed forward.

Stanleycup Daughters, Photos: Patty Jones

Semex is committed to genetic advancement, diversity and providing profitable genetics. Sires like Mural, Stanleycup and Windbrook complement Semex’s strong proven sire lineup, providing quality everyday genetics that will positively influence a herd’s profitability for generations to come. 9

THE 30-60-90 RULE IN B Brad Sayles, Semex Alliance Vice President Global Marketing

Selecting bulls that will help your herd accomplish your production, longevity and profitability goals has become more complicated with the introduction of genomic testing of both males and females. However, deciding how to successfully incorporate genomic tested young sires into your breeding program has a lot to do with first deciding how much risk you are willing to accept. In order to make the best breeding decisions, it is important to develop a basic understanding of the difference between young sires, genomically tested young sires and progeny proven bulls. A general rule of thumb when trying to understand these differences is the 30-60-90 reliability rule. This rule is certainly not an exact science. However, it is an easy to understand reference that can be used when thinking about the differences in reliabilities. • Young bulls with no genomic information and only Parent Average (PA) are known to have a 30-38% reliability

And, although the corresponding reliability is quite a bit lower than for a progeny proven bull with 100 daughters, it’s also quite a bit higher than for a young sire with no genomic information and only a parent average. Having said that, there are ways to utilize genomically tested sires in your breeding program that will have a minimal impact on reliability across the herd. Semex and its Genomax™ lineup have always endorsed using a group or team of genomically tested sires in a herd. This group concept is recommended over the use of just an individual genomic tested sire. For example, using 10 doses from five genomic sires on average will increase that group of bulls’ overall reliability to nearly 90%. Essentially, what you are doing by using a group of bulls is spreading or managing your genetic risk. Consider that if one or two of the five bulls doesn’t meet

• Genomically tested young bulls are known to have a 60-65% reliability • Progeny proven bulls with 100 daughters will have a 90-93% reliability Although some genomically tested bulls can have published reliabilities in the 75% range for production traits, these high reliability levels have not yet been supported by validation studies. Therefore, you are safer to keep using the 60-65% rule above. When thinking about sire selection and utilizing genomics, it’s important to understand that genomic information is a great tool to help you pre-select bulls.




BREEDING COWS expectations, the chances are high that the other two or three may exceed your expectations. This will bring the bulls’ progeny proven average very close to their genomic numbers. By contrast, however, if you’re using just one bull, you have to accept a fair bit of risk that the one individual will not achieve the results you expected. The Semex Genomax™ line-up carries some of the industry’s leading young bulls. At Semex, we strive to include our highest Total Performance Index, Net Merit and Type sires in the lineup. At the same time, Semex will always have Genomax™ sires that also carry official Calving Ease

and fertility data to give you more confidence when incorporating these bulls into your breeding program.

Expected Differences From Real Genetic Value*

Semex Genetic Consultants are trained to help you best manage your genetic risk, selecting the very best group of bulls to use in your program. The combined use of Semex genomic tested Genomax™ sires and SEMEXX™ gender sorted semen gives dairymen more tools, and more power than ever, to incorporate into their genetic strategy and increase profitability.

Type of Evaluation

Obs. REL (%)

Parent Avg (PA)

Pro (lbs)



Genomic PA (GTPA)



Bull Proofs w 100 dtrs













*In 90% of cases

Equivalent Reliability of Genomax™ Bulls Used In Groups** Group Size (# of bulls)

Reliability (%) of GPA of Each Bull In Group (Depending on Trait) 60








**For unrelated bulls


Photos: Han Hopman


Udder Health & Reproductive Consequences Mark Carson, MSc. BSc. (Agr)., EastGen Reproductive Specialist

As the dairy industry continues to push for higher standards for the product leaving the farm gate, milk quality continues to receive a lot of attention. The only ways to improve this quality is through better udder health and lowered Somatic Cell Counts (SCC). Improving udder health will not only help to lower SCC, but it will also put more milk in your bulk tank and money in your pocket. This extra production on a 100-cow dairy with an estimated milk price of $16.00 per CWT could mean an extra $6,400 in revenue annually. Additionally, elevated SCC has been shown to have an additional cost on the dairy by reducing reproductive performance. A study done by Cornell University found that clinical mastitis occurring any time between 14 days before until 35 days after insemination can lower conception rates. Gram-negative type bacteria such as E. coli can be particularly harmful if infection occurs in the week following insemination, with an 80% reduction in the chance of becoming pregnant.

