Company News

Building Strength With Immunity+

Immunity+ disease-resistant genetics now represents 37% of Semex dairy sales. What started as a research project more than 20 years ago, before Semex was established, has indeed changed the game.

Semex Geneticist and Business Analyst Dr. Steven Larmer believes there are many reasons for the growth of Immunity+, but the ultimate measure of the genetic program's success is the confidence dairy producers have in its ability to improve the health of their herd.

Recently, research work with the University of Guelph has put a dollar value on the return producers can expect from their Immunity+ investment. These studies show Immunity+ sired daughters show less disease, saving dairymen $72 per cow, from birth to the end of first lactation.

BENEFITTING FROM HIGH IMMUNITY
Larmer says measuring financial payback is important but when he talks to producers it's obvious that Immunity+ has an event greater impact. "High immune response means cows get sick less often, they are more productive and more profitable. Ultimately, no farmer wants to deal with sick cows. You can spend your time on the farm doing other things that are much more productive and satisfying."

Many producers point to fewer cases of mastitis and less lameness when describing Immunity+ benefits, but Larmer believes it's the total package that gives this technology an edge. "Overall, we try to not focus too much on the individual health event. The big difference with Immunity+ is we're selecting cows that are going to be resistant to any disease that comes their way," explains Larmer. "We really focus on how the whole immune system works, and making sure an animal's entire immune system is robust, and effective."

When animals have strong immune systems, farmers will see a positive impact on every disease present on a dairy operation, not only the most common ones like mastitis and lameness, notes Larmer. ... Read More...

264 REASONS TO USE IMMUNITY+®

In December, Semex is proud to announce it now has 264 reasons to use Immunity+!

“We’re excited about our Immunity+ lineup,” says Semex’s Paul Krueger, VP, Global Key Account & Solutions Strategy. “We now have 264 sires that have been tested to be Immunity+. This is your fastest, best option to breed a healthier herd. And, with this many choices, we know Semex has the Holstein, Jersey or Ayrshire bull that will meet your genetic criteria.”  

Dr. Steven Larmer, Semex Geneticist & Business Analyst concurs, “Despite all of the improvements made with dairy animal husbandry there continues to be worse health performance. When all else is equal, the thing that's going to differ between two cows on your dairy is, 'how strong is their immune system? How able are they going to be to respond to that challenge?' Because no matter how well-managed a dairy is, every cow is going to encounter both bacterial and viral pathogens almost every day," Larmer says.

Launched on December 4, 2012, Immunity+ was billed as an industry first – an exclusive product that would dramatically change the way dairymen developed their own breeding strategies and managed herd health.

Six years later, dairymen worldwide are seeing the results. A study of Semex sired animals from 35 commercial dairies in 2017 showed improvements in a number of areas on about 30,000 cows and 75,000 heifers tested. The reductions were seen in eight health incidences, with the most significant being a 20% reduction in mortality and 17% reduction in persistent mastitis. The improvements in immune response would have resulted in $72,330 savings for herds milking 1,000 cows during one lactation period.

In December, Semex is proud to offer 264 Immunity+ sires including:


41 Holstein sires over +2600 GTPI
14 Holstein sires over ... Read More...

December 2018 Holstein Highlights

Profitable cattle never go out of style and that is why our first new addition, Claynook Denim, will be sure to resonate with many of our breeders. Breeders want problem-free, healthy cattle that are made to stand the test of time. They want sires which offer solid component improvement and can be used safely in both their cow and heifer herds without concern for calving issues and ... Read More...

December 2018 Component Breed Highlights

The newly-proven sire Guimo JAMIE is our lone Jersey addition this round. The A2A2 designated Jamie is a Matt son from Guimo Dynamic Joyce EX-94-2E who is the former #1 GLPI cow in Canada. Joyce is one of the many outstanding ... Read More...

Selection for Immunity Could Save $72,330 per Year for 1,000 Cow Dairy

BY: WYATT BECHTEL
www.milkbusiness.com

Despite all of the improvements made with dairy animal husbandry there continues to be worse health performance, says Steven Larmer, geneticist and business analyst for Semex.

"Unfortunately, we do have a significant genetic and phenotypic negative correlation between milk production and health of animals. The more stress we continue to put on animals to produce more milk, the more disease we see," Larmer adds. Larmer discussed a genetic solution that Semex has been working on with Immunity+ during the MILK Business Conference in Las Vegas.

Semex made Immunity+ available to producers in 2012 after Bonnie Mallard from the University of Guelph in Canada researched and developed the technology.

Larmer says Mallard and other researchers at Guelph published more than 100 peer-reviewed research papers during that time, and research on the link between genetics and immunity is ongoing.

