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TransitionRight? - MAKING A POSITIVE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON FARM
It is well documented that diseases related to the transition period can have a significant environmental and economic impact on dairy enterprises.
To help tackle these issues, in 2015 Genus ABS launched TransitionRight? – a revolutionary genetic selection tool that enables dairy farmers to select sires whose daughters are genetically pre-disposed to better health through the transition period. Sires are scored with an economic ranking that goes from 1 (being the lowest) through to 5-stars.
Dr. Huw Lloyd, BVSc MRCVS, Genus ABS Technical Services Director has been evaluating the effectiveness of TransitionRight? following on from its launch six months ago. One of the case studies that Huw evaluated was provided by colleagues from ABS Italia. The study analysed the incidence of the three critical transition diseases (Mastitis, Metritis and Ketosis) in 2,500 cows from two herds. The results revealed that there was a significant reduction in the incidence of transition diseases in cows from four or five-star TransitionRight? sires, compared to cows from one and two-star sires. The results can be viewed in the table below.
“The results of the study reveal that there is a striking disparity between the incidence of mastitis in daughters from higher ranking TransitionRight? sires (just 2.8%) and incidence in daughters from lower ranking sires (10.5%). We know that transition disease takes a heavy toll on dairy farmers, particularly economically and at an estimated cost of ￡199 per case of mastitis, the results of the study should be given careful consideration. Fundamentally, dairy farmers will experience significant economic benefits from having a greater number of 4 and 5-star sired daughters in their herd,” commented Huw.
Huw continued:”A greater concern is the potentially alarming level of Metritis – at 50.2% half of the 1 and 2-star sired daughters had a case of Metritis. The incidence falls to 38.9% for 3-star daughters and is significantly lower again at 28.4% for 4 to 5-star sired daughters, providing further evidence that TransitionRight? genetics are helping to reduce the incidence of transition related diseases. Again, at an estimated cost of ￡224 per case, the economic impact of Metritis is significant. Furthermore, Metritis can have a significant impact on subsequent reproductive efficiency and early lactation cull rates.”
Correspondingly, Dr. Sandy Jamieson, BVM&S MRCVS, a joint senior partner of the Scarsdale Veterinary Group in Derbyshire has been witnessing the benefits of TransitionRight? genetics first hand: “I have had the pleasure of working closely with the Smith family at Foxfields Farm, Derbyshire for the past 28 years and have been carrying out routine visits for six years. One of the herd’s most impressive achievements is its outstanding transition health record. I diagnose very few cases of the most prevalent transition related diseases, particularly in first and second lactation animals. I have also noticed that when an animal contracts one of these diseases, they usually make a very quick recovery. I believe that this success is testament to Mr Smith’s progressive approach to genetic selection (over 65% of his first and second lactation cows are sired by a 4 or 5-star TransitionRight? sire) and his high standards of farm management.”
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