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top13of2013In an industry where a few major players dominate the world market, it can be very intimidating for new participants about to enter the marketplace.  I can still remember working with David Eastman and Albert Cormier when they launched GenerVations.  At that time, there was no such thing as genomics, and even though we had the #1 LPI sire, Champion, we still took a lot of heat about the reliability of his proof.  However, I learned then, as I know now, fortune favors the bold.

Fast forward 12 years and things have significantly changed.  Genomics has leveled the playing field.  Any company can market their genetics with the same level of confidence as those of the large A.I. companies.  For years everyone has talked about how, in 2013, the A.I. industry would change drastically when new players enter the sire sampling market, as a result of breeders being able to sample their own bulls.  However, the reality is changes have already started.  Since the introduction of Genomics back in 2008, there have been four significant players enter the A.I. business:  AI Total, DairyBullsOnline, Jetstream Genetics and Trans-America Genetics (TAG).  They have all made a significant impact on the A.I. industry in a short period of time.  Each has gone about their strategy in a different way but each has had their own level of success.

The AI Total Story

Since partnering with AI Service Zuid-West Friesland (A company that provides insemination services for Dutch dairy farmers) in 2010 Jan De Vries and the AI Total team have been very aggressive.  Many years in the embryo business (Diamond Genetics and Eurogenes) have provided them with a base of marketing operations that has served them well (Read more: EUROGENES: You Love It.  They List It!).  Looking to service the producer market, AI Total looks to produce productive, functional, healthy and sustainable cows.  For De Vries this means looking at sires that excel in traits such as calving ease and DPR, while not being too large in size for the environments in which they are housed.

At the moment AI Total owns about 15 to 20 bulls that are housed in Europe, and carry sires from GenerVations, Jetstream Genetics and others.  A highlight of their current lineup is Hood MOM Emmet, the Man-O-Man son from Tramilda-N Baxter Emily VG-2yr, the dam of the popular North American sire Epic.  His 2nd dam is Wabash-Way Evett-ET (VG-86, 2y) who is a Shottle daughter, out of Crockett-Acres Elita-ET (VG-87 DOM 2*) and followed by nine VG or EX dams.  Emmett sires cows that are not too big, transmit favorable components and have strong fitness traits.  These are all heavily sought after by producers around the world.

In an industry that requires bold moves to be successful, De Vries and his team are not afraid to make them.  By working in many different aspects of the dairy genetics marketplace, Diamond Genetics/Eurogenes and AI Total are able to stay ahead and be trendsetters instead of followers.

The DairyBullsOnline Story

Starting out in the R&W market but getting sold on polled, Bryan Quanbury and Roy MacGregor have been extremely aggressive in developing DairyBullsOnline (Read more:  They’re Sold Polled).  They are promoting polled genetics as the solution that saves labor, reduces stress and improves consumer image.  “We know the breed will not be polled in 10 years, but we believe in 10 years bulls that transmit the recessive horn trait will be very hard to market.  Today there are about a dozen polled bulls over 2000 GTPI.  Next year that will double.  We expect that trend to continue for some time.”  Bryan Quanbury and Roy MacGregor.

By leveraging technology both on the web through its marketing and social media platforms as well as by using technology for shipping semen internationally DairyBullsOnline is able to operate at much higher efficiency.  This enables them to pass benefits back to the producers and breeders that they source their genetics from (Read more: A Wake-Up Call to All-A.I. Companies).

Despite what they lack in market share, they are able to attract unique genetics through offering seed stock breeders a much higher royalty percentage.  A great example of this is the sale of Kulp-Dale Golden PP-Red semen for $10,000 a dose, where the proceeds went straight to the breeder (Read more:  $10,000 a Dose Polled Semen).

MacGregor and Quanbury have not been afraid to blaze their own trial.  Not worrying what others would say about them, they have had a clear vision and have executed their plan very effectively.  They knew polled before polled was cool.  Being trend setters has it’s rewards, as anyone looking to get into polled in a significant way will certainly have to take a serious look at DairyBullsOnline and the trend setting moves they are making.

The Jetstream Genetics Story

With the arrival of Genomics, Jeff Butler and the ownership team at Jetstream, saw the opportunity for small AI-organizations that focus on top genomic genetics.  Having already heavily invested in some of the top genomics females in the world for his Butlerview operations, Butler already had a source of some of the most elite genetics in the world (Read more: Exciting Times For Butlerview).

