Friday, September 21, 2018

Tried and True Tips for Timed A.I.

Last week's Facebook post asking for tips in planning for your next timed artificial insemination (A.I.) project got beef producers sharing, so we are passing some of that fantastic knowledge on to you, our blog readers. Here is a recap and the seven categories the comments fell into. For the complete list of comments, check out our GENEX Beef Facebook page!

"Timing is crucial! We make sure our shots are done exactly on time and likewise for insemination." - Emily Smith Castine

"Luck favors the prepared." - Kate Meyer

"As cool of weather as you can get. Early morning breeding, and let them relax." - Ryan Stoecklein

"Research your bull choices and use those that you know have good conception or PregCheck™ ratings. It is the easiest way to boost conception." - Justine Ferguson

Animal Health
"Good body condition and good mineral program." - James Mullens

"A good team of people to work with! Communcations is key for everything to go smoothly." - Carrie Lynch

Set-up and Handling
"Handle cattle and semen carefully!" - Jeff Meyer

Friday, September 14, 2018

LIFEJACKET™ Calf Coats - Protect Your Future

The weather is getting cooler, harvest is in full swing and soon it will be time to pull out the calf coat tote. If you are like me, you had every intention of assessing your needs over the summer, but, poof, time just disappeared. So, there is no time like the present to talk to your GENEX representative about LIFEJACKET™ calf coats. These coats are the same great quality you have come to rely on from GENEX:

Waterproof outer lining with a quilted inner lining
Machine washable
Made in the U.S.

And here is where the new and improved comes in. Our members and customers asked, and we listened:

Buckle front closure and buckle leg straps for easy on and off (No more straw, sawdust or sand clogging up those Velcro straps!)

Four sizes to fit all of your needs. Each color is a different size to make it easy for you to find the correct one: small-blue, medium-purple, large-teal and extra large-black.

Count on your GENEX representative to be the one-stop shop for all of your herd care needs.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Why Am I Not Finding Cows in Heat

One thing often heard while working with dairy farmers is "My cows are not showing heat and conceiving the way they should." So today, let's take a closer look at the issue and address factors affecting animals' ability to show heat.

First of all, one must determine if the problem exists throughout the entire herd or within a specific subgroup. To do this, analyze your dairy's computer record system. Specifically, look at records for reproduction and events that have happened by lactation or lactation group. Once the group in which the problem exists is determined, one will be better able to find possible causes and solutions, such as the following.

How does flooring affect cows showing heat?
Slippery floors can be a deterrent to cows exhibiting heats and can also cause injury to animals. Generally concrete is the most common flooring surface in dairy facilities. To make concrete flooring more cow-friendly, one could groove or scabble slippery floors. Caution must be used when using grooving or scabbling floor options, as not to make the surfaces too abrasive on hooves. Another option is to use grooved rubber belting or similar rubber products.

How does lameness affect cows showing heat?
Lameness causes stress on an animal. Lameness also tends to cause animals to lie down and eat less. Obviously, if an animal lies down more, it becomes more difficult to observe signs of heat. And, if an animal east less, lameness can cause a cow to lose body condition.

How does body condition loss affect cows showing heat?
A one point loss in body condition can inhibit an animal's ability to exhibit heat. Keeping the ration adequate to prevent body condition loss is critical. Remember a cow is a mother; she needs enough energy to produce milk (feed her calf) before she will want to reproduce again.

How does the ratio of open to pregnant cows affect cows showing heat?
The higher the number of pregnant cows in a pen the lower the amount of estrus that is shown; pregnant cows and cows in mid cycle are much less likely to mount cows in or near heat. A possible solution for this issue is to maintain a higher percentage of open cows within the breeding group.

How does transitioning affect cows showing heat?
The more metabolic problems an animal has when freshening, the greater probability of anestrus. According to research, clinical ketosis, dystocia and retained placentas are associated with more days to first service and a lower conception rate at first service. Overcrowding of transition groups may also lead to more metabolic problems at or after calving.