Reviewing your herd’s SCC pattern between milk tests can also help identify focus areas. If your SCC scores stay high from test to test, you may be looking for contagious types of mastitis in your herd such as Staphylococcus Aureus and Streptococcus Agalactiae. These types of mastitis normally develop from milking procedure issues. However, if your SCC scores spike up and then return to normal between milk tests, environmental types of mastitis, such as E. coli, may be your culprit.

Parlor & Environmental Factors Parlor and environment management are the major focuses of any herd’s udder health protocol, and rightfully so. Correct milking procedures and maintenance of a cow’s environment during her lactation will have a tremendous impaction on her milk quality. Also, established milking procedures and proper working milking equipment are both critical to ensuring the best udder health possible, because cows that are not cleaned and prepped correctly can have milk let-down issues and may experience udder contamination issues.

Plotting your bulk tank SCC figures over the course of a year will help you see these trends. When looking at the year as a whole, if you find you have a significant spike in SCC during the warmer summer months you may want to look at ways to improve your cows’ environment during those warm periods.

There are a number of ways to monitor SCC in your parlor and environment’s performance. Many new parlors come with software packages that help you monitor factors such as milk let-down times and milking speeds. Looking at these production aspects are great aids in measuring the performance of your milking crew and parlor equipment. 12

Dry Cow Management Dry cow management is a critical point in any udder health protocol. The dry period gives the cow a chance to recover from the previous lactation, while preparing her mammary system for the next lactation. An excellent dry cow program involves an appropriate veterinarian recommended treatment protocol at the time of dry-off, clean housing and proper stocking density. These factors, combined with proper dry cow nutrition and calving management, should help reduce the mastitis cases. A good way to monitor your dry cow program

performance is by comparing the SCC scores at the time of drying off versus their first test in the next lactation (See Figure 1). Using a cut-off point of 200,000 SCC, this assessment helps to show improvement opportunities for udder health within your dry cow program. Easily done within Dairy Comp 305, or other data collection program when SCC is collected, the analysis will tell you one of the following: 1. If your cows start and finish the dry period with a SCC below 200,000, then your protocol effectively stopped new infections from occurring. 2. If your cows start the dry period with a high SCC and subsequently start their next lactation with a low SCC, your dry cow treatment protocol successfully cured mastitis cases. 3. If your cows start the dry period with a high SCC, then also start their next lactations with an elevated SCC your dry cow protocol failed to cure mastitis cases. 4. If your cows start a dry period with low SCC and begin their lactations with an elevated SCC, your protocol allowed cows to get sick during the transition period. A successful dry-cow udder health program will keep most of the cows clean and cured, while minimizing the percentage that will start their lactations with a high SCC.

Successful udder health involves managing the parlor, environment and dry-off in details and protocols.When thinking about udder health, remember the role genetics will play in your herd. Picking AI sires with lower SCS will help your herd produce higher quality milk and more profitable cows.

Genetics Genetics is often a forgotten part of an udder health management program. If reducing the SCC over your entire herd is a long-term priority, then you should start considering the Somatic Cell Scores (SCS) of the AI sires you’re choosing. Paying attention to SCS when picking your sires will help produce daughters that are less prone to develop high SCC. For example, a third lactation daughter from a sire with a 2.60 SCS can be expected to have a 60,000 lower cell count compared to the breed average of 3.00. Reducing SCC will help make managing your herd udder health easier, and breeding daughters that are less prone to cases of mastitis will make the management of udder health in the future even easier! Successful udder health involves managing the parlor, environment and dry-off in details and protocols. When thinking about udder health, remember the role genetics will play in your herd. Picking AI sires with lower SCS will help your entire herd produce higher quality milk and more profitable cows.



