2013-04-10 xml
Awesome New Number One in the UK PLI Rankings

The new Holstein bull rankings, launched (9 April) by DairyCo Breeding+, reveal not only a brand new number one international sire, but also a new UK-bred and proven sire in the number three position.

Ranked on Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI), the leading position is taken by US-bred Whitman O Man Awesome Andy (Oman x Zade) who rises from fourth position, above all, by virtue of the outstanding health and fitness seen in his daughters. With an exceptional daughter Fertility Index (7.1) and good udder health (SCC Index -23), he also becomes the breed leader for daughter lifespan, at 0.8. This means his daughters will, on average, last nearly a full lactation (0.8) longer than an average cow. Awesome’s overall PLI is £260.

Whitman O Man Awesome Andy

Whitman O Man Awesome Andy

With a PLI of £259, former front-runner, Guarini, maintains his strong showing, and with an SCC Index of -32, he remains the best cell count improver of the breed.

The new number one UK-proven bull - Ballycairn Oman Pello – ranks in third position with a PLI of £248. He improves on daughter fitness and production traits, rising from sixth position in the December 2012 rankings. With a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) that includes 981kg milk, he is the highest milk transmitter in the top 60.

Buckeye son, Morningview Levi remains among the top PLI bulls of the breed and is suited to farmers seeking trouble-free calvings. Both his direct Calving Ease Index at 2.5 and his maternal Calving Ease Index at 2.0, indicate that his calves are likely to be born with ease, while his daughters themselves should go on to have trouble-free calvings. His PLI is £243.

Long term top 10 bulls, Mainstream Manifold (PLI £241) and Lynbrook Jancen (PLI £240) rank fifth and sixth respectively, while new into the top 10 as a second crop bull is the popular Ensenada Taboo Planet (Taboo x Amel x Duster). Planet’s 147 UK daughters have combined with the thousands he has internationally to earn him a PLI of £239 and push him up to seventh position. His outcross pedigree and long lasting, high production daughters have all generated interest in Planet, who has been heavily used as a sire of sons.

UK-proven Cogent Twist remains in the top 10 and now ranks eighth (PLI £236), sharing this position with D Omar.

The high daughter fertility Gomez (FI 6.1) ranks 10th ahead of the highest brand new entry, De-Su Observer, whose PLI is £227. Observer is one of the early Planet sons and has already been used heavily as sire of sons on the basis of his outstanding genomic index – calculated from the bull’s own DNA. As a result, he already has three sons amongst the top 10 genomic young sires available in the UK, confirming the confidence farmers can give UK genomic predictions.

Other leading UK-bred sires are Ballycairn Tiergan (PLI £223), Laurelhill Classic (PLI £214) and the highest UK-proven newcomer, Holbra Paman (PLI £204). Paman is an Oman x Mascol from the well-known Prudence family. He graduates with 32 UK daughters which reinforce his early genomic predictions as a young sire, and show him to be a high solids and strong fitness transmitter.

“It’s pleasing to see several bulls high in the rankings that began their breeding careers as young genomic sires,” observes Marco Winters, head of genetics with DairyCo. “Those breeders who were quick off the mark and used them early should be very satisfied that their confidence in the system was not misplaced.

“If they selected wisely and used those which excelled for the traits they were seeking to improve, they should find their herd has taken a significant step forward in genetic gain.”

New flush of genomic sires to pep up UK breeding

Spring brings a new flush of young genomic sires to the UK market, although the number one bull, Rosylane-LLC AltaBarney, retains the position he held in the previous index run.

At £270, he has a Profitable Lifetime Index some 10 points ahead of the leading daughter-proven sire, and brings the prospect of improving production and fitness traits across UK herds.

Six further top-10 bulls similarly featured in the December 2012 indexes, while three complete newcomers arrive amongst their ranks.

In fifth position is Farnear-TBR-BH Lews Flyn, sired by Lewis, whose own sire, Badger-Bluff Fanny Freddie, features in many of the pedigrees of young genomic sires. Flyn has daughter fertility and fitness running through his pedigree and will appeal to UK breeders who were never able to use his sire or breed-leading grandsire. Flyn’s PLI is £253.

At number seven, Welcome Armitage Pesky is also new to the rankings and as a son of Armitage (whose semen was not available in Europe) and out of a Jose dam, he will appeal to those with an eye for something different. Pesky’s PLI is £250.

Also new among the high-fliers is equal ninth ranking Hammer-Creek OB Keyboard, the third son of Observer in the top 10. Observer himself is the highest new entry bull in the daughter-proven list this time around. Keyboard’s PLI is £249.

Other newcomers in the top 20, whose PLIs range from £238 to £248, are: Genervations Fuzion (by Mapel Wood Boulder – himself still a genomic young sire by Man O-Man); Planet son, Currajugle Gonzo; Genervations Liquid Gold (full brother to Fuzion); Butz-Hill Mayhem (remarkably, a son of aforementioned newcomer, Currajugle Gonzo); Sully AltaMerci (by Roylane Socra Robust, by Blitz son, Socrates) and De-Su 11231 Turvy (by Planet son, Bookem).

“Astute breeders around the world are using genomic bulls judiciously,” says Marco Winters, head of genetics for DairyCo. “They will study the bulls’ pedigrees as well as their predicted breeding patterns with care, to complement the cows in their herd, and move on to the next sire once a few straws have been used.

“The top bulls in this list have been so highly selected from such a vast gene pool using the latest genomic technology, that many of their breeding patterns look almost without fault.

“This offers the prospect of some exciting breeding opportunities which could speed up genetic progress within any UK herd, but breeders should pay attention to the reliability of each index and use each bull accordingly.”

Highlights of the non-Holstein breeds

For British Friesian breeders, Deangate Tarquin retains the number one position for Profitable Lifetime Index at PLI £197, thanks to his strong all-round performance in production and fitness traits. He stays comfortably ahead of the high production transmitter, Morcourt Hilton (PLI £174) in second position. A new arrival ranked third comes in the shape of Catlane Carl. With early daughter information, this Catlane Speaker x Bureaucrat earns a PLI of £165, ahead of Lakemead Randolf who displays good longevity at 0.5. The highest daughter Fertility Index is reserved for Deangate Quentin who ranks fifth.


Among the Jersey sires, long-time leader DJ Hulk now shares the number one spot with another Danish-born Jersey, DJ Broiler - both with PLIs of £227. All Lynns Maximus Vernon holds on to third place (PLI £216) and Sunset Canyon Anthems Allstar now ranks fourth. DJ Invest rounds off the top five, making significant gains since the last index run in December.


The top of the Ayrshire rankings remain unchanged, with Swedish Red, V Foske leading the way ahead of new entry Asmo Andrei. This Finnish Ayrshire excels in production and is followed by another Swedish bull and daughter fertility specialist, Gunnarstorp.

Other breeds

Little change within the other breeds leaves Odislait holding on to number one position amongst the Montbeliardes (PLI £170); Sniders Option Aaron taking the top slot on the Guernsey Merit Index ranking (GMI 389); Huray staying ahead for the Brown Swiss breed (PLI £216) and Cotley Custodian taking the lead for the Shorthorns.

Comparison across breeds

“It’s always worth a reminder that genetic indexes should not be compared across breeds,” says Marco Winters, head of genetics for DairyCo.

“The figures for each breed are calculated to relate to that breed average, so it would not only be meaningless to compare figures across breeds, but could also be completely misleading.


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