Over the past 30 months, Genex Cooperative, Inc. has marketed more than 300,000 units of beef semen to dairy herds. The marked increase in sales of beef genetics to dairy herds is attributed to technological advances enabling producers to target matings to a specific purpose as well as tight beef supplies and record low beef cattle numbers.
Realizing an opportunity to capture additional revenue, dairy producers from locations across the U.S. have chosen to breed low genetic merit dairy animals with beef semen and produce high value feeder cattle. At the same time, the breeding strategy is benefitting their dairy herds.
"Strategic incorporation of beef semen into dairies enables producers to expedite genetic progress by simultaneously increasing selection intensity of desired traits and decreasing the generation interval within a herd," states Colten Green, a Genex Dairy National Account Manager in California. "Some producers are simply placing bias against old cows as potential dams of future replacements, through use of beef semen. Others are also incorporating use of high genetic merit gendered semen on heifers to drastically shift genetic progress within a herd."
While dairy producers have utilized Simmental, Angus, Gelbvieh and Limousin genetics for the beef x dairy mating, the Limousin cross has proven the most successful to date according to packing industry carcass assessments. The Limousin cross infuses the correct genetics to improve feed efficiencies, carcass quality and capture the most market premiums. Genex was the first artificial insemination organization to pave the way for Breeding to Feeding, a program utilizing Wulf Cattle Limousin genetics on dairy cattle with guaranteed calf buyback from Wulf Cattle. Genex and Wulf Cattle earned a 2013 World Dairy Expo Innovation Award for Breeding to Feeding.
"Dairy producers considering a breeding strategy that speeds up genetic advancement in the dairy herd and produces high quality offspring from both dairy and beef matings are encouraged to utilize the Genex Calf Math program," adds Kristi Fiedler, Genex Associate Vice President of U.S. Technical Services. "Calf Math is a calculator that helps dairy producers build breeding strategies that meet their genetic and herd growth goals by showing cost comparisons for semen type, calf value, reproduction and more."
The online, interactive version of Calf Math is available at calfmath.crinet.com. For more information, contact your Genex representative or call customer service at 888-333-1783.
Genex is a subsidiary of Cooperative Resources International (CRI). The CRI mission statement summarizes the goal of CRI: "To provide products and services as effectively as possible to maximize the profitability of members and customers worldwide while maintaining a strong cooperative."