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...

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...

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...

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...

SEMEX INTERNATIONAL SALES & SUPPORT DEPARTMENTS GROW

Semex is pleased to announce the appointment of two individuals to key positions within the organization:


Matthew McCready has accepted the role of Director, International Sales & Business Development, effective September 10, 2018
Peter Van Beek has accepted the role of Key Account Manager, effective September 1, 2018


Reporting to Drew Sloan, Vice President, International Sales, Matthew McCready will lead Semex’s Asian business unit, providing leadership for the ongoing development of our product portfolio, including both Semex’s genetic products and solutions.

“We look forward to Matt contributing to our growth and profitability in these key markets,” says Sloan. “This market, including China, is key to Semex’s future. His passion for connecting with clients and global marketing experience make him a valuable asset to our team.”

Most recently Matt was Director of Business Development, Hybrid Turkeys at Hendrix Genetics, leading their global marketing and working closely with global sales directors and region managers. Previous to that, Matt held several positions at PepsiCo Canada. A graduate of the University of Guelph with a bachelor of commerce, agriculture business, Matt comes from an agricultural background.

Reporting to Paul Krueger, Vice President, Global Key Account & Solutions Strategy, Peter Van Beek will be the lead key account management resource for all of Semex’s European sales teams. Peter will have a hands-on role in our key account strategies and will serve as Semex’s technical expert, working closing with our sales teams to provide our clients with custom solutions.

Peter is excited to return to the AI business after managing a portfolio of calf milk replacers for Nukamel. Previous to that, he was an International Sales Manager and International Elite ... Read More...

Healthy Cows Lead To Healthy Returns: A Visit With Lloyd & Daphne Holterman

Paul Meyer, Westgen Sales & Marketing Manager

Rosy-Lane Holsteins LLC in Watertown, Wisconsin, USA was all about health traits long before most people talked about selecting for healthier cows. And, while the US was focusing on TPI (jokingly referred to by Lloyd in those days as being synonymous with tall, pretty and infertile cows) as the way to improve longevity, Lloyd and Daphne Holterman began blazing their own trail, breeding cows that worked for them, and keying in on a brand new genetic trait called Productive Life (PL) and shortly thereafter, Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR).

After all, says Lloyd, “You need to select directly for the traits that make cows last,” as opposed to indirectly via type traits. Becoming a NM$ enthusiast, Lloyd’s pursuit of profitable cows was based on using his own on-farm data to guide selection decisions. Today, most of the rest of the world has caught up to this philosophy and the importance of health traits within a breeding goal. Still, with a big head start, clearly it is immensely satisfying for Lloyd to have AI companies and individual breeders interested in top ranked genomic animals from his herd.

It was 1992 when Lloyd first opted for the road less travelled; that proverbial fork in the road. For many years he continued to work within his own breeding program, selecting the types of bulls that worked for him. With bulls like Manfred, Oman, Lynch and Ramos, he blazed his own trail. Increasingly, this led to disappointment during classification visits where his kind of cows, the kind that worked best at Rosy-Lane, were often not appreciated. However, the health traits he focused on steadily improved. This selection philosophy, along with his diligent focus on management, netted enviable results. With death losses now typically in the 3% range, a culling rate hovering around 20% and somatic cell counts averaging just over 100,000 on his 1,000 ... Read More...

LEUM JOINS SEMEX AS JERSEY PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LEAD

