Build Your Dairy’s Roadmap with a Custom Index

Not many people get in their vehicle and take a drive with no idea of where they are going. They have a destination in mind, whether it’s to the grocery store, to a restaurant, or to the beach. They start with the end in mind and build a roadmap of how they will get there even if they’ve been there a thousand times.  

Why should selecting genetics to use in your herd be any different? 

Building a genetic plan is like planning out a road trip. You need to identify where you are today for genetics and where you want to go in terms of genetic progress. You must start with your end destination which will always be creating the ideal cow for your future. Once you have your ideal cow in mind, it’s time to create your Custom Index with ABS.  

Consider these to identify your ideal cow. 

  • How do you get paid for your milk?  
  • Why do cows leave the dairy?  
  • What processor demands and facility changes are anticipated in the future? 
  • What does your herd need to look like in 5 years?  

What is a Custom Index? 

If we go back to our road trip, you can think of a Custom Index as your GPS system. It is the tool that helps guide you from your starting point to your destination. The key to setting up a Custom Index is knowing what your ideal cow for the future looks like. Then, you can select genetics based on traits that meet your needs.   

Make Faster Genetic Progress with Customization 

As an enhanced selection method, a Custom Index goes beyond the limitations national evaluations pose for dairies and genetic progress. National evaluations like Net Merit are a one size fits all approach. A Custom Index allows you to customize trait selection based on your milk market, facilities, and business style. You have the power to prioritize traits when building your Custom Index with ABS Global. You chose the areas to improve that matter to your specific operation.  

Design a Better Genetic Calf Crop with an ABS Custom Index 

1. Identify the right sires to introduce to your herd 

2. Rank your females based on the right genetic mix for you 

3. Determine which females you want to become mothers for the next generation 

4. Use individual mating recommendations if desired 

Want to take your Custom Index from ABS Global to the next level? Click below to learn more.  

Using Criteria Might Not Be the Most Profitable Approach 

We often get questions about the difference between using trait criteria and a Custom Index for genetic selection. While trait criteria is not the wrong approach, you could be limiting your genetic progress in terms of profit. Trait criteria eliminates every bull below a threshold for a given trait. It does not consider the full picture.  

In our road trip scenario, using trait criteria is like taking the long way because you were unaware that a faster way to your destination was taking a new road. The new road was not even listed on your map. It is easy to take the long way because it is familiar and what one has always done. The same thing can be said about picking sires by using criteria based on a few key traits. 

Alright, let’s grab those keys, a favorite snack, and your ABS Global Custom Index roadmap. It’s time to hit the road toward your genetic progress. Contact your ABS Genetic Advisor to discuss making genetic progress faster with a Custom Index.  

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