Udder Stuff

Published on Mon, 04/25/2016 - 1:03pm

New Power Bedding Groomer

The new Fritsch Power Bedding Groomer is designed to groom cattle freestalls using deep bedding. After a single pass, the Power Bedding Groomer breaks up hard, compressed chunks of the alternative and lime bedding shown in the picture.

Unlike other groomers and rakes, the Power Bedding Groomer did not skid over the top of the compacted bedding. After continuous use, your cow’s bedding will be returned to a smoother and deep cushy consistency. The groomer is based on the same idea as the Fritsch Forage Facer with direct-drive hydraulic wheel motors and hardened teeth. (Carbide teeth are optional.) A single valve is all that is required to raise/lower the boom on the groomer and operate the rotary teeth. As more hydraulic pressure is needed to turn the motor, more down pressure is applied on the hydraulic ram.

The new Fritsch Power Bedding Groomer will groom even the toughest beds. Call for details or go online. Fritsch Equipment Corp, 920-532-6292, www.fritschequipment.com

Genomic Testing Goes Mainstream to Commercial Dairy Herds

By Todd Bilby, Ph.D., dairy technical services manager, Merck Animal Health

Advances in genomic testing create new opportunities for commercial dairy producers to have more control over their herds’ profit potential. With an abundance of available replacement heifers, producers have the ability to replace less profitable cows with genetically superior heifers, shortening the generation interval and accelerating the genetic progress. Genomic testing offers a powerful screening tool to predict what heifer will be a top performer and which will be below average. The payoff can be big, as investing money toward feeding and housing heifers that are not going to contribute to the bottom line only narrows profit margins.


Once a tool only affordable for dairy producers owning elite dairy herds to identify the best bull mothers, genomic testing is now cost effective on a large-scale basis. Costs have fallen dramatically since genomic testing first hit the market in 2008, and it is now possible to test for as low as $28 per head or approximately 1 percent of the cost to raise a heifer. Managing genomic information to find genetically inferior calves is quite simple. Dairy producers select a key indicator, such as the predicted transmitting ability (PTA) of net merit dollars (NM$) which estimates the expected lifetime profit of a cow compared to the breed base of an average cow born and raised in the same environment. NM$ include traits that capture an economic impact, such as milk yield, health, longevity, fertility and calving ease. If a heifer does not meet the minimum requirements for NM$, she could be sold prior to breeding.

Another option is to breed the bottom-end replacements to a beef sire and sell the resulting crossbred calves as higher-dollar beef animals. Depending on market conditions, it may be possible to pay for testing costs for all of the replacements just from the increased value of the crossbred calves. Conversely, a heifer that ranks high in NM$ might be a candidate for sexed semen.

Keeping the calves with the best genetics and applying sexed semen, while selling calves with the poorest genetics, can deliver substantial cost savings. Ultimately, producers realize value by collecting the NM$ information at an early age, allowing them to gain an understanding of how profitable the animal will be as a lactating cow.


Genomics got its start in 2004 with the sequencing of the bovine genome, which is made up of approximately 25,000 useful genes. Sequencing allowed basic information about genetic coding to be used to improve how genetic values of cattle are estimated.

For genomic selection, researchers look for markers or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A SNP is a place in a chromosome where the DNA sequence can differ among individuals. SNPs are most useful when they occur close to a gene that contributes to an important trait. Most traits are controlled by many genes, making this a very complex process. Significant progress was made when a genotyping computer chip was developed that could identify more than 50,000 SNPs (50K test) on the genome.

Genomics has rapidly advanced in the past decade. Today most laboratories use custom chips that are able to use fewer SNPs through the use of imputation. Imputation is a method that uses knowledge of the parental genome in calculations to predict the genotype of the calf. The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) maintains the genomic database and produces a genomic evaluation report on a weekly basis containing data on every animal.

Producers can take a tissue sample from a calf and submit it to a laboratory, which then sends the genotype to the CDCB. The CDCB then calculates PTAs that are equal to progeny tests on many daughters of sires.
While the reports contain extensive data, most dairy producers prefer to use simple rankings, such as Net Merit, Cheese Merit or Fluid Merit. For those who like more details, reports can be run to work with custom- made indexes.


