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Genetics a cash cow

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Implanting inexpensive embryos in the “bottom third” of a herd is a great way to earn additional money through genetics.

That was the message from ABS St Jacobs representative Michael Heath at International Dairy Week.

“A lot of large US herds have started buying embryos to develop their own genetics programs,” he said.

“(Embryos) are a very inexpensive way to get into great cow families.”

US dairy farmers Jonathan and Alicia Lamb have made a name for themselves in the industry and generated extra money through herd sales since they began implanting embryos a decade ago.

Milking 4200 cows, Mr Heath said the couple have recipients for 2100 embryos each year and have quickly developed the pedigrees in their herd.

It cost another US farm, milking 750 cows and planning to implant 250 embryos this year, $250,000 for individual embryos and a few “donor cows”, Mr Heath said.

Expecting about 75 females worth $6000 each would generate $450,000, he said.

Other benefits of using embryos with deep pedigrees include extra animals to cull harder and the ability to put cattle into sales.

Mr Heath said it was crucial those looking to market animals and embryos had a good fertility program, heat detection and reproductive efficiency in the herd as well as an “outstanding job caring for the calves”.

A direction for marketing is also a must, while Mr Heath advised to plan ahead with an idea of the specific sale or sales in mind for the animals when purchasing embryos.

Drawing on examples from his own experience, he said he has had Holsteins, Jerseys, Red and White Holsteins and polled animals that he has marketed in a number of ways.

Mr Heath also said polled dairy cattle have become very popular in the past 18 months, topping all major sales.

Source: Weekly Times Now

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