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Ridley – Wedgwood Holsteins
I’ve always believed that the most profit is in long-living cows. The use of advanced reproductive solutions gives me the opportunity to make more of those long-living, profitable cows. Based on export markets and demand for higher-end genetics, the genomic era has changed the industry. My goals have changed too, simply because genomics has changed the revenue flow dramatically. Advanced reproductive tools are a key part of my business. Conventional flushing and IVF have both played a pivotal role in my business model. Today, I continue to use them because I appreciate good cows and deep pedigrees and believe they are also the most profitable cows in my herd.
Marketing both domestically and internationally has been a key part of my business for many years. This would not be possible without the use of advanced reproduction technologies.
I continue to work with some animals that have international appeal, perhaps selling a few embryos to increase my profitability. With this strategy, I have been able to add an additional revenue stream while improving my herd at the same time.
With the last classifier visit, I had nine new Excellent cows and a couple of 94- and 92-point cows. These high scoring cows are the kind that I think are going to live for a long time and they and their daughters will be considered in my genetic strategy. So, I’d say those are successes and when I look over my heifer pen, I see an outstanding group of young cattle with a great future.
We’re probably milking the best bunch of cows we’ve ever milked; in part a result of incorporating advanced reproduction tools. A high percentage of my herd is a direct result of using these tools.
In my opinion, the future of our industry is focusing on profitability. You’ve got to take care of all the little details – including working with the best cows you possibly can. Its important to set goals and I think you’ve got to be careful to work with good people who will help get you there.
Armand – Enterprise Lavoie Ltd.
Our strategy is to breed high producing, long lasting healthy cows. We utilize tools such as genomics, embryo transfers, IVF and sexed semen. The results have been taking a solid type herd (but not a show herd) and moving it to a leading herd of well-balanced production cows. In 2012, our herd average LPI was close to that of Canada. Based on the animals born in 2020, we are ranked in the 98th percentile. More important for us has been the impact in the milk tank, on longevity and on our bottom line.
We get genomics data on the top third of heifer calves born, we utilize that as a tool to identify our elite heifers that we will either flush or send to Boviteq for IVF. We utilize some sexed semen on our higher-ranking cows and heifers on genomics and still use some conventional semen. We plan to increase our sexed semen usage as the more elite sires become available with sexed semen.
The results have surpassed my expectations to date. We have seen a significant acceleration on our LPI and PRO$. We have seen significant improvement in our 2-year-old cows in terms of classification, quality of udders, good feet and legs and production.
We monitored a group of seven heifers that we had purchased in the 2014-16-time frame. Over their first three lactations, they have averaged 20% higher butterfat production, they are all VG with one Excellent. More importantly they now have more than 30 daughters in the herd, that in turn average about 10% higher on fat, have classified well and dominated our list of higher genomics heifers that we worked with.
Based on those pleasing results, we doubled down and bought three Elite heifers and sent them to Boviteq West for IVF work. These three cows have done well producing very well, classifying well and producing many high genomics daughters. Progenesis Eugenio Mercedes GP-84 2yr old is the #35 ranked cow on LPI in Canada, Progenesis Fortune Plum VG (#49 for LPI) and Wedgwood LM Whitney VG-87 (#56 for fat). Their daughters have had strong genomics results with most being on the Lactanet Elite 500 lists. They are just starting to calve and the trend seems to be continuing. We classified the first one in July and she scored VG-86 as a 2-year-old just 1 month fresh. More importantly, she has the highest projection for fat in herd at a BCA of 416 (that is +158 in the herd).
We continue to work closely with Boviteq and have since run two more IVF runs with promising results.