Think and Act Strategically
Developing a strategic breeding program includes examining the options, conducting the research and gaining insight before making decisions. For this purpose, GENEX offers the Calf Math program. Developed in 2008, this program is even more relevant today.
The Calf Math program and consultation with a GENEX representative enables producers to see the impact breeding strategies (or strategy changes) can have on future animal inventories, herd genetic improvement and farm financials. This information is key to deciding which semen products to use and how much of each are needed to achieve herd goals and maximize farm profits.
What more is in it for producers? The Calf Math program provides many benefits:
- An evaluation of the dairy’s current breeding program success, replacement numbers and opportunities.
- Analysis of where changes can improve profitability in an efficient and cost-effective program as well as customization based on future expansion or growth plans.
- Return on reproductive investment through genetic‑based improvement of herd performance.
- Real-time savings through “right-sizing” the replacement heifer inventory.
A simple version of the Calf Math program is available online at www.genex.coop/calfmath. Herd-specific inventory, conception and event data can be entered to test breeding strategy ideas and to get updated projections. This online version, however, does not include the genetic value or financial impact projections. Contact a local GENEX representative or call 888.333.1783 for the more in-depth analysis.
Working in Concert
While the Calf Math program helps producers determine how many replacements are needed, the GENEX Sort-Gate program helps identify which animals to get replacements from and which animals to breed for other purposes (or not at all).
Through the Sort-Gate program, GENEX consultants rank each cow, heifer or calf based on genomic data, pedigree information and/or on-farm performance data. Once ranked on an index that best meets the herd’s needs – i.e., a customized index or an industry index – the females can be sorted for different breeding purposes. For instance, the female may be designated for beef semen to produce a beef x dairy cross calf or for high genetic merit GenChoice™ sexed semen to produce a valuable replacement.
The Next Step
Dairy producers have experience in choosing high genetic merit dairy bulls to sire the next generation of replacements, but what about experience in choosing beef sires to create ideal cross calves that are valued by beef processors? That’s where the GENEX Beef x Dairy (BxD) program is of benefit.
The BxD program pinpoints the most relevant beef breeds and sire options to use on dairy animals.
At the heart of the program are beef semen blends. A blend is a straw that contains semen from multiple sires. The sires in each blend possess the traits necessary to create profitable terminal cross calves, and the blends have proven fertility rankings! In fact, for the past three years the blend product has consistently matched or outperformed the PregCheck™ fertility ranking of the highest fertility bull in the blend.
The program features Limousin, Angus, Simmental andSimAngus™ sires, as these breeds meet the needs of dairy producers looking to make a profit through beef x dairy breeding. Sires are chosen for their ability to produce feeder calves that are homozygous polled and homozygous black for coat color. BxD program sires also posses the elite genetics end-processors require, along with calving ease which is a must for commercial dairy producers. Based on current market conditions, end-processor needs and commercial dairy producer desires, the BxD sires check all the boxes.
Keep in mind beef x dairy animals are terminal crosses, so no emphasis is placed on maternal beef traits.
Access the BxD sire catalog online or request one from your local GENEX representative.
Turning Vision into Reality
After the goals are developed, the destination defined, the roadmap developed and the sires chosen, it’s time to make sure the breeding protocols are clear and, for best results, meticulously followed.
This is the way to formulate a planned approach instead of leaving the future to chance. This is the way to use the Calf Math, Sort-Gate and BxD programs in concert to bring even greater precision to a strategic breeding program.