How does failure of proper observation for estrus affect cows in heat?
Some estimates place undetected heats on farms in the U.S. at 50%. One solution for the issue of failure to properly observe estrus may be to adequately train employees in heat detection technique. In regards to specific time frames for observing animals for heats, the proper time to observe animals in not while they are eating; instead, for best results, it should be every employee's job to make sure they observe animals at all times and properly identify the animals in heat. If herds are housed in stanchion barns, they need to be turned out daily, to conduct proper heat detection.

How does heat stress affect cows in heat?
Cows are harder to detect during times of extreme heat, and if you are able to catch them in heat, many have a hard time staying pregnant. A solution is to have a great heat abatement strategy, which may included sprinklers, fans, tunnel ventilated barns, or multiple water sources for cows on pasture.

In conclusion, there are many different factors that could cause a dairy producer to say, "My cows are not showing heat and conceiving the way they should." To overcome the obstacles, drill down through all layers to find the source of the problem - problems that could relate to the cows not showing heat or people not heat detecting correctly. There are also products available to aid in heat detection such as Reveal™ Livestock MarkersSCR Heatime® cow monitoring systems, heat detection workshops and protocol programs. Work with your local resources (veterinarian, GENEX representative, etc.) to determine your challenges and the fix that is right for your operation.

Sources available upon request.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Two New Products Added to GENEX Portfolio

Procuring your herd care products just got a little easier, as GENEX introduced ReMOOV™ horn paste and UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray! While I haven't had a chance to use either one of these products yet, I am excited to be able to get them from my GENEX rep and give them a try. Here are a few of the intriguing features of each:

› Less stress to the animal. 
 No expensive equipment. 
 No bad smell. 

 ReMOOV™ horn paste features a uniquely designed syringe that measures out the         perfect amount of paste needed for each horn button.

The syringe also has a special tip enabling precise application to the horn bud.

› UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray are a unique formulation of mint, tea tree and calendula plant oils. (I may or may not be guilty of opening the bottles in my office for a little pick-me-up sniff!)
› UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray reduces udder edema that can damage mammary supportive ligaments and shorten milking longevity.
› Four options: blue spray, blue lotion, yellow spray or white lotion. (Lotions come with a handy hook on top for hanging near your milking area.)
 No meat or milk residues.

Friday, August 17, 2018

New Jersey Lineup Meets Diverse Needs of Commercial Dairy Producers

Nine New Sires Pad Robust Lineup
1JE01077 MARCELO-UR, a mixed breed sire, is a 1JE00922 RONALDO {3} son out of a Manifold (Holstein). He is a genetic giant at +1012 for the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index, +239 JPI™ and +782 CM$. MARCELO-UR will sire commercial cows with elite yield (+3011 Milk) and components (+185 Combined Fat & Protein) which puts him at the top of the Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$) sub-index at +832. Use this sire to improve udders (+10.2 JUI™) and milk quality (+2.75 Somatic Cell Score). He is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only, is 68 BBR and is un-registered.

1JE01085 PACINO-UR is a new 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2} son out of a Daybreak at +806 ICC$™. Another elite yield improver, use PACINO-UR to add fluid pounds at +1954 Milk. He will also improve health traits at +2.2 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), +3.4 Cow Conception Rate (CCR) and +6.0 Heifer Conception Rate (HCR) which puts him at +125 for the Fertility (FERT$) sub-index. He is available in GenChoice™ semen only, has a 77 BBR and is un-registered.

1JE01081 DOX {3}
1JE01081 DOX {3} is +788 ICC$™ and has a diverse pedigree being an Uncle Luke out of a Chisel. DOX {3} carries a very complete genetic profile: +194 JPI™, +654 CM$, +2.7 DPR and +113 Combined Fat & Protein (CFP). Use DOX {3} as an elite udder improver (+24.3 JUI™) and to improve component percentages. He is available in GenChoice™ semen only.

1JE01080 JONES {3} is a Marlo out of a Pilgrim that comes in at +776 ICC$™, +178 JPI™ and +589 CM$. He’s another elite udder improver (+20.2 JUI™) with an impressive +2.9 DPR. JONES {3} is also available in GenChoice™ semen only.

