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Using sires that are inferior for economically important traits is no longer necessary or advisable. In herds using conventional semen over 90% of herd genetic improvement comes from sires. Which sires are used can mean a significant loss in a herd’s future earning power.  But still, in this time of rapid genetic advancement, there are sires being used that are inferior.

The Bullvine was able to obtain the lists of sires with the most registered daughters for the Canadian Ayrshire, Holstein and Jersey breeds for 2013. We decided to dig deeper and analyze the top ten sires with the most registered daughters. Other breeds only made up 0.6% of all registrations, so those breeds were not studied. The Bullvine is quite certain that similar sire usage patterns exist in other countries as we have also studied sire usage in US Holsteins  and the results were very similar. (Read more: Top Sires North American Holstein Breeders Used in 2013)

Top Ten’s in 2013

The first portion of our study looked at the bulls for LPI and for the components of LPI – Production, Durability and Health & Fertility.  Every animal on the CDN database receives and can be looked up for a rating for their genetic merit for the three components of LPI. This is a very handy tool for breeders to assist them in their breeding decisions.

The top ten most used Ayrshires sires (Table 1) were moderately high but not the best there is. These top ten sires accounted for 44% of all registrations, however only four sires had a percentile rank over 90% for gLPI and five sires were below average, less than 50%RK, for at least one of Production or Health & Fertility. Six sires had more than 200 daughters registered. One sire, EBay, was a progeny test sire and he ranked #10 in usage. The sire on the list with the highest gLPI was Burdette coming in at #4 in usage. On average, the sires were moderate at 80%RK of gLPI and 81%RK for Durability. Less attention was given to Production, 66%RK and it is disappointing see that Health & Fertility, on average, only received a 59%RK. Breeders definitely placed their emphasis elsewhere when the top sire, Dreamer, only has 41%RK for Production and 47%RK for Health & Fertility

Table 1 Canadian Ayrshire Sires with Most Registered Daughters – 2013

# DausgLPI('14)gLPI %RNKProduct'n %RNKDurability %RNKH & F %RNK
2282249380668159
1. Nexus Dreamer392222861418947
2. Jelyca Oblique353267093779665
3. Des Chamois Poker258248986489586
4. Kamouraska Rockstar254280298899550
5. Palmyra Tri-Star Burdette249223961516272
6. Kellcrest Landscape236269095945882
7. Hautpre Kansas197267393945080
8. Forever Schoon Eiffel122222460418980
9. Ronick Simbad11922586260837
10. Forever Schoon Ebay110227264607420

In Holsteins (Table 2) the top ten, most used, sires made up 22.5% of all registrations, eight sires had a gLPI above 90%RK and 233 sires had more than 200 registered daughters. However, four of the ten sires are extremely lowly rated for Health & Fertility. In fact, the second and third most used sires were only ranked 18%RK and 19%RK for Health & Fertility. Canadian Holstein breeders place their primary focus on type with the average being a 93%RK for Durability. Production lags at 76%RK and Health and Fertility just barely exceeds average (54%RK). Dempsey has the highest gLPI of all the sires and was the eighth most used sire. Fever and Jordan, in addition to Dempsey, are sires that have at least 70% for all of gLPI, Production, Durability and Health & Fertility. None of the sires in the top ten most used were bulls being progeny tested in 2013. That is different than in the USA were a few genomic sires are receiving considerable use. The recommendation to breeders is that they not use one genomic sire to an excessive degree.

Table 2 Canadian Holstein Sires with Most Registered daughters – 2013

# DausgLPI('14)gLPI %RNKProduct'n %RNKDurability %RNKH & F %RNK
60,054259692769354
1. Crackholm Fever11.813279998739993
2. Gillette Windbrook9,292268797849918
3. Gillette Stanleycup8,428252093869619
4. Gen-I-Beq Brawler5,812270698929757
5. Comestar Lauthority5,028261896809867
6. Comestart Lavanguard4,497220471539221
7. Beaver ray Mural4,327248592677096
8. Lirr Drew Dempsey3,828286499789988
9. Stantons Steady3,81521146158639
10. Gillette Jordan3,210250393719582

In Jerseys (Table 3) 25% of all female registrations were for the ten sires with the most registered daughters. Six of the ten sires had over 90%RK for gLPI and four sires had over 200 registered daughters. Two of the top ten sires were on a progeny testing program, although those two were not the most highly rated of a genomic sires for gLPI. Overall, the ten sires had an 88%RK for gLPI however there is definitely a lack of attention to Health and Fertility when half the bulls have below average ratings for that component of LPI. Topeka, the 4th most used sire, had the highest gLPI and he was being progeny tested in 2013. With the wide ranges among the ten sires in the %RK rating for all the parts of LPI and six sires that fall below 50%RK in at least one area, it indicates that Canadian Jersey breeders do not use sires that cover all bases.

Table 3 Canadian Jersey Sires with Most Registered Daughters – 2013

# DausgLPI('14)gLPI %RNKProduct'n %RNKDurability %RNKH & F %RNK
2001148888767947
1. Lencrest I Pod277135082599155
2. Unique VS Habit266152294838557
3. Lencrest On Time26113998782853
4. Heartland Merchant Topeka254174899997822
5. Lencrest Cavalia192125269627314
6. Hollylane Lilibet's Legacy158150494679097
7. BW Renegade158163699994380
8. Guimo Joel152171799859678
9. Sunset Canyon Kyros145152595993634
10. Tower Vue Prime Tequila138116857109974
 

The take home message, when all breeds are considered, is that purebred Canadian breeders consider type (durability) to be the most important area. Beyond that, they pay moderate attention to production and either they do not consider Health & Fertility as being important or they have yet to start to eliminate using bulls lowly rated for Healthy & Fertility.

Comparing to the Best

Further analysis showed that breeders, for whatever reason, did not use the most highly genetically rated sires. The following tables are comparisons of the most used sires and the breed’s top ten most highly rated proven and genomic sires from mid-2012, the time when the inseminations would have been made to produce the females that were registered in 2013. Note that the ranges for the averages are given following each average.

Table 4 contains the comparison for Ayrshire sires.  The sires used were far superior for type (CONF) but were inferior for Milk, Fat, Protein, Protein %, SCS and DF (daughter fertility) to the top LPI proven sires. Breeders that do not receive significant income from type are foregoing the opportunity for gain in major traits if they place a high requirement on a sire’s CONF index. Note that there was not a CDN listing for genomic Ayrshire sires in 2012.

Table 4 Comparison of Ayrshire Sires Used and Sires Available (2013)

TraitUsedUsed RangeAvailableAvailable Range
Milk (kg)667(343 to 1270)1210(343 to 1270)
Fat (kg)34(10 to 62)57(29 to 75)
Fat %0.1(-.13 to .33)0.11(-.14 to .34)
Protein (kg)25(9 to 48)50(-.06 to.28)
Protein%0.02(-.06 to .18)0.11(-.06 to .28)
CONF81 to 12)2.81(2.55 to 3.12)
CONF8(1 to 12)1(-5 to 9)
SCS3.01(2.67 to 3.47)2.81(2.55 to3.12)
DF100(92 to 109)104(100 to 108)
HL103(92 to 112)105(92 to 112)

The comparison for Holstein sires of used and available (Table 5) shows some interesting facts.  Breeders, here again, want their sires to be high type and high fat % and are prepared to give up Milk and Protein to get that higher type and fat %. The genomic sires available far exceed both the most used and top proven for Milk, Fat and Protein yields.

Table 5 Comparison of Holstein Sires Used and Sires Available (2013)

TraitUsedUsed RangeTop Ten Proven AvailableProven Available RangeTop Ten Genomic AvailableGenomic Available Range
Milk (kg)506(-170 to 749)1075(359 to 2907)2027(1276 to 2488)
Fat (kg)49(38 to 68)52(38 to 74)73(63 to 97)
Fat %0.31(.14 to .58)0.18(-.21 to .42)0.09(-.17 to .31)
Protein (kg)25(5 to 45)50(20 to 73)75(65 to 85)
Protein%0.06(-.03 to .22)0.13(-.12 to .30)0.09(-.04 to .28)
CONF12(6 to 18)8(-1 to 13)10(6 to 14)
SS2.88(2.59 to 3.17)2.83(2.59 to 3.16)2.82(2.73 to 2.99)
DF100(92 to 107)102(95 to 108)102(96 to 106)
HL107(99 to 116)107(103 to 116)109(105 to 113)
 

In the Jersey sires (Table 5) used compared to proven available, the major difference is in SCS. The most used sires are quite inferior in SCS to the top ten proven sires available.  Again as in Holsteins, the Jersey genomic sires stand out for their superiority for Milk, Fat and Protein yields. In the Jersey sires the ranges around the averages are larger than in Ayrshire or Holstein.

Table 6  Comparison of Jersey Sires Used and Sires Available (2013)

TraitUsedUsed RangeTop Ten Proven AvailableProven Available RangeTop Ten Genomic AvailableGenomic Available Range
Milk (kg)448(-799 to 1401)362(-217 to 1172)1313(772 to 1946)
Fat (kg)41(-12 to 80)43(25 to 81)74(62 to 95)
Fat %0.21(-.1 to .64)0.36(-.1 to .79)0.12(-.21 to .34)
Protein (kg)29(-22 to 54)28(9 to 67)52(38 to 69)
Protein %0.13(-.01 to .26)0.21(.06 to .39)0.02(-.11 to .14)
CONF5(0 to 13)4(1 to 6)3(0 to 7)
SCS3.02(2.80 to 3.20)2.85(2.65 to 3.19)2.95(2.73 to 3.11)
DF100(92 to 111)102(92 to 114)100(96 to 106)
HL101(94 to 107)102(95 to 107)102(99 to 104)

Factors Needing Consideration

When selecting sires to use in the future, breeders everywhere need to consider the following facts:

  1. Global demand for cheese is increasing and so a sire’s genetic index for protein yield is important.
  2. Breeding stock sales based on type are not as financially rewarding as they once were (Read more: An Insider’s Guide to What Sells at the Big Dairy Cattle Auctions and Where did the money go?).
  3. Total merit indexes (TPI, NM$, LPI, etc.) should to be based on genetic needs five to ten years in the future.
  4. The genetic merit of our dairy cattle for fertility must be improved.
  5. Sires with even one significant limiting factor should be avoided.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The perfect bull does not and likely never will exist. Every breeder will have their own genetic goals for their herd. The time has come for breeders to start planning five to ten years out and to avoid sires that will leave more culls at younger ages, extra expense per cow and added labour per cow.  For most breeders that means not using sires that are not in the top 25% (>74%RK) for all of gLPI, Production, Durability and Health & Fertility.

 

 

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Everyone is looking for sires that will give them the fastest rate of genetic advancement.  The problem is those sires don’t always appear at the top of the TPI or other Index lists.  That is why, here at the Bullvine, we have listed  the fastest genetic advancement sires.  We also want to keep it relatively simple, so similar to aAa, we will give you the sires that are best in each of the five corrective mating areas that producers are most concerned about – balance, production, longevity/durability and health and fertility.  The following are our resulting recommendations from the April 2014 Genetic Evaluations:

Overall Performance Improvement

When it comes to an overall performance sire, we are looking for those sires that excel in three key areas – production, durability and health & fertility.

Capital Gain

Stantons Capital Gain80HO06053
Stantons Capital Gain
Mccutchen x Observer x Shottle

From the REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA    DOM GMD   6* mostly known for their high type numbers comes a very balanced sire – CAPITAL GAIN.   Adding to the female side of the pedigree is a sire stack that reads like a who’s who (McCutchen x Observer x Shottle x Champion x Durham x Juror x Aerostar).    CAPITAL GAIN ranks in the top 1% of the breed for the major categories.   He is over 2000lbs of milk, 4 points for PTAT and productive life and health and fertility.  Some areas that he will need to be watched for are his short teats, high rump angle and loin strength, as well as the set and curve of his read legs.  CAPITAL GAIN’s chromosomal test would indicate that he should also be a strong sire of sons, as he possesses a very dominant maternal contribution to his genetic evaluations.

 

 

 

Picardus

029HO14825
Pine-Tree Picardus
Planet x O Man x Rudolph

A grandson of WESSWOOD-HC RUDY MISSY EX-92 3E GMD DOM that may not be on everyone’s radar but should be is PICARDUS. He is the 2nd highest new release sire this round (Read more:  April 2014 US Holstein Sire Proof Highlights).   Picardus’ dam is an Oman daughter of Missy. As his sire stack would indicate, Picardus has a strong production proof with good components. While his +1.92 PTAT may have some wondering how he could make the balanced sire list, his daughters are very functional and possess open ribs and high wide rear udders.    While his overall feet & legs score is an area for improvement at +0.61, his feet & legs are strong enough in the key areas.  Picardus’ official daughter proof is only 31 points below that of his initial genomic proof of April 2011 at +2239 gTPI.

 

 

 

Denver 1426

Mr Mogul Denver 1426151HO00690
Mr Mogul Denver 1426
Mogul x Robust x Planet

An interesting balanced outcross sire that catches our eye comes from the WINDSOR-MANOR RUD ZIP EX-95-4E-USA  DOM GMD  1* is DENVER 1426.  He is a Mogul from the popular genomic bull mother MISS OCD ROBST DELICIOUS VG-86 GTPI+2546 who was the No.1 cow on the Locator List.   At over 2000lbs of milk, almost 3 points on type and 4.7 for productive life, DENVER 1426 possesses a very balanced genomic proof that is above his already high parent averages.   His strong maternal line indicates that he should be a strong sire of daughters but may not be an extreme sire of sons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eraser P

Kerndtway Eraser P07HO12229
Kerndtway Eraser P
Earnhardt P x Observer x Shottle

There is no question that polled sires are gaining rapidly on those sires at the top of the list.  One of those sires that is leading the charge is ERASER P.  With 145 lbs combined fat and protein, almost 3 points on type, +4.0 PL and strong health and fertility numbers, ERASER P offers an outstanding balanced polled option.  One area that you will want to protect ERASER P on is his body depth.  While his daughters will not be dominating the tanbark trail, they will have strong udders with great texture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Production

Instead of just giving you the top overall production sires, we understand that you still need to have some emphasis on durability and health traits.  Therefore, we put a heavy weighting on production (66%) but did not forget those   two key areas.  The following are the sires that stood out the most for us:

Josuper

Uecker Supersire Josuper29HO17553
Uecker Supersire Josuper
Supersire x Beacon x Jango

While his prefix may not be known to many breeders, this Supersire son is certainly going to get a lot of attention.  At +2499 gTPI JOSUPER is the highest TPI sire over 2800 lbs of milk.  Combine that with positive deviations for fat and protein and there is no question that JOSUPER will give you a strong production kick when needed.  While his type evaluation is very functional, a couple of areas to protect him on include his rump angle and the set of his rear legs.  With a strong maternal chromosomal contribution JOSUPER should also be a strong sire of sons.  This is something we have found to be very typical of high production sires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robust

Roylane Socra Robust07HO10524
Roylane Socra Robust
Socrates x O Man x Manat

In addition to JOSUPER, those breeders looking for a proven sire with a strong production kick should be considering ROBUST.  Already a heavily used genomic sire, ROBUST’s proof indicates that he is the real deal.  (Read more: )  Robust has proven to be a great performance improver. He is a high NM$ (+834) Velvet-View-KJ SOCRATES-ET (EX-94-GM) son from Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror (VG-86-DOM). He transmits exceptional components (+.15% Fat, +102 Fat, +.05% Protein, +64 Protein) and outstanding longevity (+5.2 Productive Life). A Calving Ease and relative outcross sire, ROBUST moderates stature and adds height and width to the rear udder. Robust will work best on tall deep cattle that need feet and leg improvement.

 

 

 

 

Montross

Bacon-Hill Montross07HO12165
Bacon-Hill Montross
Mogul x Bolton x AltaRolex

Inbreeding is certainly becoming a greater and greater issue among the top sires.  An outcross production sire that caught our eye is MONTROSS.  As is typically the case with many true outcross pedigrees, his maternal side is not that well known.  But his dam UNIQUE-STYLE BOLTON MONEY EX-91 DOM has certainly become a popular bull mother, with 15 sons at 5 different AI units.  At +845 NM$ there is no question that MONTROSS will offer a great production kick and have enough durability, health and fertility to last.  At over 2 points for UDC and FLC MONTROSS has strong functional type but should be protected for straightness of rear legs and overall frame and capacity traits.  However, as we have seen from research in the past, you don’t need extreme frame traits in order to achieve extreme lifetime production.  (Read more: She Ain’t Pretty – She Just Milks That Way!).

 

 

 

Socrates P

Bryhill Socrates P151HO00703
Bryhill Socrates P
Supersire x Shottbolt x Goldwyn

A Supersire from the very popular polled bull mother VENTURE SHOTTBOLT SIZZLE P VG-86, SOCRATES P will give you a production punch with a polled kicker added in.   Following in his father’s footsteps, SOCRATES P offers strong production improvement with good health and fertility traits and solid conformation traits.  With +164 lbs of combined fat and protein, SOCRATES P is the highest component polled sire available in the world.  A couple of areas to watch for when using SOCRATES P is his rump angle (high) as well as overall frame and dairy strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longevity Improvement

There is more to longevity than just conformation numbers, as our very popular article  “She ain’t pretty she just milks that way” has demonstrated.  So with that in mind, instead of just giving you the top conformation sires we have also put weighting on production, productive life, and health and fertility.

High Octane

Stantons High Octane2080HO06052
Stantons High Octane
McCutchen x Observer x Shottle

Joining his full brother Capital Gain as a sire to use in order to improve longevity is HIGH OCTANE.  At +4.10 Type with a DGV for conformation at +23, HIGH OCTANE is certainly a breed leader for conformation improvement.  HIGH OCTANE combines that with +2096 lbs of Milk and over +4.2 PL, making him a conformation sire with a shot of production and a longevity chaser.  You will need to protect him on his % components and short teats.  HIGH OCTANE does offer a great alternative to those not wanting to use Capital Gain because of his high rump angle, as HIGH OCTANE’s genomic test would indicate that he actually sires low pins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

G W Atwood

Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood207HO10506
Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood
Goldwyn x Durham x Storm B/R

It’s really hard to discuss type improvement without including G W ATWOOD.  (Read more: The 10 Extreme Type Sires Most Likely To Sire the Next World Champion).  However unlike many of the top type sires who are negative for production and low fertility scores, Atwood actually has solid components and acceptable health and fertility numbers. Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate however he needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.  While you most certainly would want to protect him on production and daughter fertility, Atwood will add a punch of type to your high producing 2yr olds that, for whatever reason, may not be around for many more lactations.

 

 

 

 

 

McGucci

Mr Apples Mcgucci179HO00099
MR Apples McGucci
McCutchen x Regiment-RED x Durham

For those looking for something a little different and yet a pedigree that the market will be heavily interested in, there is MCGUCCI.  This McCutchen son is from none other than the world famous KHW REGIMENT APPLE-RED-ET CV EX-96 3E DOM (Read more: KHW Regiment Apple-Red – Beauty, performance, and even more record accomplishments).  While Apple has been long known in the R&W market for strong type, the family has been coming on strong in the overall index rankings over recent years.  Interestingly MCGUCCI is not from a grand-daughter, like the high indexing EASTSIDE LEWISDALE GOLD MISSY daughters that have come on so strong for that show winning cow, but rather he is direct from Apple herself.  While you certainly will need to protect MCGUCCI on his production, he does offer component improvement and strong health and fertility traits.  As is typical with the Apple family, you will need to protect him on rumps.

