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Producer Reviews: What CLARIFIDE Plus is helping achieve

July 14, 2017
POSTED BY: Dave Erf | Geneticist | U.S. Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

You need healthier and more productive animals but you also need to be more sustainable. There’s pressure surrounding the use of antibiotics. How do you balance all of this and still be profitable?


Since March 2016, dairy producers who raise Holsteins have found that CLARIFIDE® Plus helps. This test is the first commercial, U.S.-based genomic test to offer direct predictions of the risk for six common and costly animal health challenges (mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum and ketosis) in addition to economically important traits (related to production, fertility, type and longevity) in Holstein cattle. CLARIFIDE Plus helps to identify animals with the greatest potential to help reach herd health and profitability outcome goals.


Here are a few examples dairy producers are sharing about what CLARIFIDE Plus is helping them achieve alongside good management practices.


Raise healthier animals


“We’re seeing less incidences of mastitis, we’re seeing a great somatic cell score in the herd, we’re seeing pregnancy rates that we’ve never seen before. Genomics is part of that success.” — Simon Vander Woude, owner, Vander Woude Dairy.


“The reason I went ahead with the wellness traits is because knowing that I trust the information, the more animals I can get in the upper categories of these wellness traits, I’m going to have less mastitis, less lameness, less ketosis. I think that’s where we are heading and I want to make sure I’m on top of that.” — Brian Houin, owner, Homestead Dairy. Hear more experiences from Brian in the video to your left.


“We’re just scratching the surface with CLARIFIDE Plus, looking at specific diseases or illnesses that cows could have and what the genetic transfer is of that. So, do certain cows transfer that more than others? We know that there are animals that have a larger tendency of certain illnesses than others. We can make culling decisions based on that, so that we don’t bring that back into the herd.” — Brian Fiscalini, general manager, Fiscalini Farms. Hear more experiences from Brian in this video.


More responsible use of antibiotics and reduced risk for residue violations


“If we can cut down on the fresh cow and metabolic problems, not only would there be less antibiotics needed, we would need less labor to take care of those animals. Cows last longer if they are trouble-free.” — Mike Larson, general manager, Larson Acres.


Helping increase milk production via herd composition change


“Five years ago, 45% of our herd was in their first lactation. Today, 55% of our herd is in their third lactation or older. That is really important to dairy farmers because if you’re culling a lot of animals right when they’re starting to enter your herd, they haven't broke even for you yet, let alone become profitable. It has really allowed us to produce the same amount of milk with fewer animals, but also with better animals.” — Brian Fiscalini, general manager, Fiscalini Farms.


“We’re no longer forced to cull the good cows to make room for our first-lactation heifers. When I look at the production summary of our top animals, these are not your first-lactation animals, these are your fourth- or fifth-lactation animals, and they are still very profitable animals to milk.” — Simon Vander Woude, owner, Vander Woude Dairy.


“Seventy percent of cows in our herd are either first or second lactation, but the other 30%, third lactation and greater, are giving over 3,600 pounds more per lactation. So, to get more milk production every day, it’s very important for us to increase the number of older cows we have.”  — Mike Larson, general manager, Larson Acres.


Becoming more sustainable and efficient


“I think dairy farmers have always done a good job at being sustainable. Now we’re going to be able to springboard and take a big step forward. Genomics have allowed us to reduce our carbon footprint even further, as we’ve been trying to do for years, by producing the same amount of milk on the farm with about 500 less animals. That stretches all the way down from the crops that we’re growing, and we’re stretching the amount of land that we farm that much further. We’re purchasing less feed from outside sources that would need to be trucked in. It makes us a more efficient farm. It’s a full-circle victory for the industry.” — Brian Fiscalini, general manager, Fiscalini Farms.


“I think that one of the biggest things to be more sustainable is how healthy can we keep that cow so we can harvest healthy milk and she lasts as long as she can in a herd. If we look at each animal, we want each one to be as efficient as possible. I feel like it [genetics] has allowed us to take our top animals and move them forward. We can look at their health traits, we can look at the quality of milk they produce and accomplish our goal to put the highest quality milk we can in that bottle for consumers.” — Paul Van Warmerdam, owner, PH Ranch. Hear more experiences from Paul in this video


Building a more productive future herd


“With the help of CLARIFIDE Plus, I hope to achieve a cow that in the future maybe doesn’t have any fresh cow disease or doesn’t have ketosis. Those diseases could be a thing of the past. That’s something that’s really exciting about these wellness traits and what it could mean for the Holstein industry in the future, This is very exciting.” — Brian Houin, owner, Homestead Dairy.


“Now with CLARIFIDE Plus, having some of these wellness traits, it’s allowing us to make more informed and better decisions and excel the herd to a level that we previously would not have been able to do at this rate. I don’t know that I could dairy without it.” — Brian Fiscalini, general manager, Fiscalini Farms.


Just like for these producers, genomic testing with CLARIFIDE Plus can help you identify animals with the greatest potential to help you reach these herd health and profitability outcomes. We’ll be with you every step of the way to help you make the best use of your genomic information.




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