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Enhanced insights for CLARIFIDE® Plus Available

April 07, 2020
POSTED BY: Dave Erf | Geneticist | U.S. Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Zoetis continues to enhance genetic selection insights and improve its customers’ ability to make replacement selections based on predictions of future profitability with new traits. The expanded suite of genetic selection tools includes the following:

  • Eight cow wellness traits — mastitis, lameness, metritis, retained placenta, displaced abomasum, ketosis, milk fever and respiratory disease
  • Three additional fertility traits — cystic ovary, abortion and twinning 
  • Three calf-wellness traits — calf livability, respiratory disease and scours

Zoetis developed the Dairy Wellness Profit Index® (DWP$®) to predict the potential lifetime profit a dairy cow will contribute to an operation. With each addition of traits, we work to help ensure DWP$ is formulated and updated to reflect key economically important traits that impact lifetime profit. This selection index was developed in 2016 for Holsteins and updated in 2018. In 2019, Zoetis developed DWP$ for Jerseys. Our latest update in April 2020, for both Holsteins and Jerseys, includes:

  • Additional fertility traits have been incorporated that impact lifetime profitability, including cow abortion, twinning and cystic ovary. The new cow-wellness trait, cow respiratory disease, also is now part of DWP$.
  • The additional traits impact a cow’s herd longevity, with a direct impact on fertility for Holsteins and Jerseys and disease probabilities for Holsteins. This results in a decreased economic value of productive life.
  • Feet and Leg Composite and Udder Composite are removed from DWP$ 2020 for Holsteins. These traits are indirect predictors of longevity, lameness and mastitis – traits that are directly accounted for in DWP$.
  • We’ve increased the economic values of fat and protein to ensure the economic values used to develop DWP$ represent current and future dairy prices.
  • The negative economic value for body weight composite for Holsteins is increased to better represent the increased feed cost incurred from larger dairy cows.

Dairy producers can use DWP$ to increase selection intensity through early culling decisions and advanced reproductive technologies. With this combination of technologies and selection strategies, the cost of a nonoptimal selection index could be substantial.

The following charts show the emphasis of each category included in DWP$ 2020 compared with DWP$ 2018 for Holsteins.

The following charts show the emphasis of each category included in DWP$ 2020 compared with DWP$ 2019 for Jerseys.

Selection index updates and the incorporation of the new fertility and wellness traits into DWP$ are increasing the accuracy of DWP$ in predicting potential lifetime profitability.

In a study, when we ranked Holstein cows tested with CLARIFIDE® Plus with the updated DWP$ from April 2020, there was an additional 1,442-pound difference in lifetime energy corrected milk (ECM) and $141 in lifetime income over feed costs (IOFC) per cow between the best 25% and worst 25% than when we ranked the same cows by DWP$ 2018. This indicates the latest DWP$ updates have improved the accuracy of predicting lifetime profitability.

DWP$ predictions are useful tools for dairy producers interested in using genetics as a method to improve their overall herd profitability. Incorporating DWP$ into breeding and culling decisions will help dairy producers create a herd for the future that is capable of higher lifetime profit when combined with best management practices.

CLR-00435

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