Immunity+ Does It Actually Work?


Since we first heard about High Immune Response, now marketed as Immunity+*, the Bullvine has been a big fan of the theory behind this research. (Read more: Your Cattle Are Under Attack!)  But, as with all things that are proposed in theory, there comes a time when you need to put the numbers to it to validate the theory.  As the saying goes “In God  we trust. All others bring data”. So here at the Bullvine we did just that.

With over 50 Immunity+ sires now with official proofs, we decided to take a closer look to see if the theory behind Immunity+ has proven itself.  When analysing the performance of health traits the key factors are specifically Productive Life (PL), Somatic Cell Score (SCS), Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) and Daughter Calving Ease (DCE).  For our analysis, we compared the top 10 current proven sires from two lists.  We first looked at the top 10 proven Immunity+ sires for NM$ to  the top 10 Proven NM$ sires and found the following:

Table 1 Proven NM$ Immunity+ Sires vs August 2015 Proven Sires

TPI NM$ MREL PL SCS DPR DCE
Proven Immunity+ for NM$ 2226 484 95 4.3 2.82 2.1 6.4
Proven NM$ 08/2015 2526 715 96 5.9 2.94 1.2 4.9
Immunity+ vs. Proven Aug 2015 -299 -232 -1 -1.6 -0.12 0.9 1.5
-13% -48% -38% -4% 42% 23%

At a quick glance we see some key trends.  Immunity+ sires have performed well for SCS, DPR and DCE but are  significantly lower in PL, TPI and NM$.  However,  since this is a comparison of current top proven TPI sires, it is unfair to compare the top Immunity+ sires with the top NM$ sires  because  no one could have 100% accurately predicted what sires would be the top 10 proven sires back in 2011, when most of these sires would have been used.  So instead we decided to compare the top current Immunity+ sires to the top Genomic Sires from December 2011.  In doing so, we found the following:

Table 2 Proven NM$ Immunity+ Sires vs December 2011 Genomic Sires

TPI NM$ MREL PL SCS DPR DCE
Top 10 Proven Immunity+ for NM$ 2226 484 95 4.3 2.82 2.1 6.4
Genomic NM$ 08/2011 2176 509 98 6.0 2.76 2.3 5.7
Immunity+ vs. Genomic 12/2011 50 -25 -2 -1.7 0.06 -0.2 0.7
2% -5% -41% 2% -11% 11%

In looking at the results, we find that the performance of Immunity+ sires compared to the top NM$ genomic sires from December 2011 was lower especially  for the key health traits PL (41% lower), DPR (11% higher) and DCE (11% lower).

We wondered if this performance only occurred with the top NM$ sires so we decided to compare the top Immunty+ TPI sires.  In doing so we found the following:

Table 3 Top 10 Proven TPI Immunity+ Sires vs August 2015 Proven Sires

TPI NM$ MREL PL SCS DPR DCE
TPI Proven Immunity+ 2241 471 95 3.9 2.81 2.1 6.1
Proven TPI 08/2015 2511 684 97 5.0 2.92 1.1 5.4
Immunity+ vs. Proven 08/2015 -270 -214 -2 -1.1 -0.11 1.0 0.7
-12% -45% -29% -4% 47% 11%

Similar to the comparison of the top current NM$ sires, we found that the Immunity+ sires performed pretty well for SCS and DPR but performed significantly lower for Productive Life and Daughter Calving Ease.  Again, as we pointed out earlier, it is best to compare these sires to the sires of 2011 to see how they really stacked up at the time of the breeding decision.  The results are as follows:

Table 4 Top 10 Proven TPI Immunity+ Sires vs August 2011 Genomic Sires

TPI NM$ MREL PL SCS DPR DCE
TPI Proven Immunity+ 2241 471 95 3.9 2.81 2.1 6.1
Genomic TPI 12/2011 2290 499 98 5.4 2.76 2.5 5.6
Immunity+ vs. Genomic 12/2011 -49 -28 -2 -1.5 0.05 -0.4 0.4
-2% -6% -40% 2% -21% 7%

Similar to the trend with the NM$ sires, the Immunity+ sires performed significantly lower for Productive Life and Daughter Pregnancy Rate.

For a complete listing of sires and calculations click here

The Bullvine Bottom Line

There is no question that breeding healthier long-lived cattle is the ultimate goal of all dairy producers.  Ultimately, the most accurate measure of how long a dairy cow lasts in a herd is Productive Life (PL). (Read more: SHE AIN’T PRETTY – SHE JUST MILKS THAT WAY!)  In theory Immunty+ or High Immune Response sires should also be higher Productive Life sires.  The challenge with  the performance of the top current Immunity+ sires is  that they are performing over 29% lower than non-tested sires.

 

 

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*Immunity+ is a Trademark of the Semex Alliance 

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