Neogen Corp. recently introduced Igenity-Essential in response to requests by commercial dairymen for a more convenient and cost-effective genomic assessment of their animals that can be done during times of low milk prices.

An alternative to traditional USDA-CDCB evaluations, Igenity-Essential can be performed soon after a calf is born, and test results are received within two to three weeks after tissue submission. Ideal for simple heifer sorting, Igenity-Essential is powered by a low-density 7K chip with custom content to examine 15 traits essential for improved milk production and reproduction. For the commercial dairy producer looking for a simple but effective sorting tool, this is an excellent option. It is available for Holsteins and Jerseys and contains the key content needed for an accurate genomic evaluation to make management decisions.

Find out more information at www.neogen.com or contact your local Merck Animal Health representative.


Alltech Young Scientist Awards

Nirosh Dias Senevirathne, a South Dakota State University (SDSU) graduate student, was awarded second place in the Alltech Young Scientist North American regional graduate division. The title of the award winning paper was “Calf Nutrition and Growth Performance.” Senevirathne was nominated to participate in the Alltech Young Scientist program by his mentor, Jill Anderson, Assistant Professor in the SDSU Dairy Science department. For individuals to compete in this year’s competition, the student had to be nominated by a professor from their university.

The Alltech Young Scientist program is an opportunity for students to participate with the company in pursuit of natural solutions in animal health, plant technology, environmental sciences and other biotechnology-related sectors, while also gaining valuable experience with Alltech, a global leader in the feed and food industry.

“I feel amazed and am delighted to have achieved this award through my education. I am proud to be an Alltech Young Scientist winner,” said Senevirathne. “I someday hope to help the agriculture industry through my research and in the future obtain a position in research and development.”

For Senevirathne’s second place award, he received $1,000 cash prize, a certificate of achievement, an Alltech Young Scientist Medal and a gift basket. Senevirathne is working toward his doctorate through South Dakota State University. He completed his undergraduate degree in Sri Lanka and his master’s degree in Japan.

Elanco’s Imrestor Approved

Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company, announced the approval of Imrestor™ (pegbovigrastim injection) — the first product of its kind for the dairy industry.

Available only by veterinary prescription, Imrestor is now FDA approved for the reduction in the incidence of clinical mastitis in the first 30 days of lactation in periparturient dairy cows and periparturient replacement dairy heifers. Imrestor is a protein that helps support the natural function of a dairy cow’s immune system during the critical time around calving, when she is most vulnerable to mastitis.

“Imrestor is an innovative new approach for reducing clinical mastitis by proactively helping to restore the function of a cow’s immune system,” explained Paul Rapnicki, DVM, MBA, Associate Technical Advisor, Elanco Animal Health.

Pivotal efficacy studies conducted for FDA approval showed a 28 percent reduction in clinical mastitis incidence among cows and heifers that received Imrestor compared with control animals.1 Mastitis is the most common disease among dairy cows, affecting as many as 1 in 4 cows.2 Clinical mastitis affects each cow’s potential leading to reduced conception rates3, an increased risk for another case of mastitis4, and lost milk production potential throughout the lactation5.

Immune suppression at calving can leave cows vulnerable to infection and an increased risk of mastitis.6 Dairy cows and heifers are in need of protection particularly at calving due to a decline in neutrophils — the primary type of white blood cell that recognizes and destroys harmful bacteria. Imrestor helps restore the function7* and increase the number1,7* of neutrophils at calving which helps the cow to fight invading bacteria that cause mastitis.

“We know that even the best producers need a little help protecting their dairy herds. Imrestor is a proactive approach that can help keep cows healthy and help reduce the frustration, financial strain and stress associated with treating mastitis,” added Rapnicki. Elanco shared news of the Imrestor approval today during a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meeting where antibiotic alternatives for use in food animals were discussed. Mastitis is the most common illness treated with antimicrobials in dairy cows8.