 

 

 

 

Champ P

All-Riehl Ladds Champ138HO05307
All-Riehl Ladds Champ
Ladd-Red x Super x Shottle

In addition to Eraser P, those breeders looking for a polled sire to improve longevity should consider CHAMP P.  CHAMP P’s dam TRULEA SUPER CHARITY7296-ET VG-88 was the number 23 gTPI cow on the locator list (GP-83 or higher).  Behind that are 3 EX dams so it’s no wonder CHAMP P comes to the top of the list.  But what really catches our attention is his +7.1 PL and positive components.  These are exactly what you need when looking for longevity improvement.  You will need to protect CHAMP P on his body depth and rump angle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Fertility Improvement

There is no question that management is key when improving overall herd health and fertility. Having said that, with the introduction of genomics and the increased reliability, it is now becoming more and more important for your breeding programs to look at health and fertility traits and sires that excel in those areas. Here are some that you should take a closer look at.

Yoder

Woodcrest Mogul Yoder207HO12266
Woodcrest Mogul Yoder
Mogul x Planet x Buckeye

While Capital Gain, Josuper, High Octane, Denver 1426 are all sires to consider when looking for health and fertility improvement, an extreme outlier sire that you should consider is YODER.  His genomic test is 7% higher than his parent averages and his production predicted daughter deviations are some of the highest in the breed. These high ratings contribute to his #9 overall ranking on the top genomic TPI young sires list. (Read more: The Number That Will Change the Way You Look At Genetic Evaluations Forever…) YODER comes from a long line of high production cows and is a direct descendant of the well-known brood cow, Milkworth Manfred Yadda (VG-86-GMD-DOM).  He ranks high for Net Merit (NM$) (+924) and Cheese Merit (CM$) (+1,002).  YODER is a fitness trait specialist with low Somatic Cell Score (SCS) (2.74) and terrific Productive Life (PL) (+5.3).  While results are sure to be highly variable, Yoder will certainly be worth taking the shot on if you are looking to produce that next generation of extreme production daughters and sons from a large framed high production cow.  If you are looking for more on outlier sires check out The 10 Outlier Sires that will Accelerate Your Genetic Gain the Fastest.

 

 

 

AltaGreatest

Den-K Altagreatest011HO10928
Den-K AltaGreatest
Planet x Bolton x BW Marshall

The highest new release gTPI proven sire this round was Den-K AltaGreatest and he is also an extreme health and fertility improvement sire.  He comes in at #5 gTPI on the US proven list. AltaGreatest is from the Den-K Rudolph Cub Kiddy EX-91 2E GMD DOM family. An extreme production sire with high components, AltaGreatest also has functional type. Look for AltaGreatest daughters to have shallow udders with strong suspensory ligaments. One area the AltaGreatest daughters will need to be protected on is their rump angle and pin width. AltaGreatest will work well on your straight legged cows, as long as they have good foot angle.  It is interesting to note that AltaGreatest`s official proof is within 60 points of his initial genomic proof back in April 2011 of gTPI +2315.  For more new release highlights from the past round check out April 2014 US Holstein Sire Proof Highlights.

 

 

 

Pure

Ste Odile Pure200HO10024
Ste Odile Pure
Mogul x Man-O-Man x AltaBaxter

When looking for an outcross sire to improve health and fertility, there is Denver 1426, Yoder, Montross and PURE.  PURE’s dam, STE ODILE MANOMAN MOD PLATINE VG-86-2YR, is the #5 GLPI cow in Canada and is a full sister to the #1 GLPI cow in Canada for 3 consecutive runs, STE ODILE MANOMAN MODEL SAPHIR VG 2Yr.  PURE combines outstanding production (+2239 lbs Milk, +87F and +74P) with strong type (+3.17 PTAT, +2.91 UDC, +2.71 FLC) and outstanding health and fertility traits (+5.3 PL, +2.89 SCS, +5.9 Sire Calving Ease, +5.0 Daughter Calving Ease).  Pure will work best on big opened framed cows, as these are areas that he needs to be protected on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science P

200HO06584
Bryhill Science P Bryhill Science P
Numero Uno x Shottbolt x Goldwyn

For those looking to get really ahead of the marketplace, there is no better way to do than to combine polled and health and fertility traits.  In addition to Eraser P and Socrates P, there is SCIENCE P.  SCIENCE P is the Numero Uno brother to Socrates P by Shottle from VENTURE SHOTTBOLT SIZZLE P VG-86.   Look for SCIENCE P for average production with strong components. He will also offer a strong type improvement but needs to be protected on his rump angle. Where he will really shine is in his health and fertility traits (+4.1 PL, +2.68 SCS, +7.3 SCE, +5.9 DCE).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bottom Line

There is no question that the rate of genetic gain is as fast as it has ever been in the history of dairy cattle breeding.   What we are now starting to see is that the top genomic sires are becoming the top proven sires and the top proven sires numbers are holding better than the ever have before.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

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There is no question that breeding the next World Champion, World Dairy Expo Holstein Champion or even a Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion is the dream of almost every breeder who has ever entered the show ring.  The challenge is that achieving such a feat takes a combination of many factors.  First you have to have the genetics to win.  Then you need to have the will to win.  And of course, then everything must come together on show day if you are to achieve that dream.  In looking at the first part of this equation, there is no doubt that breeding is part science and part art form.  But at least from the science part, we thought we would take a deeper look.  So we went looking for two key things, first those sires that excel in those traits that are in demand in the show ring, and secondly those sires that  have the ability to produce the extremes, not just the averages.  You see we are not wanting those sires that will give you five out of  five VG-85-2YR olds.  We are wanting those sires that stand the best chance of giving you that 89 point2YR old that turns into your 97 point mature cow, which can then contend for all the big show awards.

An Explanation about Outliers

The easiest way to find outliers is to compare two sires for their daughters’ performance.  Then identify those sires that have the greatest deviation from their average daughter.  This is not to be confused with Type scores in the US that are expressed in Standard Deviations.  The best way to describe this is by an example.

Let’s say we have two bulls each with 10 daughters.  The following table shows their level of improvement for type across the 10 Daughters.

daudevconfind

Both of these sires would have an average improvement of 12 points.  Hypothetically if this was the whole population of their daughters they both would get the same conformation score.  The problem is they are two very different sires and the numbers tell us that.  However these are not the numbers that most breeders get to see.

Looking closer we see that Bull A daughters have a range of 18 points while Bull B’s daughters only range 4 points.  Sure both bulls, on av
erage, will perform the same but, when you are looking to breed for the extremes (such as show breeders are), or you are wanting to produce the most consistent results possible, you need to know these differences between bulls.  (Read more: Duds and Studs – Why you shouldn’t use the same sires as the AI units).  This is also the reason you will often see AI units using a sire of sons that is maybe not #1 on the list, but rather a few places lower.  That is because he has exhibited the ability to show the greatest range in his progeny.  (Read more: The Number That Will Change the Way You Look at Genetic Evaluations Forever)

The following are the top 10 sires we found:

#10 –LAUTHORITY

COMESTAR LAUTHORITYCOMESTAR LAUTHORITY
HOCANM103455217
200HO05588

First let’s be clear about what we are talking about.  We are talking about breeding the next generation of World Champions.  There is no question that Goldwyn is dominating this generation, but who will be the next sire to achieve such greatness.  So it’s only natural that at least a couple of Goldwyn’s make the list.  Lauthority, a Goldwyn from the great Laurie Sheik family, may not be as much an extreme sire higher up on our list, as he is more of a mister consistent sire, but his tall dairy daughters are just too special to not have on our list.  His daughters can tend to be a little flatter in the loin than would be desired, but his extreme mammary systems, combined with wide rumps will certainly catch the eye of many judges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#9 – GOLDEN DREAMS

HEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMSHEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMS
HOGBRM642262
206HO00148

The 2nd Goldwyn sire on our list is HEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMS.  This full brother to Atwood had a very impressive showing at the recent Italian National Show (Read more: Cremona Italy National Holstein Show Results).  Golden Dreams actually has higher genomic tests for all the major conformation traits than Atwood, especially in rumps, an area that if I was going to fault Atwood on it would be thus area.  Golden Dreams daughters may not be as deep as Atwood’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VISION-GEN SHF MAXIMUS

#8 – MAXIMUS

VISION-GEN SHF MAXIMUS
HOUSAM69314816
076HO00647

It’s no surprise that the first genomic test sire on our list comes from one of the hottest genomic families in the world the Rudy Missy’s.  Maximus is an Atwood son from PINE-TREE SHOTTLE MINNIE, who is a sister to the popular type sire, Pine-Tree Sid.  It’s no surprise that when you put the cow family that produced Sid, combined with Atwood/Goldwyn bloodlines that the potential for greatness is there.  You can expect Maximus daughters to be tall, walk uphill and have extreme angularity, though you will need to protect him in the pin setting.  However, with a genomic conformation test that is 6 points higher than his parent average he certainly got the best these two great cow families had to offer (+20 vs +14).

 

 

 

 

#7 – SNOWY

LOOKOUT PESCE SNOWYLOOKOUT PESCE SNOWY
HOCANM108250917
200HO06610

For those of you who are not afraid of genomics, but rather see it as a way to get ahead, there is Snowy.  No surprise this genomic giant came from the De-Su, considering that De-Su seems to be the only breeder that is able to keep pace with the large genetic corporations.  (Read more: Dairy Breeders vs. Genetic Corporations: Who are the True Master Breeders?)  In Snowy you have some legends when it comes to producing sons.  Through Let it Snow (his sire) you have Broeks MBM Elsa EX 1* NLD and LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94 18*, both Golden Dam Finalists. (Read more:  BROEKS MBM ELSA – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist and LYLEHAVEN LILA Z – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist).  Through his maternal side you have another Golden Dam finalist MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92 GMD DOM 6* (Read more: MD DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) and DE-SU 7051 EX DOM.  It’s no wonder that Snowy is tied for the highest DGV Conformation test at +24.  Expect his daughters to be tall and dairy with great feet and legs.  While his rumps may not be great for calving ease, they should be fine for the show ring.

 

#6 – BROKAW

MR ATWOOD BROKAWMR ATWOOD BROKAW
HOUSAM140602463
007HO11118

In an era when it seems that genomic sires come and go quickly or, more accurately, are constantly being surpassed by the new hot sire, Brokaw has been able to stand strong.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall and have the necessary frame, dairyness and bolted on udders to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.

 

 

#5 – HIGH OCTANE

STANTONS HIGH OCTANESTANTONS HIGH OCTANE
HOCANM11696704
080HO06052

For those who are willing to take a flyer on a non-show family and a sire stack that may not be proven in the show ring there is the extreme genomic index sire Stantons High Octane.  High Octane also has a DGV for conformation of +24.  While his sire stack does not say it, his genomic conformation break down has High Octane built for the show ring.  He ranks in the top DGV’s of the breed for conformation, Mammary System, Dairy Strength, and Rumps.  The challenge for many breeders will be that there isn`t any show pedigree behind him even though he does trace back to the Barbie’s through Golden Dam finalists REGANCREST S CHASSITY EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 9* and her dam REGANCREST CINDERELLA EX-92-2E-USA DOM GMD 6*. (Read more: REGANCREST S CHASSITY – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist)

 

#4 – DILIGENT

CLAYNOOK DILIGENTCLAYNOOK DILIGENT
HOCANM11595050
200HO10095

A third sire with a DGV for conformation +24 is CLAYNOOK DILIGENT.  This early Velthuis Let It Snow is from the WINDSOR-MANOR RUD ZIP EX-95-4E-USA DOM GMD 1* cow family.  Similar to High Octane, Diligent’s pedigree may not read as a who’s who of the show ring, with sires like Snowman and a double dose of Planet, but if you have confidence in the genomic system, this sire is sure to deliver.  The nice part about Diligent is that there is no Goldwyn in his pedigree.  Therefore he can be an outcross sire to use on your Goldwyn daughters.  In fact Diligent is a nice conformation cross on the typical Goldwyn as he excels in both pin width and body depth without sacrificing the mammary system.

 

#3 – AFTERSHOCK

MS ATLEES SHT AFTERSHOCKMS ATLEES SHT AFTERSHOCK
HOUSAM65249839
094HO14105

While AFTERSHOCK daughters are not as silky or refined as many Goldwyn’s, he does make a great proven cross on your Goldwyn’s.  As proven by his Goldwyn brother, Atwood, there really is no question that the cross can deliver at the highest levels.  While you won’t typically get that all black heifer that the show ring loves, you will get extreme loin strength, feet and legs and dairy strength.  That is just what many Goldwyn’s require to take them to the next level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 – SAVIOR

LADYS-MANOR SAVIORLADYS-MANOR SAVIOR
HOUSAM71057277
200HO03855

The last of our genomic test sires and the greatest outlier in the breed for type is LADYS-MANOR SAVIOR.  This Lauthority son (#10 on our list), has insane genomic tests.  His genomic test for conformation +24 is tied for tops in the breed and is 10 points higher than his parent average (+14).  From the same cow family as that produced Shamrock, Savior’s third dam is LADYS-MANOR RUBY JEN EX-94-2E-USA DOM GMD.  When looking to produce an extreme outlier, you need to mate them to exactly such   an extreme outlier as this.  SAVIOR is that extreme outlier.  His linear is perfect for the show ring, and he will certainly leave a range in his daughters, as he is also a list topper when it comes to daughter deviation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – ATWOOD

MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOODMAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD
HOCANM8956379
007HO10506

Call it playing it safe, or call it the smart choice, either way you look at it, Atwood and his extensive use and consistent transmitting ability will certainly leave the most daughters that will contend with those of his sire Goldwyn.  There are so many reasons to choose Atwood.  First you have the magic Goldwyn on Durham cross, then you add in his dam who was  the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also had extreme conformation herself, winning Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going on to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade, Goldwyn, and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.  While he may not pass his sire in accomplishments, there is no question that Atwood is establishing himself as the heir apparent.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While playing it safe will certainly give you the most consistent type herd from top to bottom, sometimes you need to search for those outliers that can throw you the extremes.  In this list we give you a mixture of proven sires, genomic sires, and sires that are going to leave you some extreme ranges.  While you certainly must always consider corrective mating when breeding for the show ring, it’s also important to try some sires that will give you the extremes.

 

 

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Everyone is always looking for the next great sire.  That sire that is going to leave them with the #1 daughter or son on the lists.  The problem is with everyone using the same exact sires, from the same exact lists it can be hard to get ahead.  That is why you need to find those sires that have the ability to leave you with the extremes.

Outlier sires have the ability to throw you the son or daughter that is extremely high on genomic lists, well above parent averages and have what it takes to top the charts.  But they also typically have the ability to miss the mark.  They typically have the tendency to through you the largest extremes, so for every list topper they will leave you some that don’t measure up.  Why this is acceptable is that in today’s genetic marketplace, the revenues from the one list topper typically make up for the costs of the others that don’t measure up.

The following are the top 10 sires we found that offer the greatest rate of acceleration with the ability to produce the extreme son or daughter.

ZAHBULLS ALTA1STCLASSAlta1STCLASS

ZAHBULLS ALTA1STCLASS
HOUSAM71441918      011HO11425
NUMERO UNO x DORCY x TOYSTORY

Every now and then there comes a sire that seems to come out of no where.  Alta1stclass is one of those sires.  From a cow family that many have not heard of, Alta1stclass is certainly a development of the genomic era.  Alta1stclass is the 3rd generation in his family to score at least 5% higher on their DGV’s than their parent averages.  That is saying something in today’s current calculations where those progeny that test  at the extremes are regressed back to the rest of the pack.  While not a high production sire, Alta1stclass has strong components and functional type.  Those looking to breed the next VG-89-2YR will not be impressed with his dairy strength scores and his loin strength.  Alta1stclass will give you strong components, high functional type and great health and fertility.  Which when mated correctly will sure leave you the next generation of extreme progeny.

 

DE-SU11848 RAMBORAMBO

DE-SU11848 RAMBO
HOUSAM71813434     029HO17571
JEROD x SHAMROCK x MAN-O-MAN

Rambo has is it all, he is over 1800 lbs of milk with positive components and a near flawless linear.  More importantly he has extreme health and fertility.  Rambo is a Jerod from a Shamrock then CLEAR-ECHO M-O-M 2150 VG-87 EX-MS @ 2-06 DOM, who is in the top 50 gTPI cows.  Expect Rambo to be the sire of many bull mothers, though as we learned in analyzing sires like Goldwyn and O-Man, there seems to be a strong indication that sires that get the majority of their genetics from their mothers tend to not produce the next generation of sons.  Rambo only gets approximately 41% of his genetics from his paternal side, similar to Goldwyn.  (Read more: Why Braedale Goldwyn Wasn’t a Great Sire of Sons)

 

 

 

EDG RUBICONRUBICON

EDG RUBICON
HOUSAM72128125     151HO00681
MOGUL x ROBUST x PLANET x BOLTON

With a sire stack that reads like a who’s who of the genetics world, it’s not surprising the Rubicon will have the ability to throw you the extreme list toppers.  In fact the cow family behind Rubicon has been doing that for many generations with his 2nd dam being SANDY-VALLEY PLANE SAPPHIRE VG-87-2YR-USA.  Rubicon has extreme components with a combined Fat and Protein of +153 lbs and add to that over 2.50 on Type and he is in rare company.  But what really make’s Rubicon stand out is his sire stack that demonstrates the ability to sire extremes.  Similar to Rambo, Rubicon’s Chromosomal PTA’s would indicate that he will make a much better sire of bull mothers than a sire of sons.

 

 

 

PALMYRA LADD MAN-PLADD MAN

PALMYRA LADD MAN-P
HOUSAM71506037     007HO12161
LADD-P RED x MAN-O-MAN x REDMAN

For those of you who are looking for an outcross sire who packs a punch, LADD MAN is your guy.  With extremely low inbreeding and relationship values Ladd Man is certainly the high outcross sire and he is polled.  Don’t let the Man-O-Man in the pedigree confuse you when thinking he may not be an outcross sire as he gets approximately 72% of his genetics from his sire Ladd-P Red and only gets about 8% of his genetics from Man-O-Man as opposed to the expected 25%.  While certainly not a production sire by any stretch of the imagination, Ladd Man has strong percentage protein improvement, solid type and very desirable health and fertility traits.  For those breeders looking for an outcross sire to use on your high production cows, Ladd Man-P is perfect.

 

 

DE-SU11756 OCTAVIANOCTAVIAN

DE-SU11756 OCTAVIAN
HOUSAM71813342     029HO17509
NUMERO UNO x BOOKEM x SHOTTLE

If you are looking for more milk that Ladd Man offers then Octavian should do the trick.  With a genomic test that is 6% higher than his impressive parent averages, Octavian will certainly leave you some chart toppers.  At almost 2000 lbs of milk, over 170 combined lbs of fat and protein and over 2.70 for type and strong health and fertility traits, Octavian is the balanced sire that does it all.  More importantly Octavian is the top balanced breeding sire to get more of his genetics from his father than his maternal side.  Which has proven by sires like O-Man to be a key factor in being able to sire the next generation of sons.

