Two industry leaders, genetic solutions company Semex and beef supply chain specialists The Buitelaar Group, announce a joint initiative to promote the merits of breeding healthier calves and keeping them as healthy as possible once born.
As part of this Buitelaar will pay farmers a £10 premium over the market rate for Black and White bull calves from Semex’s unique and award-winning* Immunity+ sire range. This is because Immunity+ sires have been ranked and selected on their health genes, which they pass down to their offspring. Because Immunity+ has a heritability of 30% the calves also have better health genes than non-Immunity+ calves, and thus a stronger immune response to disease challenge. The end results are lower disease levels and higher animal welfare; an associated reduction in drug use - including antibiotics; better growth and feed conversion rates.
Trials on cows have shown that disease in Immunity+ sired cows is reduced by as much as 20%, depending on which disease is assessed. It is hoped that the initiative with Buitelaarwill help assess the effect Immunity+ has on calf health, growth rates, and feed conversion compared to non Immunity+ sired calves.
“At Buitelaar we focus on improving animal welfare at all stages of our supply chain, for the good of the animal, the farmer, and the consumer by striving to reduce antibiotic use. We used to think that started as soon as the calf was born, but now, with Immunity+ genetics, we realise it could actually start with the choice of semen before a cow is even inseminated,” says Adam Buitelaar, Managing Director. “It is only right that we incentivise the use of Immunity+ genetics, because every part of the supply chain, and the consumer, should be able to benefit.”
Semex will also help Buitelaar locate suitable dairy bull calves and will help communicate best practice calf rearing techniques, back to farmers so that they make the best of their genetic investment. They will also help Buitelaar source more beef bred calves to satisfy growing demand in this area.
“We are delighted with this logical, co-operative link with Buitelaar,” said Michael Dennison, National Sales Manager for Semex UK. “It is a great example of how the supply chain can work together to tick all of the right boxes for animals, farmers, retailers and consumers.”