Bad genetic decisions stick in your herd for generations. Your return-on-investment hinges on selecting the right genetics that will add to your profitability, not subtract. When you think about genetic selection, it is imperative to remember that you are not just creating a single offspring. Your genetic selection should focus on not only creating cows you want to see in your parlor, but their daughters, too! 

Genetics in the simplest form is an offspring receives 50% of its genetic makeup from its mother and 50% from its dad.  

Think about it like this. You have your cow herd, so the way new genetics enter your herd is through your sire selection. Semen costs on a dairy is typically less than 1% of total operating expenses, yet it controls 50% of the genetics of the offspring produced. Your sire selection is a small investment with potential big wins or future losses tied directly to it.  

Your strategy should be designed with your herd, operation, and market in mind. Your focus should be selecting genetics that maximize the return in your system. Consider the following questions next time you are making your genetic selections.  

  1. What is important in my milk market? 
  1. Has my milk market changed? 
  1. Am I making genetic progress in the areas that matter in my market? 
  1. Am I producing the right heifers from the right cows? 
  1. Do I have an opportunity to add a revenue stream with beef on dairy crosses?  
  1. Are the cows in my herd who I want to keep producing milk and the genetics I want to stay in my herd? 

The most efficient way to create balanced progress on your genetic selection is through a custom index. YOU decide what traits are most valuable. Thus, a strategy built around a consistent custom index allows for faster genetic progress—and increased profitability for you.  

Therefore, we suggest a Winning Game Plan with ABS. This strategy involves segmenting your herd into two parts: the cows you want to make replacements from and the ones that will be bred to beef sires. 

This strategy is built around a custom index based on the traits that matter to you in terms of progress and profitability. Ranking the herd on a custom index directly shows which cows should be bred with sexed semen to make replacements. It, also, identifies those cows who will remain in the herd for production, but they should be bred to beef.  

When it comes to beef on dairy crosses, you also have choices to make. Selecting the wrong beef sires can be costly in your herd. Beef sires in our Beef InFocus lineup have been specifically designed with dairy profitability in mind. The Winning Game Plan enables you to maximize dairy and beef profitability in your operation. Genetic selection comes with costs, both short and long term. Maximize the return on your investment with a focus genetic strategy. Genetic selection is your key driver for progress and profitability. Are you investing wisely? 

Learn more about your herd’s genetic investment portfolio by reading our article originally published in Progressive Dairy.   

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