 

 

 

 

COGENT SUPERSHOTSUPERSHOT

COGENT SUPERSHOT
HONLDM755898903
SUPERSIRE x SUPERSTITION x SHOTTLE

Looking for a shot of production?  Then Supershot will score well for you.  The pedigree behind Supershot is certainly not well known among breeders with last 5 of his 8  generations coming from Dutch breeding.  Behind that is the US cow family at Vir-Clar Holsteins, tracing through the highly acclaimed Tirsvad Patron Claire EX92.  He hails from the same line as the famous Koepon Classy’s and Anderstrup Claire family, known throughout the globe for its ability to breed high-ranking females and bulls on numerous different bases.  Supershot has an extremely high genomic test and his pedigree indicates that he should be able to sire those extreme production daughters many breeders are looking for.  Supershot is also the #1 genomic sire for Net Merit $ 1000.  Supershot should be protected on milking speed and dairy strength.

 

WOODCREST MOGUL YODERYODER

WOODCREST MOGUL YODER
HOUSAM72254526    007HO12266
MOGUL x PLANET x BUCKEYE

If milking speed is a deal breaker on Supershot, then look to Yoder.  Yoder is the extreme sire that is sure to ring the bell.  His genomic test is 7% higher than his parent averages and his production predicted daughter deviations are some of the highest in the breed.   (Read more: The Number That Will Change the Way You Look At Genetic Evaluations Forever…) While results are sure to be highly variable, Yoder will certainly be worth taking that shot on with a large framed high production cow from which you are looking to produce that next generation of extreme production daughters and sons.  How many genomic sires are over 160 lbs of combined fat and protein and over 3 points on type?  Two Yoder and Silver.

 

 

 

SEAGULL-BAY SILVERSILVER

SEAGULL-BAY SILVER
HOUSAM72156794     029HO17573
MOGUL x SNOWMAN x PLANET

Since Supersire put Seagull-Bay on the map (Read more: Charting the Right Course at Seagull Bay Dairy) everyone has been watching to see just who was going to be the next impact sire from this genomicly gifted family.  Now comes Silver who may just have a greater impact than even Supersire has.  Silver is a Mogul from the Snowman sister to Supersire.  Like Supersire, Silver has the ability to leave extreme production.  And just like Supersire he will have a significant impact as a sire of sons as well.  Ranking in the top 1% of the breed for Milk, Fat, Protein, Type, and Udders tells you that Silver is going to make a lot of noise before all things are said and done.

 

 

 

 

SANDY-VALLEY DREAMWEAVERDREAMWEAVER

SANDY-VALLEY DREAMWEAVER
HOUSAM71181872    029HO17576
SUPERSIRE x AltaMETEOR x SANDY

At over 1.0 for DPR and 2 points for HCR and under 8 for all calving traits combined with under 2.70 for SCS it’s no wonder that Dreamweaver daughters are going to last (+7.2 productive life).  To go with that Dreamweaver is over 2000 lbs of milk, over 120 lbs of combined fat and protein and over 3 points on type.  Not surprisingly he comes from a cow family that has made many dreams come true, as he comes from the SNOW-N DENISES DELLIA EX-95-2E-USA GMD DOM  5* family, well known for their ability to produce long lived sons and daughters.  Dreamweaver should be protected on body depth, set to their legs and angle of their rumps, but nothing that will interfere with the ability to last many long productive lactations.

 

 

 

DOUBLE-EAGLE RANSM KOBRAKOBRA

DOUBLE-EAGLE RANSM KOBRA
HO840M3012171355     147HO02472
RANSOM x EXPLODE x JUDD

In addition to Rambo, Kobra is an extreme health and fertility sire worth looking at.  Extreme components, and high type combined with breed leading health and fertility traits has this cow family emerging on every ones radar.  While not a family that contains generation after generation of VG or EX it is a family that test well genomically.  With Kobra being the third generation at least 5% higher on their genomic test than their parent averages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bullvine Bottom Line

In this era of pushing the genetic envelope those breeders looking to stay ahead, or at least at pace with the large genetic corporations are going to have to use outlier sires.  Sires that themselves have made significant gains over previous generations and have been genetically gifted the with best their parents had to offer.  Breeders are also going to have to exit the land of the safe and start using sires that throw more extremes.  These 10 sires are just those sires.  These sires are the 10 outlier sires that will give you the greatest chances at winning the genetics race.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

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One in ten.  Those are the numbers that AI units use when they’re making matings to get the next great sire.  You see   AI companies aren’t trying to produce the 10 best sires that they   possibly can.  No. They want that one extreme top of the pack sire that outpaces all of the others.  As far as they’re concerned, the other nine sires can have their throats cut. Just because a sires is a sires of sons, does not mean he will be a good sire of daughters.

For years we have all been guilty of it.

We, the breeders, talk to the sire analysts to find out what sires they are making contract matings to.  Then we try to decide which hot new sire we will use.  For some it is because we want to see our names in lights, or sire catalogues at least, for others it’s because they want to get rich.  The thing is we have had it all wrong.  (Read more: You’re Fired: The Future of the Sire Analyst) First of all you must realize that the Sire Analysts are not all wrong.  It’s simply that they had a different breeding goal than you do.  Sire analysts and their genetic teams back at the AI units are looking to get that one sire that could change the breed.  For their purposes, they can easily afford to get nine duds if just one of those sires turns out to be a super stud.  In today’s marketplace having that winner means they don’t even need to touch the other nine.

dude-600

But what does that mean for you the breeder?

You are the one left holding the bag or more accurately, left cutting the throat of the other nine sires born on your farm.  Not to mention the fact that you now have to milk the full sisters.   And furthermore, the problem becomes even more amplified, because you now have nine really expensive recipients for every sister that turns out.

Let’s plug the numbers on this.

After doing many different variations of the costs to produce these programs (Download the Bullvine Dairy Cattle Investment Calculator) we find that it costs at least $7,000 to get a calf on the ground.  So if you are having to produce 10 bulls to get the single one, that means that he’s costing you at least $70,000.  Now let’s look at the revenue side.  Sure studs will offer you open ended leases, but in order to move enough semen to get you $70,000 in commission checks, your sire would have to be a top 10 PA gTPI sire or #1 in a very popular niche, such as polled (Read more articles about Polled Dairy Cattle) or health and fertility (Read more articles about Fertility).  Anyone who has plugged the numbers in to see what it costs the average breeder to produce a top sire, knows that it just doesn’t pencil out into the black.  So it’s not surprising that we have seen many of the once very prolific sire producing breeders stop producing bulls all together.

That brings us to the female side of the equation.

Sure you can hope to get that one outlier on the female side as well.  But again where is the revenue?  It’s certainly not from selling the top females (Read more: An Insider’s Guide to What Sells at the Big Dairy Cattle Auctions 2013).  Not that you would be willing to because you need that female to produce the next generation.  So how do you make your money back?  It’s certainly not from getting enough milk out of the 9 other females to warrant the more than $100,000 it has cost you to produce those 10 females.

So what is a breeder to do?

The answer is pretty simple.  Breed for the kind of cow that makes you money.  That is the long lasting, high producing kind.  But instead of focusing on those sires that are just as likely to give you the great one as the next dud,  look for those sires that are more apt to produce consistent reliable results.  That means looking for the sires and cow families that consistently have high quality genetics generation after generation.  In truth one in ten does not make a Master Breeder even though can make for a very profitable AI company.

While bull studs are looking for those sires that produce the greatest range, meaning those that will give you the extreme high, and willing to take the risk in getting the extreme low, you need to look for the exact opposite.  You want the sire that breeds the most consistent pattern throughout their daughters.  When there is a consistent pattern to work with, then you can make that much better breeding decisions.  Most people equate reliability to consistency.  But that is not the case.  Reliability is more just the total amount of information, not how spread out their daughter population is.  Over the years there have been many great bloodlines that produce reliable results generation after generation, that the AI units typically do not work with because they are not likely going to give you a list topper.  In the past USDA and CDN made available how much variety each sires has in their daughter population for different traits, but now, you have to request such information.  This is probably the greatest information a breeder could have when trying to produce consistent results.

Without that information, you have to do two things.  First look at the pedigree and see the genomic tests to their siblings.  If they is an extreme difference between all the siblings, then you know this is more of a home run hitter instead of a hitting for average.  Second through maternal line.  Is the dam the only success stories in her family, is there a consistent pattern throughout the maternal line.  Lastly look at sire stack.  When in doubt I always go back to sire stack.  Very seldom do I have a sire the totally deviates from the tendencies of their sire stack.  Sure they will have much greater numbers, but I find that when it pattern is always the same.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

It really doesn’t matter what kind of cow you are breeding for.  Whether it’s the next World Dairy Expo Champion (Read more:  The Top 7 Sires of 2013 that will Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion and 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion) or the Index Superstar (Read more dairy cattle mating recommendations), there is no shortcut to success.  Instead of looking for one out of the park home run hitter, you need to look for the sire and matings that are going to deliver those strong team players that hit for average.  Sires that generation after generation deliver consistent results.  So next time you make your mating decisions don’t use the hottest sire of the day or the sire that the sire analyst told you to.  Use the sires that you know will deliver those consistent results seven out of ten times, because in today’s marketplace breeders cannot afford to be cutting the throats of the also rans and losers.

 

 

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On a regular basis The Bullvine produces lists of sires that meet the breeding goals of our readers. Since producing a list of 30 Sires that will produce Feed Efficient Cow$ a year ago (Read more: 30 Sires that will produce Feed Efficient Cows) we have done considerable research into what makes for feed efficient and lifetime profitable cows (Read more: She Ain’t Pretty – She Just Milks That Way!).

What is Efficiency?

Researchers from a number of institutions and countries are jointly studying which cows are the most feed efficient.  To date the studies continue and there are not yet definitive answers. In Hoards Dairyman in 2012 University of Illinois Professor Mike Hutjens brought forward a very interesting thought. His reasoning is that cows are fed a wide variety of diets and that it is the income over feed costs (net dollar returns after feed costs) that is the important factor when it comes to herd profit.

In research herds it may be possible to capture feed intakes but at the farm level it is currently not possible. Without feed intakes on a cow by cow basis it will not be possible to rank sires for their daughters’ feed efficiency. So, at least, for the immediate future the most practical thing to do will be to compare diets on their income over feed costs and to compare sires’ daughters on their ability to: 1) live is group environments; 2) get pregnant; 3) require minimal individual care; and 4) produce high volumes of fat and protein from low SCS milk on the feed they are fed. And, 5) they need to last for four or more lactations.

Bullvine Efficiency Index (BEI)

A year ago The Bullvine developed and published this index based on information from a number of sire listings. It has been very reassuring to see that with further investigation that this index continued to be a very good predictor for sires that will produce cows that will ring the bell when it comes to profit over a lifetime.

BEI = Production (45%) + Durability (30%) + Health & Fertility (25%)

Production = 30 Fat Yield + 50 Protein Yield + 10 Fat % + 10 Protein %

Durability = 17 Herd Life/Productive Life + 42 Mammary/UDC + 25 F&L/FLC – 8 Body Depth – 8 Stature

Health & Fertility = 46 SCS + 23 Daughter Fertility / DPR + 23 Udder Depth + 8 Milking Speed

Notes:

  1. Milk Yield is not included as it contributes to more udder strain and additional milk volume to be transported or on-farm water removal cost.
  2. The negative weightings on Body Depth and Stature reflect that larger cows require extra feed to grow to that size and to maintain that larger size each and every day compared to cows of more moderate size.
  3. BEI is calculated using CDN’s Custom Index Calculator.  An overall sire ranking is not possible using the calculator as it only allows quires for three groupings – Proven Canadian, Proven MACE and Genomically Evaluated Sires. Bulls are ranked for BEI within each list as a percent of the top bull on the list.

Young Sires Currently Being Sampled

Table 1 contains North American sires that are currently being sampled or will be sampled over the next few months.

NameSire StackBEI*Fat (kg)Protein(kg)SCSDFHLMammary
1. Seagull-Bay SilverMogul x Snowman100.00%128902.679911212
2. Brabantdale Let It RecordLet It Snow x MOM96.20%98922.789810713
3. Brabantdale Let It ReceiveLet It Snow x MOM96.20%98922.789810713
4. S-S-I Supersire MynorSupersire x Snowman95.70%136982.611011126
5. Silverridge V ExtremeSupersire x Snowman95.65%111942.8310111014
6. Welcome S S PeterpanSupersire x Bookem94.90%1251002.971031068
7. Lookout Pesce Ponde KooperMixer x MOM94.00%91882.710411212
8. EDG RubiconMogul x Robust93.60%113802.7410911510
9. Larcrest CommanderMogul x Observer93.40%99762.6110611414
10. Clear-Echo AltaprimoUno x MOM93.00%93772.7410411213

* BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index) – each sire’s ranking is as a percent of the top sire

The ten sires on this list are all very high for efficiency.  Their indexes for fat yield, protein yield, SCS, herd life and mammary are high. Breeders looking for a high all around sire should take a look a Rubicon.

Young Sires Recently Sampled

Table 2 contains North American sires that have been sampled and will be proven in 3 years.

NameSire StackBEI*Fat (kg)Protein(kg)SCSDFHLMammary
1. De-Su MG DivinciMogul x Watson100.00%116862.610211512
2. De-Su MuchoPeoti x Watson96.80%103842.6310411110
3. De-Su BalistoBookem x Watson94.70%104942.651021119
4. S-S-I Maurice HeadwayMaurice x MOM94.50%102692.5410111414
5. Bomaz AltaBettmanRobust x MOM92.30%115872.951051097
6. De-Su TopsyBookem x Watson91.40%104852.6310011211
7. Bomaz Robust ToolshopRobust x MOM89.70%118883.031041077
8. S-S-I Mogul MultiplyMogul Xx Robust89.60%95592.6910911714
9. Bush-Bros AltaBGoodRobust x Massey89.45%113892.891031108
10. Welcome Armitage PeskyArmitage x Jose88.90%97712.710611110

* BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index) – each sire’s ranking is as a percent of the top sire

This group of sires is high for efficiency but slightly more spread out than the sires in Table 1.  They are very high for fat yield, daughter fertility and herd life. Breeders that used Divinci will be pleased to see him heading this list but there are many other top all around sires. Divinci, Mucho, Blasito and Topsy are all sons of the high indexing dam, De-Su 199. AltaBettman and Toolshop are full brothers.

Next Proven Sires

Table 3 contains sires that will receive their daughter proofs over the next year or so.

NameSire StackBEI*FAT(kg)Protein(KG)SCSDFHLMammary
1. Seagull-Bay SupersireRobust x Planet100.00%122912.851051117
2. Genervation LexorMOM x Goldwyn96.85%90842.8610010710
3. Dirt-Road MOM CarrewMOM x Goldwyn94.85%93852.931051057
4. Leothe DextermanMOM x Baxter92.90%99662.7810211010
5. MR Man-O-Man 491MOM x Goldwyn90.30%84722.639710912
6. Mapel Wood LanyardMOM x Goldwyn89.20%80792.9810210512
7. Dirt-Road Mano ClementeMOM x Goldwyn89.10%96722.96991049
8. Spruce-Haven SiouxObserver x Goldwyn88.90%92682.7910010811
9. Cookiercutter HeftyMOM x Goldwyn87.70%77772.869910513
10. Misty Springs Number OneMOM x Shottle87.60%93603.0610110512

* BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index) – each sire’s ranking is as a percent of the top sire

This group of sires contains bulls that are both well known and not so well known to breeders. Supersire and Lexor stand out with high ratings in all categories contained in the table. Lexor and Lanyard are full brothers.

International Proven Sires

Table 4 contains the top ten BEI sires from the US Holstein and CDN MACE listings for top daughter proven sires.

NameSire StackBEI*Fat (kg)Protein(kg)SCSDFHLMammary
1. Roylane Socra RobustSocrates x Oman100.00%1167931051105
2. De-Su ObserverPlanet x Oman88.90%68662.8310411116
3. De-Su HistoryJardin x Shottle85.65%94732.77991058
4. Ballycairn Oman PelloOman x Goldwyn85.30%100872.641001061
5. Pine-Tree Oman ABCOman x Boliver84.80%86642.521021134
6. De-Su 538 HoorayPlanet x Shottle84.50%84662.9310310610
7. Kings-Ransom B RubleBolton x Boliver83.90%85902.99951029
8. De-Su ForkBolton x Shottle82.90%79522.659110715
9. De-Su AltagoalmanBolton x Oman82.85%101812.781001093
10. Bomaz AltaEnrichedBolive x Oman82.50%94762.99991074

* BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index) – each sire’s ranking is as a percent of the top sire

Robust stands out as the definite leader of this group for efficiency.  Ranked second with overall high ratings for all categories is Observer.

Canadian Proven Sires

Table 5 contains the top ten sires with Canadian daughter proofs.

NameSire StackBEI*Fat (kg)Protein(kg)SCSDFHLMammary
1. Mel-Crest AltaRazor(Baxter x Goldwyn)100.00%108502.7951119
2. UFM-Dubs AltaEsquire(Oman x Sam)91.50%108672.81051040
3. De-Su Authority(Joc x Oman)91.10%71852.911021075
4. Regancrest AltaIota(Oman x Ito)90.60%87682.861061159
5. Domicole Chelios(Baxter x Goldwyn)90.00%88472.788810613
6. De-Su Gillespy(Bolton x Shottle)88.85%68692.62981099
7. Freurhaven Niagara(Bolton x Goldwyn)88.35%85732.96991074
8. Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood(Goldwyn x Durham)88.00%65332.799310618
9. Mainstream Manifold(Oman x BW Marshall)86.50%88762.831041067
10. Oconnors Jay(Bolton x Durham)86.50%58703.189510311

* BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index) – each sire’s ranking is as a percent of the top sire

AltaRazor handily comes to the top of this group with high ratings for fat yield, SCS, herd life and mammary. Chelios stands out for his ratings for SCS, daughter fertility, herd life and mammary.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The genomically evaluated sires on these listings are more closely ranked than the daughter proven sires. As would be expected, none of the fifty sires are below average for herd life.  A few are below average for SCS and daughter fertility and would need to be correctively mated to females that excel for those traits (Read More: Let’s Talk Mating Strategies). Profit oriented breeders will find sires from these lists that can achieve the goals they seek for their herd (Read More: What’s the plan?, FACT VS. FANTASY: A Realistic Approach to Sire Selection and From Fantasy to Reality – Top sires to address herd culling problems).

 

 

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Dairy cattle breeders want different results from their herds. Here at The Bullvine we highly recommend that breeders have a plan or strategy for how they select (Read more: What’s the plan?) and also cull. The cows we have today differ greatly from what existed even forty years ago. Holsteins have superior udders, Jerseys give more milk. One important factor that all breeders are attempting to turn around is early culling for both genetic and management reasons. With high rearing costs it is no long financially wise to raise a heifer only to cull her before she has paid for her rearing costs. It can be that the heifer is not truly profitable until she is milking in her third lactation. To order to provide breeders with some insight The Bullvine decided to do some investigation into Productive Life (PL).

Productive Life – What’s In It?

When a cow reaches twelve years of age, the facts are accurately known on her productivity over her lifetime. For an older proven bull, once his daughters reach their third lactation we have very good indication of how long lived his daughters will be.  But in our fast paced breeding world we do not have actual results to rank heifers, young sires or even bulls with only early first crop proofs on their genetic ability to live long productive lives. What is done is that an animal’s genetic indexes for traits like SCS, reproduction, udders and feet & legs are used to estimate a PL index. The inclusion of genomic analysis in the calculation has resulted in the reliability for these indexes to increase to almost 60% from pre-genomics when they were less than 30%. Since so many factors, both genetic and non-genetic, affect longevity it will never be 100% accurate. However, on a population basis 60%, is a great stride forward.

What Bull Proofs Tell Us.

We found interesting results when we studied the top twenty-five PL daughter proven USA A.I. bulls from the December 2013 genetic index listings (USDA-CDCB and Holstein USA).

