udder stuff

Published on Mon, 03/07/2016 - 1:49pm

STgenetics Acquires Genetic Visions

Livestock reproductive services innovator STgenetics™ has agreed to acquire bovine DNA testing company Genetic Visions Inc. from Accelerated Genetics. The newest company in the STgenetics’ family is called Genetic Visions-ST LLC. Testing by the Middleton, Wisconsin, company identifies genetic markers in cattle DNA that are closely associated with desirable genes influencing production traits, hair color, and animal health and viability. These genetic markers can be used to aid selection of bull-cow pairings for breeding programs. “We believe firmly in the importance of genomic testing and its benefits to farmer producers,” said Juan Moreno, STgenetics’ Co-CEO. “Genetic Visions is a first-class operation built on a solid foundation of quality scientific principles and practices expertly led by Dr. Michael Cowan. This acquisition allows STgenetics to diversify its product and service offerings to the livestock reproductive services community and will be most immediately available to the cattle and swine industries.” Genetic Visions Inc. has its roots in concentrated research begun in 1986 by Cowan in conjunction with researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The company was formed in 1988 as the research arm of Tri-State Breeders, now Accelerated Genetics, with Cowan as general manager. Cowan will continue to lead Genetic Visions-ST. STgenetics is a worldwide leader in livestock reproductive services, including sex-sorted semen and embryo production.

Vault Technologies: Get Your Head Above Water

A common compliant for dairymen is lack of time. For most, it seems they barely have enough time to manage day-to-day operations, let alone spend time with their family, travel and catch up with friends. If they aren’t able to unwind, it creates stress which can lead to resentment and unhappiness. Now I’m not a psychologist and that’s not where this is going, but we can agree that these are genuine issues. Not to throw salt on the wound, but this also creates an inherent business issue. If you aren’t able to get your head above water or step back from the day-to-day operations, you will never see the bigger picture. That picture is the state of your business and where it’s headed. As a dairy farmer, you are swimming in a sea of 45,000 peers all trying to stay afloat, especially during stormy weather (i.e. 2009). Those tall waves make it difficult to see the horizon as you’re swimming around. Most are just letting the current take them wherever it may. But if you are not actively discussing big picture capital allocation decisions, you are not taking control of your business.
My argument: take the time to get your head above water. This may be obvious and silly, but why not get a nice sturdy boat. The boat will represent your platform for seeing above the waves and to the horizon. This boat also should be big enough for your crew to fit. Your crew is made up of your key suppliers such as your accountant, nutritionist, banker, feed supplier and vet. These are the people who will help guide your boat and your business. Once per month, there should be a Key Supplier Meeting (KST). Preferably it is in person, but it can be held on TeamViewer or Gotomeeting. Put them in the calendar months ahead of time, give yourselves a couple hours and hold people accountable for attendance. It’s easier said than done to allocate a couple precious hours, but in the long-run, efficiencies will be created and time will be saved. Patience and diligence are virtues here. Having this meeting of the minds is key to seeing the bigger picture, keeping your head above the water and making the right capital allocation decisions for your dairy farm business. Stay tuned for more on this topic as there is plenty more to be said. — By Lawson Thalmann, Director of Business Development for Vault Technologies LLC


Jefo is a global leader in the field of non-medicated performance feed additives. Founded in Canada in 1982 by animal scientist Jean Fontaine, Jefo has grown exponentially over the years, with its products now sold in 57 countries. From its very beginnings, Jefo has concentrated on innovation — understanding and contributing to the science, economics and practices of livestock production and management. Today, Jefo is a world leader and global partner in the field of feed additives, with its pioneering, cost-saving and efficient solutions, that also promote sustainable development. A new global corporate philosophy: Our new philosophy is based on our company’s history and strong corporate values. We’re convinced it was time to step up and differentiate ourselves says president, Jean Fontaine. Life. It’s health. It’s reproduction. Calving, farrowing, laying, hatching. It’s milk. It’s growth. It’s animals feeding the hands that feed them. Jefo is a circle of life. Life, made easier is a view to easier calving and easier transition. It’s nutrition delivered as it should be, through vitamins, minerals, yeasts, and organic acids. It’s better balance, better metabolism. It’s just a little more comfort. Life, made easier is a promise of health solutions that are easy to administer. Right in the feed, as it should be. Without fuss or pain or risk to the animals. It’s a promise that with better nutrition, animals are more comfortable, easier to raise. That each stage of life is just a little less complicated, with a lower risk of disease, weight loss and mortality due to stress and malnutrition. It’s just a little more peace of mind. Life, made easier is a promise that Jefo is constantly searching for solutions to animal nutrition challenges,

