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The timeline of an Alta sire

You might be wondering what the different sire designations mean, and how they fit into the life cycle of an Alta bull. So let’s break them down…

Alta EDGE Logo

Alta EDGE

There are a few really special bulls – the type we easily recognize as outliers in the breed for a specific index or specific traits. Those are the type of bulls that a product development team will use as sires of sons.

Normally, those bulls would not be available until after their use for product development purposes. These bulls are very young, and don’t produce much semen. However, once we have a small amount of inventory on this sort of bull, they will be available as an Alta EDGE sire in North America. Only under signed and approved contract will herds be able to get the option of including these most elite of the elite sires in their breeding program.

Alta ADVANTAGE Logo

Alta ADVANTAGE

Most sires begin their journey at Alta among this group of bulls, which is available only to our loyal Alta ADVANTAGE partner herds. Alta ADVANTAGE sires offer diverse trait specialties and elite rankings on many different customized genetic plans.

When a bull is first old enough to be collected, he simply won’t produce enough semen to be readily available to all farms around the globe. So while we work to build semen inventory, we give our committed Alta ADVANTAGE partner herds priority access to these elite, new sires that best fit their customized genetic plans.

Alta G-STAR Logo

G-STARS

Once a bull starts producing enough semen, he is added to the G-STAR sire list. Many new G-STAR bulls are readily available this proof round. Among these sires are a wide array of trait outliers, and high-ranking options to fit your genetic plan. Some of these bulls have even been released long enough to have proven information for sire fertility, so you can choose a balance of both high genetics and high fertility CONCEPT PLUS.

Alta FUTURE STAR logo

FUTURE STARS

About a year after a bull is first released, we have actual, proven results for both sire fertility and calving ease. We gather this data, analyze the results, and award the FUTURE STAR designation to only the bulls with offspring already born, with results for proof of easy calvings, pregnancy check results that confirm they are above average for sire fertility. They also have calves born already, and their calving ease data shows them to be less than 8% for sire calving ease.

FUTURE STARS are the way to go if you want the benefits of elite genomics but prefer the added peace of mind of proven sire fertility and calving ease. You may give up some production and health as compared to the available G-STAR or ADVANTAGE only sires. But you can rest assured, knowing that you’re upping your chances for a both a pregnancy and a live calf from an easier calving. Because of the known calving ability, FUTURE STARS are often a good option to use on heifers.

Alta PROVEN STAR logo

PROVEN STARS

About three years after a bull is first released, his earliest daughters will enter the milking string. Once there has been adequate time to collect milk test information from those daughters and/or analyze their actual conformation, the data is compiled by the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) and Holstein Association USA. That information is then calculated into a sire’s first daughter proof.

From there, as more daughters begin their first lactation, their sire’s reliability continues to increase. PROVEN STAR sires are for those people who only prefer the highest reliability genetic options.

Compare the averages to see the progress

Now that you know the difference between each sire designation, and understand the progression a bull could make as he matures, compare the average genetic level of each group in the table below. You’ll see that the newest, Alta ADVANTAGE bulls have the highest genetic averages – especially for the money-making production and health traits. They’re followed by the G-STAR sires, and then by the more highly reliable FUTURE STARS. You’ll also see the comparison to daughter-proven sire averages, just for reference.

60-40-0TPINM$MilkProtFatCFPPrelPTATUDCFLCPLDPRSCS
Alta ADVANTAGE952277695217746994163761.821.980.717.20.72.70
G-STAR870268587316266486149781.681.840.776.50.82.76
FUTURE STAR822265082915386183144801.901.841.035.80.52.78
PROVEN STAR748255372916816174134951.841.690.934.70.42.81

Despite the big difference in genetic averages between the genomic lists and daughter-proven averages, it’s important to note that every single bull atop our current PROVEN STAR list was once a part of the G-STAR and/or FUTURE STAR lists. This just shows how much, and how fast, we’re making genetic progress!

The track record is significant for our current genomic favorites. Each proof round, we see these genomic bulls deliver on their initial predictions, and eventually graduate to daughter-proven success.

A side-by-side comparison

We can take this comparison of genetic averages one step further. For the sake of simplicity, let’s use the 60-40-0 index to do a side-by-side comparison of our top daughter-proven sires and our top genomic-proven bulls.