1JE01071 APPEAL {3} a VANDRELL {2} son added to the lineup at +706 ICC$™ with +581 CM$ and +109 CFP. This bull has a no-holes genetic profile with a positive DPR (+1.7) and positive values across all three ICC$™ index sub-indexes. He is GenChoice™ semen only and is 88 BBR. 1JE01066 ZEKE-UR is another VANDRELL {2} son. He debuts at +699 ICC$™, +573 CM$ and +174 JPI™. He will also improve daughter fertility (+1.1 DPR, +68 FERT$). ZEKE-UR is 85 BBR and un-registered.

1JE01064 JEEPERS-UR is a new sire at +705 ICC$™ and +579 CM$. He’s also an elite Fat bull (+75) which puts his CFP at +112. This Marlo son will improve udders (+16.4 JUI™) while increasing daughter fertility (+0.6 DPR, +40 FERT$).

1JE01075 AROUND {5}
1JE01075 AROUND {5} and 1JE01082 TELFORD {4} are new release 1JE00935 WORLD CUP {5} sons. AROUND {5} is +700 ICC$™ and +668 CM$. He ranks well on the JPI™ at +191 and adds elite yield with +127 CFP. AROUND {5} is available in GenChoice™ semen only. TELFORD {4} debuts at +680 ICC$™ and +546 CM$. This sire will improve daughter fertility (+2.0 DPR) while also improving udders (+17.3 JUI™). He is 90 BBR.

Additional Highlights
1JE00922 RONALDO {3} daughters
1JE00922 RONALDO {3} added daughters and continues to impress: +895 ICC$™, +727 CM$ and +221 JPI™. This Harris son, from the impactful JX Faria Brothers Action Dean Smith {1} cow family, adds huge yield. He is +2210 Milk with +94 Fat and +83 Protein earning him the No. 2 spot on the ChMAX$ sub-index at +789. RONALDO {3} is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen with an elite 105 PregCheck+™ fertility ranking. He is 92 BBR.

1JE00921 EUSEBIO {4} daughters
1JE00921 EUSEBIO {4} also added daughters; he’s now at +653 ICC$™ but is our third highest ChMAX$ sub-index sire at +711. EUSEBIO {4} daughters will milk well (+1836 Milk, +161 CFP). He stands at +172 JPI™.

Friday, August 10, 2018

New Holstein Grads Top ICC$™ Index

Tuesday marked another exciting day of sire summaries for GENEX. The Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index continues to identify sires who will produce cows to fit into commercial dairy operations with five sub-indexes which will enable you to easily narrow your genetic focus, if desired.
Topping the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index at +1285 is an exciting new sire, 1HO13471 HYFLOW. This Ragen out of a Josuper combines excellent health traits (+7.6 Productive Life, +3.6 Daughter Pregnancy Rate) with outstanding production (+2338 Milk). This calving ease sire (6.2% Sire Calving Ease) will easily sire healthy daughters according to his +406 for the Health (HLTH$) sub-index.

1HO13483 LOKI and 1HO13805 AVALINO are two new Frazzled sons. LOKI ranks second for the ICC$™ index with an impressive +1259. He is also +2752 TPI® and +864 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) and sires nice udders (+2.20 Udder Composite). AVALINO is +1113 ICC$™ and will sire daughters with both great udders (+2.40 Udder Composite) and exceptional production (+2024 Milk). Both LOKI and AVALINO are A2A2 as well.

1HO13442 SLAM DUNK debuts at +1184 ICC$™ and offers unique pedigree diversity (Surgeon x Supersire). SLAM DUNK stands fourth in the lineup for LNM$ at +928 and is a well-rounded production sire at +1926 Milk and +147 Combined Fat and Protein (CFP). He can be used in heifer pens with his 6.4% Sire Calving Ease (SCE) while also improving component percentages.

