Genus ABS tops a record year

Genus RMS customer David Conn, left, from Castlerock, discussing cow fertility with James Woods, Genus ABS on the Genus ABS stand at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Genus RMS customer David Conn, left, from Castlerock, discussing cow fertility with James Woods, Genus ABS on the Genus ABS stand at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

After one of the most successful years in business, in 2018, Genus ABS topped it all with winning the Best Large Trade Stand at the Winter Dairy Fair.

The judges were most impressed with this attractive, business-like stand commenting on the very clear and informative messages for the farmer and the attentive approach of an easily recognised professional staff manning the stand. The inclusion of a specialist Fertility Clinic where farmers could have privacy for an in-depth discussion with staff was also a major asset.

Visitors to the Genus ABS stand at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair included from left: John McCormick, Bangor; David Dunlop, Genus ABS and David and Beatrice Perry, Ahoghill. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Visitors to the Genus ABS stand at the Royal Ulster Winter Fair included from left: John McCormick, Bangor; David Dunlop, Genus ABS and David and Beatrice Perry, Ahoghill. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Judging by the number of farmers thronging the stand for information they would obviously concur with the judges comments. So what were the messages and the queries? Ervin McKinstry, Ireland Manager for Genus ABS reported: “The discussions ranged from Brexit, milk prices and milk production to more detailed aspects such as fertility, feeding, animal health and farm record keeping.”

Ervin went on to point out that many of these general subjects led on to the use of Genus ABS products, and indeed the discussion of their products and services was sometimes the sole reason for a farmer’s visit to their stand.

The Genetic Services team of Ian Watson, Johnny Ewing and Steph Whittaker were busy all day discussing the superb line up of sires and the DeNovo Breeding program. This unique breeding program, DeNovo, a collaboration of the ABS female program and the world famous De-Su Holsteins has provided an elite line up of dairy sires, topping many of the indices around the Globe. It has been fantastic to see these superb bulls alongside some fantastic locally bred bulls from herds such as Glamour, Boghill and Carnhill being used on NI dairy farms.

The Fertility Clinic was busy all day as this subject has a major influence on the performance and profitability of the dairy herd. The Technical team led by James Woods and Simon Logan, supported by Vet, Jon Mouncey, have carried out fertility audits across the Province allowing Genus ABS customers to bench mark themselves in terms of submission, conception and pregnancy rate. The team are then able to draw up action plans with practical on farm solutions to facilitate an increase in performance.

Another aspect which has a major impact on fertility is the Reproductive Management System (RMS) whereby a qualified technician calls every day to check for cows in heat and to AI daily as needed. This technician has unique skills in heat detection and AI techniques resulting in better pregnancy rates, which means more cows in milk and ultimately more milk plus extra heifers or beef calves to sell.

There are often not the resources on today’s dairy farms to devote that amount of time to reproductive management, never mind the professional skills needed. The detailed record keeping involved not only helps with forward planning but also highlights any potential problems allowing them to be rectified before they actually occur.

The Northern Ireland team have added two new RMS routes over the last 12 months servicing another 4000 cows daily.

Ervin added: “Demand for this unique service continues to grow and we hope to increase the number of cows serviced by our professional team of 26 RMS technicians from 36K to 40k during 2019.”

Ervin went on to point out that another valuable aid for fertility is the ABS Breeder Tags, an electronic heat detection system which comes with an excellent herd management program.

Both of these systems can be teamed with the GMS breeding program which matches sires to each individual cow in order to maximise all aspects of production, health and conformation, thus breeding the most suitable cows for the farm business.

The Genus ABS Genetics team have specially designed a futuristic index which is totally unique to each herd and which takes account of all aspects of breeding, management and future market trends. To help farmers put all of their future plans into action, Genus ABS, always at the forefront of advice and technology, has introduced the “Custom Index.”

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.

The use of Sexcel, the semen produced by ground breaking technology from Genus ABS, which was intensively trialled across the world before being introduced to NI, has had a major impact on conception rates with local herds. Dairy herds of all sizes have been using this and were keen to report their successes to staff.

As farmers feed out their silage this winter many are counting the benefits of an effective additive. Ervin McKinstry commented: “The actual ensiling of forages will only take three to four days on the average dairy farm, but it will have an impact on up to seven months of winter feeding. Many farmers have enjoyed the extra bonus of the additive, Powerstart which contains the Aber F1 Lactobacillus Plantarum bacteria which has a proven track record of faster fermentation, and associated pH decrease, resulting in improved protein and sugar preservation in the silage, and so better feed value.”

Small wonder that the Genus ABS stand was a very busy stop at the Winter Dairy Fair.