 Table 1 – Averages for Top 25 Dec ’13 Daughter Proven A.I. Sires

Averages for Top 25 Dec '13 Daughter Proven AI Sires

These averages are different than we would have expected them to be.  They are a much different group than the top 25 TPI™ or NM$ proven sires. They stand out by siring daughters that, on average, stay in the herd 6.7 months longer than the norm. That’s 2/3 of a lactation longer. They are positive but not high for milk, fat and protein. It was nice to see that they excel for SCS and DPR. (Read more: FACT VS. FANTASY: A Realistic Approach to Sire Selection)It is interesting to see that these bulls’ daughters have the ability to calve without difficulty. That makes sense – long lived cows avoid culling due to calving problems. What was most interesting was the fact that these sires did not produce daughters that were high for conformation. In fact they are only average for Body Composite (BC) and Dairy Composite (DC).  That raises the question “Are our conformation evaluations standards right when it comes to body traits for the Ideal Cow? (Read more: The Perfect Holstein Cow): A closer look at body traits showed the following averages: Stature 0.35; Strength 0.19; and Body Depth 0.02.  So the Holstein cows that remain in herds are not tall, strong or deep and from Dairy Composite we see that they are not even angular. Is that what commercial dairymen and breeders like Don Bennick are telling us? (Read more: NORTH FLORIDA HOLSTEINS. Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable!!) At any show ring you’ll hear ringside comments “she’s not tall enough, strong enough or dairy enough to win that class”. Maybe, just maybe, the judge was right when he won the class with the slightly shorter and not so wide cow that had a super udder and moved extremely well on the walk.

The Bullvine Holstein Model 2yr

The Bullvine Holstein Model 2yr

The Bullvine Total Performance 2 Yr Old Cow

The Bullvine Total Performance 2 Yr Old Cow

Further study of the udders and feet and legs of the daughters of bulls that sired longevity shows that the udders were firmly attached and had enough depth to carry moderate volumes of milk. The feet had moderate depth of heel, had intermediate set as viewed from the side and tracked straight when viewed from the rear.

As mentioned previously, the top TPI™ and Net Merit daughter proven sires are not uniformly in the top 25 for PL but some that are include: Superstition; Shamrock; Freddie; Planet; Bookem; and Observer. If you are looking for a Red sire that has high PL look up Fritz-Pride Tycoon-Red.

High PL Bulls for the Future

On the USDA-CDCB and Holstein USA genomic bulls list for top ranking PL sires there are nine bulls that are 8 or higher PL. Having cows stay eight months longer on average in a herd will have a significant effect on farm profit. Cows that live longer, are older give more milk and fewer replacements heifers are needed.

Table 2 – Top 10 Productive Life (PL) Genomic Sires for Dec ’13

Bull(NAAB Code)PLNM$TPI™SCSDPRDCEUDCFLCBCDC
Average8.479723112.582.844.862.31.650.660.63
River-Bridge Co-op Troy1HO110568.997525112.52.65.22.42.590.690.73
No-Fla AltaSecure11HO112498.779122432.653.44.52.10.970.140.12
No-Fla Altagenuity11HO113898.791224542.722.642.332.080.40.47
Deboer Jeeves Froggy506HO2478.564620472.64.17.31.171.560.120
Eildon-Tweed Sup Election14HO69718.478622672.591.96.11.910.470.521.28
Blue-Horizon AltaSuplex11HO111588.370722982.642.542.752.071.121.14
Cookiecutter Petron Halogen7HO120088.390625072.43.64.43.111.121.831.67
Richlawn Apple Adrian1HO108908.283523752.5735.31.961.980.760.04
Pine-Tree Castaway 2711506HO250878622832.512.64.92.542.370.280.28
Fustead Saleen29HO163367.962521252.62.12.92.681.250.760.53

These top ten genomic PL sires are an outstanding group. In addition to averaging 8.4 for PL they excel in SCS, DPR and DCE. Notice that their composite type ratings for body (BC) and dairyness (DC) are below their composites for udder (UDC) and feet and legs (FLC) similar to what was the case for the top ten proven sires (Table 1).  The Bullvine recommendation still holds do not use only one genomic sire across your herd. Using three or four of these top of the list genomic sires will add greatly to the genetic merit of your herd for productive life (PL).

On the genomic sire list there are nineteen sires that are higher than any of the daughter proven sires for PL and an amazing sixty-seven are 7.0 or higher for PL. For leading edge breeders wishing to add longevity, polled and Red simultaneously they should look at Lirr Special Effect-P-Red (106HO2864). His ratings are PL 6.3,  SCS 2.54, DPR 1.2, NM$ 609, TPI™ 2076, UDC 2.51, FLC 2.13, BC 0.15 and DC 0.10

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Having cows that genetically rank high for their ability to avoid culling for mastitis, reproduction, freedom from calving difficulty, udders and feet and legs will place the owner in a very good position for genetic sales and on-farm profit in the future. A minimum benchmark for PL to use when selecting a sire or buying embryos is 5.0. Going higher to over 6.0 for PL would be even better. Instead of monitoring why cows leave the herd a breeder should look to breed for cows that stay a long time in the herd. In the future a high PL will be important to all breeders.

 

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Our recent article on the relative merit of polled (Holstein) dairy cattle may not have garnered the attention of many breeders. (Read more: Polled Dairy Genetics: The Cold Hard Facts) But for those that are seeing the consumer writing on the wall and foresee the need to genetically take the horns off cattle, we wish to document what’s hot in polled.  Before considering the lists, we strongly suggest that you reflect on two things: 1) how you plan to generate revenue from the genetics in your herd; and 2) how you plan to decrease costs from using sires. (Read more: What’s The Plan?) The breeding business has changed (Read more: Where did the money go?) As you confirm adding polled to your sire selection criteria it is an excellent time to decide which index will be your primary one.

Decide. Don’t Ride the Fence.

Nothing’s perfect. That applies to which total merit index to use just as it does to the fact that there are no perfect bulls. However defaulting to using the bull your neighbour uses or the one that the semen salesman is promoting (Read more: Rumors, Lies, and other stuff Salesmen will tell you) is avoiding some very important planning for your herd. The financial future of your farm depends on using the index that will meet your needs five to ten years in the future. It is never too soon to plan for YOUR future.

Select an Index and Stick to It

Every major dairy cattle breeding country publishes a total merit index (Read more: Total Merit Indexes: Are they helping or hurting?).   The bull listings below are broken out by various indexes and bull groupings. This is a two stage process. Pick your index then pick your bull(s). I remind you that the Bullvine strongly recommends that, when using genomic bulls that you do use more than one or two bulls in order to spread risk. If you are looking to win in the show ring, we leave the formula you use up to you. Likely you will use PTAT or CONF as your primary selection criteria.

If You`re Undecided

If you are not certain on which index to use, The Bullvine recommends that for breeders who’s primary income is the milk check, you use NM$ or BEI.

Polled Bulls Ranked by gTPI

 Table 1 Polled Bulls Ranked by gTPI™

BullNAABSire StackgTPI™MilkFatProteinPTATUDCFLC
All-Riehl Ladds Champ P138HO05314GenomicLadd P x Superstition236369335403.392.51.76
Palmyra Lass Man P7HO12161GenomicLadd P x MOM224961534412.792.731.99
Lirr Outline P138HO5400GenomicMogul x MOM219996166353.023.112.79
Pine-Tree Overtime P200HO3936GenomicUno x Significant P219391287452.722.781.64
OCD Ladd Dogma P138HO5298GenomicLadd P x Elegant218284739333.23.182.13
Da-So-Burn MOM Earnhardt P7HO11464GenomicMOM x Lawn Boy P2174139667681.941.121.72
S-S-I Ladd Harper P7HO11947GenomicLadd P x MOM216651451442.162.152.19
Pine-Tree Ohio Style138HO5199GenomicStyle x Significant P2160202260551.061.21.25
Hahncrest Appl Jax P138HO5331GenomicColt P x Shottle215838919253.183.152.86
Pine-Tree Ohare P29HO16733GenomicStyle x Significant P2151201954521.61.381.96
Sandy-Valley Colt P Red7HO10904ProvenLawn Boy P x Bolton19198243271.92.091.48
Wind-D-Acres Snowball P76HO587ProvenShottle x BW Marshall185237640131.730.92.01

From Table 1 it can be seen that genomic polled bulls far surpass the proven ones when it comes to gTPI™.  All bulls in Table 1 are heterozygous for the polled gene and will leave 50% of their progeny polled.

Polled Bulls Ranked by gLPI

Table 2 Polled Bulls Ranked by gLPI

BullNAABSire StackgLPIMilkFatProteinCONFMammaryF/L
S-S-I Earnhardt Modern P7HO13030GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock32161566886912108
Pine-Tree-GF Remark P29HO16999GenomicSupersire x Toubib P31992123101761096
Stantons Equator P200HO6640GenomicEarnhardt P xObserver31931970858313116
Kerndtway Major P7HO12230GenomicEarnhardt p x Observer31351731737013117
Triplecrown AltaSunset P11HO11453GenomicEarnhardt P x Gerard31261798778110114
Hermanvll Harpoon P29HO17559GenomicSupersire x Toubib P312413859961897
Pine-Tree Homerun P29HO16996GenomicSupersire x Toubib P3119229384751088
Bryhill Science P200HO6584GenomicUno x Shottbolt309612678749141213
S-S-I Earnhardt Mastiff P7HO13028GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock3081124474661188
S-S-I Earnhardt Morton P7HO13026GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock304313067161997
Arron Doon WP Magna P RC151HO562ProvenBolton x Sept Storm264816066248998
Deslac Illegal P Red200HO6080ProvenLawn Boy P x Toystory22998552331693

Please note that not all polled sires are identified on the CDN system

Again note that genomic polled bulls far exceed their proven counterparts as in Table 1. All bulls in Table 2 are heterozygous for the polled gene.

Polled Bulls Ranked by NM$

Table 3 Polled Bulls Ranked by Net Merit (NM$)

Bull(NAAB Code)Sire StackNM$SCSDPRMCEPL
All-Riehl Ladds Champ P138HO5314GenomicLadd P x Superstition7082.551.65.66.7
Pine-Tree Ohio Style P138HO5199GenomicStyle x Significant P6892.820.84.74.4
Pine-Tree Ohare P20HO16733GenomicStyle x Significant P6552.830.95.85
Lirr Outline P138HO5400GenomicMogul x MOM6452.64-15.64.3
Palmyra Ladds Man P7HO12161GenomicLadd P x MOM6422.822.57.15.7
Rocher Arnitage Dozer P14HO7215GenomicArmitage x Lawn Boy P6152.780.66.63.7
Lirr Outcome P138HO 5323GenomicMogul x MOM6122.811.35.65.2
Lirr Special Effect P106HO2864GenomicMagna P x Lawn Boy P6092.541.2na6.3
Da-So-Burn MOM Earnhardt P7HO11262GenomicMOM x Lawn Boy P5893.040.94.82.3
Pine-Tree Overtime P200HO3926GenomicUno x Significant P5832.77-0.27.22.2
Wind-D-Acres Snowball P76HO587ProvenShottle x BW Marshall4142.640.45.43.4
Sandy-Valley Colt P Red7HO10904ProvenLawn Boy P x Bolton4022.81.26.94.2

For Net Merit ($) polled bulls are still far behind the 900+ values being seen today by horned bulls. That will change 3-4 years after breeders and breeding companies that use NMS as their primary index begin to place emphasis on having polled cattle. Compared to the gTPI™ list there is some re-ranking of the bulls at the top for Net Merit. In other words, there is not perfect bull.

Polled Bulls Ranked by BEI

Table 4   Polled Bulls Ranked by BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index)

Bull(NAAB Code)Sire StackBEI*F + PSCSDFDCAHL
Pine-Tree-GF Remark P29HO16999GenomicSupersire x Toubib P20001772.66107105112
Hermanvll Harpoon P29HO17559GenomicSupersire x Toubib P19911602.68105106115
S-S-I Earnhardt Modern7HO13030GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock19781572.66107110112
Stantons Equator P200HO6640GenomicEarnhardt P x Observer19251682.8103105106
Triplecrown AltaSunset P11HO11453GenomicEarnhardt P x Gerard18851582.89103107108
Kerndtway Major P7HO12230GenomicEarnhardt P x Observer18771432.7105109113
Pine-Tree Homerun P29HO16996GenomicSupersire x Toubib P18351592.73103105112
Bryhill Science P200HO6584GenomicUno x Shottbolt18231362.72103104112
S-S-I Earnhardt Morton P7HO13026GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock18091322.68107112115
S-S-I Earnhardt Mastiff P7HO13028GenomicEarnhardt P x Shamrock17721402.84109112110

* Expressed relative to a value of 2000 set for the highest animal in the group using the CDN Customized Index Calculator
Please note that not all polled sires are identified on the CDN system

For information on BEI follow this link (Read more: 30 Sires that will produce Feed Efficient Cows).  Between the top three bulls in Table 4 there is little difference when it comes to siring feed efficient cows. A s with Net merit (Table 3) bulls come to the top for BEI when they are rated for their daughters being moderate in stature and body depth, fertile, have moderate depth of udder, are able to resist mastitis, are able to calve in without difficulty (DCE or DCA) and have a long herd life.

PP Polled Bulls

Table 5 PP Bulls Ranked by BEI

Bull(NAAB Code)Sire StackBEI*F + PU DepthF & LHLDFDCAScs
Blondin Crasdale City PP200HO6625GenomicEarnhardt p x Colt P20001122 Shallow81111011053.07
Hickorymea Terrel PP7HO12277GenomicLadd P x Mr Burns1696833 Shallow61081041022.89
Kulp-Dale Golden PP Red106HO3109GenomicColt P x Goldwyn1298525 Shallow21101011042.78
Wind-D-Acres Ivan PP76HO676GenomicColt P x Planet1171712 Shallow21091011022.84
Ostretin Magua PP506HO252ProvenLawn Boy P x Ottawa P9581050110598992.87

* Expressed relative to a value of 2000 set for the highest animal in the group using the CDN Customized Index Calculator
Please note that not all polled sires are identified on the CDN system

The information in table 5 came from the CDN files (Most listings do not separate out PP bulls.) The only sure way to have all progeny born polled is to use PP bulls.  That will limited the total genetic merit of your herd but it will get you to a polled herd more quickly.

Lowering Inbreeding

For breeders using polled sires and interested in lowering the inbreeding level in their herd, we provide a list of bulls that are below average for their inbreeding level (the number in the brackets is their Inbreeding %): Man P (2.73%); Magna P (3.88%); Illegal P (4.46%); Trey PP (4.58%); Snowball P (4.67%); Colt P (5.20%); Earnhardt P (5.78%); and Terrel PP (6.01%).

The Bullvine Bottom Line

The great news is – there is more choice and increased genetic merit than ever before in polled Holstein sires. As we reported previously, polled animals have made significant gains in the last five years when it comes to their total merit indexes relative to horned animals. The Bullvine recommends that breeders include at least three polled sire in the group of sires that they are currently using. In five years you will pat yourself on the back and say ‘Good Decision’. Discerning consumers of milk products want to know that the milk products that they buy come from animals that are humanely cared for.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

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With each new proof round comes new sires, new rankings and, frankly, new headaches.  Wanting to do more than just pump out the same old lists that really do not mean anything to anyone but the semen marketers, or just promote the bulls from the studs who pay us the most money, the Bullvine took a look at the recent December 2013 Genetic Evaluations to find not only the list toppers, but a deeper look to find those unique sires that will address your key breeding challenges.

Overall Performance Improvement

When looking for the sire that  will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for sires that have a balance of production and longevity, and most importantly a proven pedigree that ensures that their performance  will last. We also wanted great health and fertility traits that will deliver a low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection). Here are our top four:

  • ROYLANE SOCRA ROBUST
    Socrates x O Man x Manat
    Proven Sire –  Select Sires
    +1464 lbs. Milk +0.12 %F  +87 lbs. F +0.04 %P +53 lbs P 5.5 PL 2.95 SCS +1.95 PTAT +2248TPI
    +1946 kgs Milk +0.41F +116 kgs. F +0.15 %P +79 kgs P +110 HL 3.00 SCS +5 Conf. +3188 LPI
    Long a popular high genomic sire, with his high debut in August and sustained numbers as he adds more daughters, Robust has proven to be a great performance improver. He  is a high NM$ (+765) Velvet-View-KJ SOCRATES-ET (EX-94-GM) son from Seagull-Bay Oman Mirror (VG-86-DOM). He transmits exceptional components (+.12% Fat, +87 Fat, +.04% Protein, +53 Protein) and outstanding longevity (+5.5 Productive Life).  A Calving Ease and relative outcross sire, ROBUST moderates stature and adds height and width to the rear udder.   Robust will work best on tall deep cattle that need feet and leg improvement.
  • KINGS-RANSOM B RUBLE
    Bolton x Boliver x Bombay
    Proven Sire -  ABS Global
    +2534 lbs Milk  -0.07 %F  +73 lbs. F -0.01 %P +72 lbs P 0.7 PL 2.95 SCS +1.84 PTAT +2067TPI
    +2978 kgs. Milk -0.25F +85 kgs. F -0.05 %P +90 kgs P +102 HL 2.99 SCS +7 Conf. +2953 LPI
    With so many O Man, Planet, Goldwyn, Shottle, and Freddie sons dominating the lists, it nice to see a sire like RUBLE ranking among them.  The cow family behind RUBLE features five consecutive generations of AI bull mothers. RUBLE’s five closest dams all produced milk records in excess of 32,000 lbs. RUBLE’s grand dam, Bombay Rale was a tremendous brood cow leaving 6-VG & 4-EX daughters in the herd by seven different sires.  RUBLE daughters are moderate stature and dairy. Protect for strength as they can be narrow through the chest. Udders are everything  you would  expect from the two popular pedigrees. High, wide rear udders, smooth blending fore udders, and a deep seam to carry their high production through many lactations. Daughters track straight with a correct foot, though you need to protect for a slight set to rear legs and protect rumps for pin width.
  • SILVERRIDGE V WICKHAM
    Mogul x Snowman x Planet
    Genomic Sire – Semex
    +1964 lbs Milk  +0.04 %F  +81 lbs. F +0.01 %P +61 lbs P 4.3 PL 2.68 SCS +3.31 PTAT +2446 TPI
    +2516 kgs. Milk +0.07F +100 kgs. F +0.01 %P +82 kgs P +113 HL 2.69 SCS +18 Conf. +3483 LPI
    Wickham’s high genomic numbers should not surprise anyone.  Coming from the same family that has produced genomic giants, Epic, Emmet and many others.  Wickham is an early Mogul son from the Whittier-Farms Lead Mae family.  Look for Wickham to sire tall angular daughters with average depth.  Expect great mammary systems and feet and legs though he should be protected on straightness of leg and chest width.
  • DE-SU 11236 BALISTO
    Bookem x Watson x O Man
    Genomic Sire – ABS Global
    +1725 lbs Milk  +0.12 %F  +96 lbs. F +0.01 %P +78 lbs P 4.3 PL 2.71 SCS +2.72 PTAT +2424 TPI
    +1923 kgs. Milk +0.31F +104 kgs. F +0.30 %P +94 kgs P +111 HL 2.54 SCS +10 Conf. +3409 LPI
    For those of you looking for a high genomic outcross sire, Balisto can certainly do the trick.  Balisto is the Bookem brother to the #1 gLPI sire in the world De-Su Mg Davinci 11288.  Their dam is the outcross Watson daughter of Pine-Tree Missy Miranda (Full sister to De-Su 199 Chart Topper), then of course Wesswood-HC Rudy Missy herself.   Look for Balisto to sire outstanding components, with solid type and health traits.  Balisto will need to be protected on rumps as he  will tend to have a high rump angle and will be a touch weaker in the loins.

