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Category Archives: Alta News

Alta announces new US Senior Sales Manager

Kirk Vander Dussen was recently appointed as the new US Senior Sales Manager for Alta Genetics.

Kirk is no stranger to Alta, having initially joined the Alta team as a Premier Account Manager in the fall of 2013. He helped create and maintain strong bonds with many of our most valuable partner dairies throughout the USA. In his previous role, Kirk brought stability, strength and support to help source and onboard new Premier Account teammates.

All of his Alta experiences are added to a solid and extensive history of managing dairies in the Midwest and southwest regions of the USA. Prior to joining Alta, Kirk was a manager at Holsum Dairies near Green Bay, WI where he was part of the leadership team for nearly 8,000 milking cows. The far-reaching network that Kirk has in both professional and personal circles is another asset that he will bring to the role.

Dedicated and resourceful people who are passionate about the dairy partners we work with, are the key difference for Alta in the market. Kirk has committed himself to this through his own development and learning of our business. He previously completed our most intense Elite Account Manager training program, and also holds an MBA from the University of San Diego.

VP of Sales for the Americas, Kevin Muxlow is excited to work with Vander Dussen in his new role. “We know that the US market is a lighthouse market for the global dairy industry. Kirk’s experience and leadership with intimate connections to the progressive dairy owners and managers we work with is a unique strength for Alta. I am delighted that we have been able to look within our organization to find the right person for the responsibility!”

Vander Dussen adds, “I’m honored to work with some of the best sales professionals in the world and the most progressive dairy producers on an even broader scale.”

Kirk and his wife, Dana, and their 3 children reside in Aurora, Colorado, where he will remain based for this position. We appreciate their support for Kirk taking on this new role.

Please join us in welcoming Kirk to Alta’s global leadership team!
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Cow livability added to the NM$ formula

Starting in April 2017, the CDCB will include Cow livability into the Net Merit $ formula.

Cow livability (LIV) was introduced as a new trait in August 2016. It measures a cow’s ability to stay alive on the farm, and has a high (0.70) correlation with Productive Life (PL). The difference between LIV and PL is that PL measures a cow’s ability to be productive on the farm. It does not distinguish between death and culling as the reason for leaving the herd.

Cows that die on the farm are a great expense. In fact, based on cull prices, farmers could earn $1,200 less profit for each cow that dies on farm and cannot be sold for beef.

LIV is also correlated to DPR by 0.45 and to SCS by -0.25.

Net Merit changes

Net Merit (NM$) is an estimate of a cow’s lifetime profit to the farm. CDCB updated the formula for April 2017 proofs. It now includes new traits and revisions of traits using current incomes and expenses.

New changes include:

  • LIV is now part of the NM$ formula
  • Economic values are updated and current
  • Body weight composite (BWC) will replace Body size composite (BSC)

Relative values for most other traits included in the formula decreased slightly. The 2017 NM$ formula correlates by 0.989 to the previous NM$ from 2014. The table below shows the differences in the relative value of trait weights between the NM$ formula in 2014 and 2017.

TRAIT2014 NM$ TRAIT WEIGHT2017 NM$ TRAIT WEIGHT
Fat2223.7
Protein2018.3
Milk-1-0.7
Productive life1913.4
Cow livability7.4
Somatic cell score-7-6.5
Daughter pregnancy rate76.7
Calving ability $54.8
Cow conception rate11.6
Heifer conception rate21.4
Udder87.4
Feet & legs32.7
Body size composite-5
Body weight composite-5.9

The relative value of weight on PL decreases now that LIV is part of the NM$ formula. This adjustment will not hinder genetic progress for PL. Instead, it will increase the progress for LIV.

Body weight replaces body size

Since BWC is more closely related to the actual body weight of the cow than BSC, this change results in less selection against stature, body depth, and dairy form.

Finally, to account for updated milk component prices, the new NM$ formula increases emphasis on fat while decreasing emphasis on protein slightly.

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Introducing JPI 2017

With April proofs comes the introduction of JPI 2017 to replace the previous JPI 2015.

Jersey Performance Index™ (JPI™) is the American Jersey Cattle Association’s (AJCA) strategy for increasing lifetime net income.

The AJCA took into account the following three key fundamentals for Jersey sustainability while determining JPI 2017. These fundamentals were determined by a Capper and Cady 2012 study comparing the environmental impact of Jersey and Holstein milk for cheese production.

  • Increase production
  • Maintain body size
  • Maintain or improve components

What is the purpose of the new JPI 2017?

  • Increase milk production
  • Improve the density of milk
  • Moderate body weight
  • Improve herd life, fertility, udder health, and functional conformation

What new traits have been added to the formula? 

  • CFP Milk
    • Every 100 pounds of PTA milk needs 8.8 pounds combined fat and protein
    • Pounds of Milk = CFP/0.088
    • CFP Milk = PTA Milk – Pounds of Milk
    • If CFP Milk is positive, the JPI™ value is negative because there is more water than components
  • Body Weight Composite (BWC)
    • Proxy for feed efficiency, and replaces body size composite
  • PTA Cow Livability
    • Measures a cow’s ability to stay alive on the farm

What is the impact of JPI 2017? 
  • Significant drops in JPI for all industry sires.
    • The upper JPI threshold will drop from about 300 JPI to 230 JPI, and all industry bulls will drop in their JPI value.
  • Significant rescaling, similar to a base change.
    • We see genomic sires JPI™ values fall 38 points on average
  • Some re-ranking – in both directions
    • Some minor and some significant

Here is a full breakdown of the new JPI 2017. In the simplest terms, JPI 2017 has five percent less weight on production and five percent more weight on type traits as compared to JPI 2015. But there’s more to it than that. The following traits are new additions to the JPI 2017 formula.

