Is Falling Behind Genetically Robbing You of Profitability?

by David C. Thorbahn, president and C.E.O



There are three misconceptions you can have about making genetic progress in your herd: that genetic performance is hard to measure, good is good enough and all studs have good bulls.

Evaluating genetic success in your herd seems complicated, but it really is not. Rank your milking herd by the genetic estimate (i.e. genomic test results, PTA from DHI testing or sire PTA) for whatever value or trait you want to measure and include the actual individual cow performance by cow. Then, average the actual performance of each quartile group. This will give a snapshot of your herd that you can then use to make comparisons. The more accurate your measurement (genomics being the most accurate, PTA being second and sire being the least accurate), the more accurate the results and the greater differences that will exhibited.

You will be shocked at what you will learn. In three herds that I examined, the top quartile for milk in each herd produced more than 1,800 pounds of milk per cow than the bottom quartile. When ranked by DPR (Daughter Pregnancy Rate) or CCR (Cow Conception Rate), the top quartile genetically averaged over 7 percent higher in whole herd pregnancy rate than the bottom quartile. All herds top quartile groups were over 28 percent whole herd pregnancy rate, with two averaging over 30 percent in whole herd pregnancy rates for Holsteins. This analysis will help you understand what Dr. Chad Dechow’s research showed - that with every $100 increase in Net Merit, you can afford to spend up to $15.91 more per unit for semen.

If you are not in the top 15 percent of the herds in the US genetically, you are genetically behind and not optimizing profitability from your herd. Good is not good enough. Even if a supplier gave it to you free, that would not be cheap enough when you have millions invested in your cows and facilities. Elite genetics are worth every penny and more!

The world has changed; suppliers are not equal when it comes to their lineups. Since 2008, Select Sires has made significant investments in our genetic program to provide the most elite genetics, and we have accomplished that goal. Whether it is Net Merit or GTPI®, proven or young sires, Select Sires has roughly half of the industry’s top sires. When broken out by supplier, few, if any, of our competitors have more than 10 percent of the top sires in the industry, giving Select Sires five times the selection for your herd. Dairy producers should not be using anything less than sires from the top 100 sires for their chosen selection index. Select Sires can deliver you a more profitable choice!

If you want help in evaluating your herd’s genetic ranking and performance analysis of genetics in your herd, please contact your local Select Sires representative. Our staff of genetic consultants can help you. I am confident Select Sires can significantly improve your herd’s genetic performance regardless of the supplier you use! Remember, if you are falling behind genetically, you are being robbed of profits! The answer is Select Sires.