Observing the dairy industry’s recent changes, one might think registered animals are becoming a thing of the past. We asked Randy Carpenter, regional representative for Holstein Association USA, a few questions about where registrations are heading.
COVEY: How has the number of registered animals changed in the past 10 years?
CARPENTER: The number of registered animals has increased in the U.S. We registered 301,000 animals last year, and are up 6 percent for the current year. I cover Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, but the highest concentration of registered animals is currently in the Midwest and Northeast.
COVEY: What is the cost/time for registering one animal?
CARPENTER: With the help of computers and Holstein Tag I.D., there is little time involved to register animals, and the cost is $8 per animal.
COVEY: What are the benefits of having registered animals?
CARPENTER: It allows a producer to improve genetics and profitability. It will also give the producer another source of income, besides milk income, by allowing them to market their genetics through their registered animals at the local, state and national levels.
With the number of animals in a large herd, there are going to be one or two animals that are really special. Without the registration papers, they are worth grade price; with the papers, they could bring significantly more. Also, with the amount of heifers on large dairies, a producer could use them as recipients and purchase embryos to get into some high-profile genetics for very little money compared to what the offspring is worth. This can help them start making drastic improvements in the genetics of their own herd really quickly.
Another thing, if there are children on the farm, they learn additional work ethic and responsibility by showing and working with registered cattle.
COVEY: Is there any advantage for a producer to register the entire herd?
CARPENTER: It would be beneficial for a large herd to register all animals that had a sire I.D. and had good type conformation. This would come in handy for producers during classification scoring, allowing them the ability to start building the pedigrees on cow families in the herd.
COVEY: How does crossbreeding affect registered animals and purebred breed associations?
CARPENTER: Crossbreeding has little affect on registered cattle or purebred breed associations. The purebred breeder is not the producer that is crossbreeding, and the breeders of our seed stock are not crossbreeding either. A small number of producers are using crossbreeding, and Holstein Association USA has addressed this by implementing what we call the Cattle Identification Database (CID). The CID is used for crossbred animals and is a way for a producer to keep track of records and genetics for them.
COVEY: What do you see for the future of the registered dairy cow?
CARPENTER: I think the number of animals being registered will continue to increase over the next 10 years. I think more people are seeing the profitability of good genetics in their breeding and selection of animals, and I feel this will become even more important to producers as the years move on. Registered dairy cows have always and will always be worth more. Registered animals have consistently sold for an average of 300 to 500 dollars more than grades over the last 10 years. In addition, registered sales are still averaging high, and individual animals still sell really well during times of a depressed dairy economy. PD