Using the “Semex Solutions” at Bles Dairies Farm to maximize genetic and economic gain

Oct 7, 2020

At Bles Dairies Farm, we work with a nice herd of high productive Holstein-Friesian cows. In our breeding strategy we focus on maximum production with long-lasting cows and a minimal replacement rate. Also, we are able to improve the herd’s efficiency by using genomic data to make the decision for sexed, conventional or beef semen.

Ranking heifers on genetic value
One of the first actions to take is ranking the heifers from high to low genetic value. Indexes like LPI or TPI are commonly used to rank the animals. It is even better to define a customized client index, which a Genetic Consultant from Semex does for Bles Dairies Farm. This index puts the right weight on the traits the farmer finds  important according to their breeding strategy.

Semex Works’ customized index
Semex uses a program called Semex Works that allows Bles Dairies Farm to build a customized index that fits our herd’s genetic objectives. Once this herd index is defined, it is time to select the right bulls.

Genomic ranking combined with inventory accounting
Genomic testing provides a ranking of the animals, but you must also account for other aspects like age at first calving, heifer rearing cost and eventual expansion. Combining the genomic ranking with proper inventory accounting helps us in deciding which animals get inseminated with sexed, conventional or beef semen, or get culled.

Breeding older cows
It is not always easy to make the decision to mate older, productive cows to beef semen. But, it is the right thing to do when they genetically index lower than their younger herd mates. However, we know that these cows have already contributed to the next generation and our goal with these cows changes over time. We strive to keep them as long as possible in the herd by using high fertile semen, including beef semen.

Bull selection and mating
Once the herd’s genomic data and the ranking are available, we make our bull selection through Semex Works and mate individual animals through Optimate, Semex’ mating program. With these programs, the Genetic Consultant supports Bles Dairies Farm in making the right decisions in line with the breeding strategy and to be prepared for the future!

Milking heifer group at Bles Dairies Farm.

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