Production Improvement

It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production. We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility, so we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without sacrificing everything to get it.  In addition to Robust, Ruble and  Balisto mentioned above, some other production improvement sires to consider include:

  • FLEVO GENETICS SNOWMAN
    O Man x BW Marshall x Aaron
    Proven Sire
    +2075 lbs Milk  -0.03 %F  +67 lbs. F -0.01 %P +61 lbs P 1.9 PL 2.79 SCS +2.43 PTAT +2109 TPI
    +3059 kgs. Milk -0.15 F +98 kgs. F -0.03 %P +94 kgs P +104 HL 2.67 SCS +11 Conf. +3112 LPI
    When it comes to production improvement it is hard to argue with  Snowman.  While many people are mixed on Snowman daughters, there is no question that they know how to milk.  Snowman is your classic milk bull. He has extreme component yields with average type.  However,  as history teaches us, extreme sires are exactly  the ones that we need to use most in order to accelerate genetic advancement.  While  not high type, Snowman daughters are surprising many by being solid VG  milk cows.  He certainly needs to be protected for fat percentage and straight rear legs and most definitely DPR.  But if you have the high fat percent heifer or cow that needs an instant production hit, Snowman is the man.  Since semen is in limited supply maybe consider a couple of his sons, full brothers SEAGULL-BAY PLATINUM or DIAMOND or maybe S-S-I SNOWMAN MAYFLOWER.
  • MARS ALTAFIXMAN
    Fibrax x O Man x Sinatra
    Proven Sire – Alta Genetics
    +911 lbs Milk  +0.19 %F  +84 lbs. F +0.12 %P +60 lbs P 0.3 PL 3.13 SCS +0.91 PTAT +1986 TPI
    +1246 kgs. Milk +0.52F +100 kgs. F +0.36 %P +78 kgs P +104 HL 3.22 SCS +3 Conf. +2918 LPI
    With the exception of O Man,  most breeders would probably never have heard of many of the sires in AltaFixman’s pedigree.  That’s mostly a result of the international genetics marketplace these days, as his sire, Fibrax is from Italy and his dam, FROUKJE 375 is from the Mars herd in The Netherlands.  But don’t let this relatively unknown pedigree scare you.  It is actually based on generation after generation of strong type and production. Although his overall Milk numbers may seem average,  his components are out of this world.  At +.19%F +84 lbs of Fat and +.12%P +60lbs of Protein, AltaFixman is certainly a strong component punch whenever you need it. Type wise look for AltaFixman to sire good all around solid cows that could be protected on median suspensory ligament and body depth. As an added bonus, since AltaFixman is such a non North American pedigree, he is certainly an outcross to most North American cattle.
  • SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE
    Robust x Planet x Shottle
    Genomic Sire – Select Sires
    +2342 lbs Milk  +0.08 %F  +107 lbs. F +0.02 %P +75 lbs P 5.4 PL 2.80 SCS +2.38 PTAT +2413 TPI
    +2586 kgs. Milk +0.25F +122 kgs. F +0.06 %P +91 kgs P +111 HL 2.85 SCS +9 Conf. +3395 LPI
    Of course it’s hard to mention any  production improvement without including Supersire.   This Robust son from AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA, really is a genomic wonder. Not only does he have the highest genomic values in the breed for production but he also has great functional type and health traits to go with it. Here you have a sire that is 2342 lbs. for milk, with positive component deviations, 2.38 for type, and over +5 for productive life.  Supersire daughters and sons are already topping many of the lists.  While Supersire daughters will not be winning many shows, his no holes type linear has resulted in his widespread  use and so far he has delivered on all expectations.
  • BUSH-BROS ALTABGOOD
    Robust x Massey x Boliver
    Genomic Sire – Alta Genetics
    +1603 lbs Milk  +0.13 %F  +93 lbs. F +0.09 %P +71 lbs P 4.5 PL 2.85 SCS +2.41 PTAT +2373 TPI
    +858 kgs. Milk +0.41F +113 kgs. F +0.28 %P +89 kgs P +110 HL 2.89 SCS +7 Conf. +3256 LPI
    Another Robust son that should certainly get your attention is AltaBgood.  While not an international pedigree like AltaFixman, AltaBgood’s pedigree will not spark instant recognition for most breeders.  What you do get is generation after generation of genomic performance that is higher than their parent averages.  While those wanting pedigree power to go with the genomic test may not want to use AltaBgood, those that have confidence in the genomic system should  certainly take a look.  Like AltaFixman, AltaBgood will also sire extreme component improvement (+.13%F +93lbs F +.09%P +71 lbs P).  He combines these outstanding components with a strong type linear and average health traits.  AltaBgood will need to be protected for high pins and dairy strength.

Longevity Improvement

While some would try to tell you that high type equals longevity, that is not necessarily the case.    When it comes to longevity, it’s  hard to argue with actual performance indices like Herd Life and Productive Life.  In order to give a more balanced approach to longevity, we looked at both and came up with the following top sires:

  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY
    Bolton x Bret x Rudolph
    Proven Sire – ABS Global
    +1603 lbs Milk  -0.04 %F  +46 lbs. F -0.01 %P +46 lbs P 4.9 PL 2.70 SCS +3.00 PTAT +2267 TPI
    +1721 kgs. Milk -0.16F +48 kgs. F -0.02 %P +53 kgs P +114 HL 2.67 SCS +13 Conf. +2971 LPI
    Another popular genomic sire that has become a mainstay on the proven sire lists is Dorcy.  DORCY offers breeders a little different pedigree with no O Man, Planet, Goldwyn or Shottle  in it. The impressive combination of type and production from his cow family and daughters are readily evident in DORCY’s proof with +1603M +46F +46P +623NM 2.70SCS +4.90PL and +3.00T +3.22UDC +3.07FLC. He has good ratings for all functional traits except for calving ease. Breeders interested in a Bolton son from an outcross pedigree, top notch udders, very good feet & legs and functional traits may consider Dorcy. Dairy Strength and Rump are only slightly above breed norms.  Look for Dorcy to sire balanced dairy cattle that have great udders and very good feet & legs, though he will need to be protected for  fat percent and dairy strength, specifically his body depth and chest width.
  • KINGS-RANSOM ERDMAN CRI
    Planet x Ramos x Bullet
    Proven Sire – Cooperative Resources International (CRI)
    +1156 lbs Milk  +0.11 %F  +71 lbs. F +0.02 %P +39 lbs P 7.7 PL 2.76 SCS +0.93 PTAT +2157 TPI
    +1386 kgs. Milk +0.36 F +90 kgs. F +0.06 %P +50 kgs P +112 HL 2.70 SCS +2 Conf. +2853 LPI
    While Erdman is a Planet son, the rest of his pedigree Ramos x Bullet x Brandon actually makes Erdman a relative outcross sire.  His pedigree also demonstrates one high productive life sire after another.  A product of the Genesis program by CRI, he has been built to sire highly profitable (+803NM$) cattle.  While many type breeders will not love his +0.93 PTAT, his 7.7 for productive life (112 herd life), his 2.76 SCS and 110 daughter fertility (+1.9 DPR) will certainly catch the eye of many producers. Expect Erdman daughters to have strong mammary systems and sound legs. He will need protected on foot angle, pin width and dairy strength.
  • JEANLU FIX
    Mogul x Observer x Shottle
    Genomic Sire – Semex
    +908 lbs Milk  +0.09 %F  +56 lbs. F +0.03 %P +36 lbs P 7.4 PL 2.49 SCS +3.01 PTAT +2417 TPI
    +1375 kgs. Milk +0.21F +73 kgs. F +0.08 %P +53 kgs P +119 HL 2.43 SCS +14 Conf. +3243 LPI
    Fix’s dam SPEEK-NJ OBSERV FANDANGO VG-86-2yr has the rare combination of being high index and from 8 generations of EX behind her (Read more: FERME J.P. POULIN: YOU’RE ALWAYS WELCOME! TOUJOURS BIENVENU!) a testament to the longevity of his maternal lines Combine that with the high productive life sire Mogul and you certainly have an unbeatable longevity package.  Look for him to sire great udders with  strong feet and legs though he may need to be protected on stature for some breeders preferences.
  • LONE-OAK-ACRES ALTAROBLE
    Mogul x Observer x Shottle
    Genomic Sire – Alta Genetics
    +1282 lbs Milk  +0.03 %F  +45 lbs. F +0.02 %P +50 lbs P 6.7 PL 2.64 SCS +3.12 PTAT +2426 TPI
    +1666 kgs. Milk +0.05 F +66 kgs. F +0.09 %P +63 kgs P +118 HL 2.63 SCS +14 Conf. +3273 LPI
    This seems to be the magic sire stack for longevity improvement.  With a linear that is off the charts and strong production numbers and health and fertility traits, AltaRoble certainly deserves your attention.  A +6.7 productive life, +2.4 Daughter Pregnancy Rate and +2.64 SCS certainly shows that AltaRoble not only has the type numbers, he actually has the longevity numbers to back it up.  Breeders may want to protect him on body depth and teat length.

Health and Fertility Improvement

With the constant improvement in the accuracy of health and fertility  index calculations, more and more breeders are confidently including Health and Fertility traits in their breeding requirements.

  • DE-SU OBSERVER
    Planet x O Man x BW Marshall
    Proven Sire – Select Sires
    +1416 lbs Milk  +0.00 %F  +43 lbs. F -0.01 %P +49 lbs P 5.9 PL 2.84 SCS +2.64 PTAT +2186 TPI
    +1973 kgs. Milk -0.05 F +68 kgs. F +0.02 %P +66 kgs P +111 HL 2.83 SCS +12 Conf. +3072 LPI
    Carrying the flag and riding the wave of the health and fertility trend is  De-Su Observer.  This sire has been the poster child for high health and fertility since his early genomic numbers came back and catapulted him into international use.  With his daughter performance validating his early numbers, Observer has to be one of the quickest sires in history to get to 99% Reliability.  His daughters stamp out a pretty consistent pattern with strong production and solid type.  Type wise he has actually performed pretty well, with daughters exhibiting outstanding udders (watch out for short teats) and solid feet and legs.  One area you will also want to protect him on is his dairy strength, as his daughters are certainly not deep and could stand to have more chest width.
  • ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE
    Bolton x O Man x Adam
    Proven Sire – Semenzoo
    +1562 lbs Milk  +0.02 %F  +53 lbs. F +0.01 %P +59 lbs P -0.3 PL 2.75 SCS +2.79 PTAT +2072 TPI
    +2084 kgs. Milk -0.05 F +73 kgs. F +0.07 %P +75 kgs P +104 HL 2.76 SCS +14 Conf. +3091 LPI
    With such a push on health traits over the past few years, it’s actually almost impossible to find an outcross sire on the top lists.  If you are one of the few that didn’t go heavy on Mascalese as a genomic sire, you certainly can take advantage of that now by using him or one of his many sons.   Possessing greater conformation than his sire stack would indicate, MASACLESE sires strong dairy cattle that are durable and possess good health  traits.   For those looking for a more outcross sire that is high for health and fertility, try Erdman mentioned above.
  • MR LOOKOUT P ENFORCER
    Facebook x Shottle x O Man
    Genomic Sire – Semex
    +1628 lbs Milk  +0.05 %F  +62 lbs. F +0.03 %P +68 lbs P +4.7 PL 2.76 SCS +2.42 PTAT +2348 TPI
    +1955 kgs. Milk +0.05 F +78 kgs. F +0.13 %P +78 kgs P +114 HL 2.82 SCS +13 Conf. +3352 LPI
    This Marbri Facebook son has some of the highest DGVs in the breed. Look for him to sire extreme component yields from strong dairy cattle with great feet and legs. One area to be cautious about, when using him, is his body depth. Both his sire stack and his DGVs would say this area needs protecting.
  • CO-OP UPD HUNTER SALVINO
    Hunter x Massey x Ally
    Genomic Sire – Cooperative Resources International (CRI)
    +1265 lbs Milk  +0.21 %F  +101 lbs. F +0.08 %P +61 lbs P +3.9 PL 2.81 SCS +2.46 PTAT +2401 TPI
    +1474 kgs. Milk +0.51 F +107 kgs. F +0.22 %P +72 kgs P +112 HL 2.78 SCS +12 Conf. +3353 LPI
    If you’re looking for something a little different and an outcross pedigree, try Salvino.  Another product of the Genesis program at CRI, Salvino is a 2nd generation product of this program. His dam’s sire, Massey, was one of the early success stories of this program.  Look for Salvino to sire strong component improvement with a solid type linear.  In a market place flooded with many of the same bloodlines, finding a sire that is a little different and yet still able to deliver top progeny can be a challenge.  Salvino may be your best option for a relative outcross sire that still can compete with the other top genomic sires.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We have stated it many times. In maximizing your genetic gain, you can’t just pick from the top of the TPI or LPI list.  You need to make sure that your matings are the best corrective cross.  Breeding great cattle is part art and part science. You need to have both parts.   It takes careful consideration and generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why, instead of just giving you a list of the top 12, we have tried to provide you with insight into which sires will provide you with the maximum gain in each specific area.

Check out our Genetic Evaluations Section for more information.

 

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Last year we took a lot of heat for putting a list of mostly Genomic test sires out as the bulls that would sire the next World Dairy Expo Champion (Read more: 7 Sires to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion).  The funny thing was that, as this past year unfolded, you started seeing more and more of the sires from our list – Atwood, Bradnick, and Brokaw heifers – were winning shows at the county and championship level.  Therefore, this year we thought we would take another look at just what sires, proven or genomic, stand the best chance of siring the next show winner.

#7 GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE

Atwood x Bolton x Shottle
Making the list for the 2nd year in a row is Dude.  Not to be confused with the Facebook sensation (He is One Ugly Dude).  Dude’s numbers are just too high to refuse.  Even if, or should I say “when”, his numbers drop, they are just too high to ignore.  This Atwood son from SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN has unbelievable genomic values for all major conformation traits, well above his expected parent averages.  Expect Dude to sire breed leading mammary system improvement and loads of dairy strength, though he will need to be protected on high pins.

#6 CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT

Atwood x Shottle x Morty x Bellwood
Dropping  from his #2 ranking last year to #6 this year is Airlift.  Like we said last year, while the female side of this cow family may not have won any major shows, they do have generation after generation of outstanding strength, frames and feet and legs, tracing back to the same bloodlines as the great CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN.  Combine that with Atwood’s udders and you have the potential for greatness.  Expect Airlift to sire extreme feet and leg improvement as well as rumps.  For the line breeding fans out there, Airlift would make a great cross with your Goldwyns.  He brings the needed rump and dairy strength improvement many Goldwyn’s need.  However, much like Allen, you may not want to use him on cattle that are extremely straight legged.  Airlift also makes a great option for those looking to sire show-winning calves as Airlift is almost over 4 points on all major type traits outside of mammary system.

#5 SILVERRIDGE AVALANCHE

Meridian x Man-O-Man x Goldwyn
New to the list, Avalanche is a kind of a sneaky sire.  His sire Meridian and maternal grand sire Man-O-Man, don’t say show type.  However, go one generation back from that and you have the Goldwyn sister to Atwood and Aftershock, Allyndale-I Goldwyn Albany-ET VG-87-2YR-CAN 1* from the great D-Delight Durham Atlee-ET EX-92 GMD DOM.  While some might be skeptical of the Meridian part in the equation, Avalanche has a DGV of +17 for conformation and excels in udders and dairy strength.  Combine that with the great feet and legs of Man-O-Man and back it up with a Goldwyn x Atlee cross and you start to see why this sire is worth your consideration.

#4 HEAVENLY GOLDEN DREAMS

Goldwyn x Durham x Storm
A newcomer to our list, but a sire that should get a lot of attention, is Golden Dreams.  The reason for that is he is the full brother to Atwood.  However, he actually has higher genomic tests for all the major conformation traits than Atwood, especially in rumps, an area that if I was going to fault Atwood is an area that I would protect him on, though Golden Dreams daughters may not be as deep.  The daughter pictures I have seen have them looking pretty similar to Atwood, so if you cannot get any Atwood semen, or want to protect your mating on rumps a little more, Golden Dreams may be the option for you.

#3 MR ATWOOD BROKAW

Atwood x Mac x Durham x Juror
Another returnee from last year’s list is Brokaw. The early Brokaw calves are pretty impressive.  Now he has dropped from his #1 rank from last year.  But what do you expect?  New genetics are coming out every day.  It’s only natural for a bull to drop in rank after a whole year has passed.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam  MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall and have the necessary frame, dairyness and bolted on udders to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.

#2 MR LOOKOUT PESCE ALTA5G

AltaKool x Atwood x Shottle
The number one genomic type sire in the world comes in at number two on our list (CDN DGV Conformation).  As we all know there can be a big difference between a high conformation score and a sire that can sire show winners.  While Alta5G does have a high stature rating, it is his lack of body depth that has him not at the top of our list.  He will give you outstanding udders with great feet and legs.  That makes him the ideal mating for that big deep old brood cow you have that needs to be cleaned up in the legs and snugged up in the udders.  You also will need to protect him on his rump angle as he is high even for the show ring.  Like Dude, Alta5G’s numbers are just too high to not take a look at, even if it’s for limited use.

#1 MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD

Goldwyn x Durham x Storm
Over the past year I have had the opportunity to go to many shows and see daughters from many different sires.  While Goldwyn’s still dominate in the older cow classes, if I had to choose a sire that would get the job done, outside of Goldwyn, it would be Atwood.  First you have the magic Goldwyn on Durham cross, then you add in his dam who is the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going on to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade, Goldwyn, and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.  While he may not pass his sire in accomplishments, there is no question that Atwood is establishing himself as the heir apparent.

Again a Note on Goldwyn

Yes, I acknowledge that Goldwyn has been the most dominant show ring sire of the past decade.  Moreover, he has done so like no other ever before him.  But there comes a point where you have to use something on your Goldwyn’s.  That means you can either line-breed as some of the greats have done in the past and use sires like Atwood and his sons, or you can corrective mate and go with sires like Alta5G or Avalanche.

The Bottom Line

As we will see next week, everyone loves to win and, as we have already seen with our viral Fantasy Exhibitor© competition, everyone dreams of being on top at World Dairy Expo.  In reality there are only two ways to get there.  Either win the lottery or breed your way there.  Using sires like the seven above will help you achieve the latter.

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Let’s Talk Mating Strategies

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Whenever two or more breeders get together they talk ‘bulls’. Which ones are you using? Why? What results are you seeing?  Do your results match what his proof says he will do? More recently talk has been about genomic indexes and if, when proven, bulls’ proof will match the genomic index. So why is this talk so important? Today half the semen being sold is from genomically evaluated bulls. And quite simply it is because 90% of the improvement in herd comes from the sires used in a herd or a population. Some may disagree saying that cow families are extremely important. However in the majority of herds a cow has one to two heifers and not all of those heifers will calve at least once in the herd. So which sires and how they are used will make the difference between genetic progress or genetic backsliding.

