February 1, 2021 at 1:43 a.m.
Michael and Theresa Kolb
Describe your facilities and list your breeding management team. We have freestall barns with manure solids bedding and a double-12 parlor. Our breeding team consists of our A.I. technician Danilo and Theresa. Alta Genetics provides most of the semen and mating services.
What is your reproduction program? Do you use a synchronization program? How do you get animals pregnant? For the cows, we use a synchronization program. We use tail paint to help with heat detection. The cows are bred the first service with genomic sires. Second and third service they are bred to beef sires. Cows that are not confirmed pregnant after third service are evaluated for production and somatic cell count. If acceptable, we will use a CIDR on them, otherwise they will go on a do-not-breed list. Heifers are bred first service with sexed semen. For the second and third service, we use beef semen. Heifers not pregnant after the third service are culled. Heifers are bred mostly on natural heats. We also use tail paint on them.
Describe your breeding philosophy. To breed healthy, high-producing, long-life cows for our dairy.
What guidelines do you follow to reach the goals for your breeding program? We have a 75-day waiting period before first service. All of our cows are enrolled into a double ovsynch program. Cows are tail painted for heat detection and pregnancy tested at 30 days.
What are the top traits you look for in breeding your dairy herd, and how has this changed since you started farming? The top traits looked for in our herd are: high component and milk production, good feet and legs, and good udders.
What are certain traits you try to avoid? The traits we avoid are poor teat placement, week and narrow frame, and poor feet and legs.
Describe the ideal cow for your herd. The ideal cow in our herd would have a strong frame, good feet and legs, good natured, have high milk production and a low SCC.
What role does genetics have in reaching the goals of your farm? Genetics have helped us reach our goals by helping us to breed for better cows by improving traits.
What percentage of your herd is bred to sexed, conventional and beef semen? We only use sexed semen on heifers for the first service and conventional semen for the first service on cows. After that, it is all beef semen.
What is your conception rate? How does this differ with different types of semen? Our conception rate is 56%. For conventional semen, it is 55% on the cows, 56% with beef semen on cows, 66% sexed semen on heifers and 60% beef semen on heifers.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned through your breeding program? Since we switched from a modified live vaccine to a killed vaccine, we have experienced a much higher conception rate. Good nutrition, especially in the dry period, and cow comfort also play big roles in getting cows pregnant.
What is the age of your heifers at first service? 12-13 months.
How does your heifer inventory affect your breeding program? We use beef semen to help control our heifer inventory.
Tell us about your farm. Kolb Dairy Inc. is a family-owned dairy and crop farm. Theresa helps manage the cows. We milk around 430 cows and have run about 2,000 acres of cropland. We grow corn, soybeans, small grain and alfalfa. We have five full-time employees who help with the day-to-day duties.