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Stackyard News Jan 08

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livestock genetics


New MDC Figures Keep Fitness Bulls On Top

The latest Holstein bull rankings released today (Tuesday 15 January) by MDC breeding+ has shown stability in the top two placed sires. German Mtoto son Mascol stays in top place followed by O-Bee Manfred Justice who keeps his second place.

Ranked using the revised Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI), which was introduced in August 2007 and places more emphasis on fitness and longevity traits, both these top bulls have been shown to breed daughters with increased ‘staying power’.

Mascol, who now has a PLI of £239, is predicted to reduce the somatic cell count of his daughters by 26%. Three other sires in the top 10 Holstein list have also been shown to match this very significant level of genetic improvement in milk quality – a major factor in cow health and welfare.

They are Braedale Goldwyn, in fourth place with a PLI of £216, who is also predicted to improve SCC by 26%, sixth placed UK bred Picston Shottle with a PLI of £207 and predicted SCC improvement of 29% – the highest in the top 10  – and 10th placed Ramos with a PLI of £204 and a predicted improvement in SCC of 26%.

Still highlighting fitness traits, second placed O-Bee Manfred Justice, with a PLI of £230, shows further improvement in his lifespan score, increasing it by 0.2 in the past five months to 0.6. This indicates that he has the ability to breed daughters that remain in the milking herd for six months more than the UK average.

Braedale Goldwyn also improves his lifespan score by 0.1 to 0.3. However, the best lifespan score in the top 10 is Ramos with a score of 0.9.

Climbing to third place and adding £14 to his PLI is fat specialist Wizzard. With a PLI of £219, he has a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) for fat of +0.31%, showing the ability  to improve the compositional quality of his daughters’ milk.

The first British tested sire can be found in fifth place. Bilsrow Jock has improved his PLI by £16 to £214, mainly thanks to an improvement in his daughter Fertility Index of +1.6 points.

He is followed closely by the next British proven sire Picston Shottle who now has almost 800 daughters in his production proof giving a reliability score of 99%. He has the highest Type Merit score in the top 10 available Holstein sires, published by Holstein UK, at 3.9.

Sharing seventh place with a PLI of £206 are Urnieta Zelati II, Jardin and Jango. Both Jardin and his paternal half brother Jango are predicted to improve fertility in their daughters – only beaten as a fertility improver by 10th placed Ramos who has a fertility index of 2.7.

Jango is a new entry to the top 10 Holstein sires ranked on PLI having added £20 to his score. Jock, Jardin and Jango are all Jocko Besne sons.

“Figures for the top Holstein sires re-inforce the value of the new PLI,” says MDC breeding+ director Marco Winters. “All 10 sires – and others going down the list – have very valuable fitness traits that will help improve the genetic merit of the UK dairy herd.

“Rounding off the top 10 bulls is an all round fitness specialist Ramos who improves his daughters’ lifespan by nearly a full lactation at +0.9, reduces SCC by 26% and is the best daughter fertility bull ranking in the top 10 at +2.7.”

Other notable newcomers to the top 50 PLI ranking are Gibor and Huddlestone Spooky. Gibor, despite being more than 10 years old, makes his debut on the listings. His late release as a service sire is warranted by his strong ‘fitness’ traits for SCC, lifespan and daughter fertility. “The industry has recognised the importance of these traits and is making more use of sires with these strengths in a bid to tackle the issues,” adds Mr Winters.

Spooky is a UK tested British family member of the number one PLI bull. Bred at Tim Gue’s Huddlestone farm, Spooky’s dam is full sister to Mascol. Many of the strong traits seen in this family are reflected in the early information of Spooky’s transmitting patterns.

The published information includes top PLI lists for bulls with UK progeny tests and international proofs as well as top cow and herd lists. All breeding+ information has also been sent to breed societies and milk recording organisations.

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