Before Bull Proofs

Before Bull proofs, well in fact before BLUP bull proofs, genetic progress was limited at best. Breeders used cow families to select their bulls from. often crossing cow families to get the result they wanted. In the history books we read about the successes but there were in fact more failures than successes. BLUP indexes (1970’s) were the first accurate genetic measurements available and they started the upward climb genetically. Today we take for granted that proven bulls will do what the proofs say they will do. How fortunate we are that the animal breeding industry has dedicated researchers that made the study and application of cattle breeding their careers. We no longer need to hope that the bull we choose will click with our herd. We have the facts to base our decisions on.

Mating Programs

A.I. organizations for many years now have provided services to interested breeders on which sires should be used in a herd or on which cows a sire will work best. As we all know many breeders use these services, at least as a guide, while other breeders wish to retain sire selection to their own system.

One key factor in mating programs, no matter who offers it or if a breeder has his own is what results a breeder wishes to achieve. Breeding is not simply using top ranked sires. It is about taking the cows in your herd and mating them to a sire to achieve your goals. Even the very elite sires have limitations. Doubling up their limitations with cows will the same limitations is not progress.

How Accurate

Until heifers and cows had genomic results, breeders often selected bulls based on their genetic indexes and females on their phenotypic information (yields and classification). Now with genomic values breeders know with 65-70% accuracy a female’s genetic merit and that plus their phenotypic information, if a breeder wants to use it, represent the female side. For bulls their genetic indexes are the most accurate information to use. The only difference between genomic indexes and a daughter proven bull in addition to the genomic index is the accuracy / reliability of the information 70% vs 90+%.

Corrective Mating

Breeders need to ask themselves if they want a solid herd for the traits of importance to them.  In which cases using a corrective mating strategy is likely the way to go. Most A.I. mating services are based on this strategy. You take each cow or group of cows and you determine their limiting factors. Traits like low milk yield, low %F, high SCS and weak fore attachment. The program searches for the bull or bulls that correct the limitations that the females have. By breeding this way breeders wanting a uniform herd with reasonably high genetic merit for most traits can be achieved within 5-6 generations of females.

An example of corrective mating would be if you have a typical Baxter daughter you would look for a bull that would, at least, improve %P, wide front teats and daughter fertility. Most breeders whose major income source is the milk check would be satisfied to achieve those corrections.

Complimentary Mating

There are breeders that take a different approach to improving their herd. These breeders are not so concerned about having a very uniform herd. They want to have a herd that excels for certain traits. Traits like show type, fat & protein yield and longevity.  Breeders practicing this strategy will first off select bulls that sire daughters that build upon the breeder’s priority areas. The example where we often see this practiced by breeders are those who participate in showing. They always make sure the bulls they use leave daughters with style and stature. But there are other examples. For instance breeders that have the goal of having a least half their cows complete five lactations and 125,000 lbs of milk. These breeders are willing to give up on items of lesser importance to them to achieve their big ticket traits.

An example of complementary mating would be if you have a typical Baxter daughter you would look for a bull that would build on Baxter’s genetic strengths in milk yield, fat yield, median suspensory, heel depth and herd life. Breeders planning to derive significant income from the sale of breeding stock will want to have available for sale stock that excel above average.

Plan for Improvement

So many traits and various methods of expressing indexes can make the job of reading and understanding a challenging one. The Bullvine provides the following table to show where indexes are relative to the cows in North America:

tableupdate

It is important to use bulls that are significant improvers if a breeder wishes to make advancement. For cows or heifers that already have high indexes it takes a significant improver bull to even holder these females at their current indexes. Remember that if a cow is -0.5 for Daughter Pregnancy Rate (in Canada 95 for Daughter Fertility) it takes using a bull that is +1.5 (110 in Canada) to even get the resulting calf to be above average.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

First know what you want to achieve from the matings in your herd. Make sure that you or your advisors base sire selection on corrective mating to limit faults. Use complimentary mating to enhance the strengths already present in your females.  Every journey has a starting point and an end point. The route to get to the end is the breeder’s choice.


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Let’s Talk Longevity

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Herd profitability is front and centre in the minds of breeders as they build their genetic base for the future. Current and future profit does not come by chance. It takes both breeder instinct and skilled management. Two important factors breeders and managers must consider is how long the workers stay on the job and how productive they are. And when it comes to workers on dairy farms it starts with the cows. Longevity along with productivity go hand in hand with making a profit.

What is Longevity?

According to our current indexes longevity is productive life (PL) or herd life (HL). But what does that mean? Is it one more month in the herd for an average daughter of a bull? What makes the difference?

Let’s take a moment and think about how great it is when your workers stay with your organization for at least five years. Instead of frequently giving new staff basic training, the organization can spend more time on advanced skills training. Productivity will increase and thereby profit can be pushed to new heights.

When it takes 1.0 to 1.5 lactations before a heifer you have raised or purchased to start to show a net lifetime profit, then culling heifers before the end of two lactations means just breaking even. A couple of months longer stay before the end of the 2nd lactation is really no big thing. Especially if the cow is below average for productivity.

When considering longevity how “long” is long enough?

What is Ideal Longevity?

Let’s start with what it is not. On a highly bred, fed and managed farm, averaging 25,000 lbs and 13.0 month calving interval, longevity is not a cow that stays around for five lactation yielding 20,000 lbs and calving every 14 months. She has two problems – her volume of output is below average and she takes a month longer off work than her contemporaries. In short she is a free-loader.

Each of us will have our own definition of longevity. Years back for many breeders longevity was the cow that won the county show, produced okay and from which daughters could be sold. For other breeders it is the cow that causes no problem, conceives on 1st or 2nd service and produces at least 10% above her contemporaries.  For today’s profit oriented breeders it is the cow that produces 200,000 lbs (90,909 kgs) in 8-9 lactations, that calves back within 13 months. It is the cow that, after calving quickly and smoothly, moves into lactation, does not require vet visits, maintains a low SCS as she ages and operates without problems within the herd’s housing and milk systems. Now that is longevity that is measurable and profitable!

Breeding for the Ideal

We can all see what we like when we look at the twelve year old cow but breeding is not a retrospective matter. Breeding is about creating the future. Idealizing the past is not breeding. Breeding is creating that heifer calf that arrives healthy without causing momma any problems, is able to resist illness and then calves before 24 months of age, is functionally correct and can cost effectively produce above her contemporaries and stays for many lactations.

Achieving ideal longevity takes more than genetics. Management plays a major role. When breeders get both genetics and management on longevity right they are able to have low herd turn-over (25%), save considerable dollars by raising fewer heifers (every heifer not raised saves $2200), and less expense for drugs, insemination, labor, feed, ..etc.

Current Tools Available

Two overall indexes currently published are PL (USA) and HL (Canada). Many other supporting indexes assist in interpreting PL and HL. Those include: SCS, DPR/DF, Udder Depth, Feet, Rear Legs Rear View and Maternal Calving Ease.  Of course yields of fat and protein (Link – Is Too Much Water Milking Your Profits) are important however a few more pounds of fat and protein in a lactation can in no way compare to getting that fifth, sixth and seventh lactation from a cow. Lactations where yield and profit are at their peak. Total merit indexes, like NM$, TPI™ and LPI, do factor in longevity but if breeders have genetically overlooked length of herd life, by placing their focus on show type or production, then these indexes will under estimate the emphasis that should be placed on longevity.

Future Tools Needed

What our current PL and HL indexes fail to do is to place emphasis of getting cows that make it to those fifth, sixth and seventh lactations. Adding a couple more months to cows that stay for 2 to 3 lactations is not what breeders need. They need some way of knowing which bulls leave daughters that profitably make it to those later lactations. Hopefully our genetic evaluation researchers will study some accurate way to identify bulls that produce long lived productive cows.

Let’s Talk Bulls

In breeding it always comes down to which bulls to use. Should I use Atwood or Bookem or should I use Windbrook or Fever?

Atwood, a current popular bull of show type, has  PL of –0.5 while Bookem, a newly daughter proven bull, has a PL of 5.7. Bookem’s stay in the herd over six months longer. How does Bookem do that? Well it is by having higher DPR, superior calving ease and maternal calving ease, lower stillbirths and higher production.  If show winnings are not important to you then Bookem should be your choice.

Both Windbrook (+15) and Fever (+16) sire superior conformation, yet Fever has a HL of 116 compared to Windbrook’s HL of 103.  Fever’s significant superiority in SCS, DF, milking speed and daughter calving ability give him the distinct advantage. DCA is often not used by breeders but Fever at 111 is in the top 2% of the breed for his daughters to calve without difficulty.

So in breeding for longevity breeders must dig deeper and find out all the facts. Bulls that have a PL over 5.5 or a HL over 110 are unlikely to produce daughters that have problems for somatic cell count, daughter fertility, milking speed, maternal calving ease, depth of udder or mobility.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Longevity is a lot easier to describe than it is to achieve. What are our choices? We could sit and anticipate a ‘genomic-like’ breakthrough in this area of dairy breeding and management. That would be easy. But that way we are losing dollars and productive animals every day. Or we can act to immediately incorporate strategies that keep our animals, trouble free, healthy and producing longer. When it comes to longevity proactive means profitable.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

Is Too Much Water Milking Your Profits?

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

Over the past couple of weeks the Bullvine has published articles about having a breeding plan for your herd. (Read more: Flukes and Pukes – What Happens When You don’t Have a Plan and What’s The Plan?). Examples cited of herds with a breeding plan have included North Florida Holsteins who breeds for production and profitability (Read more:  North Florida Holsteins: Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable and The Truth About Type and Longevity) and Quality Holsteins (Read more: Quality Holsteins – Well-deserved Congratulations and Quality Cattle Look Good Every Day) and Ferme Jacobs (Read more: Ferme Jacobs: Success Is All In The Family!) both of whom breed for type. Today we wish to bring you some thoughts to consider for your breeding plan as it relates to the components in milk. For the vast majority of herds that is the major source of their revenue generation.

mount victoria tb plaque4% Fat

T. B. Macaulay, Mount Victoria Farms (Montvic), (Read more: Mount Victoria Farms: The Art and Science of Great Breeding) ninety years ago had a plan. One component of his plan was 4% butterfat. He built his herd around Johanna Rag Apple Pabst and his 4% fat daughters. The history books do not specifically identify Macaulay’s reason for wanting 4% butterfat except we know that back then Holsteins were considered to be ‘low testers’.

Roy Ormiston, breeder of the world famous Roybrook Farms, developed an excellent herd with the three pillars being high % fat, excellent conformation and high lifetime production.

The importance of fat yield has also been stressed by many leading USA breeders. Over forty years ago Dr. Gene Starkey, the very well respected Wisconsin Dairy Extension Specialist, in his speeches talked about herds where cows averaged over 900 pounds of butterfat per year with only limited reference to the milk yield number for top herds.

When Protein Ruled

Fat took a backseat to show conformation and then to % protein in the later 1970’s and into the 1980’s. The trendy thing was to use a bull the improved % protein but dropped % fat. The thinking was that consumers wanted to exclude fat from their diets but that protein was needed to make cheese. The trend meant the majority of breeders paid only limited attention to % fat and the national Holstein averages for % fat dropped.

How Milk is Sold

On a global basis the majority of milk is sold in a solid and not a liquid state (Read more: “Got Milk” is becoming “Got More” and MILK MARKETING: How “Got Milk?” BECAME “Got Lost”). Milk processors and marketers recognized this and so payment to farmers changed from volume and % fat to become based on the component yields. This is known as MCP, multiple component pricing. Today the pendulum has swung to where butterfat is back in fashion. Thus the quantity of solids a cow produces is important to her ability to generate income.

Milk is sold as a drink often has fat removed by processors. That fat is used to make other products and thus it is a source of revenue, not a cost, for the processor. .

The end result is that breeders are paid for the total fat and protein content in the milk they ship.  And in the future it is entirely possible that breeders will be paid for the specific fats (i.e. conjugated linoleic acid) and proteins (i.e. casein) they ship.

Avoid the Water

In today’s and likely tomorrow’s world having more water than necessary in milk is a cost and not a source of income. These cost factors include:

  • high peak milk yields adds stress on the cow and increased labor and health costs
  • high milk yields magnifies the challenge and cost to getting cows to conceive
  • to achieve higher milk yield adds to cow feed costs for high energy grains
  • cows and their rumens function best when a high percent of the diet is high quality but low cost forages
  • longer milking times to harvest the higher volume of milk adds labor and utility costs
  • on-farm more volume adds to cooling cost and the need for increased storage capacity
  • water removal at the farm is costly
  • extra milk volume adds to transportation cost
  • added volume increases processor cooling costs and storage capacity
  • high volumes adds to environmental costs and the disposal of water at the processing plant

If we could calculate the total for those ten items it might shock us how much money could be saved by having a higher content of fat and protein in milk. It all starts with the milk our cows produce.

Let’s Talk Genetics

At the farm level cows that produce 85 pounds at 4.0% fat and 3.4% protein are generating the same revenue and at less cost to all the partners in the supply chain than cows that produces 100 pounds at 3.4% fat and 2.9% protein. For sire selection this means selecting for fat yield, protein yield, % fat and % protein. Ideally, although not always possible, this means selecting bulls for less milk yield. Today most total merit index formulas (TPI™, LPI, NM$,…etc.) are based on fat and protein yield of a bull’s daughters without regards to the volume of milk they produce. This means that high yield bulls that drop % fat and/or % protein do not ranking near the top on these indexes. A help to breeders when selecting bulls to use.

Top Sires

The following table identifies top total merit bulls for their daughters’ genetic ability to produce fat and protein and have a high % fat and % protein. For bulls to appear in this table they had to be breed improvers for productive life or herd life.

Bulls Ranked by Fat plus Proetin Yields

Bulls Ranked by Fat plus Protein Yields
* USA – pounds / Canada – kilograms
Click on image for enlargement

Supersire tops the list for the ability to sire daughters for fat yield and total fat and protein yield  Jabir is high in all areas including NM$. For breeders wanting higher % fat and % protein should consider AltaIota, AltaRazor, Eloquent, Ahead or Overtime P.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Much emphasis is currently being placed on cows that are functional and healthy, yet productivity can’t be ignored. Without the ability to generate high levels of revenue from milk sales, it is hard to make a profit from dairy farming. When it comes to production, don’t let low component milk water down your success.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

There are many ways to get from Point A to Point B whether you’re on the asphalt highway or the genetic highway.  A genetic plan for your herd is like a GPS – it can help you reach your genetic destination faster, with fewer detours and more profit in your pocket. It really depends on picking the coordinates that mean the most to you.

Your Future Starts Now!

The time to put in place a genetic plan is now.  The bulls used will be 90% of that plan in all but the very elite genetic herds.  In those herds the emphasis will be 60% bulls and 40% females.  Remember that with a four year average generation interval in a herd, it means that the bulls selected this month will form the base of the herd you are milking in four to five years time.

The Clock is Ticking!

Next week will be bull selection time again for dairy cattle breeders.  It’s time to decide whether to stick with the same or similar bulls  or is it time to chart a new course?  Over the past few month The Bullvine has covered various breeding approaches covering the spectrum from a main focus on show winning animals such as Riverside Jerseys (Read more: Riverside Jerseys: Travelling Hearts – A Girl, A Guy and Their Jersey Love Story) to a very definite focus on functional profitable cows as selected at North Florida Holsteins (Read more: NORTH FLORIDA HOLSTEINS. Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable!!). Both these breeders have a dynamic plan and they follow it successfully.  Both have secured a profitable pinnacle but there are many who struggle in various low points in between.  We feel their struggle relates directly to herd genetics decision planning that is unfocused or not undertaken at all.

Where Has the Money Gone?

The premium for selling good quality purebreds no longer exists.  The animals that formerly sold for $4,000 to $10,000 now bring just slight over the cost of raising them.  The market for replacement cows is a fraction of what it once was.  With the use of technology such as sexed semen and better herd management practices, herds that formerly bought replacements have enough of their own.  The few they do have to sell contributes to lowering the market price for replacements.

On the bull side, indexes for young sires are now almost twice as accurate thanks to genomics.  Fewer are being sampled and incentives for young sire use or price discounting of their semen have disappeared.

Show Money is a “No Show”

There once was a market for animals that could win the county show. Today, with 4H calves being one exception, the average milk producer have discontinued exhibiting cattle. At a practical level, the large tall show type animals aren’t the best fit for modern housing facilities. The trend is that show type farms will be a much smaller portion of national herds.  Where once perhaps up to 20% of farms selected bulls based mainly on their PTAT or CONF proofs, that is likely to be one in a thousand farms within five years time.  Selecting bulls only on their type indexes will not position breeders to generate a profit from cattle sales or to have efficient milk production.

Where is the Money Now?

Cattle sales once made up 10 to 30% of revenue for purebred breeders.  Today the milk check is the key revenue source.  The embryo market does not match former cattle sale levels.  The most valuable animal on the farm is no longer the 4-5 year old brood cow but the high genomic indexing 6-8 month old heifer from a proven cow family.  Buyers want first lactation females only.  Second and later lactation females are suspected as being sold for a problem (i.e. high SCS).  Commercial breeders are speaking out for efficient more agile cows with high yields. We can expect to see the trend for high prices for the genetically elite but after that there will be little or no premium pricing.

Put Your Money Where the Bull Is

If your farm’s primary focus is profit from efficient fat and protein production, then consider using NM$ as your primary selection index.  Once you have a list of bulls over NM$ of 600 you can eliminate bulls from that list based on their inferiority for traits that you feel are important.

Using second tier bulls (gTPI below 2100, gLPI below 2500 or NM$ below 600), daughter proven or genomically tested, will not give you animals or a herd that are in demand by other breeders.  Red adds little to a breeding program unless you can generate significant income from cattle sales. It would be a wise move to start using polled bulls on a portion of your herd. (Read more: Is Polled the NEW Red?) It is false economy to use anything but the top bulls. Don’t skimp when it comes to buying the semen from the top bulls for genetically advancing your herd. Do not be swayed by a salesperson.  They are looking out primarily for their own bottom line.  It only works if it’s right for your plan.  Using the right bulls will drive up your revenue and keep costs due to genetic issues under control.

Healthy is Wealthy

Using bulls with breeding values in the bottom 60% of the population for Daughter Pregnancy Rate, Daughter Fertility, SCS, Productive Life and Herd Live (below 1.0 on USA indexes of below 105 on Canadian indexes) will mean that you are not advancing the genetic merit of your herd for these increasingly important traits as fast as your fellow breeders are.  Today more accurate predictions are available on bulls for their daughters’ longevity, SCS and fertility, using genomic indexes.  With the increasing number of animals per worker, there is less time for individual care. Genetic selection for better health and reproduction is high on the priority list.  Feet and hoof care are receiving more management attention but on the genetic side this area needs more focus. Technology, equipment and management of herds are advancing all the time and health and reproduction needs to keep up. Never forget that animal treatment and welfare are also receiving more focus. Polled is going mainline and herds with lame animals will be centered out for negative attention. (Read more: From the Sidelines to the Headlines, Polled is Going Mainline!)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Without clear thinking, five years from now you may find you haven’t made any forward genetic progress.  Analyze your genetic program.  If certain decisions you made in the past are no longer producing profitable results, then be ruthless, and move on to something better.  Times have changed.  Have you?


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

Crossbreeding: Breed Help or Hindrance?

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

For some Canadians, straying from your breed is like changing your favorite hockey team during the playoffs – you just don’t go there. Other producers think crossbreeding is the solution to their herd’s greatest problems, while others still don’t know what to think about the practice. The truth is, depending on your herd goals, it can be any of these things. Let’s take a look at some reasons why some dairy producers crossbreed, alternatives to crossbreeding, as well as the amount of crossbreeding taking place in Canada.

Why Crossbreed?