>200,000 at Dry-Off

% Cure

% Failure

<200,000 at Dry-Off

% Clean

% Sick While In Transition


NO STONE UNTURNED IN PURSUIT OF TOMORROW’S JERSEY GENETICS! Russell Gammon, Semex Alliance Jersey Program Manager

Semex’s Jersey program has been expanded, and is spurred on by the fact that numerous national Jersey populations, including the USA are rapidly growing. This growth proves that the worldwide demand for profitable Jersey genetics is only increasing as all producers strive for ways and means to increase their profitability. JERSEY GENOMAX™: By February 2012 we will have genotyped young sires from four established Jersey populations worldwide, and one ‘rising star’ national herd. We are also using genomics to scour national Jersey populations for high potential bull mothers. The old adage of ‘The good ones are where you find them,’ has never been more true. At Semex, we’re sifting and sorting through hundreds of young candidate sires until we find those select few worthy of widespread sampling in our own Jersey Genomax™ program. This global search is easier at Semex as we have housing facilities on five continents, creating limitless search boundaries for the world’s greatest Jersey genetics! THE BEST JERSEY PRODUCT IN THE WORLD: All Semex sires are cared for in state-of-the-art facilities. Their semen is produced and processed under Semex’s exacting Gold Standard specifications. Our sampling program is extensive enough to yield a reliable proof early in each bull’s productive life, all of which contributes to 200JE sires being the highest quality sires in the world. SEMEXX™: Semex has the unique ability to sort semen from our top Jersey sires. This means our customers can quickly integrate top SEMEXX™ sires into their breeding programs. SEMEX’S JERSEY TEAM: One of the Semex Jersey program’s strengths is our North American based team of four passionate students of the Jersey breed. Together, these folks represent more than a century of involvement with the Jersey breed. We are supported globally by ‘Jersey Champions’ in various leading Jersey countries. Together, we provide each other with a steady flow of information regarding the accomplishments of Semex sires, as well as emerging cows and sires within the breed from all corners of the globe. This gives the Semex 200JE program a unique, global advantage! In 2012 we’ll be embarking on a Jersey-specific training program for those assisting Jersey clients around the globe. As part of Semex’s Dairy School, produced by the Semex Learning Centre, team members will be even better equipped to help you make the best mating decisions for your herd.


THE RESULTS ARE EVIDENT: The December 2011 sire proof releases in North America carried a bounty of superb news for Semex. With new industry leaders among the ranks of genomically tested young sires, an exciting new polled Jersey sire and some topranking newer faces on our team, Semex is ready to supply the needs of those working with Jersey genetics anywhere on the planet in 2012!

The old adage of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The good ones are where you find them,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; has never been more true.


Fernandes: Semex Has The Right Breeding Philosophy

Michelle Pedretti, West Coast Premier™ Consultant

Semex. In June 2009, they partnered with the Semex Premier Club™ young sire program. In the spring of 2011 Fern Oak has made a significant and exciting change to their breeding program by using 90% Semex sires. Fern Oak has never been tied to one particular semen company until their breeder Steve Robles became an independent AI technician with Semex. The Semex sires Jared has been very impressed with include traditional sires James, Rudolph, Storm and more recently R-E-W Buckeye. These bulls sire his favorite cows in the herd because they stand out with their good, deep body frames and functional, long-lasting type.

Left to Right: Jared, Josh, Frank, Joe, Greg, & Gary Fernandes

Fern Oak Dairy in Porterville, California is owned and operated by the Fernandes Family partnership, comprising of Joe Fernandes and his sons Greg, Gary, Frank, Josh and Jared. Greg and Gary manage the crops, Frank manages the harvesting and trucks, Josh manages the second partnership dairy (Legacy Ranch), and Jared manages Fern Oak Dairy. The Fernandes family has been involved in the dairy business since the 1940’s when Jared’s grandfather began his dairy. Fern Oak Dairy was built in 1999 and started milking cows in 2000. The dairy started with 1,200 cows that were brought over from the previous dairy site and purchased cattle to fill the facility to 2,000 milk cows. In 2004, the dairy built another freestall barn to house an additional 1,000 cows. Currently, the dairy is milking 3,000 Holstein cows three times/day in a 72 stall rotary milking parlor. The rolling herd average consists of 28,819 lbs energy corrected milk, 3.58% fat, 3.1% protein; BST is used on 60% of the herds. The dairy serves as a dry and fresh cow transition and calf raising facility for Fern Oak Dairy and Legacy Dairy. Fern Oak Dairy employs 27 people. All milk cows are housed in freestall barns bedded with recycled sand. To help relieve heat stress in the summer, fans and soakers are provided in the freestall barns as well as the holding pen in the milk barn. The dairy grows all of its forage needs on 2,500 acres which includes, corn, wheat and alfalfa. Fern Oak has always used the most popular bulls from


The breeding goals at Fern Oak Dairy are straight-forward. Jared’s top criteria when choosing bulls include good type, udders, feet & legs, while being positive in fat and protein components and milk.