Both lists have tremendous options to use. The top daughter-proven bulls are elite among their peers. In fact, AltaTOPSHOT would even rank #2 among our genomic-proven list. The rest widely recognized as popular options around the world. Yet, if we’re talking about using groups of bulls, instead of individual bulls, the genomic-proven average simply outpaces our daughter-proven options by a significant amount.

Top 10 daughter-proven bulls
December 2019

Sire CodeSire Name60-40-0 Index Value
11HO11779AltaTOPSHOT1091
11HO11781AltaUPSHOT980
11HO11487AltaBARK888
11HO11778AltaROBSON859
11HO11718AltaTURNKEY842
11HO11767AltaCONCORD818
11HO11737AltaHIDALGO810
11HO11740AltaFACET803
11HO11750AltaFLACCO802
11HO11669AltaJONAH801
Average870

Top 10 genomic-proven bulls
December 2019

Sire CodeSire Name60-40-0 Index Value
11HO12345AltaSOHOT1108
11HO12346AltaTORRENT1033
11HO12293AltaBUNDLE1027
11HO12194AltaCABOT1013
11HO12219AltaZAREK1009
11HO12168AltaGILMORE1009
11HO12124AltaGOPRO1000
11HO15023AltaGLOW981
11HO14200AltaFAVIAN978
11HO15012AltaROYALTON976
Average 1013

Have confidence in the right genetics for your dairy

With that in mind, have confidence that using a team of sires from the Alta ADVANTAGE, G-STAR or FUTURE STAR lists will help you meet your goals. And if you prefer the peace of mind from higher-reliability proven sires, you’ll certainly find the right bulls to fit your needs among that list.

The most important thing is to select a group of bulls that meet your customized goals for production, health and conformation – the type of bulls that will help you create more Alta 4-EVENT COWS. That is the key for you to drive progress to match your current situation and future goals.

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20 times in the making

The 2019 Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase Tour marked a milestone as the 20th edition of the most progressive dairy management tour in the industry.

More than 250 guests from 21 different countries gathered together in Sioux Falls, South Dakota June 25-28, 2019. This was the first time ever that the Showcase Tour took place in the US Central Plains region, as guests toured Alta partner dairies in southwestern Minnesota, northwestern Iowa, and eastern South Dakota.

Thank you to our host farms

We thank the following farms that opened their operations to share their progressive approaches to herd management throughout the three-day tour:

  • Ocheda Dairy | Worthington, MN
  • Boadwine Dairy | Baltic, SD
  • Van Ess Dairy and VanEss Heifer Farm | Sanborn, IA
  • City View Farms | Sutherland, IA
  • Drumgoon Dairy | Lake Norden, SD
  • Sunrise Dairy | Castlewood, SD

So much to learn!

From the owners and managers of these forward-thinking dairies, guests had the chance to discuss everything from converting to robotic milking systems and eliminating antibiotics, to manure management, nutrition, and parlors, to heifer management, breeding strategies, and Alta’s alignment with progressive dairies. Evenings included great conversation and friendly competitions for guests to meet and mingle with fellow dairy producers from around the world.

20 times in the making…

With the 20th tour now complete, here’s a peek back at a few impressive stats from those tours:

  • 20 Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase Tours
  • 13 years
  • More than 5000 total guests
  • 150 farms visited
  • ~400,000 cows represented at these host farms
  • 765 total Showcase Tour stations discussing a diverse array of management topics

Thank you for being a part of the 20th Showcase Tour experience!

Check out tour photos and videos below.

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Kaila Wussow, Alta ADVANTAGE Intern

Our final intern to highlight for the summer of 2018 is Kaila Wussow of Cecil, WI, an Alta ADVANTAGE Intern in the North Central team.

Being raised on a 100 cow Holstein and Jersey farm in Northeast Wisconsin, Wussow found herself involved with calf care and show cow management on the farm. Throughout her youth, 4-H, FFA and the WI Jr. Jersey Breeders Association allowed her to make vital connections within the industry. These personal connections inspired her to make a career in the industry. A senior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Wussow will graduate in December with her Bachelor’s of Science in Dairy Science and Agriculture Marketing Communications.

Throughout the summer with us, Wussow has been working alongside herds and dairy producers. Part of her role this summer includes on-farm video shoots to be used for herd employee trainings. This has allowed her to further understand best management practices on progressive dairies for various situations.