Established in April 2012, theirs is the shortest story of these four bold, world-changing companies.  Nevertheless it has certainly been a very eventful one fourteen months.  Roger Turner, Sales and Genetic Manager for Jetstream Genetics, reports that it has exceeded expectations (Read more: Turner Moving Genetics Forward at Jetstream).

At the moment, Jetstream has about 15 bulls that are housed in Wisconsin.  Turner, a 15-year veteran in the AI industry, expects that number to increase by about 15 bulls per year.  A highlight of the Jetstream lineup are the Cash brothers, Farnear Cashcoin and Cashmoney, sired by the now popular proven sire Observer from MS Chassity Goldwyn Cash VG87 2yr, who is out of the 2012 Golden Dam Finalist Regancrest S Chassity EX-92 (Read more:  Regancrest S Chassity – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).  Other popular sires include Colt 45 RC who is the top available type polled sire in the world.

Similar to AI Total and Diamond Genetics, Jetstream and Butlerview partner to be a complete genetics company.  In the Butlerview program, there are some of the most well-known cattle in the world, including the extremely popular show cows REW Happy Go Lucky and Cookview Goldwyn Monique.  Jeff Butler is definitely not afraid to make bold moves.  He has put his money where his mouth is and is blazing new trails in the dairy cattle genetics marketplace.  A clear example of this is how Jetstream is leading the way in online semen ordering (Read more: New sires available on easy to use Jetstream online order system).

The TAG Story

Of the four new AI companies profiled here, Trans-America Genetics (TAG) is certainly the oldest of the group, with their first sires already receiving official daughter proofs.  The road has been an interesting one for Patrice Simard and the TAG team.  Since starting TAG with Alan Bryson almost 5 years ago, there have been ups and downs, but the hard work is starting to provide dividends for all involved in the journey

Indeed the highlight has to be the success of Ronalee Toystory Domain.  Domain is the Toystory son that was among the top Genomic sires in the world for a long time and has now successfully transitioned into one of the top daughter proven sires.  This achievement is very important for a young AI company as breeders watch to see how their genetic programs turn out.  Success like this has positively helped TAG grow in the international marketplace (Read more: TAG Continues to Grow on the International Scene).

Talking about genetic programs, TAG is another company that has the complete genetics marketplace covered.  However, unlike the others, TAG does it all under one brand and has been well-rewarded from the great publicity this has received.  Many of their Genomic Giants Sales rank at the top of the yearly sales lists (Read more:  The 2013 Genomic Giant Sale was a Giant Success!).

Aggressive and energetic does not begin to describe the team at TAG.  They have had to weather the trials and tribulations of starting a business and investing your heart and soul into it, but the rewards are starting to pay off as the TAG brand is catching the eye of breeders around the world.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Starting an AI company is not an easy task.  It takes years before you receive your first daughter proven sire, and distribution can prove to be a nightmare. Add to that the fact that you`re under a microscope as everyone is judged each move you make.  In order to get ahead, you have to be bold and aggressive. Anything else will result in failure.  Fortunately, for these four AI companies, their progressive moves are turning heads and putting good fortune boldly in their path.


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EUROGENES: You Love It. They List It!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Today Jan de Vries and Arjan van der Vlis keep their cattle connections productive through  Eurogenes the Netherlands based online cattle auction service.  Looking back, it`s easy to pinpoint their early interest in cows. Jan says, “Since I was a little child I have been working on farms. During holidays I always spend time on farms. I always had a special interest for breeding and mating sires.” Arjan too had a cattle connection. “Got my interest in cattle through my father with buying cows, he is a butcher and we searched for the cattle ourselves. Later on I became more interested in dairy cattle and in the breeding of them. Through practical training and family I got my extreme interest in dairy cattle breeding.” No doubt their joint enthusiasm for cattle led them to keep open minds regarding ways to be involved with the business.

Eurogenes - website

Eurogenes Means E(asy) Commerce

In 2000 Alex Arkink, a cow photographer started Eurogenes. Both Jan and Arjan were involved in managing the Eurogenes Sales. After four years Jan ws ready to take the next step with Lammert Hielema. The two of them who own Genetics Consolidated went forward. “In 2004 we purchased all shares from Alex Arkink.” Arjan is the Business Unit manager for Eurogenes. They were excited at the possibilities presented by this young company. “Eurogenes was among the first companies in cattle breeding to really use internet as its main marketing gateway.” Jan confirms their belief in this idea. “We have always felt the simple concept of having members consign embryos, calves and now also bulls to sales is a very strong one.”