“Semex has the right breeding philosophy focusing on balanced type,” Jared says.

“Semex has the right breeding philosophy focusing on balanced type,” Jared says.

Jared joined the Premier Club™ young sire program because he was impressed with Semex’s focus on pedigrees and the cow families offered through the young sire program. Also, he was influenced to join because of the increased benefits he would receive from being a Semex partner herd. Fern Oak’s first Semex young sire daughters are due to freshen in late Spring 2012. Sires the herd is currently using include 0200HO05774 Bofran Louisville, 0200HO07317 Magor Bolivia Allen, 0200HO02217 Misty Springs Sirius, 0200HO05548 Kerndt-Premier Butze, Kilobyte, 0200HO05428 MyJohn Karik, 0200HO05611 Premier-Kerndt Sailing, 0200HO05588 Comestar Lauthority, 0200HO05577

Gillette Jerrick, 0200HO02137 Pine-Tree Sid, 0200HO03501 Gillette Windbrook and Genomax™ bulls 0200HO02625 Mr Chassity Charlie (Goldwyn x Shottle), 0200HO06243 Winterlance Spear (Spearmint x Goldwyn) and 0200HO06168 Gen-I-Beq Seagaul (Million x Bolton). Conception rates are important and these bulls have shown great conception results. At Fern Oak first and second lactation cows are bred to a proven sire on their first and second services with their third and subsequent services to a young sire. The third lactation and older cows are bred strictly to young sires. Additionally, the herd consists of 200 registered cows that are evaluated and mated using Semex’s Promate™ mating program. The herd’s current pregnancy rate is 22% with a voluntarily waiting period of 60 days in milk. Fern Oak’s reproductive program consists of a PreSynch/OvSynch shot program. However, if a cow shows a visual heat during her presynch shots she will be bred regardless of where she is at in her shot protocol. Also, every cow has an RFID tag with the rotary milk parlor being set up to read the cows’ RFID tags. The parlor is linked to a computer management program that manages which cows need to get their BST shot or Ovsynch shots correctly. All BST and Ovsynch shots are given to the cows in the parlor. Jared is confident their RFID management program in the milk barn has helped their Ovsynch breeding program greatly improve because the right cow is given the right shot. Fern Oak Dairy also sells about 400 first lactation cows per year. This is because of California dairy regulations preventing the dairy from expanding beyond its 3000 milk cows. Buyers keep coming back because they are impressed with the type of cows Fern Oak is offering. Fern Oak Dairy strives for functional, long-lasting cows with good udders and good feet and legs. Also, these cows must excel in production to be profitable. These are just a few reasons why Fern Oak Dairy has been very satisfied with their recent change of using majority Semex sires and Jared is excited for this next generation of Semex sired daughters to freshen!


Mike North, Sr. Risk Mgm’t. Advisor, First Capitol Ag



For every market there is a chart. The chart defines that market’s price over time. However, what makes up a price? What influences its movements? Some will say supply and demand. Others will contest that we are in a new era, where algorithmic trading and computer generated order flow dictate price. Some will mention the volatility propagated from the war between fundamentalists and technicians has an influence. Even more will suggest speculative money flow is the largest contributing factor. Whatever flavor you choose, one thing is certain…it moves. What is more interesting is what happens as it moves. The milk market makes for an interesting case study. Markets have risen after a very dramatic fall. Producers are feeling more comfortable with their circumstances. Bankers are breathing easier. Suppliers are looking forward to better years ahead. Prices have improved. But will they stay here? The answer is a simple one…No! Markets will do what they do best. They will move! Look at the Figure 1: Cycle of Market Emotions. As prices continue to move and adjust, people will be monitoring actual value relative to their expectations of the future. This expectation is often a reflection of what the producer and his/her neighbors agree is a “fair price”. A “fair price”, as you can imagine, rests several dollars per hundredweight over one’s breakeven price. It is no wonder that when prices move lower, the world does not

