Summer has arrived in All West Territory! A large portion of our dairy producers are feeling the heat in California’s central valley as temperatures have already reached the triple digits several times. Temperatures warm enough to affect our customer’s herds are even in the forecast in the Pacific Northwest!

As we know in the dairy industry, with this summer heat comes the fear of conception and fertility issues. Thankfully, the Select Sires Inc. Sire Department Team puts strong emphasis on fertility traits and understands that genetic improvement starts at conception! Good Sire Conception Rate (SCR) is mandatory and Select Sires’ consistently superior ranking on this third-party evaluation is unmatched. Specifically, Select Sires Inc. is home to more sires with an SCR greater than +2.0 than any of the other studs in the industry, as you can see in the graph below. Female fertility/Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) is also closely monitored.

We recently enjoyed a socially-distanced visit with Bill Van de Graaf on Episode 1 of All West All Access, hosted on our All West/Select Sires Facebook Page. Bill is our All West/Select Sires Eastern Washington District Manager and an SRS Specialist. He also provides support to our technicians and dairy producers in his territory.

Bill chose his Top 5 fertility sires to recommend to you this summer. These sires were chosen from the GForce+ lineup, which includes proven and young sires selected based on rigid semen quality standards and their high-ranking Sire Conception Rate (SCR) from progeny test semen usage. GForce+ sires must have outstanding genetic merit, a highly reliable sire stack and actual calving ease observations.

14HO14449 AZTEC – “He’s a sire that is probably our number one SCR bull, coming in at +4.5. He’s off the charts! I know it’s important, especially in California but also up here, to have a few A2A2 bulls, which he is. He’s also a plus wellness trait dollar bull. He stands out for Sire Calving Ease (SCE), Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), Protein and Fat percentages, and he’s available in sorted semen too! We have a few dairies that continue to use sorted semen through the summer and I think he’s a good bull for that.

7HO14771 ALLISTAR – “He’s +3.4 Sire Conception Rate (SCR). He’s +676 Net Merit (NM). He’s +2756 TPI. He’s +790 Dairy Wellness Profit Dollars (DWP$), as well as +135 Wellness Trait Dollars (WT$), so very high in the health category. They are medium-sized cows with great udders at +1.83 Udder Composite (UDC). He’s the kind of bull that a lot of people would use throughout the year, not just through the summer.

14HO14367 WISH – “He’s another bull with +3.1 Sire Conception Rate (SCR). He’s +1.55 Udder Composite (UDC) and +2.7 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). He’s a really good health trait bull.

14HO14680 BJORN – “Again, a great Sire Conception Rate (SCR) at +3.1. He’s also an A2A2 bull. He’s nearly +1.5 Udder Composite (UDC). His Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR) is +0.7. He’s another very good wellness trait bull with a very low Somatic Cell Score (SCS) at 2.67. He’s a bull that a lot of people can use all year long!

507JE5052 CLOSER – “I included him as a “507” (sorted) bull, because most of our Jersey customers now are using sorted semen. This bull does not have an SCR, but our in-house fertility data puts him at a 4.2 CFI, which is well above average on sorted semen. He’s also an A2A2 bull who is +3.3 Productive Life (PL) and +3.1 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR). He’s a solid wellness trait bull and one I think many will use either sorted or conventional.

Bill concluded by mentioning how much time he spends working with his customers to go over areas where they believe heat stress could be minimized by installing fans or soakers and making sure they are providing plenty of fresh water, especially when the cows are exiting the milking parlor.

“I think those are all huge parts of managing heat stress, but our part falls on the sires that we choose. We’re expected to manage those sires. It’s not about necessarily choosing all of the highest sires, but making sure we avoid the lower fertility sires. We spend time on each dairy seeing how conception is doing to make sure that we keep those numbers up,” said Bill.

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