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...