"When all else is equal, the thing that's going to differ between two cows on your dairy is, 'how strong is their immune system? How able are they going to be to respond to that challenge?' Because no matter how well managed a dairy is, every cow is going to encounter both bacterial and viral pathogens almost every day on a dairy farm," Larmer says.

Having cows with naturally strong immune systems should increase longevity and reduce time that cows are out of the milking herd because of withdrawal times.

Genetics have helped push a large portion of milk production increases in the past few decades because it is 30% heritable. Immune response is similarly heritable at 30%, creating a massive potential to positively impact disease incidences simply through genetic selection.

High immune response cows account for the top 20% of cows with strong immunity through various research. Those cows have been shown to have ... Read More...

EastGen UPDATE - November 2018

Like many dairy producers, Chris McLaren of Drumbo, Ontario's Larenwood Farms has been genetic testing heifers for years. For McLaren, knowing what to do with the information and how to use it to make better breeding decisions has always proved challenging. But things have changed since he first logged into Elevate in ... Read More...

Immunity Female Genomics Are Here!

Semex is now offering female genomic testing for all commercial traits. Along with every genomic test, clients will also receive Immune genomics estimates for every tested female. Tested females will be classified as having High, Average or Low Immune genomic status. Those animals classified as High will receive the official Semex Immunity Female designation. Female Immune Genomics have been validated in commercial herds in the United States.

How are genomic values calculated?
Single-step methodology (Misztal et al., 2009) is used to combine genotypes and phenotypes of thousands of animals to estimate genomic values for Anti-Body Mediated and Cell-Mediated Immune Response. Applying all animals tested for Immune Response using the University of Guelph's patented High Immune Response™ test as a reference population, genomic values for any genotyped Holstein animal can be calculated. Immune Response is highly heritable, and so genomic selection with a moderate size reference population is highly accurate. Animals that exceed 1 standard deviation above population mean are classified as High. Animals less than 1 standard deviation beow the population mean are classified as Low.

What is the impact of Immunity Female on farm? 
Fifteen large commercial herds in the United States were analyzed to assess the impact of Female Immune Genomics on disease incidence. Mastitis, lameness and total disease frequency in heifers and cows (any case of routinely recorded disease) were analyzed as the most prevalent and consistently well-recorded traits. Disease frequencies reflect the current population average, including some animals in early lactation. A model was fit to determine the effect of High Immune Genomic females compared to herdmates, after fixed effects for herd, age, and parity. All traits investigated were found to be significant (p<0.05) (Table 1 above). Semex will continue to ... Read More...

EastGen UPDATE - October 2018

Genomically tested embryos provide extreme genetic value! If you could generate a 3300 LPI or higher calf from a 2000 LPI heifer, you would essentially be short-cutting about four generations of genetic improvement. So how can you do it? Genomically tested embryos are an important tool available through EastGen. Many of the embryos we ... Read More...

Board of Director - Call for Nominations

EastGen members in zones 1,4,7 and 10 are invited to submit for a Director in their respective Zone for a three year term. ... Read More...

Semex Giving Away Two Calves Genomically Tested For Immunity At World Dairy Expo

The best giveaway at World Dairy Expo is healthier than ever! Semex is breaking ground once again by giving away two heifers that are genomically tested to be high immune responders.

“We all know that a healthier herd is a more profitable herd,” says Michael Hurst, Semex Director, US Sales & Business Development. “And this year at our tent, we’re actually giving away two high GTPI heifers that have been genomically tested to be more resistant to disease. They’re healthier than other calves and their genomics proves it. We’re the only company that has this test and the only exhibitor at World Dairy Expo that can literally give you a healthier herd…. All you need to do is come and enter!”   

Launched in early 2018, Semex’s Elevate™ program is a genomic testing program that is unique in many ways, including that it is the only test that offers an Immunity female test. This means producers no longer have to guess which cows are their healthiest. Instead, Elevate helps tailor their breeding program with both genomic information and Immunity results, making faster genetic progress towards a stronger, more disease resistant herd.

“We used Elevate for our own testing,” says Paul Krueger, VP, Global Key Account & Solutions Strategy. “The results are easy to follow, with a designation of low, medium or high for Immune Response. These heifers were high responders, meaning they’re more resistant to common diseases. Stopping by the Semex Tent at World Dairy Expo and entering to win one of these calves could be just the start of a healthier herd for you with Semex!”

Enter to win one of these calves at the Semex Tent during World Dairy Expo, join us for hospitality from 5:00-7:00 pm on Thursday and Friday nights, with a live calf draw at 6:00 pm both nights. Winners need not be present to ... Read More...