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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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Advanced reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) offer significant opportunities for genetic advancement in your dairy operation, but if you’re like most commercial producers, you have one burning question: “What is the economic return?”

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Meet cow 8968. She lives on a 1,500-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin, where she’s milked three times per day through a double-20 parallel parlor. She’s fed a well-balanced ration and spends her time resting in sand-bedded freestalls.

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Raising heifers today is about having the right ones, not keeping every one. Do you need an inventory of heifers to maintain your milking herd? Of course. But are you confident your heifer inventory contains the type of females you need to sustain your herd and help you reach your herd’s productivity and profitability goals?

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Have you chosen to put your breeding strategy in high gear? If so, that means beef semen may be a part of your genetic planning process.

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In recent years, many U.S. producers have adopted use of a custom index. This index is used for sire selection or sorting females for culling or strategic breeding programs. These custom indexes are used in place of standard selection indexes such as Net Merit (NM$), Cheese Merit or breed-specific indexes (TPI, JPI, etc.).

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There is a widespread misconception that dairies must wait to see financial returns from genomic testing – that cash-strapped dairies can’t justify the investment for potential long-term gains. A close look at the numbers produced from a carefully considered genomic testing plan tells a different story – one of increased efficiency and more immediate returns. But how?

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