Ever the industry leader, ABS Global has built a facility, named Future Genetics, dedicated to house and care for bull calves under six-months-old. The facility, located near Madison, Wisconsin, USA, allows ABS staff to improve care for animals through better nutrition, veterinary care and biosecurity at an earlier age.
“These little guys are our most valuable bulls because they are our future,” said Dr. Jim Meronek, Global Head of Health Assurance, ABS Global.
In the past, bulls were purchased from breeders at about eight-months-old. Today, through genomics, bull calves that are identified as genetically superior can be brought in between two- and three-months-old.
“Due to the high value elite genomic animals can generate, having these calves under our expert care sooner ensures we maximize their potential,” said Devan Funk, Global Dairy Sire Acquisition Manager, ABS Global.
The state-of-the-art facility was built in 2016 with future expansion in mind. Currently housing approximately 45 calves, the facility was also designed to be as labor efficient as possible and is considered the highest bio-secure facility on the ABS campus.
The facility is designed to maintain separation between calves from different sources. Of course, health of the calves is of utmost priority. Calves are grouped so there is a gap between housing units to avoid nose-to-nose contact and possible spread of disease or infection.
“With the assistance of a sanitation expert from the food industry, we put in a state of the art water purification system at the site to help eliminate further spread of disease,” said Daniel Hodgkin, North American Production Manager, ABS Global. “This system is the equivalent to a municipal water system.”
Once calves reach about six months, they advance to the Gorman arrival facility. Built in 2014, this was the single-largest facility investment at $3.4 million.