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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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The 2009 dairy industry crisis caused everyone to re-think previously held dogmas, analyze all inputs for value and return on investment and seek alternatives to business as usual.

When I started in a veterinary practice in June 2009, one of the clients I inherited was struggling as everyone else and even remarked, “You picked a heck of a time to start in this business.” Thus began my challenge to improve dairy profitability during tough economic times. One area of focus was reproductive performance.

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I have had the privilege to visit dairy herds which consistently achieve high milk production and excellent reproductive performance. Some major common characteristics among these herds are:

1. Commitment to maintaining a high heat detection rate or submission rate to first service.

The strategies to accomplish this vary among herds but include one or more of the following systems:

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top25

This article was #15 in PDmag's Top 25 most-well read articles in 2010.

Summary:Two years into an eight-year crossbreeding study, University of Minnesota researcher Les Hansen shared some initial insights and findings. The research involved 10 Minnesota herds implementing a three-way crossbreeding program of Holstein, Swedish Red and Montbeliarde.

Because this article was so popular, we asked Hansen a follow-up question:

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Select Sires graduates eight high-ranking Holsteins

Select Sires graduates eight Holsteins that offer diverse pedigrees with six different sires among them. These new graduates excel through high-ranking Total Performance Index, elite type, tremendous health traits, and exceptional production to Select’s lineup.

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There were many changes in the dairy industry in the last five years, and adjustments to genetic bases and net merit indexes are definitely warranted. By utilizing these modifications, improvements to individual herd’s genetic potential, as well as more balanced, profitable cows will continue to improve and become the future of our dairy operations.

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A dairy producer’s reproductive program is one of the most important factors in a successful dairy operation.

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