A new wave of genomic young sires dominates the top of the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) ranking, led by the fittingly named Peak Breaking News. Published today (7 December, 2021) by AHDB Dairy, the top 10 features an unprecedented eight young bulls which have been introduced since the previous genetic evaluations (August), all bar one of which emanate from the USA’s Peak breeding programme. With several full brothers amongst their number, and all sired by the same bull (Peak AltaZazzle), producers are reminded to always consider their bulls’ ancestry information to ensure they maintain genetic diversity in their herds.
But nothing can detract from the exceptional breeding potential of these leading young sires, demonstrated by the number one bull, whose PLI weighs in at £957. This reflects Peak Breaking News’ superb transmission of udder health with a -35 Somatic Cell Count Index and a -4 Mastitis Index – the best in the top 20. Daughter fertility is also outstanding (+12.5), all of which feeds through to a good Lifespan Index (+207 days) and a high score for the recently launched HealthyCow, at £348. Breaking News calves also tend to have shorter gestations than average at -3.
In second position, former number one sire, Genosouce Captain, remains rock solid, retaining his PLI of £944. Continuing to demonstrate high milk production (Predicted Transmitting Ability for milk is 1,156kg) and feed efficiency, this is wrapped up in a FeedAdvantage of 265, in part due to his favourable Maintenance Index of -16. Like the number one sire, gestations are predicted to be three days shorter than average. EnviroCow at 5.1 is also breed-leading, indicating daughters are expected to create the lowest level of greenhouse gas emissions in their lifetimes for each kilogram of saleable product they produce (eg fat, protein and meat).
The new entry ranked third is Winstar Graziano whose PLI of £937 reflects his transmission of very high milk solids (+0.35% fat and +0.12% protein), with favourable maintenance (-14). Like Breaking News, he is sired by Peak AltaZazzle. He is also full brother to the number five sire.
Fourth ranking Peak AltaAlanzo is one of the highest protein transmitters in the top 20 at 40.4kg and has a PLI of £922, while fifth ranking Winstar Greycup (PLI £917) is a good all-rounder with a high EnviroCow, at 4.9.
With a PLI of £899, Peak AltaLajoy ranks in sixth position, offering remarkably high milk solids, including a PTA fat of 60.5kg (0.25%). AltaLajoy is full brother to the number 12 bull.
Badger SSI Big Al Newman retains his position in the top 10 with a PLI of £896, thanks to exceptional daughter lifespan (+247 days), mastitis (-4) and Fertility Index (+13.1). He is also the highest ranking HealthyCow sire at £361, offering a Type Merit of 2.14 into the bargain.
Peak Rainow is new in eighth position, also offering exceptional fat transmission at 62kg (0.24%) and a PLI of £887.
Rounding off the top 10 in equal ninth position are two further newcomers, each with a PLI of £884. One is Winstar Equity, transmitting high daughter fertility (+13.6); the other is Peak AltaZingler, the best daughter fertility improver in the top 10 at FI +15.8, who also offers high daughter lifespans (LS +207 days), low cell counts (SCC -28) and is another high HealthyCow bull.
Producers keen to support UK breeding can find three new bulls just outside the top 20, which – although from a global programme – originate from the elite Denovo female nucleus established in the UK.
These bulls are Denovo Rhapsody (PLI £869), offering superb udder health and calving ease; the high fat, Denovo Raffa (PLI £848) and Denovo Adderley (PLI £841).
Commenting on the top 20 sires, Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB says: “The young bulls in this ranking offer UK breeders exceptional health and welfare traits with which to improve their herds and it’s particularly pleasing to see the maintenance cost of their daughters is noticeably declining.
“This shows how the breeding industry is responding to producers’ needs, many of whom prefer to keep moderately sized Holsteins for their easier management and their lower feed costs for maintenance.”
For the complete list of available bulls, as well as newly released AHDB cow genetic indexes please visit the AHDB website.