Research to Keep Dairy Industry Moving Forward
Holstein Association USA believes in continued improvement, generation after generation. As high performing as the Holstein cow is today, there are ways to make the world’s perfect cow even more profitable. In fact, Holstein leaders are willing to bank on people who want to make it happen. Dr. Chad Dechow is one of them. His research is on making cattle more feed efficient.
“So, there’s been, in the last two years, a lot of focus on selecting for feed efficiency. And that makes sense because feed is 50-60 percent of a dairy producer’s cost, so if we can reduce that cost and become economically more efficient, that’s great, right?”
It all begins with a first step.
“Ten years from now, how we select for feed efficiency will look a little bit different than it does now, so, but we had to get the process started.”
Researchers see an issue, determine that it can be improved, then tackle it head-on, like Dr. Anna Denicol, who’s studying environmental adaptability and heat stress.
“Heat stress is a problem, right? It affects the productivity of the dairy. It has a huge economic impact, so anything we can do to try to decrease that fact, and I was just talking to some colleagues just now, this is not a magic bullet, because there isn’t one, right? We need to try to build tools that together will create a solution. And I think this really is a step in the right direction.”
The research process, on paper, looks pretty straightforward. In practice, it often gets complex, like the research Dr. J.P. Martins is doing into milk production and fertility.
“Cows that had higher milk production, they had more double-ovulation, even though they were treated with Double-Ovsynch, which is a fertility treatment that increases progesterone. As it’s shown, these programs really highly effective on increasing progesterone during the growth of the follicle for timed AI and increasing fertility of lactating dairy cows.”
Those are only three examples of many research projects that are currently improving the Holstein breed. Another round of research applications are sought by August 15th from principal investigators at U.S. universities and non-profits.
“Of course, we get funds so we can do the research, right? I think it’s really amazing that the Holstein Association USA has this grant program. It really helps.”
Holstein Association USA’s grant program is all in the name of “improvement for a cause.”
“I’m able to do applied research that I think could be applied directly in the field to help improve breeders’ herds directly.”
Holstein researchers can find grant application information at holsteinusa.com on the “Programs and Services” tab.