In the third in our series of articles this year, we are taking a closer look at the dairy cattle we help care for.
Did you know some of the most common health challenges for dairy cattle producers include reproduction, milk quality, hoof management, and infectious diseases? Today we will focus on how Zoetis helps farmers manage the health of their herds by providing treatments, vaccines and other preventative measures through education, genomic testing and data analysis.
Supporting Our Customers
At Zoetis, we provide a diverse portfolio of products and services to promote the health of dairy cattle. Our specialized field force works with farmers and veterinarians around the world to help them make more informed decisions to improve the health of their herds and maximize the potential and profitability of their dairy operations under sustainable conditions. In addition to an extensive portfolio of medicines, some examples of how we help include:
- Assessing farm situations and analyzing data to identify opportunities for improvement in milk quality or reproduction.
- We use data management tools like Dairy Wellness Plan ManagerTM and Enlight® in the U.S. to help our dairy customers efficiently manage their herds.
- We offer information management solutions to veterinarians in New Zealand through infovet, an innovative software program developed by veterinarians to assist with all aspects of dairy practice – from individual cow medicine through to herd health monitoring and investigations.
- Educating veterinarians and producers as well as their labor force on best management practices including how to properly handle and administer anti-infectives and vaccines. The key areas we support and the products Zoetis offers include:
- Managing udder health with intramammary products (ORBESEAL® and SPECTRAMAST® brands)
- Leading vaccines in the fight against infectious diseases (INFORCE 3®, BOVI-SHIELD®, RISPOVAL® and CATTLEMASTER® franchises)
- Promoting reproductive health of dairy cattle with products (LUTALYSE® Injection, LUTALYSE® HighCon Injection and DINOLYTIC®(dinoprost tromethamine), FACTREL® Injection (gonadorelin injection), and EAZI-BREEDTM CIDR® Cattle Insert)
- Providing valuable information through Dairy Wellness websites available in the U.S. and New Zealand. Dairy Wellness connects producers and veterinarians to helpful dairy management resources and experts.
- Sharing information and insights by connecting through Twitter using the @dairy_farmers handle (primarily for UK producers) and Dairy Wellness on Facebook.
Zoetis also offers genomic testing. Genomic testing is changing the way dairy producers make management, selection and breeding decisions on the farm. Instead of just focusing on one disease or issue, Zoetis helps farmers identify the best cattle on the farm to produce milk, increasing efficiency and profitability.
To predict the genetic potential of cattle, dairy producers in the past had to rely on an average of the parents’ estimated genetic makeup. Now, Zoetis offers CLARIFIDE® which is powered by nearly 19,000 genetic markers to better understand the genetics within their herds. CLARIFIDE is currently marketed in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, the UK (pilot program), and Australia.
To provide farmers even more genetic information and profitability potential, Zoetis launched CLARIFIDE® Plus in the U.S., the first commercially available dairy genetic evaluation specifically designed for wellness traits in cattle. Wellness traits measure the genetic risk of six common diseases in dairy cows. Dairy producers can now genomically select heifers based on wellness and other economically important traits to help build a healthier, more productive herd.
One Zoetis customer, Brian Fiscalini of Fiscalini Farms & Cheese Co., said, “If you use CLARIFIDE, it really gives you an advantage to determine which animals you want to keep, how you want to breed them, and how you are going to take care of them in the long run when they become a milking cow.”
Two years ago the farm raised 1.2 heifers for every milking cow in the herd. Today that number is down to 0.8 heifers per milking cow, which is significantly fewer mouths to feed and lower environmental impact; revenue from milk is equal or higher. When the estimated cost to feed replacement animals is $2 per head per day, the savings add up quickly. Fiscalini said, “I look at CLARIFIDE as a sustainable practice. Using the genomic testing that CLARIFIDE provides, you are able to increase reliability and have sound science behind the decisions you make.”
Genomic testing in dairy cattle has progressed rapidly in recent years. When Zoetis entered the genomic testing area in August 2010, 45,000 animals were genotyped in the U.S. that year. Now, approximately 40,000 animals are tested a month1 – in large part due to the education and market growth that Zoetis created while demonstrating the value of CLARIFIDE® to our customers.
Find out more about animal genetics by visiting http://www.zoetis.com/products-services/animal-genetics.aspx.
Zoetis has partnered with a number of breed associations globally to advance genetic improvement strategies including the use of genomic testing. Zoetis partnered with Holstein Association USA to create an online website to manage genomic data, and worked together to produce a webinar series about genomics for dairy herds published on The Bullvine. The Bullvine is an independent, online community for those involved in the dairy industry.
1 https://www.cdcb.us/eval.htm, Accessed on May 6, 2016