High reliability Holstein sires show long-term stability

Holstein breeders seeking the high reliability of daughter-proven bulls will feel a new reassurance as Gen-I-Beq Lavaman takes his position as the number one sire ranked on Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) in the August 2017 AHDB Dairy proven sire rankings published today (8 August, 2017). With a PLI of £668, this Man-O-Man son returns to the position he has held on several occasions, now with 942 UK daughters contributing to his index. He continues to excel in Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) for protein at +0.17% and has a high daughter Fertility Index at +14.3.

De-Su Rookie, who led the field in the April proof-run, has been edged into second place with a PLI of £647. This high fat transmitter (35.2kg) also passes low cell counts (SCC Index -25), good mastitis resistance (Mastitis Index -4) and longevity (Lifespan +0.6) on to his daughters.

Moving up to third place is the exceptional daughter fertility improver (Fertility Index +21.2), VH Cole Clark with a PLI of £641. This calving ease sire (+2.5 dCE%) also has a breed-leading PTA for lifespan (LS +0.8), indicating his daughters last an average eight months longer than the breed average. His daughters’ fertility and low maintenance feed costs are likely contributors to their strong survival.

S-S-I Shamrock Mystic ranks fourth (PLI £621) and also shines for daughter fertility (FI +17.6) and longevity (LS +0.5). His paternal half-brother, Teemar Shamrock Alphabet (both by Shamrock) shares these characteristics with +17.5 FI and +0.7 LS and has a PLI of £612. Alphabet is also a calving ease specialist with +2.4 direct and +2.8 maternal calving ease figures. These indicate that his progeny will arrive easily (direct calving ease), and his daughters will also give birth more easily as mothers later in life (maternal calving ease).

New in the top 10 and moving up from 26th position is De-Su 11236 Balisto. A heavily used sire of sons, his 109 UK milking daughters confirm his genomic expectations and rank him high for protein (28.8kg and +0.17%) and maternal calving ease (+2.1). His PLI is £606.

Also making gains and climbing into the top 10 is Har-Dale-Acres-JP AltaCR with a PLI of £601. This Mogul son transmits high type (+2.44 Type Merit) and has daughters which are capable of producing large quantities of fat (+32.1kg).

Co-op Robust Cabriolet moves up two places to eighth overall with a PLI of £596. Another strong maternal (+2.9) as well as direct (+1.4) calving ease sire with strong fat yield credentials (+33.8kg), his daughters are also predicted to lower maintenance costs (Maint -17) and are long living (LS +0.5).

In ninth position with a PLI of £595 is EDG Rubicon who is one of the breed’s best fat yield bulls at +39.2kg. He also breeds daughters with good feet and legs (+2.30) and long lifespans (+0.5).

The highest-ranking UK-bred sire and re-appearing in the top 10, is Prehen Omen with a PLI of £588. Strengthening his position as daughters are added (he now has 268 UK daughters contributing to his index), this component specialist has +0.17% fat and +0.19% protein, and displays good daughter longevity (LS +0.5). Bred by Stuart Smith in the same County Londonderry herd as the leading UK genomic sire (Prehen Lancaster), Omen hails from the acclaimed Froukje family.

Also with a PLI of £588 and sharing 10th position with Omen is Synergy Prime. Another high fat transmitter (+32.6kg), he also has strong credentials for udder health (SCC -27, Mast -5).

Another bull of note in the ranking is UK-owned Cogent Supershot who retains a place in the top 25 based on the performance of early daughters milking in the USA and Canada. Together they increase his production PTAs to 1,183kg milk with 32.3kg protein. His PLI is £555.

“As the industry focuses on improving milk quality and managing costs by reducing culling rates and improving cow fertility, this new AHDB PLI ranking has much to offer,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy. “Now, more than ever before, careful consideration is needed in the selection of genetics for use in an ever more competitive industry.

“Farmers are therefore reminded that using the power of genetics is not only important to increase milk output, but equally, to improve health and fertility traits which are crucial to the long-term improved profitability of any herd.”


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.