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A.I. & Breeding

From estrus and heat detection to genomics and sexed semen, discover the latest information to improve reproductive performance.

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Since 1960, Holstein dairy cows have exhibited a substantial decline in fertility, with serious economic consequences for farmers. Genetic selection programs in the U.S. and elsewhere have emphasized milk production at the expense of other traits. Attention has turned to improving these neglected traits for better overall well-being of cows and to ameliorate dairy producers’ profitability.

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Historically, the PTA calculations for calving traits have been centered on a breed average phenotypic base of 8% for Holsteins (calving ease and stillbirth) and 5% for Brown Swiss (calving ease).

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Many factors have major impacts on dairy farm profitability but are out of the control of individual farm owners. However, genetic progress is one thing that can be controlled, and progressive herd owners are adjusting their view of the herd they want to be milking in the coming years.

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These days, repro programs on progressive dairies are well-oiled machines. When it comes to annual pregnancy rates, we now tend to see more dairies around 30% than we see at 20%. And a 40+% annual average is no longer an unattainable dream of the future.

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As a producer, you understand the importance of discovering practical and profitable approaches that ensure the future of your operation.

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When genomic testing was first introduced to the dairy industry in 2009, there was considerable debate and pushback about the value and reliability of the information. At first, the industry was focused on determining if we could choose bulls without progeny testing – a sea change for the A.I. industry. Rapidly, A.I. companies completely altered their approach to bringing new sires to market – the timing, investment and reliability of information.

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