Creating a bulletproof cow and increasing profitability through genomic testing

Genetics and genomic testing are changing the way dairy farmers do business and using genomic data to make better decisions is helping dairy producers leap forward with improving their cattle.

“The focus is creating that bulletproof cow,” said Katie Martin with Zoetis, “So, that cow the is trouble-free, does not get sick, and is very productive and very fertile. Ultimately, that cow is very profitable for dairy producers.”

One area where genomic testing is making great strides in is dairy wellness and wellness traits.

With genomic testing, a dairyman can know early in a calf’s life how profitable that animal will be later on. Martin says that the difference in herds that are using genomic testing is significant.

“I overwhelmingly see it across many dairy farms, where ultimately, we have a healthier herd, we have a more fertile herd, they’re using less antibiotics, and we have cows producing a higher quantity of fat and protein,” she said.

The Dairy Wellness Profit Index is a comprehensive, one-stop-shop ranking index from the CLARIFIDE Plus genomic test from Zoetis that helps producers breed toward improved wellness and overall profitability.

“The Dairy Wellness Profit Index is a combination of production, health, and fertility. We want those cows to produce a high number of pounds of fat, pounds of protein, we want these cows to be fertile,” Martin said. “We also don’t want those cows to have health events throughout their career. We want them to be healthy and very productive.”

Genomic testing allows dairy farmers to create a strategic plan to expedite herd improvement.

Martin says the plan is threefold: “It’s managing those inventories and making sure we’re producing the right number of heifers. It is creating the right number of heifers from the right genetics. Choosing who our future could be or should be based on that genomic profile, and then also creating new revenue streams, based on those other decisions.”

When first getting started with genomics, Martin says that the results can be surprising. There is often a wide range in genetic predictions from top to bottom.

“What that range means is there’s a range in profitability... there are calves born today that are going to be very, very profitable throughout their lifetime, and knowing that early, having the opportunity to feel confident about that information is really powerful,” she said.

To learn more about CLARIFIDE® Plus, click HERE.