A unique designer index for your herd

A very contented Greenville herd in the new cubicle house which has been built with cow comfort, environmental aspects and animal welfare all taken into account.
A very contented Greenville herd in the new cubicle house which has been built with cow comfort, environmental aspects and animal welfare all taken into account.

A specially designed futuristic index which is totally unique to your herd and takes account of all aspects of breeding, management and future market trends is a very attractive proposition.

To help you put all of your future plans into action, Genus ABS, always at the forefront of advice and technology, has introduced the “Custom Index.”

Pauric McKenna, right, herd manager at Greenville Dairies discussing the implementation of their new robot custom indices with Richard Walker, Genus ABS.

Pauric McKenna, right, herd manager at Greenville Dairies discussing the implementation of their new robot custom indices with Richard Walker, Genus ABS.

The Custom Index is a tailor-made plan, specifically drawn up for each individual farm, whereby the unique requirements and aims for each aspect of the enterprise are catered for. Farmers have the opportunity to create an entirely new index based on their specific breeding requirements and farm management goals.

Greenville Dairies near Strabane have had a Custom Index specifically tailored to their goals and and needs of their dairy enterprise. This herd has been making progressive breeding and management changes for the past five years, to the extent that the herd now has a pregnancy rate of 26% and an average milk yield of 10,000 litres per cow. This has been achieved through a number of management changes which included changing from a flying herd five years ago to a system of breeding all of their own replacements. Some years ago they also introduced the Genus RMS (Reproductive Management System ) whereby the cows are walked and chalked and AI’d by a technician. Efficiencies have also been achieved by the use of homegrown forage including grass, maize and wholecrop silage. With all of these achievements it would be very easy to “rest on your laurels.”

But Jason Mitchell, from Greenville Dairies along with herd manager, Pauric McKenna points out that dairy farmers cannot afford to stand still as the future of the industry is likely to be volatile due to Brexit, possible labour shortages, environmental and animal health regulations, variations in milk price and competition in markets worldwide. Jason added: “This means that we cannot stand still but must be producing milk as efficiently as possible keeping environmental and animal welfare aspects in mind.”

All of these aspects were discussed with their Genus representative, Richard Walker who helped them draw up a Custom Index which is specific to their dairy enterprise. Richard explained: “In February Greenville Dairies installed six robots as back up to their 50 point rotary parlour and built a shed for 360 cows. Fresh cows are milked through the robots and when confirmed in calf they are moved to the rotary parlour. With the change to robotic milking teat length, teat placement and milking speed are all very important for selecting bulls to breed the type of cow for the robotic system. But Jason and Pauric wanted more than this. They also wanted to put an emphasis on other traits such as fertility, milk yield and lifespan. Genus ABS helped create the Greenville Custom Index from aspects that we had identified plus all of the breeding goals that Jason and Pauric outlined. This enabled us to rank bulls specific to the needs of the farm and ensure we are breeding the correct type of animal to best suit the Greenville system.”

At Greenville, Genus looked at farm milk records, milking speed, robot box time and pedigree information etc. to rank the cows and ensure that each cow was being bred to the correct bulls through the GMS program. In addition to selecting the cows for the appropriate Holstein semen they also selected cows from the lower end of the herd for mating with proven easy calving beef semen.

Farmers who would like to have further information on the Custom Index should contact their Genus representative or phone the office on 028 3833 1451.