In the dairy industry today, cows can generate value beyond the milk they produce. High-quality, elite genetics are in demand by producers around the world looking to advance their herd’s genetic progress.
For Robert Webb a third generational dairyman, the phrase “knowledge is power” has taken on new meaning. Education and understanding is key when it comes to incorporating advanced genetic information and genomic data into breeding decisions.
“You have to educate the dairymen as to what the possibilities are and that by doing the proper management of your dairy herd, that you can progress,” Webb said. “With proper sire selection, proper management of your herd, you have an opportunity to be involved in the high-end genetic game in a very short span of generations.”
Every dairy producer, Webb noted, seeks to breed functional cows that will last a long time in their herd, and to do that, the best possible genetics are essential.
“It starts with using the best bulls available, using good genetics on the male side, and then identifying your top females and using that program to propagate your herd with that female line.”
So, what does the perfect cow look like today?
“I think the perfect cow breeds every year, never ends up in the hospital barn, doesn’t need more than maintenance hoof trimming…she’s moderately tall, not super tall, fits the facilities…If the cows are too big, then breed them younger and get them flowing, make profit earlier. So there’s a lot of ways to look at it, but the perfect cow is there for a while.”
Webb added, If you’re a good dairyman, with good management skills, you’re missing out on a revenue stream that you could have. And the value of good genetics will never go away.
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