The availability of genomics information fits the current dairy economic climate, says Carlson. “If feed prices were lower and/or full-grown heifers were worth more, we would look for ways to raise most or all of our heifers and sell them as springers,” he notes. “But today it makes sense to sell excess heifers as soon as possible. It’s a revenue source as well as a cost-containment measure.”
In the short-term, Carlson says those factors will pay for the testing. Then, down the road, they believe the practice will add value and profit to the dairy via more robust genetics.
“It doesn’t pay to do the testing if we don’t do anything with the information,” he says. “Then, it’s just an expense. But, used proactively, I think genomics will become another niche tool that will help excellent herds to further advance their performance and enhance the value of every animal they keep.”