Wussow says, “I knew that Alta would challenge me to step outside my comfort zone and help me grow as an individual, which has been very true so far!”

As a dairy enthusiast through and through, Wussow says she loves to unwind from a long day at work with a bowl of ice cream! Welcome to our team, Kaila Wussow, our Alta ADVANTAGE Intern!

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Jack Vander Dussen, Alta ADVANTAGE Intern

Our 2018 Atlantic team Alta ADVANTAGE Intern is Jack Vander Dussen, from Hanford, CA. Born and raised in California on a 2600 cow dairy, Vander Dussen has worked on the dairy during summer vacations. This gave him a window of opportunity to explore all aspects of the dairy, leading him to find his passions within the industry. Currently, Vander Dussen is a senior at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, majoring in Dairy Science with a minor in Crop Science.

Vander Dussen was able to get a peek at Alta culture when he attended the 2017 Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase tour in Michigan. This invitation-only event enables dairymen and women from across the globe to learn from the most progressive dairies on a variety of subjects while touring the farm facilities. Vander Dussen says, “The people and the culture I experienced at Showcase last summer… are focused on excellence through the practice of being progressive in business and culture.” The progressive mindset and culture of the people, led him to pursue a summer internship.

Throughout the summer months, Vander Dussen will be part of the Atlantic team, which is a much different ballgame than California. “I am excited at the opportunity to blend it with my knowledge of the California dairy industry,” says Vander Dussen as he begins his role this June.

Like a true dairy farmer, Vander Dussen says his favorite dairy product is milk—it’s simply nutritious and always refreshing! With nine essential nutrients, milk is nature’s most nearly perfect food to enjoy.

Welcome, Jack Vander Dussen, our Atlantic team Alta ADVANTAGE Intern!

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Matthew Lansing, Alta ADVANTAGE Intern

Our Alta ADVANTAGE Intern working with progressive dairies on the West Coast is Matthew Lansing. Hailing from Hopkinton, Iowa, Lansing was raised on a 160-cow dairy where he found himself involved in the local 4-H Club and FFA Chapter, showing cattle. A senior at Iowa State University, Lansing will graduate in May of 2019 earning his undergraduate degree in Animal Science.

“I chose Alta because of the endless opportunities they provide you and the knowledge they supply you with in the field.”

A new opportunity Alta has given him, is working this summer on the West Coast. While in Washington and Oregon, Lansing is out in the field, doing matings, breeding, and helping farmers analyze their reproductive programs through DairyComp..

As an athlete and dairy enthusiast, Lansing says his favorite dairy product is chocolate milk. Known for its added benefits of protein, potassium and calcium, chocolate milk is an excellent (and tasty) way to recover after any physical activity.

Welcome, Matthew Lansing, our Alta ADVANTAGE Intern!

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Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase Tour explores progressive Idaho dairies

The 19th edition of the Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase Tour took place June 5-8, 2018. It was the first time ever this global event was held in Idaho.

Guests toured some of Idaho’s most progressive dairy farms and learned from the forward-thinking owners and managers at the host farms. They also had the chance to share their own experiences with each other during on-farm management stations, bus rides between farms, and during evening socials.

To break it down, here is the Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase overview, by the numbers:

251Guests who experienced the most progressive dairy management tour in the industry
21Countries represented at this year’s tour
5Charter buses used to transport tour guests
5Gracious host dairies, who welcomed the Alta group
- Eagle Ridge Dairy | Kuna, Idaho
- TLK Dairy | Mountain Home, Idaho
- Oak Valley Dairy | Burley, Idaho
- Swager Farms | Buhl, Idaho
- Beranna Dairy | Caldwell, Idaho
1Pre-tour farm that welcomed international guests before the main tour kicked off - thank you to Swan Falls Dairy for the warm welcome!
30On-farm stations set up to help guests discuss the areas of calf care, employee management, genetics, reproduction, parlor management, cow comfort, dairy education, herd inventory planning, manure management, and more
34,275Total cows represented on the Alta ADVANTAGE Showcase host dairies
70-30-0Most popular genetic plan of our host dairies
11Number of sires represented in the Alta ADVANTAGE Performance Pens
34Number of daughters featured between the two Alta ADVANTAGE Performance Pens
3Pails of ice cream used in the global ice cream eating contest – Chile came out victorious over all other country competitors
502Miles traveled in Idaho for one tremendous tour!
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