Despite being in self-isolation, it’s a crucial time of year for our dairy farmers as they plan ahead and start selecting bulls for their Autumn or Spring mating programmes.
For CRV Ambreed this means it is business as usual, with a difference. The company is finding new ways to communicate and engage with its customers, while still providing them with the services they need to keep their farm business running. CRV product development manager Oceania Peter van Elzakker says the company has put processes in place to ensure it is adhering to safe practice recommendations from Government.
“Usually our field team’s discussions with farmers about breeding plans and bulls would be on farm at the kitchen table. Now, we are using Facetime, phone or Zoom while both parties look at a copy of our sires catalogue on-line.”
CRV Ambreed’s 2020 line up of bull graduates will provide one of New Zealand’s essential service industries with genetic solutions to help keep farmers operational and future proof their business.
CRV’s breeding programme manager Aaron Parker says while health and efficiency traits are still a key consideration, dairy farmers are looking at more than just production capability and cow temperament when it comes to herd improvement. “An increasing number of farmers are looking for genetic solutions to meet the current and future demands they face around the environment, herd efficiency and animal welfare.
“Facial Eczema tolerant and Polled sires for instance are becoming increasingly important from an animal welfare perspective.
“Farmers are also looking to genetics to help reduce their herd’s environmental footprint. We’re pleased our LowN Sires team offers great sire options across all traits this season. More farmers are demanding bulls with these ‘innovative’ traits as they prepare themselves to farm for the future.”
This year’s bull offering gives farmers a wide range of A2 options and high indexing bulls, along with strong new LowN, Polled and FE tolerant sires.
When developing a breeding programme CRV looks at least five to ten years ahead. This is to make sure they can meet the future needs of the industry. This long-term vision is reflected in the CRV Better Life Health and Efficiency indexes. This new approach allows farmers to quickly and easily choose sires that will produce the most healthy and efficient herds to best suit the needs of their farming system
Peter van Elzakker says that while sustainable dairy farming cannot be achieved by index alone, breeding for improved health and efficiency works.
“Analysis of herd records show that a sire with an excellence rating (five per cent or more) on the Better Life Health index will have progeny with lower somatic cell count and higher conception rates.
“If they have an excellence rating on the Better Life Efficiency index, they will have progeny producing more milk solids and lasting longer in the herd.
“The Health index is all about easy care animals with improved fertility, healthy udders and lower use of antibiotics. The Efficiency index focusses on higher production from longer lasting cows, but also cows that need less feed to achieve that production. In that respect, it supports sustainable dairy farming.
“A farmer’s choice of index tells a story about what their herd improvement goals are and what is important to them.”