The launch of Imrestor is aligned with Elanco’s eight-point antibiotic stewardship plan that ensures the responsible use of antibiotics, reduces shared-class antibiotic use and replaces antibiotics with alternatives. The plan was outlined by Elanco President Jeff Simmons at a White House antibiotic stewardship forum last year.

Available in pre-filled, single-dose syringes, Imrestor is administered with two injections — one seven days prior to the anticipated date of calving** and the other within 24 hours after calving — thus helping to protect the cow against mastitis when she needs it most. Imrestor does not require a meat or milk withdrawal period. Imrestor will be available for purchase in 10, 50, and 100 dose pack sizes. The product availability date will be announced at a later time. Dairy producers are encouraged to contact their veterinarian to discuss incorporating Imrestor into their herd health program.

Elanco provides comprehensive products and knowledge services to improve animal health and food-animal production in more than 70 countries around the world. We value innovation, both in scientific research and daily operations, and strive to cultivate a collaborative work environment for more than 6,500 employees worldwide.

Together with our customers, we are committed to raising awareness about global food security, and celebrating and supporting the human-animal bond. Founded in 1954, Elanco is a division of Eli Lilly and Company. Our worldwide headquarters and research facilities are located in Greenfield, Indiana. Visit us at Elanco.com.

*The clinical significance of this data has not been demonstrated.
**4-10 days to accommodate management schedules.
1 Elanco Animal Health, Data on File.
2 Holland, J., et al. Assessing the farm-level cost of mastitis. J. Dairy Sci. 2015;98 (Suppl. 2):234. (Abstract 137)
3 Santos JEP. Effect of timing of first clinical mastitis occurrence on lactational and reproductive performance of Holstein dairy cows. Anim Reprod. 2004;80:31-45.
4 Pantoja JC, Hulland C, Ruegg PL. Somatic cell count status across the dry period as a risk factor for the development of clinical mastitis in the subsequent lactation. J Dairy Sci. 2009;92:139-148.
5 Wilson DJ, González RN, Hertl J, et al. Effect of clinical mastitis on the lactation curve: A mixed model estimation using daily milk weights. J Dairy Sci. 2004;87:2073-2084.
6 Aitken SL, Corl CM, Sordillo LM. Immunopathology of mastitis: insights into disease recognition and resolution. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2011;16:291-304.
7 Kimura K. et al. Effect of recombinant bovine granulocyte colony-stimulating factor covalently bound to polyethylene glycol injection on neutrophil number and function in periparturient dairy cows. J Dairy Sci. 2014;97:1-10.
8 Mitchell JM, Griffiths MW, McEwen SA, McNab WB, Yee AJ. Antimicrobial drug residues in milk and meat: causes, concerns, prevalence, regulations, tests, and test performance. J Food Prot. 1998 Jun; 61(6):742-56.

Semex’s Immunity+™ Best Option to Improve Herd Health

Like no other product on the market, Immunity+ with its 30% heritability, distinguishes Semex as the genetic company of choice for dairymen worldwide. “Our clients want the very best options to improve their herds’ health,” says Paul Krueger, Semex Immunity+ Global Brand Manager.

“Without a doubt, Immunity+ is their best option. It’s 30% heritable and is the only full-body solution for herd health that begins at birth.” At the heart of this technology is more than 20 years of research and over 100 published papers in scientific journals on immunogenetics and the many associated health benefits. Immune response selection is highly effective, because it’s 30% heritable.

Each generation bred to an Immunity+ sire is expected to reduce disease incidence by at least 4-8% and these offspring produce higher quality colostrum with more antibodies and have a greater response to commercial vaccines.

In April 2016 Semex in the U.S. has:
39 Genomax Immunity+ bulls over +2400 GTPI
20 Genomax Immunity+ bulls over +2500 GTPI
5 Genomax Immunity+ bulls over +2600 GTPI

Three new Jersey Immunity+ bulls:
• 0200JE01039 Sun Valley Jive
• 0200JE01044 Faria Brothers Matic
• 0200JE01047 Faria Brothers Courtois

For more information on Semex, Genetics for Life, Immunity+, Genomax sires or any of Semex’s brands visit: www.semex.com.