You may be aware that Pfizer Company’s ZOETIS division is deeply into Genomics and has been researching “wellness” traits with the assistance of associate dairy herds (all the way from Michigan to Florida) that have generated reams of data on cows that have all been DNA-mapped.
Dr Dan Weigel (working from Zoetis Labs in Kalamazoo, MI) heads up this effort, which has special significance for us (Dan is the breeder of 99HO7070 Jehosophat at International Protein Sires). He made a presentation to explain DWP$ and its supporting Genomic traits at the recent IPS Distributor conference in Wisconsin. Their Genomic service is named Clarifide Plus.
Zoetis offers the following evaluations: Mastitis (32% culling risk), Lameness (16% culling risk), Metritis (17% culling risk), Retained Placenta (31% culling risk), Displaced Abomasum (27% culling risk), Ketosis (32% culling risk). Their research indicates costs of $117 to $494 per incidence for treatment of these various dairy herd afflictions. Thus Zoetis assigns dollar values to the genomic possession of markers for resistance to these various issues. This adds up eventually to the DWP$ once added to or subtracted from CDCB’s “Net Merit” genetic index values.
For the individual genomic traits, breed average is expressed as 100. A sire with superior DNA markers will have a trait score above 100; a sire lacking those markers will have a trait score below 100. Across the Holstein population, these scores range from a low of 69 to a high of 116 (the individual traits have individual ranges). The Reliability % of these traits is currently from 49% to 51%.
Examples of enhanced sire data incorporating “Wellness Traits” (International Protein Sires)
Progeny evaluated sires:
566H 1199 Cambridge Mast 108 Lame 104 Met 103 RP 104 Ket 106 DA 102 DWP$ 532
compare this to his calculated Net Merit of $299, and we find him to be an exceptional bull!
099H 7070 Jehosophat Mast 95 Lame 101 Met 107 RP 101 Ket 108 DA 105 DWP$ 493
compare this to his calculated net Merit of $399, provides added value in five of six wellness traits.
006H 1157 Made Right Mast 106 Lame 99 Met 101 RP 96 Ket 99 DA 103 DWP$ 490
low SCS of 2.86, high PL of +4.6, now with LIV +1.7, low stillbirth 6.7%, clearly a “health” bull
566H 0588 Gilby Mast 97 Lame 100 Met 110 RP 104 Ket 110 DA 99 DWP$ 486
exceeds his calculated Net Merit of $381, and in the top percentiles for Metritis and Ketosis resistance
566H 1247 Galt Mast 101 Lame 101 Met 101 RP 95 Ket 105 DA 103 DWP$ 458
compare this to his calculated Net Merit of $341, and we find him to be a significantly better bull.
566H 1180 Rollag Mast 102 Lame 95 Met 103 RP 107 Ket 105 DA 101 DWP$ 429
compare this to his calculated Net Merit of $330, and we find him to be a significantly better bull.
Genomic estimated sires:
566H 1265 Jenner Mast 101 Lame 112 Met 111 RP 104 Ket 111 DA 106 DWP$ 1075
in the top five of all sires tested for “wellness traits”—compare to Net Merit of $778, a true outlier!
566H 1261 Jo Dandy Mast 98 Lame 101 Met 103 RP 108 Ket 96 DA 106 DWP$ 1020
might he be the highest DWP$ choice for those also seeking the consumer-health A2A2 Beta casein?
566H 1267 Fix It Mast 111 Lame 90 Met 104 RP 95 Ket 98 DA 107 DWP$ 1015
starting from an elite $801 NM, still a good boost to a sire whose +2.42 G Type draws attention.
566H 1260 Storm Proof Mast 105 Lame 100 Met 100 RP 106 Ket 100 DA 106 DWP$ 993
a significant bump from Net Merit $790, and pretty good for an elite +2680 GTPI cow family sire
Genomic estimated sires: (continued)
566H 1262 Diverse Mast 105 Lame 105 Met 102 RP 99 Ket 95 DA 102 DWP$ 970
who says four generations of “EX” dams with outstanding mature records cannot transmit something?
566H 1237 Milton Mast 106 Lame 100 Met 104 RP 102 Ket 104 DA 103 DWP$ 948
Michigan-bred from Powell’s best cow family, compare to Net Merit of $751-- realize hidden value.
566H 1263 Malcolm Mast 100 Lame 101 Met 103 RP 100 Ket 106 DA 103 DWP$ 927
all this health with exceptional +.17% +86 fat and +.08% +55 protein and low 2.79 SCS ($779 NM)
566H 1244 Ethics Mast 103 Lame 100 Met 101 RP 96 Ket 106 DA 104 DWP$ 915
compare to estimated Net Merit of $785, shows he has extra value in metabolic and udder health
566H 1251 Net Worth Mast 101 Lame 101 Met 105 RP 93 Ket 111 DA 105 DWP$ 888
gets five out of six right from a Michigan-bred cow line that shows consistency every generation
Some observations on interpretation
You will note that the range of IPS’ best Genomic sires is twice the $ value of IPS’ better progeny evaluated sires. This is simply because DWP$ is a recalculation of Net Merit enhanced by Zoetis’ added insights into the genotype for those health characteristics that are major cost issues for dairy.
Higher-ranking Genomic sires are assumed to be a “generation ahead” of the better progeny data evaluated sires. Thus it is best to remember that Genomic traits top out at 75% Reliability while the verification of milking and classified progeny is still needed to reach the most reliable 95%-99% level.
How does “Clarified Plus” compare to the patented AI stud health indicators?
Being the first to go public with any new technology is usually to offer an incomplete solution to the perceived problem. “Immunity Plus” for example neither grades bulls on the relative levels of their
gene possession nor covers as much trait territory as does the Zoetis “Clarifide Plus” technology.
I expect you will observe that the major AI systems will all gravitate toward Clarifide Plus rather than attempt to develop their own, more limited versions. Pfizer’s great resources dwarf those available to any individual AI system, and anything related to interpretation of the Genotype demands resources in computing power usually only available to government or university research collaborations. Mostly, Zoetis’ novel approach to ranking the economic values imputed to avoiding these various cow problems helps us sort among bulls where it soon becomes apparent that there is no “perfect” bull—you have to make some decisions that prioritize the traits most important to your herd at this generation of cows.
The biggest disadvantage to any single-stud proprietary system is that it compares against that stud’s average, NOT the attained breed average. We have already seen the disparity from sampling to 99% distribution on type proofs, for example—bulls who begin at +2.00 and end up –1.50 once they face the rest of their contemporaries, not just the “in house” populations held captive by full-service contracts.
The Zoetis data comes from herds that offer a full cross-section of the competing genetic AI programs and involves millions of fully documented health episodes, and is an ongoing research today.
At no extra cost
At this point it appears we will eventually have Clarifide Plus “wellness” data on Genomic tested sires from all our major sire sources. Currently, this technology is limited to Holsteins. (Zoetis does make this technology available on farm for testing your cows and heifers, should you wish to pre-select which heifers you raise for replacements (allowing early sale of those surplus to your needs).)