PLAIN CITY, Ohio — Even with the forecast of slightly higher milk prices for 2011, the prospect of higher feed costs has many dairy producers looking at ways to improve income over feed cost. Select Sires introduced FeedPRO sires in early 2010 after an intensive study of genetic traits correlated with greater income over feed cost. FeedPRO sires excel in the genetic traits that meet the needs and demands of commercial dairy producers.
"Every dairy producer in the country today would love to know which bulls sire daughters with lower feed costs," said Chuck Sattler, vice president of genetic programs for Select Sires. "And that’s exactly what we set out to discover when we were creating the FeedPRO index – we took a close look at current research to identify the genetic traits that correlate to improved feed efficiency." With the support of a variety of current research, including an income over feed supplement cost calculator developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Select Sires learned that selecting for a balance of production and body size was more cost-effective than simply selecting for more production. Select’s FeedPRO index includes production and body size traits along with additional information to assure that the resulting cows are metabolically healthy.
Dairy genetics researcher Chad Dechow said: "Feed efficiency is a critical issue to dairy farm profitability and we are currently researching methods of selecting for more efficient cows. Though we have much to learn, I find Select’s application of this science to be sound and useful for today’s dairy producers. In my review, I found that daughters of FeedPRO sires have an advantage, on average, of 24 to 26 cents per day in income over feed cost when compared to the active-AI average. I salute Select Sires for their efforts in helping producers put more emphasis on moderate-sized cows while maintaining production."
"Select Sires is passionate about offering our customer-owners solutions to make their operations successful and FeedPRO is a solution that is very much needed in today’s dairy environment," Sattler said. "Bulls carrying the FeedPRO designation have the ability to make a higher-producing, moderate-sized animal that will provide customers with greater income over feed cost."
FeedPRO sires are attracting the attention of business-minded producers. "Dairying is becoming a tight-margin enterprise. I can’t imagine a better genetic selection tool than one that predicts greater income over feed costs," says Myron Czech, Little Falls, Minn. "I especially like the fact that the FeedPRO sires improve reproduction as well as production, and at the same time make a cow that fits in my freestalls and parlor."
FeedPRO can be used alongside other Select Sires’ designations like HealthMark, Calving Ease, Herdlife Builder and Superior Settler to easily identify sires to meet any breeding goal. FeedPRO may also be included as part of a custom-selection index that can be created by Select Mating Service (SMS) genetic consultants. To learn more about the science behind FeedPRO as well as to view a complete listing of FeedPRO sires, visit www.selectsires.com.