Semex is pleased to announce that Jacob Leum has joined the Semex Team as the Jersey Product Development Lead effective August 1.   Reporting to Jay Shannon, Director, Genetic Programs & Solutions, Jacob will implement and monitor Semex's Jersey product strategy, aligning with changing international market demands. Additionally, he will work with the Product Development Team to develop long-term relationships with genetic suppliers globally, coordinate Semex's internal female program and provide integral product support to foster sales worldwide.   "Jacob brings both the knowledge and passion for the Jersey breed we've been looking for," says Shannon. "We're excited to have him join our Product Development Team and lead our growing Jersey product lineup. As Semex's global client base continues to grow, so does the demand for more great Jersey bulls. Jacob is the ideal candidate to meet this growth and propel our 200JE lineup further!"    Most recently, Jacob was the US and Canadian Business Development Manager for Evolution International, a French AI company. In this role, he developed the organization's first North American sales network, built relationships with associations, finalized research partnerships and developed key infrastructure for additional employees. Previous to that, he was Accelerated Genetics' Jersey Marketing Specialist, linking the marketing, sales and genetics teams to maximize communication flow and effectiveness. A lifetime Jersey enthusiast, Jacob grew up on his family's Jersey farm before receiving his animal science degree with an emphasis in dairy and minor in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.    ... Read More...

Immunity+®: A Trait With No Equal

Born from the need to finally solve on-farm disease, Immunity+’s +20 years of scientific research at the University of Guelph in Canada, and additional five years of real world, on-farm data tell us that Immunity+ is a trait with no equal.   “It really is a unique trait that does not change proof round to proof round,” says says Dr. Steven Larmer, Semex Dairy Solutions Coordinator. “Once a bull is tested and designated Immunity+ it never changes. That’s it. He’s Immunity+ forever.”   At 30% heritable, and with data collected from over 35 large, commercial herds that analyzed 30,000 cows and 75,000 heifers, the results spoke for themselves.   “Immunity+ has no equal,” says Larmer. “We saw reductions in every major disease seen, ranging anywhere from 5-20% in animals by Immunity+ sires. Most often it was mastitis, lameness and mortality.”   Five years ago Semex answered the call of dairymen everywhere who wanted to breed more healthy cows with the launch of Immunity+, offering a true genetic solution to health traits. Since then dairymen around the world have seen for themselves the results of breeding healthier herds with Semex’s Immunity+ lineup.   “Worldwide dairymen are frustrated with how to best manage disease,” says Paul Krueger, Semex Vice President, US Sales & Global Marketing. “They want to know that what they’re  using as a method to improve their herd’s health is working, and that the goal posts aren’t changing. With Immunity+ they know what they’re getting and that it will not change. It’s proven both scientifically with the results to back it up. There is no equal when it comes to breeding for disease resistance.”   “Dairymen expect the best genetics ... Read More...

SEMEX'S ELEVATE™ PROGRAM DELIVERS FEMALE IMMUNITY+ TEST

Five years after the introduction of Immunity+®, the revolutionary, award-winning genetic technology that was developed by Dr Bonnie Mallard at the University of Guelph, Semex is taking the next step and bringing it to clients worldwide. With the Elevate program, Semex is now offering a genomic test that ranks and selects cows based on their genetic merit along with their Immunity+ genomic test results!   Immunity+ results speak for themselves with results achieved on large commercial herds comprised of 35,000 cows and 75,000 heifers being analysed for disease reduction. It was found that Immunity+ sired animals had anywhere from 2%-20% less disease, depending on which disease was analysed. The most significant reductions in this dataset were found in the traits with the biggest economic impacts, including a 20% reduction in cow mortality among the Immunity+ sired animals. Dairy producers worldwide have seen healthier herds as a result of using Immunity+ sires, resulting in less treatment costs, less drug and antibiotic use and less time spent dealing with sick cows. The introduction of Elevate only speeds up the process.   “With Elevate and its Immunity+ genomic test, producers no longer have to guess which cows are their healthiest,” says Gordon Miller, Semex Sr. Vice President, Sales & Business Development. “Instead, they’re able to tailor their breeding program with both genomic information as well as Immunity+ results categorized as high, average or low health. They’re able to make faster genetic progress towards a stronger, more disease resistant herd, reducing losses and drug use. Immunity+ heritability is 30%, similar to that of milk production. We’re excited for herd health gains that can be made by both identifying female health and utilizing Immunity+ sires!”   Currently available in Canada, the US, Germany and the UK, Elevate ... Read More...