June 14, 2022 at 2:36 p.m.
Breeding Profile

Components take the lead at Baier Creek Farms

Charlie and Trevor Baier look over breeding records in the barn office May 27 at their farm near Elmwood, Wisconsin. The Baiers have a current pregnancy rate of 33%. PHOTO BY ABBY WEIDMEYER
Charlie and Trevor Baier look over breeding records in the barn office May 27 at their farm near Elmwood, Wisconsin. The Baiers have a current pregnancy rate of 33%. PHOTO BY ABBY WEIDMEYER

Trevor Baier
Baier Creek Farms
Elmwood, Wisconsin
600 cows

Describe your facilities and list your breeding management team. We milk in a double-12 parlor. Our cows are housed in a sand-bedded, tunnel-ventilated, 4-row freestall barn. We work with Tom Knegendorf of Full Throttle Genetics, and we use ABS bulls.

What is your current pregnancy rate? Right now, it is 33%. This is down from our usual 37%.

What is your reproduction program? Do you use a synchronization program? How do you get animals pregnant? We use a double ovsynch program. The biggest advantage that we get from doing a double ovsynch is that we are now checking for the corpus luteum to be released every week before giving Lutalyse. We do a double Lutalyse shot as well.

Describe your breeding philosophy. We lean more toward components and calving ease when selecting bulls. I don’t believe pretty cows make any more money. We decide what the herd needs and breed to improve the herd. It is up to the breeder to implement the program.

What guidelines do you follow to reach the goals for your breeding program? We pushed back our withhold to 75 days, because we were drying cows up too early. We were on Posilac and bull bred until 2010. We had 100 pound of milk per cow per day, but we were not getting anything pregnant.

What are the top traits you look for in breeding your dairy herd, and how has this changed since you started farming? Feet and legs are important because cows have to have a good set of wheels on them to be able to last six or seven lactations. We have improved on that front, and our cows have been around for three more lactations than in the past. We are only breeding for 90% replacements because of the cost of raising heifers. If I end up with gaps in my herd, I will purchase cattle. There are enough reputable farms locally to do that.

What are certain traits you try to avoid? I do not like big cows. Smaller stature cows survive better. Jersey cross cows are nice because they are half the size but give just as much milk. Our breeding pens are grouped by size instead of age.

Describe the ideal cow for your herd. We used to look at pounds in the tank. We have since realized that higher components are better than quantity. I like a cow with high components. Slow walking with a tame demeanor. They are less likely to injure themselves.

What role does genetics have in reaching the goals of your farm? Breeding plays a big role because every generation adds better genetics to the herd. I am not big on spending money on big cows but using bulls to improve the whole herd components.

What percentage of your herd is bred to sexed, conventional and beef semen? ABS gives suggestions on what to breed, and Tom picks from there. The top 30% of cows and top mature cows get sexed semen. All heifers get sexed semen. The rest of the herd gets beef. We do not use any conventional semen.

What is your conception rate? How does this differ with different types of semen? Our conception rate so far for the year is 51%. In April, it was 58%.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned through your breeding program? Originally, we were afraid to spend money on extra shots, but the double ovsynch and double Lutalyse program pays for itself with its results. Animals that produce more milk show less heats so the synchronization program guarantees a heat in the time frame.

What is the age of your heifers at first service? We recently put this back to 420 days minimum.

How does your heifer inventory affect your breeding program? Our heifer inventory is our entire breeding program. We take the mating program and decide how many heifers we need per month. We take that number and calculate a percentage of beef and breed the top 30% to sexed to get 25 heifers a month. It is too expensive to raise extra heifers.

Tell us about your farm. Our farm is run by myself and my dad, Charlie, and my cousin, Steve, and his dad, Rod. Our farm was homesteaded in 1857, and Steve and I are the sixth generation of dairymen in our family.


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