A consequence of genetic selection is that superior animals in future generations are more likely to be genetically related to elite animals of today. This comes as no surprise since the underlying goal of genetic selection is to shift the gene frequencies in the population towards those that are more desired and profitable.

However, as animals get more related to each other, inbreeding depression occurs for certain traits, meaning performance is lower than expected. High levels of inbreeding can be particularly detrimental to fitness traits, which include reproduction and survival.

The opposite phenomenon of inbreeding depression, referred to as hybrid vigor or heterosis, is the tendency of crossbred individuals to show qualities superior to the average of their parents. Hybrid vigor is maximized, and losses due to inbreeding depression are recovered, when two unrelated animals or lines are crossed to create a first generation (i.e.: F1) offspring, which will have 100% hybrid vigor and 0% inbreeding. Hybrid vigor yields its   greatest advantages in first generation crosses but is not transmitted from generation to generation without continued crossbreeding.

Currently, the average level of inbreeding for Canadian Holsteins born in recent years is slightly over 6 percent. Average inbreeding levels are, however, highly variable from herd to herd and are dependent on the recorded pedigree information for each animal. To benefit from hybrid vigor as a tool for promoting fertility, health and longevity improvement in their herds, a small portion of Canadian producers have turned to crossbreeding.

Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Guelph examined the performance of crossbred dairy cattle in Canada resulting from mating Holstein dams to sires from other dairy breeds. Over the five year period studied, the resulting crossbreds (F1) were shown to produce less milk, but higher fat and protein in first lactation, compared to their purebred Holstein herd mates. These F1s also reproduced more efficiently than Holsteins with fewer calving problems and stillbirths. Conformation-wise, they were smaller in stature and overall size, a possible advantage for longevity, but had deeper udders and narrower, lower rear udder attachments
than Holsteins.

In the study, all dams were Holstein so performance results of the crossbreds were highly variable, depending on the breed of the sire. Since management issues and complications in maintaining high hybrid vigor arise in later generations, it is very difficult to predict the results of crossbreds in later generations, both in average performance and their variability.

Options to Address Concerns Without Crossbreeding

Crossbreeding isn’t the only way to genetically improve health, fertility and longevity. With Holsteins, one of the benefits of having such a large global population is the ability to identify individuals within the breed that excel for traits of interest. For improvement without crossbreeding, producers can select standout bulls for fitness traits according to their herd goals. They can also accelerate genetic progress by selecting genomically tested females excelling for these traits.

Table 1 shows trait averages in Holsteins for the top 10 genomic young bulls and the top 10 active progeny proven sires based on their evaluation for Daughter Fertility (DF) or Herd Life (HL) published by Canadian Dairy Network (CDN) in April 2013. Using Relative Breeding Values (RBV), it is possible to relate bull proofs to the expected daughter performance for each trait (see CDN article: New Proof Expression for Functional Traits, November 2007). According to Table 1, the top 10 genomic young bulls for Daughter Fertility (average RBV DF=112) offer 10 fewer days open and the top 10 for Herd Life (average RBV HL=117) produce daughters that are expected to have 0.68 lactations more than daughters of an average sire in the population (RBV=100). The top 10 for Daughter Fertility among active progeny proven sires (average RBV DF=109) offer 8 fewer days open, and the top 10 for Herd Life (RBV HL=113) have daughters lasting 0.52 lactations more than daughters of average bulls. Table 1 shows that whether using genomic young bulls, proven sires, or a combination of both, genetic progress can be made for these fitness traits without sacrificing production, functional conformation or any other functional trait.

crossbreeding table 1

From an overall breed improvement viewpoint there would be much more concern about possible negative effects of inbreeding if the industry wasn’t measuring and actively selecting for traits like Daughter Fertility, Herd Life and Somatic Cell Score. However, since these traits already have direct emphasis within the LPI formula, positive genetic gains are currently being realized. Even traits such as calving ease and calf survival (i.e.: stillbirth rate) are genetically improving in Canadian Holsteins due to their positive correlation with LPI without directly being in the formula. In addition, mating programs offered by A.I. organizations are an excellent tool for controlling the average level of inbreeding in herds that have participated in herdbook registration for pedigree recording over generations.

For producers that do, however, opt to use crossbreeding within their dairy herd, there are some very important considerations to keep in mind:

  • Hybrid Vigor and Heifer Replacements: In terms of hybrid vigor, the ultimate female is the first generation result (F1) from mating two purebreds from different dairy breeds together. Ideally, producers practicing crossbreeding would have an entire herd of F1 females. The challenge, however, is the need to maintain a continuous supply of F1 crossbred heifers as future herd replacements. To do this, a purebred parent population would need to be maintained or replacements would need to be purchased elsewhere – two options most producers would be reluctant to exercise.
  • Simplicity: Crossbreeding systems should be relatively simple. Systems requiring very high levels of management are unlikely to remain in place for very long. In beef breeding programs, most crossbreeding strategies include a well structured rotation of two or three breeds in order to sustain the benefits of hybrid vigor across generations. Such systems therefore require very accurate pedigree recording in order to monitor the true breed composition of each animal in the herd.
  • Breed Complementarity: Sires should be chosen for traits that complement those traits that are lacking in the herd while paying attention not to sacrifice other traits of economic importance.
  • Consistency of Performance: Ideally, a crossbreeding system should produce a consistent product. It is easier to manage a uniform herd of females compared to a more variable one that often results with crossbreeding due to the need to maintain purebred animals and various generations of crossbreds at the same time.
  • Accuracy of Genetic Selection and Mating Decisions: Be careful when using genetics to select animals in crossbreeding systems. In Canada, and most other countries, genetic evaluations for dairy cattle are not comparable across breeds. For example, a Holstein LPI is not comparable to LPI values for coloured breeds and the same is also true for genetic evaluations for each specific trait, including all production, conformation and functional traits.

Dairy Crossbreeding in Canada

CDN investigated the frequency of crossbreeding in Canada over the past 15 years in the seven major dairy breeds. Any recorded breeding or insemination performed using a sire of a breed different than that of the dam, as well as any insemination using pooled semen from different sires, was considered a crossbreeding attempt. The graphs below illustrate the results in terms of the proportion of all breedings in each dairy breed that were some form of crossbreeding attempt.

crossbreeding chart 1

crossbreeding chart 3

As seen in the three charts, the Canadian Holstein population remains very purebred, representing 96% of all breedings. Over the last 15 years, less than 1% were bred to sires from another dairy breed and less than 3% were to bred to a beef sire. Holsteins were the breed most frequently bred to pooled semen, which is a mixture of semen from three different sires usually of differing breeds. While the popularity of pooled semen has increased each year since it became available in 2004, the frequency is still relatively low at less than 2%.

In the coloured breeds, dairy crossbreeding is relatively high, and rising, in the Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn breeds. In the last five years, nearly 10% of Brown Swiss and 15% Milking Shorthorn were bred to a sire from another dairy breed. During the same time period, a larger percentage (24.5%) of Milking Shorthorns was bred to beef breeds. The percentage of purebred breedings during the past five years for Brown Swiss and Milking Shorthorn were 85% and 60%, respectively. Apart from Milking Shorthorn, very little crossbreeding to beef sires takes place among dairy breeds.

Summary

Over the past 15 years, a very small proportion of dairy females were bred to sires from other dairy or beef breeds. For Holsteins, these types of crossbreeding represent less than 1% and 3% of all breedings, respectively. Milking Shorthorn and Brown Swiss breeds experienced the most crossbreeding. As animals get more related to each other, inbreeding depression can affect some traits (particularly fitness) meaning performance may be somewhat lower than expected. While this is not ideal, it must be weighed against genetic gain. Crossbreeding is one avenue that some producers have opted to use to promote health and fertility in their herds.
Another option to achieve improvement is to select the highest sires within breed for traits like Daughter Fertility and Herd Life, according to the herd’s breeding goals.

Authors: Lynsay Beavers, Industry Liaison Coordinator, CDN Brian Van Doormaal, General Manager, CDN

top13of2013If you are like most breeders between the time spent sorting through the many different lists from around the world and listening to the propaganda the A.I. companies put out promoting their sires, the hype is enough to make a breeder’s head spin.  In order to bring clarity to the confusion, the Bullvine has filtered through the many lists, brought them into a common base and has developed the following four categories  sires that you should take a look specifically  for your breeding program.

Overall Performance

When looking for the sire the will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for sires that have a balance of production and longevity.  Additionally, we wanted high health and fertility traits that deliver a low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection).

  • DE-SU OBSERVER
    (Planet x O Man x BW Marshall)
    With his validation from top genomic sire to proven sire status, Observer is a sire that should be on all breeders’ lists.  This former No. 1 GTPI genomic young sire and worldwide father of sons is now the #1 gTPI sire in the USA and transmits excellent production (+1,602 Milk) and Protein (+52 Protein, +.02% Protein) with highly reliable data from over 200 milking daughters.  OBSERVER daughters have exceptional udders (+3.02 Udder Composite) and Type (+2.70 Type).  Observer will work best on tall females with lots of frame and that need udder improvement.
  • LONG-LANGS OMAN OMAN
    (O Man x Aaron x Bellwood)
    When it comes to your breeding goals, Man-O-Man certainly is a sire that should still get consideration even for the most aggressive genomic programs.  Look for Man-O-Man to sire outstanding production from cattle that have correct feet and legs and strong mammary systems.  One area to watch him for is his rump angle, as his daughters can be a touch high in the pins.
  • CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY
    (MASCOL x FORM BRET x MANFRED)
    Massey is a popular sire of sons combining elite indexes with a great outcross opportunity.  Massey daughters are snug uddered with strong attachments.  Though they should be protected for rump angle (high) and dairy strength, his low somatic cell score, high herd life/productive life and strong fertility make Massey a great sire for your breeding program.
  • MR LOOKOUT P ENFORCER
    (Facebook x Shottle x O Man)
    This Marbri Facebook son has some of the highest DGVs in the breed.  Look for him to sire extreme component yields from strong dairy cattle with great feet and legs.  One area to be cautious on using him is his body depth.  Both his sire stack and his DGVs would say this area needs protecting.
  • DA-SO-BURN MOM EARNHARDT P
    (Man-O-Man x Lawnboy x September Storm)
    If you’re breeding for polled you are most certainly thinking of where the market is heading.  One area that I always find interesting is those breeders who breed polled, but in fact are only selecting for type.  If you are going to go polled you need to consider overall improvement and production as well.  Earnhardt P is one of the premier gTPI polled bulls in the breed.  He sires high protein and extreme NM$.  He has been used heavily as a sire of sons as a result of his polled status and high Net Merit.  Look for Earnhardt P to sire high components, with solid feet and legs and mammary systems.  One area he will need to be protected on is his rumps, as he can leave high pinned daughters that are a touch narrow.

Production Improvement

It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production.  We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility so we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without sacrificing everything to get it.  In addition to Observer, Man-O-Man and Earnhardt P mentioned above we recommend the following sires to improve production.

  • UFM-DUBS ALTAESQUIRE
    (O Man x AltaSam x Patron)
    ALTAESQUIRE’s 2nd crop daughters seem to be outperforming his first crop proof.  Watch for ALTAESQUIRE to sire more production and components as well as better mammary systems than his current proof would indicate.  While offering dairy strength and rump improvement, ALTAESQUIRE needs to be used cautiously on mammary systems and feet and legs.  But if you are looking to put a production punch into a good uddered and legged cow/heifer, ALTAESQUIRE will do the trick.
  • DE-SU ALTAGOALMAN
    (Bolton x O Man x BW Marshall)
    ALTAGOALMAN is a proven sire from the high Genomic Index De-Su herd.  Though ALTAGOALMAN will sire outstanding production both his genomic proof and his daughter information would indicate that he needs to be protected on dairy strength.  He delivers significant overall production improvement.  While AltaGoalman will not hurt your udders and legs, he certainly needs to be protected on body depth and rump.  AltaGoalman is most definitely best suited for commercial environments but can also be used for a shot of production, if used carefully.
  • SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE
    (Robust x Planet x Shottle)
    This Robust son from 2012 Golden Dam Finalist AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA, really is a genomic wonder.  Not only does he have some of the highest genomic values in the breed for production but he also has great functional type and health traits to go with it.  Here you have a sire that is over 2500 lbs. for milk, with positive component deviations, 2.50 for type, and over 7 for productive life.
  • PINE-TREE OHARE-P
    (O Man x Signif-P x Goldwyn)
    For those of you looking to get into polled there is Ohare-P.  Extreme production combined with functional type and good health traits make Ohare-P a sire that if you are breeding for the future, should be   part of your program.  He will need to be protected a little on % components, and frame and capacity.

Longevity Improvement

For those of you who  are looking to breed cattle that last lactation after lactation, or maybe you are having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation, we recommend the following sires:

  • MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD
    (Goldwyn x Durham x Storm)
    While many would consider Atwood a show bull, and he is very good at that (Read more: 7 Sires to Use In Order To Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion) he is also a great longevity sire as well.  Unlike many of the top show sires who are negative for production and low fertility scores, Atwood actually has solid components and acceptable health and fertility numbers.  While you most certainly would want to protect him on production and daughter fertility, Atwood will add a punch of type to your high producing 2yr olds that, for whatever reason, may not be around for many more lactations.
  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY
    (Bolton x Bret x Rudolph)
    Dorcy is proving to be an outstanding longevity improvement sire, through both his sons and daughters.  Breeders interested in a Bolton son from an outcross pedigree, top-notch udders, very good feet & legs and functional traits may consider using DORCY.  Dairy Strength and Rump are only slightly above breed norms.
  • MR LOOKOUT PESCE ALTA5G
    (Altakool x Atwood x Shottle)
    An Atwood son sure to get a lot of attention is Alta5G.  While not from a big name show ring family, this type sire has a breed leading +23 DGV for Conformation in Canada.  Alta5G is from the same family at De-Su as Observer and, much like the other members of this outstanding genomic family, it seems that generation after generation keeping getting higher and higher numbers.  Look for him to sire daughters with outstanding udders and feet and legs, with loads of dairy strength.  One area that he will need to be protected on is his rumps, specifically rump angle and pin setting.
  • SILDAHL JETT AIR
    (BAXTER x BW MARSHALL x MANFRED)
    This outcross sire offers great longevity improvement combined with strong health and fertility.  He does need to be protected on protein and milking speed.  However his great feet and legs, udders and health and fertility make him an outcross sire you don’t want to miss.

Health and Fertility Improvement

One area that is not getting enough attention from most breeders is health and fertility.  While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equal more profits, many of the top ranking sires actually have negative values for health and fertility.  The following are some sires that should help you change that:

  • BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE
    (O Man x Die-Hard x Metro)
    If you are going to talk health and fertility, you’re going to have to take a look at Freddie.  While his type numbers may scare some, you cannot deny his extreme health and fertility numbers combined with solid production.  While I don’t expect to see many Freddie daughters in the show ring any time soon, he will work well in most commercial environments.  He will leave moderate sized daughters that have strong udders but very much need to be protected for dairy strength.
  • S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM
    (Domain x Bolton x O Man
    S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM has some of the highest DGV’s for health and fertility.  Lithium is from one of the top genomic cows in the breed, GLEN-TOCTIN BOLT LUCILLE VG-87-DOM. Combining high herd life, low Somatic Cell counts and high daughter fertility with over 1600 lbs. of milk, 110 of fat and protein and 2.5 points on type makes Lithium a great choice when looking for improvement.  It is interesting to note that his DGV’s for health and fertility are almost 8% higher than the next highest genomic young sire (BRANDT-VIEW ALTAOTIS) and 50% higher than his own official index, indicating that he really is the sire to use when wanting to address this area that has flown under the radar far too long.
  • TIGER-LILY LADD P-RED
    (Destry x Lawn Boy x September Storm)
    For those of you that are really looking to breed to where the market is heading, there is LADD-P-RED.  He is the highest health and fertility polled sire in the breed today.  These are two key aspects that breeders around the world are looking for.  (Read more: Why Is Everyone So Horny For Polled? and How Healthy Are Your Cows?).  While LADD-P-RED will not wow you with his production, his strong components, with solid type make him a sire that will fit into most breeding programs.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We have stated it many times.  In maximizing your genetic gain, you can’t simply choose   the very top of the TPI or LPI list.  You need to make sure that your matings are the best corrective cross.  Breeding great cattle is part art and part science.  You need to have both parts.  It takes careful consideration and generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why, instead of just giving you a list of the top 16, we have tried to provide you with insight into which sires will provide you with the maximum gain in each specific area.  It`s all about choosing what is best for you.

 

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Where is the Balance in Balanced Breeding?

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Over the past couple of weeks I have heard numerous references to the word ‘balance’ when referring to the dairy cattle breeding industry. Do we over use the term? Or worse still do we use it incorrectly? At this moment I am thinking ‘yes I don’t think we do justice to the word when it comes to genetically advancing our dairy cattle’. But let’s take a look at how we do use the term.

Numerous Interpretations

Two weeks ago at the Quebec Holstein Spring Show (Read more: Do We Speak the Same Language? and Quebec Spring Show Results) I had the opportunity to converse with a veteran dairy farm manager from Europe who spoke to me about balancing his time between breeding better cattle and the economics of running a successful dairy farm.

A week ago today a breeder, who was about to receive his Canadian Master Breeder Shield, defined for me balanced breeding as placing equal emphasis on production and type when he selects bulls and culls cows (Read more: Holstein Canada Annual Meeting 2012 – From Coveralls to Niagara Falls).

Last Thursday at the Ontario Dairy Discovery Show (Read more: Ontario Spring Discovery – Nothing Slipped Past Judge “Crack” and Ontario Spring Discovery Results) a breeder who regularly exhibits cattle at all levels described to me that balanced breeding was breeding for type and then feeding for production.

RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97-CAN Considered by many to be one of the most balanced conformation cows in the history of the Holstein breed.

RF GOLDWYN HAILEY EX-97-CAN
Considered by many to be one of the most balanced conformation cows in the history of the Holstein breed.

On Friday at the Canadian Holstein Annual Meeting, an attentive audience heard Chief Classifier, Tom Byers (Read more: TOM BYERS: “THAT’S CLASSIFIED!”), describe that a cow’s parts need to be in balance. “That varies depending on whether you are looking at a just fresh 24 month old heifer or a mature cow 120 days in milk in her sixth plus lactation” said Byers.

This past Monday, as I attended the New York Spring Holstein Show (Read more: RF Goldwyn Hailey Rides to the Top Spot at NY Spring Carousel and New York Spring Holstein Show 2013 Results), I heard balance or balanced used in four other ways.  A sire analyst spoke about getting the sires of sons from a balance of daughter proven and genomic evaluated bulls. Richard Keene past Holstein USA Director and very well respected cattle judge used balance in two different ways. First he spoke about the importance of balancing the emphasis being placed on cows and bulls in genetic advancement. Secondly he spoke about balancing the needs several ways – breed improvement, lifetime milk production, profits cows return to the enterprise and serving senior versus junior members. And finally the 2013 NY Holstein Spring Show Judge Michael Heath spoke about a cow having balance between dairyness and enough capacity to consume, balance in her mammary system and balance between high at the front end and ability to walk with ease.

Are you still with me?  So many uses of the word. I am sure you may be able to add other ways that you use the word balance. So why so many ways of interpreting balance?

Digging Deeper

Like beauty, balance appears to be in the eye of the beholder or the reality of the breeder.

