Holstein Canada closed out a ten-year period of innovation and partnership in record-setting style, celebrating five consecutive years of growth in Registrations and three in Classifications.
Holstein Canada ended the decade with record numbers in both Registrations and Classifications. Producers submitted 316,302 Registrations by end-of-year 2019, 11,159 more than 2018’s record high. The Field team classified 272,976 animals – 1,704 more than in 2018 - and assessed an additional 83,789 animals for proAction® animal care.
These new benchmarks were made possible by the belief of Canadian producers in the value of our core services and the innovative Holstein Canada team. Since 2010, electronic Registrations went from 80% of all Registrations submitted to 95%. The revamp of our website in 2013 made it easier for producers to access and submit information.
“The more information you have on your herd the better management and breeding decisions you can make for future progress,” said Linda Markle, Manager of Herdbook & Genotyping Services. “Registration is a fundamental first step in the information gathering process, and it is why the percentage of registered Holsteins continues to increase in Canada year over year.”
Classification numbers have also increased over the last ten years. The Holstein Canada classifiers examined 17,000 more animals in 2019 than they did in 2010 from all breeds. More than 15,000 of these were Holstein animals.
“We require more from our cow today than in 2010, and the need to build a herd that is sustainable and healthy is more important than ever,” said Brad Eggink, Manager of Classification and Field Services. “Increased Classification numbers is a continued testament to our Canadian dairy producer utilizing their performance data to build a herd that is functionally optimal and suited to their environmental and management needs.”
Diversifying our services was not something we could have done alone. We began the period with the launch of the National Genomic Testing Service in partnership with Semex Alliance. In 2016, Holstein Canada became the service provider for Animal Care Assessments as part of the Dairy Farmers of Canada proAction Initiative. We ended the decade with the release of Compass, a herd management software designed and implemented with Lactanet and Zoetis. 930 Canadian producers now actively use this free program, with more signing on every week.
Holstein Canada was also pleased to begin collaborations with other breed organizations across the country. On top of in-office support and services, our Association began registering other breeds: Canadienne animals in 2013, Ayrshire in 2014, and Brown Swiss, Guernsey and Milking Shorthorn in 2016.
None of the success we have experienced could have been accomplished without a passionate and dedicated membership base, the dairy producers across Canada, and our industry partners. We look forward to a future of collaboration with the entire dairy industry, providing a healthy and sustainable industry for all.