Breeds other than Holstein account for a small percentage of dairy farming in the UK, but work is always ongoing by DairyCo Breeding+ to improve the quality of figures available to all dairy breeders.
The latest enhancement affects the Brown Swiss breed, which this month joins the Interbull rankings, allowing UK breeders to compare Brown Swiss bulls from around the world directly on a UK scale.
“This will make decision-making for Brown Swiss breeders far easier and more accurate, as until now, they would only have had foreign figures to refer to in making their choices,” says Marco Winters, head of genetics for DairyCo. “Making an accurate comparison between different countries’ bulls would have been extremely difficult, but the new figures will allow them all to be compared – whatever their origin - on the same UK scale.”
And in this month’s proofs, published this week (Tuesday 17 August), the inaugural number one Brown Swiss bull is Hilltop Acres H Driver. This bull has a very good daughter Fertility Index (FI) combined with good Lifespan Index (LS) and solid production figures with gives him a PLI (Profitable Lifetime Index) of £154. In second place is Prossli, who excels in lifespan (LS +0.6) and SCC (-17). Sun Made Vigor rounds off the top three, transmitting even better lifespan to his daughters (LS +0.7) as well as excellent cell counts (SCC -23). However, his lower daughter fertility (FI -5.1) sees him yield to third place.
“Although the new system will be a great help for within-breed comparisons, it’s very important to remember that these figures cannot be compared with any other breed,” says Mr Winters. “Each breed is published against its own breed average, meaning that a £100 PLI for a Brown Swiss is very different from £100 for, say, a Holstein, a Friesian, or any other breed for that matter.
“This means that anyone considering a variety of breed options will need to apply a conversion formula – available from DairyCo - to make across-breed comparisons.”
The British Friesian PLI rankings show significant change at the top as two paternal brothers, both sired by Tittenser Hylke, take the top two spots. From the same farm and cow family, the brothers - Deangate Quentin and Deangate Tarquin - take first and second spot with PLIs of £138 and £116 respectively. Transmitting similar breeding patterns of good components with strong SCC, lifespan and daughter fertility, Quentin just takes the edge in both LS and FI resulting in a slightly better placing. The well-known Lakemead Rancher, keeps his place in the top three with a PLI of £115.
DJ Hulk retains the top spot in the Jersey listings, making improvement in his SCC score to -9 and improving his PLI by 14 points to £198. Remaining in second place is Sunset Canyon Anthems Allstar (PLI£186) and new in third place is DJ Zuma (PLI £183) who climbs three spots thanks to an improvement in his SCC to a superb -24 and small increase in LS to +0.2.
There’s no change at the top of the Ayrshire ranking with the 75 percent Holstein-bred Brieryside Golden Sand clinging on to the number one place (PLI £177). He is closely followed by a big climber in the form of Swedish Red bull, Langbo, whose improvement is due to a big jump in daughter fertility (FI +8.1). The newly available Finish Ayrshire, Asmo Tosikko, goes straight to third place with strong production and very good SCC at -24 and a PLI of £166.
Ranked on the Guernsey Merit Index (GMI) Sniders Option Aaron remains in the lead with a GMI of 387. In second place, up from sixth last time, is Tredinney Sonics Helium and remaining in third place is Coulee Crest Luxury Spider.
Top UK bull rankings were also published for the Shorthorn and Montebeliarde breeds which can be accessed - together with full listings of available bulls for all breeds with their AI company details - via the DairyCo web pages.
“The top bull rankings published today will provide valuable information for the bull choices in the forthcoming breeding season,” says Mr Winters.
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