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BREEDING FOR HEALTHIER COWS


…minimise the need for preventative and reactionary measures to health issues during the transition period.

Are you worrying about spending extra time and money treating sick cows? We all want a healthier thriving herd that performs at their best. Meanwhile, to contribute to reduction in the development of antibiotic resistance, dairy farmers are being asked to use less antibiotics. There are many short-term measures and management changes we can make to promote a healthier herd. However, the impact of genetics on the long-term health of our cows is often overlooked.

Transition disorders take their toll…

In the three week pre and post calving period, the health of a cow is impacted by a negative energy balance and immune system suppression. This often leads to serious health issues such as metritis, mastitis and other transition cow disorders. It is well documented that 75% of disease in dairy cows occurs during the first 30 days in milk, and up to 50% of fresh cows will suffer from one or more health disorders during the transition period.

A single case of mastitis in this period equates to a cost of £199, this includes the costs associated with loss in milk production, labour and the cost of treatments such as antibiotics. Prevention through genetics has not been available to help reduce multiple post calving disorders – until the introduction of TransitionRight™.

 

 

Genetics can make a difference…

TransitionRight™ is a revolutionary trait that dairy farmers can use to select genetics on an easy to use star rating system that minimises the need for preventative and reactionary measures to health issues during the transition period.

The trait was developed from ABS Real World Data (RWD™) which contains customer information which has been gathered since 2008. The Real World Data database currently has information on over 2,000 herds and over 32 million cows globally, which includes 454,000 cows from 312 herds in the UK. Through extensive analysis of RWD, Genus ABS has found that there is a direct link relating to how genetics can impact the way in which a cow gets through the transition period. Based on ABS Real World Data on 32 million cows globally.

 

We have taken this information and identified the sires whose daughters will be genetically pre-disposed to better health through the transition period.

TransitionRight™ is a composite index which means it seeks to improve all areas of transition cow health, rather than one specific disease. By choosing a 5-star TransitionRight™ sire, your operation is projected to save approximately £136 in preventative or reactive costs per cow, per lactation, over a 1-star sire.

Genus ABS have been selecting sires for health traits for many years, this is evident by the fact that over 90% of our marked sires are 4 or 5-star TransitionRight, whereas only 30% of the breed actually achieves 4 or 5-star status.

 

TransitionRight – makes a positive impact on farm…

 

Dr Sandy Jamieson BVM&S MRCVS, of Scarsdale Vets comments, “One of my clients in Derbyshire has an outstanding transition health record. I diagnose very few cases of transition related diseases. I believe this success is testament to Mr Smith’s progressive approach to genetic selection (over 65% of his first and second lactation cows are sired by a 4 or 5-star TransitionRight sire) and his high standards of farm management.

Genus ABS Technical Services Director, Dr Huw Lloyd, BVSc MRCVS, has been evaluating the effectiveness of TransitionRight with a study looking at over 2,500 cows. The results showed that there was a substantial reduction in the incidence of transition diseases in cows from 4 or 5-star TransitionRight sires, compared to cows from 1 and 2-star sires.

The results can be seen in the table below. Huw comments, “We know that transition disease takes a heavy toll on dairy farmers, therefore the results of the study should be given careful consideration. The levels of Metritis in the 1 and 2-star sired daughters is a great concern, with an estimated cost of £224 per case, the economic impact of metritis is significant. Fundamentally, dairy farmers will experience substantial economic benefits from having a greater number of 4 and 5-star sired daughters in their herd.”

Our current breeding choices are undoubtedly having a big impact on the long-term health of our cows.

TransitionRight was created to help you breed healthier, more profitable cows to fit your system.

 

 

 

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