Farmers speak out on genomics - 2019 National Holstein Convention - Cowsmo

Farmers speak out on genomics – 2019 National Holstein Convention

“How I use genetic information to better manage my herds” will be the focus of a dairy farm breeder panel at the National Genetics Conference on June 26 to June 27. Holstein Association USA’s Lindsey Worden will moderate the panel as conference attendees hear first-hand perspectives from four dairymen hailing from California, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin.

Here’s a little more about the panelists:

Patrick Crave, Crave Brothers Dairy, Waterloo, Wis., has been conducting genomic testing on the family’s 2,600-head Holstein dairy for a number of years. With a keen interest in genetics, Patrick has developed a system of protocols that include genomic testing the farm’s heifer calves born from the herd averaging over 30,000 pounds of milk. Patrick also uses sexed semen to get more females from the herd’s top genetics. The farm’s approach to genetics also closely aligns to its work producing cheese at Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese.



Jeff King, Kings-Ransom Farm, Schuylerville, N.Y., does 100 percent genomic testing on all the farm’s heifer calves. An on-farm IVF facility supports an active embryo transfer and genetic program for the 1,100 cows and 1,200 head of young stock. With a focus on sales of embryos, females and bulls to A.I., Jeff will share his philosophy on getting the most from genetics. In addition, the family matches their genetic goals with products produced for their retail business King Brothers Dairy.





Tom Oesch, Swisslane Dairy, Alto, Mich., has employed a great deal of technology to develop a more productive family dairy business. In addition to milking 25 percent of the farm’s dairy herd with robots, the Oesch family uses activity monitors to collect data on his dairy cows. Given this situation, genomic testing of DNA from his family’s dairy animals also was a logical step to improve the herd’s genetic potential. The farm also has on onsite lab to better incorporate embryo transfer with a keen interest in selecting with high rankings for Net Merit and Dairy Wellness Traits.



Simon Vander Woude, Vander Woude Dairy, Merced, Calif., has run over 10,000 genomic tests on his Golden State dairy farm. These tests have been run on every female through the fourth lactation. Along with fully using genomics, Vander Woude uses embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilization, and sexed semen on his dairy herd. After being in growth mode for 18 years, Vander Woude is smart-sizing the dairy by breeding genetically inferior cattle to Angus to plan his salable animals. This is done by looking at the breeding age population and anticipating conception rates to make the best economic decision.



In addition to this panel, ten additional speakers will present at the National Genetics Conference:
·        The ten-year genomics report card, Dr. Mike Lohuis, Semex
·        The state of dairy genetic programs today, Dr. Dan Weigel, Zoetis
·        The truth about inbreeding, Dr. John Cole, USDA-AGIL
·        Where is milk going in the future? Dr. Bruce German, University of California Davis
·        Precision dairy’s impact on animal breeding, Dr. Jeffrey Bewley, Alltech
·        Epigenetics: different environments, different reactions, Dr. Jack Britt, EarthCast Technologies
·        We live in the genetics era, Jim Rohl, Choice Genetics
·        The evolving role of breeders in the genomics era, Dr. Tom Lawlor, Holstein USA
·        Hay burners versus hay converters, Dr. Kent Weigel, University of Wisconsin-Madison
·        The genetic supercow isn’t in sight, Dr. Chad Dechow, Penn State

Registration: Thanks to generous sponsorships from Zoetis and Holstein Association USA, dairy cattle enthusiasts can attend this dynamic meeting as guests of the 2019 National Holstein Convention. All organizers ask is that you sign up for your name badge to gain admission. To register for the entire National Holstein Convention, place online ticket orders HERE. Please register by May 25 to avoid late fees.

For more information about the event, contact:

Corey Geiger
2019 National Holstein Convention
902 8th Avenue
Baraboo, WI 53913
[email protected]

Lindsey Worden
Executive Director
Holstein Genetic Services
1 Holstein Place
Brattleboro, VT 05302-0816
[email protected]

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