ABS Global builds first-ever calf facility

Facility allows company to care for genetically superior bulls at an earlier age.

ABS Global recently announced that it has built a facility, named Future Genetics, to house and care for bull calves under six months old. The facility, located near Madison, Wis., allows ABS staff to improve care through better nutrition, veterinary care and biosecurity at an earlier age, the company said.

“These little guys are our most valuable bulls because they are our future,” said Dr. Jim Meronek, global head of health assurance for ABS Global.

In the past, bulls were purchased from breeders at about eight months old. Today, through genomics, ABS said bull calves that are identified as genetically superior can be brought in between two and three months of age.

“Due to the high-value elite genomics animals can generate, having these calves under our expert care sooner ensures we maximize their potential,” said Devan Funk, global dairy sire acquisition manager for ABS Global.

The state-of-the-art facility was built in 2016 with future expansion in mind. Currently housing approximately 45 calves, the facility was also designed to be as labor efficient as possible and is considered the most biosecure facility on the ABS campus.

The facility is designed to maintain separation between calves from different sources, with calf health being of the utmost priority. Calves are grouped so there is a gap between housing units to avoid nose-to-nose contact and possible spread of disease or infection.

“With the assistance of a sanitation expert from the food industry, we put in a state-of-the-art water purification system at the site to help eliminate further spread of disease,” Daniel Hodgkin, ABS Global's North American production manager, said. “This system is the equivalent to a municipal water system.”

Once calves reach about six months of age, they advance to the Gorman arrival facility. Built in 2014 for $3.4 million, it was the single largest facility investment.

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