HealthMark Success

HealthMark Sires


Select for Health Traits,
Improve Your Bottom Line


PLAIN CITY, Ohio, Feb. 27, 2007 - Dairy producers know that keeping cows healthy and in the herd is crucial to improving the bottom line. According to recent results of a dairy producer survey conducted by USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring Surveillance, the primary reasons for cows being removed from the herd are mastitis problems and reproductive problems. These two reasons account for 53.4 percent of all cows leaving the herd. The survey also shows that low production is less and less of a reason why cows leave the herd.

That is why producers are more frequently considering genetic values for Somatic Cell Score (SCS), Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and Productive Life (PL) in choosing their A.I. sires. However, due to low reliability until second crop data is available, these traits have not always been easy to predict or sort for...until now. Through advances in DNA technology and a synergistic partnership with IGENITY®, a business unit of Merial, Select Sires has become the first A.I. organization to identify a category of sires, designated HealthMark™, that combines Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) data for health and fertility traits with genetic marker data.

HealthMark sires must score above average in all three health trait areas (SCS, DPR and PL) to qualify for this designation. Information from the bulls' IGENITY profiles, which include DNA markers for productive life and dairy form, are also considered. The IGENITY profile provides extra information about each sire's ability to transmit positive health traits.

Somatic Cell Score

  • The correlation between SCS and clinical mastitis is 60 and 70 percent.
  • HealthMark Holstein sires average 2.75 SCS. According to the Holstein active-A.I. sire list, the average SCS score for the breed is 2.94.

Productive Life

  • PL is an indicator of cow longevity. Bulls carrying the HealthMark designation must score above breed average for both its PTA PL data and its IGENITY DNA profile for PL.
  • HealthMark sires, on average, score 2.09 points above that of the typical Holstein sire. The average PL score for HealthMark bulls is +3.04 and the average for the breed is +0.95.

Daughter Pregnancy Rate

  • DPR data ranks bulls based on how quickly their daughters breed back, therefore indicating the sires that transmit to their daughters high fertility.
  • While the average DPR rate for Holsteins is -.25, HealthMark sires average +1.12.

Mate Your Herd with HealthMark

Your professional Select Sires Select Mating Service™ (SMS™) evaluator and sales representative are available to help you identify bulls that will fit best in your program.

Based in Plain City, Ohio, Select Sires Inc., is North America's largest A.I. organization and is comprised of 10 farmer-owned and -controlled cooperatives. As the industry leader, it provides highly fertile semen as well as excellence in service and programs to achieve its basic objective of supplying dairy and beef producers with North America's best genetics at a reasonable price.

All average calculations based on Holstein Association USA's Active A.I. Sire List.
™HealthMark, Select Mating Service and SMS are trademarks of Select Sires Inc.
®IGENITY is a registered trademark of Merial.

Source: 2/07 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Interbull and Holstein Association USA.