seem fair. Anxiety, denial, and fear grip the producer as he watches opportunity pass. Desperation and panic set in as they watch their cash flows take on darker shades of red. Producers begin to realize that they have yet again missed an opportunity. Statements like “If only I would have…” or “I could have…” or “I knew that I should have…” are tossed around frequently. The “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” create a sense of self defeat that makes one feel like waving the white flag of surrender. Hopelessness and depression define the producer psyche. How could it get any worse? But, alas, then it is over! The market begins to rebound. Hope bubbles until optimism boils over. This new brighter outlook breeds an excitement that grows to a stage of euphoria that captivates the industry. Producers feel like they can fly. Times are good. The market begins its move lower and we repeat the cycle once more. What frustrates me is hearing of how this cycle leads to bad decision making. Over and over, people allow the desperation of bad times to temper their activity during improving times. In 2001, buyers began offering contracts to shore up long term supplies of milk. It was not a conspiracy or a means to cut the throat of the producer. It was a service added to both aid the producer and create a consistent, long term milk flow. Producers flocked to this offering after experiencing the pain of $10 milk that defined 2000. Like 2001, we often hear of producers that, in their effort to avoid the pain of $10, sell $13 milk only to watch the price go to $16, $18 or $20/CWT. When this happens, producers curse the contract’s very existence. All manner of evil is spoken about the market. They rue the day they considered such a strategy. It happened in 2001. What is worse is that it happened again in 2004, and then again in 2007. It is a cycle that continues. Many feel like a failure when this happens. It is not that they are a failure, but rather failed to deal with themselves, their habits, their weaknesses, and more importantly, their emotions. While people spend time charting price, they should give equal time to charting how they felt and what decisions they made as a result of that emotional response to price. As you navigate your marketing plan, please do this – chart yourself.


As you track your emotions, there is another part of you that responds to logic, filters facts and forms opinions and biases helpful in making decisions. When it comes to the milk market, there is a simple cycle that is quite helpful in the forming of those biases. I like to refer to it as the “Three Year Milk Price Cycle”, please refer to Figure 2, the Historical Milk Price chart.

(i.e. a put strategy of some sort) that allows you the opportunity to experience higher prices if the normal cycle should be interrupted. Along that same note, sales at these levels should be complimented with a call strategy that opens the door to higher prices if they become available.

People often suggest we would be better off with more stable prices that seldom change. They are not suggesting this because it would do their business better. As you can clearly see, the revenue opportunities have only grown with time. The root of that comment comes from a desire to remove the stress tied to the decisions that surround price. However, a reasonable expectation about what price “should do” can serve as a great guide in making decisions and managing the emotions tied to them. A healthy understanding of price cycles, while not giving Approximately every you absolute market ! three years, the market certainty, can create more makes its way to a low FIGURE 2: HISTORICAL MILK PRICE: 1980 TO PRESENT emotional predictability. price. Exactly where This goes a long way and when the market toward understanding your own behavior patterns makes its low is unknown. However, after analyzing the pattern of price, I think we can agree that we should be as prices change. And if you can pattern yourself, moving in that direction very soon...likely in the next 12 you can corner the market on “you”. Doing so will help you more clearly see opportunity through the months. Action must be taken when times are good to lens of reality without becoming bogged down by the ward off the effect of falling prices as times get worse. host of emotions that continually whisper in our ear. The higher prices go the more active you must become. Understand yourself, understand your market, and Certainly this discussion must be had in concert with you will avoid a vicious cycle that many have fallen one involving your feed purchases. However, given our victim to. timeline, we must make the milk revenue discussion a For more than 30 years, this cycle has continued to repeat itself. One of the reasons to have a commanding understanding of your own emotions is because of the growing volatility. Over time, while the low prices have remained near $10/cwt (due to the Dairy Price Support Program), the high prices have continued to get higher on each consecutive wave. However, the time cycle remains the same (you can thank the biological cycle of the cow for that).

high priority in the discussion. Given the 2012 price offering, I suggest that you carry adequate protection


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USA Balance - Winter 2012  

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

USA Balance - Winter 2012  

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