Contact Us   |  
The DAT People's Choice Question of the Week: Semen Selection
The DAT People's Choice Question of the Week sponsored by aAa Animal Analysis
How has your semen selection[purchases] changed from 5 years ago. New priorities? 
Click on the banner for more information

Reader Comments
Comments posted do not express the viewpoint of Dairy Agenda Today or its staff members.

February, 15 2019
When the economics of dairying squeeze your cashflow, raising heifers will be the 1st to go. Raising EVERY heifer never was smart, and blending in some beef crosses has been there forever. When an average herd sells out, 500 pounders to breds ALL go to the feedlot already, so, adding a few more efficient meat genetics won't hurt. MANY dairies have quit raising heifers altogether, just to get bank funding to keep milking. Is there a train wreck of replacement heifers coming? Probably, but all you have to do is milk that cow a month longer, or feed a little more grain, and the pressure is off. Its all about our milk price being too low.
Bottom Line
February, 14 2019
When it comes to buying semen the bottom line is balance. In the past we thought high type brought the balance of high production and long life that we all wanted and in reality, type evaluation was all we had for much of our history, but somehow type evaluation let us down and high type often resulted in low fertility and lifespan. Today we have great tools available to help us in the form of health traits and yield that allow us to accurately select for the balance we have always pursued. Looking at the list of sires of Registered calves on Holstein's website it's clear that dairyman are seeking balance through NM or TPI rather than putting emphasis on PTAT show ring type alone.
Lee from Minnesota
February, 14 2019
Still breed our heifers to high Gtpi bulls as well as top 10 to 20 percent oh milking herd.Use high management traits more than in past. We are breeding tough breeders to Angus.
February, 14 2019
We have always used high type bulls and continue to do so but have emphasized health and production traits more so the last few years. I feel that the current practice of using Angus bulls is going to backfire. We have already seen beef prices drop because of high inventories and we will be adding to that. It will help people like me who raise all their heifers as the market is apt to come back when supplies drop.
Old Timer
February, 13 2019
I work closely with and own cattle with 3 herds and all have made some changes in semen purchases in the last 5 years. Herd 1. Still likes high type bulls but is using bulls with much better health traits than 5 years ago and using more sexed semen on heifers than 5 years ago. Herd 2. For a couple years they have been considering switching to Robots so they are using bulls that are above average for milking speed and temperament, and are moderate for teat length and teat placement. 5 years ago they sorted first for TPI but have switched to NM to get more health and higher feed efficiency. Prefer bulls that are higher for udder composite than PTAT to keep cows from getting too big. All heifers are serviced 2x with sexed semen and this fall they started breeding most cows with Angus on repeat service. Herd 3. Much heavier use of sexed semen and Angus semen than 5 years ago. Switched from TPI to NM over the last 5 years to get more heath and higher feed efficiency.
Just Sayin
February, 12 2019
I agree with Rueben on only buying what is needed. Making way less show cattle, just no return. Using more economically important traits and focusing less on type, as difficult is for me to admit. But I still favor TPI over Net Merit.
February, 12 2019
I want my herd to produce more with better repro and last longer. So I select for Fat and Pro, DPR and PL. To think that we can tell that info by looking at a cow is 1950s thinking and you end up with an $18 cost of production and bankrupt.
February, 12 2019
Not buying any semen, bought Angus jumper bulls. With sexed semen flooding the market with replacements I sell black calves for 350 and buy fresh 2 yr old's for 1400 . No semen bill, no calf feeder to pay, no feed bill for calves and heifers, less manure to haul, the list goes on. Makes life easier and genetics aren't worth anything anymore.
February, 11 2019
Point 1 Buying less semen, only what we need Point 2 Management traits replacing some type emphasis. Point 3 Dont care as much about TPI, aiming more at individual traits important to us.