Image comparing the genetic index weights on production, health and type traits for JPI 2015 versus JPI 2017

JPI 2015JPI 2017
Protein4330
Fat1515
CFP Milk-8
PRODUCTION TOTAL WEIGHT5853
Productive life106
Cow livability-4
Somatic cell score66
Daughter pregnancy rate77
Cow conception rate22
Heifer conception rate22
HEALTH TOTAL WEIGHT2727
Stature-0.6-0.9
Strength-0.1-3.4
Dairy form2.0
Rump angle-0.1
Rump width0.2-0.7
Rear Legs -0.1-0.1
Foot angle0.10.1
Fore udder2.62.4
Rear udder height1.91.8
Rear udder width0.10.1
Udder cleft2.11.9
Udder depth5.14.7
Teat placement1.00.9
Teat length-1.0-0.9
TYPE TOTAL WEIGHT1520
No time is better than now to sit down and review your genetic plan and strategy. When you set your own unique herd index, you will maximize genetic gains in the areas that most impact your farm’s profitability.
Focus on your goals and work with your trusted Alta advisor to create a customized index as an investment in your future.
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Alta Genetics Bull Search app now available!

Bull Search App Banner

Alta Genetics Bull Search app now available!
Genetic planning for your herd is now simpler than ever with the all new Alta Bull Search app for iPhone.

In addition to Alta’s comprehensive online Bull Search, iPhone users now have the added functionality to search for the right bulls to meet their goals using the Alta Genetics Bull Search app.
The brand new app allows you to find rankings for sires that best fit your genetic plan and to see individual sire proofs on Alta bulls and all active industry sires with a TPI greater than 1700. Once the app is downloaded, internet connectivity is not needed to browse.
At Alta, we prefer not to rate bulls only on single traits or industry standard indexes. Our goal is to create value with your end result in mind – a productive and profitable herd. Since we know that standard genetic indexes do not match everyone’s goals, we took the industry lead to work with a variety of customized breeding goals and genetic plans.
We hope you enjoy the first release of the iOS version of the Alta Genetics Bull Search app. Coming soon will be an Android version of the app, as well as new and more proof information and additional functionality to both app versions.
Please click here to download the all new Alta Genetics Bull Search app to your iPhone.

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Cow Livability calculated as new proof trait

The Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) is releasing proof information on the new Cow Livability trait for the first time this proof round.

Herd Barn

Cow Livability, abbreviated as LIV, is a subset of Productive Life and shows a high 0.70 correlation with the well-established PL. In simplest terms, Cow Livability measures a cow’s ability to stay alive on the farm. A higher livability means an increased likelihood that a cow will remain alive, and can therefore provide a return through a cull check, as opposed to dying on farm.

While this trait is lowly heritable, the economics associated with the cull value of cows is powerful and real. If you would like to include Cow Livability as part of your genetic plan, you can find this trait information for individual bulls on Alta’s proof sheets and online Bull Search.

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New additions join team of top daughter-proven sires

A new class of daughter-proven graduates joins Alta’s high-reliability TPI ranks behind #1 Pine-Tree AltaOAK and #2 No-Fla AltaEVERGLADE.

The new daughter-proven graduates are headlined by De-Su AltaGILCREST. With over 200 daughters in his production proof, he made gains for production, health, calving and conformation traits to improve his TPI more than 150 points to his current 2460 TPI.

Learn more here about AltaGILCREST and the other new additions to the daughter-proven ranks.

011HO11272 De-Su AltaGILCREST | AltaGREATEST x Goldwyn x O Man | 511 | A2A2 | 2460 TPI

  • Follows in his sire’s footsteps with lots of milk, fat and protein
  • Extremely low calving ease
  • Excellent dairyness and udders with great quality and strong attachments

011HO11348 Bush-Bros AltaBGOOD | Robust x Massey x Boliver | 511 | CP | 2432 TPI

  • Early daughters are moderate sized with tremendous udder attachments
  • High combined fat and protein and percentages
  • A former FutureStar and current high fertility ConceptPlus sire

011HO11293 Alta ECHELON | Robust x Goldwyn x Roy | CP | A2A2 | 2338 TPI

  • A balanced proof for production, health and type
  • Consistently stylish with wide rumps and very high, wide rear udders
  • Excellent sire fertility complemented by easy calvings from well-balanced cows

011HO11302 Spruce-Haven AltaALPHA | Shamrock x Deann x Outside | A2A2 | 2338 TPI

  • A health and calving trait specialist perfect for progressive environments
  • Excellent longevity and highly fertile daughters
  • Well-balanced cows with very strong udder attachments

011HO11314 Bomaz AltaENTRUST | Robust x Man-O-Man x Shottle | CP | A2A2 | 2330 TPI

  • Phenomenal components and percentages lending way to great feed efficiency
  • Long-living, fertile, healthy cows with balanced frames
  • Extremely high sire fertility

011HO11294 Champion AltaBOOKEL | Bookem x Man-O-Man x Shottle | CP | 2320 TPI

  • A production and type trait specialist
  • Early daughters are medium-sized with excellent dairy quality and openness of rib
  • Great production with over 100 CFP

011HO11316 Bomaz AltaBETTMAN | Robust x Man-O-Man x Lancelot | CP | A2A2 | 2317 TPI

  • High daughter fertility and low calving ease
  • An exciting high fertility ConceptPlus sire
  • Shorter stature with a balanced mix of dairy strength and productive udders

Also joining this group of new daughter-proven sires are three high fertility ConceptPlus options to fit a variety of genetic plans: AltaMACBOOK, AltaPRESET, and AltaTOPROCK.

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