While putting even more intense focus on genetic improvement and managing the number of replacements produced, Strassburg Creek Dairy in northeast Wisconsin ramped up their reproduction program and earned Platinum recognition in the 500 to 2,000-cow category for this year’s GENEX Excellence in Reproduction & Genetics Awards. Learn more about their program and the changes they’ve made.
Strassburg Creek Dairy is a fifth-generation family farm that has been in operation since 1886. This 1000-cow dairy is located near Wittenberg, Wisconsin, with all cows and heifers raised on site.
Current owners Jeff and Jeni Strassburg, along with Jeff’s parents Ken and Shirley, have always had a high standard and continually push for excellence. Last year, their hard work and dedication earned them the Gold designation in the GENEX Excellence in Reproduction & Genetics awards, and now they made the final push to the top level and the Platinum award.
Strategy. Execution. Success.
About a year ago, the Strassburgs decided to make a change in their breeding and genetic program and go to an all sexed dairy semen and all beef semen protocol. With an already high level of repro performance, it made sense to focus on genetic improvement while managing the number of replacements produced. As the transition to all sexed and beef semen was made, one would expect conception rates to dip due to the higher use of sexed semen in the cow herd, but that was not the case.
“By sorting and using sexed semen on the right animals, conception numbers have excelled and even exceeded our expectations,” states Derek Kolpack, GENEX Dairy Account Manager who works with the Strassburgs.
The cows are sorted using both their genetic and production data, with only the top 15% bred to sexed Holstein semen; the rest are bred to beef.
“The blended beef semen line has really performed well,” notes Derek. “We have used both the Limousin and Angus blends with solid results.”
The dairy achieved an overall first service conception rate of 57% with sexed semen settling at 63%.
Repro Program Framework
All first services are bred from a Double Ovsynch with a 65-day voluntary wait period. The dairy utilizes an Afi system to help catch rebreeds along with daily heat detection provided by professional GENEX technicians Zach Wendler and Brian Hamm.
“Credit must be given to Zach and Brian for their continued effort to strive for excellence and for really adhering to the timing of shot and breeding protocols,” states Jeff. “Without their efforts these results may not have been obtained.”
Ultimately Strassburg Creek Dairy has maintained a 37% pregnancy rate with a 75% service rate. All of this helped the dairy to achieve 88% of the herd pregnant by 150 days in milk.
As the Strassburgs say, “Our priority has always been to take care of the cows and the employees, and they will take care of us.”
The results achieved here would not be possible without care and commitment to their cows and their team.