offering a full range of products and programs to satisfy the needs of the different life stages of each species. It’s a lot more confidence and a true partnership. Life, made easier is a promise of excellent service and expert technical support. It’s a promise that doing business with Jefo is easy, with immediate response and efficient communication. It’s an entire solutions-oriented team at your service. Life, made easier means programs and solutions for reallife situations, for different life stages and challenges. Life, made easier with Science. Through its applied scientific research, Jefo continues to innovate and develop additives that take into account the genetic make-up, physiology and metabolism of each species, as well as the varying requirements of the market: Jefo Matrix Technology for safe and targeted delivery of active compounds and nutrients, enzymes for improved feed conversion and increased body weight and liquids for optimal animal performance. Life, made easier is about timely technical support and practical advice worldwide. It’s experienced, dependable and friendly professionals at your service. Life, made easier means healthy animals feeding the hands that feed them. This is the circle of life. This is what sustains us. This is Jefo. This new positioning is sustaining the idea the rationale of our logo: a natural cycle, an easier continuity of life. Both humans and animals are part of this cycle, and their interaction is an apt example of balanced responsibility; giving the best to the animal because it is ultimately, given back to us. With this in mind, Life, made easier means healthy animals feeding the hands that feed them. This is the circle of life. This is what sustains us. This is Jefo. The new philosophy will be rolled out in all communications in the many countries where Jefo is present. New kiosks, stationery, business cards and corporate communications including advertising, promotions and website have been designed. Now again, with this new philosophy, the two elements, the world of nature and the world of science, come together in an expressive way. A word about Jefo’s graphic logo: It starts with a connecting line, which represents the notion of give-and-take, of how everything in the world, including animal and human nutrition, is interconnected. It also represents Jefo’s commitment to ensuring that the connection is maintained in a responsible, healthy way. Clockwise around the unbroken circle, the size of the animals increases to represent the company’s main objective: healthy, strong growth. Finally, the hand in the symbol speaks to the company’s promise to be actively and responsibly engaged. Jefo chose the circle to stand for the world, and for the company’s place in it: as a global company that cares about the planet. To learn more about our new corporate philosophy, visit www.jefo.com

Green Source RotaryMATE Outperforms Human Labor

A recent study confirms that Green Source Automation’s RotaryMATE outperforms the human labor it is intended to replace. Dairy research at universities and other institutions across the U.S. and around the world have consistently shown that Somatic Cell Counts decrease when proper pre-milking and post-milking processes are applied to the cows. In particular, using predip and postdip has a marked impact on the reduction of mastitis and improvement in SCC. Other studies have shown that improperly executing the pre-milking and post-milking processes will not help and, in some cases, even have a negative impact on herd health and SCC in the milk. VDS Farms is a well-run operation that consistently has some of the lowest SCC in the country. They wanted to tighten their operation further, improve the consistency of their pre- and post-milking processes, and benefit their bottom line by replacing human labor with robotic automation. To achieve this aim, VDS installed two RotaryMATE systems, the RotaryMATE EXPS for the pre-milking process, and the RotaryMATE EXPD for the post-dip application. The challenge in front of Green Source was to replace these labor positions without losing any of the effectiveness that VDS has achieved in keeping SCCs in the sub-90,000 range. After both systems had been installed and running, Green Source and VDS set out to prove the effectiveness of the RotaryMATE EXPS at cleaning and sanitizing the teats when compared to the human labor process previously in place. Research has proven that clean, sanitized teats reduces the environmental bacteria that can cause mastitis. While the human labor process at VDS was clearly effective, Green Source sought to prove that the RotaryMATE would perform even better. To do this, a side-by-side sampling and testing was conducted.

The Testing Process

In all the tests that were done, the same pen of animals was tested each time in order to control for the variable of where the cows were prior to entering the rotary to be processed. This allowed for a true apples-to-apples comparison of the effectiveness of the cleaning process by human labor and by the RotaryMATE EXPS. To test and measure the cleanliness, GSA and VDS Farms used Adenosine TriPhosphate (“ATP”) testing equipment, an industry standard practice from multiple industries including the food industry. “ATP bioluminescence tests. . .are used in the food industry in order to keep food manufacturing clean. The tests are a reliable, simple, and rapid way to monitor surface contamination in the food industry and to detect contaminants inbeverages or drinking water. For surface contamination testing. . .a pen-like device is swabbed over the tested area, then inserted into the handheld reader called relative light unit or RLU. The results are displayed within seconds and can indicate if the sample is clean or unclean. . . . It is estimated that 80 percent of the food production facilities in North America and more that 80 percent in Europe are using this ATP testing technology for sanitation monitoring and validation of whether the processing equipment is clean enough to be used for food production.” — Excerpted from www.atptesting.org Since the cows in the VDS rotary parlor enter head first, the front teats are farther away from the human labor and more difficult to reach. Given this variable, the ATP test was divided into two sets: one test for the easier-to-reach rear teats, and one for the harder-to-reach front teats. The surface samples were taken from the sidewalls and openings of the teats. Equal numbers of samples were taken of the teats processed by human labor and the teats processed by the RotaryMATE EXPS. The results were then averaged for all animals for both respective test groups (front teats and rear teats). After the test results were averaged, the RotaryMATE EXPS significantly outperformed manual human labor in both tests. The rear teats, which are easiest for human labor to reach, showed a 27% improvement using the RotaryMATE EXPS. The front teats improved by 49% using the RotaryMATE EXPS. Delivering cleaner teats prior to the milking cups being attached is a significant contributor to lowering the SCC in the milk produced. VDS Farms has installed both the RotaryMATE EXPS and RotaryMATE EXPD robots. They have successfully eliminated two labor positions on their rotary, and they have also improved the cleanliness of the teats prior to the milking cups being attached. Both robots have played a significant role in maintaining the Somatic Cell Count at VDS at 86,000, while also allowing for the benefits of consistent labor via robotic automation. Camille Vanpee, Director of VDS Farms, said, “We could not be happier with the high-speed robotic automation solutions provided by Green Source. We are thrilled to be able to reap the benefit of reduced labor costs, while also maintaining the high quality milk VDS Farms is known for. The RotaryMATE has met and exceeded our expectations.”

Prepare for Automation

Build your new rotary with automation in mind. Green Source engineers will work with you at no charge to ensure that your new rotary is built for the future of the dairy industry. Contact Green Source Automation for a free consultation at info@greensourceautomation.com or call 209-531-9163.