1HO13404 SAMSUNG and 1HO13432 CONCORD are two new exciting Modesty sons that joined the lineup. SAMSUNG is our leading LNM$ sire at +958. This sire of sons is +2718 TPI® as well and will make large strides in improving Protein (+0.11%) and Fat (0.29%) percentages while increasing yield at +151 CFP. SAMSUNG is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only. CONCORD will improve udders (+2.01 Udder Composite) and is +1050 ICC$™ and +910 LNM$.

Two new RED bulls were activated, 1HO13831 FIREFLY-P-RED and 1HO13833 SKOONER-RED. FIREFLY-P-RED is a Zinger out of Sympatico that can be used in the heifer pens (6.6% SCE) and will sire fancy daughters (+2.21 Udder Composite). SKOONER-RED is a Tyne out of a Launch; this bull can also easily be used in heifer pens (6.5% SCE) and will improve daughter fertility (+3.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate). 

1HO13449 CARUBA-P is an exciting new polled sire with outstanding yield. He joins the lineup at +1016 for the ICC$™ index with +169 CFP and over a ton of milk. This Answer out of a Josuper is also positive for daughter fertility and is a calving ease option (6.8% SCE). 

1HO11376 TABASCO daughters

In addition to the new debuts, 1HO11376 TABASCO had a great day. TABASCO added daughters and now ranks extremely well at +1056 ICC$™ and +2731 TPI®. This puts him in the top 10 on the daughter-proven TPI® list. This Jacey son combines elite milk production (+2240 Milk) with daughter fertility (+3.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate).

Friday, August 3, 2018

10 Questions with GENEX Vice President of Production Kristi Fiedler

Recently I had the chance to get a few minutes with one of our newest company vice presidents. She heads one of our largest and arguably most critical departments-production. Spend a few minutes getting to know Kristi Fiedler.
  1. How long have you been in your current position? A little over a year.
  2. What did you do prior to your current job? I have worked several jobs at CRI since my MOET (multiple ovulation and embryo transfer) internship in Fall 2005, including about 1.5 years in milk testing for AgSource. I came back to GENEX as a dairy consultant in eastern Wisconsin.  After earning a master’s in management I was hired to oversee the U.S. Technical Services team. In that role I managed the national team of strategic dairy consultants and the dairy support programs used by GENEX field staff.

  3. How did you get your start at GENEX? See paragraph above.

  4. How many employees are on your production team? There are 134 employees between production and distribution.

  5. What areas does production encompass? Production is everything from the time a bull is identified as a genetic outlier to the moment his frozen semen leaves distribution. The team manages health testing, animal pickups, young bull rearing, bull handling, collections, lab processing, cryopreservation, research and more.

  6. How many locations do you oversee? Production is located in five locations: Ithaca, NY; Tiffin, OH; Shawano, WI; Strafford, MO and Billings, MT. 
  7. What has been the biggest challenge of your new position? The biggest challenge in production is that GENEX is in a transition phase, as is the industry.  Bulls don’t stay in stud very long before their genetics are obsolete, on average 2.5 years. So it is crucial for bulls to qualify for CSS and EU as quick as possible, and then they need to be in a collection barn. Our facilities were built for housing long-term bulls in waiting, so we need to invest in facilities to get more bulls in production stalls to increase availability of sires for marketing.

  8. Is there any new development on the horizon you can tell us about? The young sire teams in both the livestock and lab side are doing an excellent job preparing bulls for collection at an earlier age. They accomplished this goal by using research in calf nutrition and lab technologies to lunge us forward in reducing the generation interval.

  9. What do you enjoy doing on your time away from GENEX? My time away from GENEX is spent with my family. My husband, Brian and I have two children, Allyson (4) and Hudson (2). When we get a break from them we can be found in the woods hunting, on the water fishing or on the volleyball court.

  10. What advice do you have for people just entering the job market? Set goals and hold yourself accountable to achieve them. Take time to go to seminars, take extra classes, gain experience and knowledge. GENEX has been a wonderful in helping me and others advance in our careers, but ultimately it is your responsibility to keep up with new skills, change and information.