The proof is in your numbers

An increase of one point DPR is equivalent to a one-point jump in pregnancy rate, or in other words, four fewer days open. In this herd, we’d predict the top DPR cows to have a pregnancy rate about four points higher than the low DPR group. This means their top DPR cows, on average, become pregnant about 17 days sooner.

What this well-managed herd actually realizes on their first-lactation animals is once again, beyond expectations. Top DPR cows have a six percent higher pregnancy rate than the low DPR group. That six percent difference equates to 24 fewer days open – more than one full heat cycle!


The proof in genetics: Daughter Stillbirths (DSB)

Calves born dead are an economic loss to a dairy. With this in mind, we set out to determine wanted to find proof in DSB figures in this herd. To clarify, a bull’s DSB value tells us how likely his daughters are to give birth to a stillborn calf. A higher DSB means a higher probability for future stillbirths.

Table 3: How does selection for DSB affect actual DOA rates?      
  # of cows Avg. Sire DSB DOA%
High daughter stillbirth 183 10.4 13%
Low daughter stillbirth 146 5.1 3%
Difference   5.3 10%

We know this farm takes extra care in keeping accurate and thorough records on calving ease and DOAs. Because of that, we know their genetic assessment on DSB’s should be accurate.

Here, we sorted all first-lactation animals based on their sires’ DSB values. In this herd, the females with the lower, more favorable DSB values gave birth to 10 percent more live calves than the first-lactation animals out of high DSB sires!


Genetics are real

In well-managed herds with accurate records, we can analyze additional traits. We can break down the differences to show your own herd’s genetic proof in productive life, protein, fat and sire stillbirths.

The proof in genetics is real, and it’s powerful. But farms cannot see this proof if their animals are not identified correctly. True analysis of how genetics work in your herd cannot be done without accurate and precise identification and records.

The traits we’ve analyzed in this example can make a great financial impact for your farm, with very little investment. Each of these examples clearly demonstrates the following:

  1. The proof in genetics is real.
  2. In well-managed farms with herd management software programs, we can show your own herd’s proof of performance from genetics.
  3. When you provide a consistent, comfortable environment, and maintain accurate identification records, you may see animals produce and perform well beyond their genetic expectations.
  4. Work with your Alta advisor to set your own customized genetic plan with emphasis on the traits that match your current plans and future goals. By doing so, you will maximize the proof in genetics through increased herd profit and efficiency.
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