Buy, Buy Bovines

Eurogenes is part of Genetics Consolidated B.V. This group of companies also includes Diamond Genetics, Holstein Plaza, AI Total, Holstein Select and more.  In a little over ten years there has been significant growth. “Eurogenes currently has 150 members from across Europe. Once a month there is an embryo sale and 2x per year there is a heifer sale. The next sale is in March.” Everything works smoothly.  They explain. “The Heifer sales work according to the Dutch Auction system, in which an animal starts with a start price and then goes down each day until a buyer decides to take it for that price.” They are pleased with the interest and report that embryos have been exported to 25 different countries.

Holland Masters Sale 2012

Holland Masters Sale 2012
Managed by Eurogenes and had the highest sale average ever in Europe with EUR 15.809

Eurogenes has Sell-A-Bulls … and cows.. and heifers… and embryos

On line cattle sales are proving to be dynamic for Eurogenes. “Current cow families that get a lot of trade done are the Atlee’s, the Roxy’s, the Ralma’s, the Barbie’s, the Altitude’s. Then there are always some specific cow families from a specific country like the Denmire Marie’s from the UK, the Rita’s from Holland, the WEH Janna family from Germany which can get a lot trade done.” The sales inventory has something for everybody.  Arjan gives examples. “Eurogenes stand for offering a wide range of Holstein Genetics, from top genomic females to show type animals to good families that a lot of cow lovers would like to work with in their barns at home.”

magazine-hotspots-covers[1]Eurogenes: E(asy) Commerce

Filling a niche and providing breeders with what they want is only part of Eurogenes success. “Eurogenes has been the first in the industry to start selling heifers on line and still has all the online record in Europe for sale averages. Eurogenes and Holstein Plaza together make the Hotspots magazine. This magazine gives you a perfect insight into what is going on on the main  breeding farms and what cow families are being actively worked with.” Jan and Arjan explain why they are on the leading edge. “Eurogenes is still the first company in the world to host online bull sales with bulls for AI companies. Inventing new things and keep going forward always looking for improvement is probably our biggest accomplishment.”

Don’t stall. Get off the Auction Block.  Just start.

With any new business there are new lessons. Both men feel that they are learning something every day. Having said that, they feel that you have to make the leap and learn some lessons as you go. “Our biggest lesson is probably that you learn by doing. If you have an idea, if you want to do something you have to do it and see if it works and then keep improving.”  There is always more to learn so Eurogenes is always learning and trying new things.  For example, Eurogenes is organizing a big live sale each year. Jan provides this update. “This year the sale will be on the farm of Eurogenes members JK Eder Holsteins on May 25th 2013.” They proudly point out that, “This sale will contain 100% Eurogenes member consignments.”

Genomics is Spreading the Opportunities

One of the biggest learning curves for any 21st Century cattle breeding business is the one presented by Genomics. This new tool is impacting every part of the industry. Everybody has new opportunities.  Jan explains, “Part of our business that is driven to make the bulls for AI companies has changed with genomics, since the world is more transparent. Embryo buyers in other countries than the former main suppliers of AI bulls suddenly have just as much chance to get a high bull that the AI companies want.” This is exciting for everyone. “People who want to are able to bring in embryos or a heifer to improve their herd. They can use genomics as a tool to make a better selection and make better matings.”

Genomics and Technology – 2013

The Eurogenes team points out that April 2013 is going to be interesting with the opening up of genomics. “It is going to be interesting how many things will settle out after this; how is the European Consortium going to respond, what will Interbull’s role be, who is in favour the big multionational AI company or the small flexible AI company.”  At the same time that this is happening, technology will continue to evolve and impact the marketplace. “Then we will see new things coming after Facebook. There will be new and better applications. The technology on pc’s, smart phones and I-pads will keep developing.” Beyond these tools, the trading word is changing as well. “The world wide growing demand for milk will create new Holstein countries.” Far from being overwhelmed these entrepreneurs are excited.”There are always more things that we do not even know about.”

The BULLVINE Bottom Line

The last decade has seen tremendous changes in the selling of cattle internationally.  Not everybody has the ability to manage a website themselves and attract visitors. Jan and Arjan have the expertise. “Eurogenes is doing all the work.  Visitors from around the world will see your top genetics with a great presentation. “ Today the sales logistics whenever you want to buy or sell are as simple as a few clicks on a keyboard.  If you are ready to consider marketing genetics internationally, Jan and Arjan have one final piece of advice, “Eurogenes is open 24/7 to advertise your genetics.” Don’t just love it.  List it!


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