News / Blog

Alta fertility… ConceptPlus leads the way
June 10, 2014

High, low, or accurate…what do you prefer when it comes to a fertility evaluation? High or low are just a guess without an accurate evaluation. The need for accuracy drove us to develop the first sire fertility evaluation in the AI industry back in 2001.

ConceptPlus maintains its claim as the most accurate sire fertility evaluation for two main reasons. First, it is only based on real pregnancy check data, rather than non-return rates. And second, the ConceptPlus data we gather from Dairy Comp 305 comes solely from large, progressive herds throughout the US and Canada. This data is unbiased, complete, and contains large data sets for more accurate and thorough comparisons. And in order to keep evaluations current and complete, we only use data from the most recent 48 months.

The USDA released its own official sire fertility evaluation called Sire Conception Rate (SCR) seven years later, in 2008. SCR was created, using ConceptPlus as a model, and is also based on known breeding outcomes, rather than non-return rates. However, SCR data is collected in both large and small herds, where individual cow treatment, environmental challenges and management intensity vary widely, increasing the chance of bias in the evaluation.

SCR helped close the gap between the industry and our ConceptPlus program, but the additional variables we take into account to maintain the utmost accuracy with ConceptPlus keep us always a step ahead.

Extra variables are taken into consideration as part of the ConceptPlus sire fertility evaluation

This is why, even though we controlled the highest percentage of high fertility SCR sires, we were the first organization in the industry to make the conscious decision to forego SCR evaluations. One other AI company has followed suit in excluding themselves from the SCR evaluations. We now continue to maintain ConceptPlus as our exclusive method for evaluating sire fertility.

ConceptPlus also takes into account technician and breeding code effects. The technician doing the breeding can have a big impact on a sire’s performance. The fact is AI guns don’t get cows pregnant – people do! Unlike SCR, our ConceptPlus evaluation accounts for these differences which can make a substantial impact on a sire’s fertility.

It’s more than the evaluation

Fertility leadership comes from much more than a top-notch evaluation. The people collecting, evaluating, packaging and distributing semen, along with the strict processes, innovative fertility trials and standard operating procedures we follow all make our sire fertility second to none.

Just as cows need an ideal environment to maximize milk production bulls need an environment conducive to producing high volumes of quality semen. Our production team does everything in its power to create such an environment for our bulls. Quality nutrition, state-of-the-art-facilities and highly trained staff contribute to the health, fertility and overall success of our sires in collection.

To maximize the customer experience with our product, the decision to cull bulls performing below our fertility standards is generally an easy one. Our level of commitment to sire fertility has shown through when we’ve culled highly marketable sires for fertility reasons due to the simple fact that customers will not be satisfied if that bull does not create a pregnancy. Rare cases warrant a bull to stick around, despite low fertility.

A bull like AltaGREATEST is well below average for sire fertility, but still joined our daughter-proven sire lineup as the #5 TPI sire in the whole industry. Our transparency about his poor fertility allows producers to weigh their options when it comes to genetic merit versus sire fertility.

Quality is global

We have semen production labs in four of the seven continents, and multiple labs within those countries. Regardless of location, our team works to ensure our product maintains fertility excellence. This means we process and evaluate semen the same way in our lab in Conrich, Alberta as in our Alta CIALE lab in Argentina.

Every single ejaculate is evaluated for specific sperm defects before and after processing so we can be sure every unit from every collection from every bull contains high quality, healthy sperm cells. Just as a bull can be culled for low fertility so can an ejaculate. There’s no hesitation to make the expensive decision and cull an ejaculate worth up to several thousand dollars, if the sample is below our standards.

In addition to testing every ejaculate for post-thaw survival, our lab and production staff use ConceptPlus as an indicator to manage semen production and quality. We monitor fertility performance where it matters most – in the field.

The gold standard – ConceptPlus

The inception of the Advantage program over 13 years ago marks the start of our charge toward industry-leading sire fertility. As large, progressive farms throughout the US and Canada, who are also concerned about getting cows pregnant, join the Advantage program, we are able to use their real preg check data to evaluate the performance of semen products on farm. Our objective is to prove fertility in the commercial environments where the semen is predominantly used.

Since its beginning, the ConceptPlus sire fertility evaluation has delivered on that objective, and as a result, has been fully embraced by customers as the industry gold standard for fertility performance.

Each sire is given a fertility rating of one through five stars, based on the real pregnancy check data we collect from our large, progressive Alta Advantage partners. The table here shows the average fertility of the sires for each rating. Only those bulls with a 4-star or 5-star status are awarded the coveted ConceptPlus designation, ensuring a fertility advantage of up to four percent higher with the use of ConceptPlus sires.

ConceptPlus sires prove to offer a fertility advantage

Producers can be confident in the use of ConceptPlus bulls to increase conception rates and fertility on their farm and, in turn, increase their herd profitability. With the expansion of the Alta Advantage program, we are now collecting more fertility data than ever on bulls early in their career. Our ever-growing list of ConceptPlus designated sires is indicative of our commitment to prove fertility for even the newest additions to our lineup.


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