Gerrit Wensink, EastGen Director, who milks 400 cows using six robots he feels that the Canadian Holstein Cow has improved her conformation to the point where in sire selection his emphasis is on milk component percentages and calving ease. Whereas some breeders, who will be dispersing their herds in the next few years, want to have animals for sale that will bring the highest price. And then other breeders may want to maximize revenue per stall, profit per cow per day or daily production of fat & protein per cow. Still other breeders want to minimize costs.  Minimal labour per animal, minimal health problems, the lowest replacement cost per cow per year or put in a different way the lowest reproduction costs per cow per year.

So each of us has a different definition of what Balanced Breeding means to us.

Breed Guidance

To assist breeders, organizations have developed total merit indexes that breeders can use in selection and culling. Holstein USA ranks animals using the TPI™ index. Canadian breeders have the LPI (Read more: Everything You Need To Know About TPI and LPI and TPI™ and LPI – Marketing or Mating tools?). And USDA geneticists rank animals using the Net Merit index. In fact almost every country, region or continent has a total merit index. All these indexes have many traits included with each weighted according to economic values. Breeders are encouraged to use these indexes for both genetic and marketing purposes. Yet do they in fact maximize both breed advancement and breeder profitability?

Some History – Current Needs

At various times in their histories breeds have identified major needs and focused on those needs. Holstein have genetically address low butterfat content, deep udders and high somatic cell counts. While the other breeds have all addressed low volume of milk produced. But what are breeders’ current most major needs? Genetically for the Holstein breed they could well be rear foot conformation, fertility and perhaps even feed efficiency. Are they the same for all cow housing systems? Are they different for in tie stall barn pipeline milked, parlour milked or robotically milked cows (Read more: Robotic Milking: More than just automation it’s a new style of herd management).  And yes beyond the cow, breeders also face the challenges and opportunities associated with animal welfare and increasing the profit per cow per day of life.

Robotic Milking

One young South American dairy couple recently told me that they see it quite differently. They want to breed for fat & protein yield plus fertility and manage for conformation and health. So they are only using the highest genomically evaluated Holsteins bulls for fat, protein and fertility that they can find anywhere in the world. Their idea is to drive up revenue per cow and keep costs under control.

Considering all factors, some of which may not have a genetic component, when breeding for improvement it gets to be a big challenge and perhaps we could even say complicated.

The Reality Is

There is no such thing as uniformity of breeder needs when it comes to Balanced Breeding. Total merit formulas are for the average but do not address the top priorities. For instance breeding for enhanced rear feet is very difficult as the trait is not uniformly measured and what genetic differences are known are lost when a Feet & Leg rating is produced for a bull. Definitely when it comes to the genetic difference between animals in genetic merit for fertility, we are just starting to scratch the surface.

For interest sake the Bullvine has produced articles that change the emphasis placed on traits (Read more: Bullvine Performance Index (BPI – Top Sires December 2012 and Top BPI Heifers from Around the World ) and we even produced a bull index for daughter feed efficiency ((Read more: 30 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows). Some AI organizations also produce their own bull ranking indexes that place emphasis on major breed needs. However all of these total merit indexes come up with numbers that water down the greatest genetic needs. The end result is that we select for so many traits that we average everything out and make less than optimal progress for the areas of greatest need.

The reality is we will not make significant progress for the areas of greatest genetic need until breeders routinely use the bulls that rank in the top 1-5% of the breed. For traits like feet and female fertility for milking cows there are not even listing produced that give the top ranking bulls of the breed. How can breeders address their biggest needs when they do not have access to the best bulls there are genetically.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Balance Breeding formula are for the masses but not for the breeders truly committed to improving their herds for their greatest genetic needs. Total merit indexes are a good first sort tool for getting a short list of bulls. However breeders truly interested in genetically attacking their most limiting traits, in improving their herds and in having the facts to show when marketing their genetics, it is time to rethink if the Balanced Breeding is the right approach. To move forward genetically requires that breeders select only the best and ignore the rest.

 

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top13of2013Inbreeding, and more importantly its consequences, has long been a concern of breeders as it reduces production, lowers fertility, results in more stillbirths and leads to fewer days in the herd.  When genomics was first introduced, the theory was that it could help limit the amount of inbreeding in Holsteins.  In reality it has done the exact opposite.  Research indicates that relationships within respective breeds could be accelerating even faster since genomics’ introduction five years ago and there is also evidence that genetic diversity, another factor of inbreeding, is shrinking.

When you look at the sires of the top 100 genomic young sires lists, you notice a decent variety of sires with 30 bulls siring the top 100 sires.  However, a pedigree analysis on only the paternal side reveals that 90 percent of the bulls either have Oman, Planet or Shottle represented as the sire or grandsire.  The remaining 10 bulls represent genetic diversity.  However, the list needs further refining because 3 of the 10 remaining bulls have Oman’s sire or Shottle’s sire in the pedigree.  That leaves seven bulls with unique sires among the Holstein breed’s elite.

To help guide breeders in dealing with this inbreeding issue, we decided to look for outcross sires either proven or genomic tested sires that would offer breeders the near maximum genetic gain while providing needed diversity.  The word outcross or what constitutes an outcross sire can be tricky depending on where you are located.  For our purposes, we are calling an outcross sire to be one that does not have Oman, Goldwyn, Planet, and Shottle anywhere in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation of their pedigree.

Balanced Overall Performance Improvement

When looking for the sire that will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for sires that have a balance of production and longevity.  We also wanted great health and fertility traits that will deliver a low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection).  Here are our top three.

  • CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY
    MASCOL x PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET x HA-HO CUBBY MANFRED
    Massey is a popular sire of sons combining elite indexes with a great outcross opportunity.  Massey daughters are snug uddered with strong attachments.  Though they should be protected for rump angle (high) and dairy strength, his low somatic cell score, high herd life/productive life and strong fertility make Massey a great sire for your breeding program.
  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY
    SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON X PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET x STARTMORE RUDOLPH
    Look for Dorcy to sire balanced dairy cattle that have great udders and very good feet & legs, though he will need to be protected for dairy strength, fat percent and specifically his body depth and chest width.  While his productive life and low somatic cell score make Dorcy very strong longevity sire, you will want to use him wisely  on virgin heifers as he is not a calving ease sire.
  • CO-OP BOOKEM YUXI
    DE-SU 521 BOOKEM x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET
    Yuxi is a great sire for feed efficiency, based on his strong milk production from smaller framed and stature cattle (Read more:  30 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows).  While he needs to be protected on loin strength and body depth, his high productive life, low somatic cell score and great calving ease will have his daughters producing milk in your herd for a long time.

Production Improvement

It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production.  We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility, so we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without sacrificing everything to get it.

  • KINGS-RANSOM B RUBLE
    SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x B-Y-U MANDEL BOMBAY
    A proven sire that maybe has not caught the eye of many breeders, Ruble offers outstanding production improvement from solid type.  While certainly not a calving ease sire, Ruble will greatly increase production from strong uddered cows that have good feet and legs.
  • OCONNORS JAY
    SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x REGANCREST ELTON DURHAM x HENKESEEN MARCIS MARVELOUS
    Coming from a strong maternal line (Read more: The Bloom is on Oconnors Goldwyn Jasmine) Jay offers great component improvement from solid production.  He also has the ability to improve overall type, especially udder attachments and texture, but should be protected on pin setting.
  • CO-OP MASTER GENO
    BOSSIDE MASSEY MASTER x BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE x JOSE
    Talk about a challenge.  In order to find a genomic sire that met our requirements we had to go the 95th sire on our list of production improvement genomic sires.  Much like Yuxi, Geno will also produce feed efficient daughters (Read more:  30 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows).  His strong components, especially fat, combined with great udders and strong health and fertility makes Geno a great sire to look at for a solid outcross sire.

Longevity Improvement

For those of you that are looking to breed cattle that stay around  lactation after lactation or maybe you are  having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation, we recommend the following outcross sires, in addition to Dorcy mentioned earlier:

  • SILDAHL JETT AIR
    EMERALD-ACR-SA T-BAXTER x MARA-THON BW MARSHALL x HA-HO CUBBY MANFRED
    This outcross sire offers great longevity improvement combined with strong health and fertility.  While he does need to be protected on protein and milking speed, his great feet and legs, udders and health and fertility, make him an outcross sire you don’t want to miss.
  • BERTAIOLA MINCIO
    SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x BOSS IRON x CAROL PRELUDE MTOTO
    With  Boss Iron daughters such as Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra catching the eyes of the world in the show ring (Read more: The All European Champion Show: The Greatest Show On Earth), there are also Iron daughters that are getting the job done as bull mothers.  A great example of this is BEL IRON IRENE, the dam of Mincio.  This high fertility Bolton son combines high type with great production, which is resulting in outstanding results in his current daughter performance.  Watch for MINCIO to sire great udders and feet & legs though you may want to watch him on somatic cell score.
  • RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT
    COYNE-FARMS DORCY x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x COMESTAR OUTSIDE
    This outcross genomic sire just spells longevity.  Deligent was bred to deliver long lasting daughters.  With outstanding Herd Life/Productive Life, breed leading mammary systems scores and strong Feet and Legs scores, Deligent is a longevity specialist, though he does need to be somewhat protected for dairy strength.  Look for DELIGENT to combine this longevity with strong production and type numbers.

Health and Fertility Improvement

One area that is not getting enough attention from most breeders is health and fertility.  While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equals more profits many of the top ranking sires actually have negative values for health and fertility.  The following are some outcross specialist sires that should help you change that:

  • PENN-ENGLAND STOCKTON
    PURSUIT SEPTEMBER STORM x FUSTEAD EMORY BLITZ x PEN-COL DUSTER
    While you certainly would not use Stockton as a production improvement sire.  His high daughter pregnancy rate, productive life and low somatic cell make Stockton the perfect sire for that high production cow you are looking to breed some health and fertility traits into.
  • CERVI PHONIC
    LATUCH ROLEX x OLMO PRELUDE TUGOLO x SHEN-VAL NV LM FORMATION
    While not a name that most breeders know, Phonic is certainly going to get some attention from breeders looking to breed to where the industry is headed.  With extremely low SCS and high daughter fertility combined with functional type and above average production, Phonic is leaving daughters that are extremely low maintenance.  Tracing back to the great Italian brood cow Cervi FIRESTONE, this family has produced such sires as BUXON, WOODSTOCK and PADERNUS.  Given his high rump angle, it is interesting that he is such a good calving ease sire.
  • BLUMENFELD LEWIS TRUE
    LATUCH FREDDIE LEWIS x LEIF x RAMOS
    Similar to finding an overall performance improver on the top genomic lists, finding a health and fertility genomic sire had us going to number 55 on our list.  Look for True to sire outstanding udders with strong feet and legs.  He will need to be protected on loin strength.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Choosing the correct sire can be challenging enough.  Finding a sire that also offers an outcross from the main Goldwyn, Planet, Shottle and Oman can be almost impossible.  That is why we compiled these 12 sires to bring to light some outcross pedigrees that many breeders may not have heard of.  It is, certainly worth taking a look at many of these sires, when looking to combat inbreeding in your herd.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

 

Utilising your whole herd classification data, this all-singing, all-dancing new fully interactive web-mating tool now makes those mating decisions even easier. A host of new farmer inspired features have been added which include:

  • Easy navigation system, allowing you to save your choices at every stage automatically along the way
  • Includes the updated Bull Selector tool
  • The new program has a semen straw limiter so you can run WebMate with the exact number of straws you have in your tank and you have the ability to set your own level of straws/pregnancy, giving you much  better control of semen purchase requirements
  • The animals don’t even have to be classified -­ you can run the program on non -­ classified animals and youngstock
  • Inbreeding levels can be calculated for every mating
  • Set you breeding aim to exactly the type of cow you want to breed, and how much emphasis you would like to place on Type and Production

Logging in couldn’t be easier

Simply jump on the website www.holstein-­‐uk.org and click on the WebMate Logo wherever you see it & enter your Prefix & PIN (your Tel-­Reg PIN number)

You can even have a go with some ‘Demo Cows’ if you aren’t a member, just choose to enter with Demo Cows on the login page!

Testomonials

WebMate has been trialled by a number of farmers, with Tim Gue of the Huddlestone herd commenting:
“The new WebMate is easy to use, and ensures the best matings with the semen in stock, you choose the type of cow you want to breed and let WebMate do the rest. Farmers know what sort of cows suit their farm, WebMate is totally independent and will choose the best matings to achieve those cows from current semen stock or allows you to see which of a group of bulls are best suited to your cows. The inbreeding indicator is going to be even more important in the future”

The program is easy to use, with Andrew Williams from Rhadyr Farms Ltd commenting:
“I found the new WebMate programme very functional and easy to use with straight forward and easy to understand instructions, I will definitely be using it as an essential tool in future breeding decisions and mating of our herd.”

If you have any questions about this free service for members, please contact feedback@holstein-­‐uk.org

2013ecttop13of2013Commercial milk producers want to breed cows that have high feed conversion efficiency, that avoid culling and that take the least care or staff time (Read more – Feed Efficiency: The Money Saver).  The well known and widely used total merit indexes, TPI*TM  and LPI, rank sires according to which ones leave the most profitable ideal or true type cow. However the factors in those indexes and the assumptions that are made when calculating them do not address feed, culling or low maintenance.   Milk producers are left to fend for themselves when it comes to selecting sires that will leave their kind of cows.

What’s Being Heard

Milk Producers say: “All I want is a trouble free cow that efficiently converts forages to the kind of milk my milk buyer wants.

Veterinarians say:  “Cows must get in calf, have minimal feet problems and must not be prone to having production limiting diseases (reproduction problems, mastitis, metabolic disorders or  ..etc.).

Farm Workers say:  “Sick animals, calving problems and animals that do not work easily within the farm system waste my time.

Feed Advisers say: “Test your forages, feed the rumen, get the most out of your forages and the use of nutrients for both production and maintenance must be considered simultaneously (i.e. medium sized cows yielding the same as large cows are more feed efficient).

Milk Processors say: ”Except for the milk we sell as a drink, we want the solids not the water.

Financial Advisers say:  “Make decisions based on profit per cow, per litre, per hectare, per pound of feed consumed, per worker, …etc.

Consumers say: – Well in fact we may not be listening to consumers (Read more – Milk Marketing: How “Got Milk?” became “Got Lost”)

There are even more voices speaking in producers ears and more words appearing on the computer screens that producers read.  With all the information that is currently available, selecting sires that best meet the needs of milk producers can be a daunting task.

Getting Started

Milk producers do not wish to deal all the numbers that appear on proof sheets. That can be a very time consuming exercise with no definitive answers at the end of it.

The Bullvine decided to research what is available today on selecting sires for feed conversion efficiency, for freedom from major known reasons for culling and for minimal extra care. We recognize that down the road there will be genomic indexes that are based on the relationship between yet to be recorded on-farm cow performance data and the DNA make-up of cows for these three areas. But today those genomic indexes do not exist.

Bullvine Efficiency Index (BEI)

Based on the information from a number of countries that we have been able to access, the Bullvine has developed the following formulas:

  1. BEI = Production (45%) + Durability (35%) + Health & Fertility (25%)
  2. Production = 30 Fat Yield + 50 Protein Yield + 10 Fat% + 10 Protein%
  3. Durability = 17 Herd Life + 42 Mammary System + 25 Feet & Legs  – 8 Body Depth – 8 Stature
  4. Health & Fertility = 46 Somatic Cell + 23 Daughter Fertility + 23 Udder Depth + 8 Milking Speed

Notes:

  1. Milk Yield is not included as it contributes to more udder strain and added milk haulage or on-farm water removal costs.
  2. The negative weightings on Body Depth and Stature reflect that larger cows  require extra feed to grow to that size and to maintain that larger size each and every day compared to cows of more moderate size.

Sire Rankings

Using CDN’s Custom Index Calculator  the following sires came to the top of the list,

CANADIANINTERNATIONALYOUNG SIRES
LONG-LANGS OMAN OMAN-ETCO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY-ETFARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHMONEY-ET
CRACKHOLM FEVERCOYNE-FARMS DORCY-ETSOUTHERN-HILLS BAYARD-ET
BRAEDALE GOLDWYNDE-SU  CIMARRON-ETFARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHCOIN-ET
ALLYNDALE-I ATTICUSBADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIEMR LOOKOUT P ENFORCER-ET
LIRR DREW DEMPSEYCERVI ALLEMAR ETCO-OP BOOKEM YUXI-ET
DE-SU GILLESPY-ETDE-SU GULF-ETCO-OP MASTER GENO-ET
GEN-I-BEQ BRAWLERBERTAIOLA MINCIO ETAMIGHETTI NUMERO UNO ET
GILLETTE JORDANGUARINI-ETTEEMAR OBSERVER ADAM-ET
GEN-I-BEQ TOPSIDEDE-SU FORK-ETDE-SU DISTINCTION 11130-ET
ENSENADA TABOO PLANET-ETDE-SU WATSONDE-SU UNO 11446-ET

Please note: Due to the fact that CDN’s Custom Index tool only allows quires by Domestic Canadian, MACE and Genomic individually it is not possible to do an overall ranking.

Key Findings

  • Except for the Domestic Canadian list only a small difference exist between bulls
  • The rankings do not always follow TPI* TM or LPI due mainly to the negative weighting on body depth and stature and increased emphasis on SCS, daughter fertility and udder depth.
  • Although Braedale Goldwyn, Sandy Valley Bolton and Picton Shottle progeny are prominent on these listings, they are from different cow families so inbreeding using the sires on these lists should not be a problem, providing a breeder does not focus on just one of them

Highlights

  • Braedale Goldwyn appears on the listings himself. As well he has six sons on the lists and is the maternal grandsire of three of the genomic bulls.
  • Sandy Valley Bolton has seven sons on the listings
  • Picton Shottle is the maternal grandsire of nine bulls on the listings
  • Oman sons Long-Langs Oman Oman and Badger-Bluff Fanny Freddie both appear on the listings, as do one son and one maternal grandson of each of them
  • De-Su Observer, yet to be daughter proven, has three sons and one maternal grandson on the genomics listing

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Commercial milk producers often want the decisions on which sires to use to be as simplified as possible. That is why the Bullvine has produced these BEI listings. With due consideration to avoid inbreeding, milk producers can expect BEI to rank bulls for them for production, durability and health & fertility with emphasis on the sires that can convert intake into milk production.

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With the December 2012 genetic evaluation release and all the changes to the different systems, many breeders are finding it hard to figure out   which sires are the ones they should be taking a closer look at for their breeding programs. In typical Bullvine fashion we decided to not only provide you with the top lists (Read more in our Genetic Evaluations Section) but also to look at  what sires will help you maximize your genetics, by identifying which ones  address certain needs.  Here is what we  found from the 99% Rank worldwide for their area of specialty.

Overall Performance Improvement

When looking for the sire the will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for  sires that have a balance of production and longevity. We also wanted  great health and fertility traits that will deliver a  low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection).  Here are our top three.

  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY
    (Bolton x Bret x Rudolph)
    Last proof run,  we had  concerns with Dorcy as his parent averages and DGVs were higher than his actual daughter performance. However, with his daughter numbers nearly doubling in December, his actual daughter performance  is now higher than his PA’s and right on where his DGV had been predicted.  Look for Dorcy to sire balanced dairy cattle that have great udders and very good feet & legs, though he will need to be protected for dairy strength fat percent and specifically his body depth and chest width.
  • LONG-LANGS OMAN OMAN
    (O Man x Aaron x Bellwood)
    There is no question that the story around the world is how well Man-O-Man daughters are performing (Read more – Man-O-Man will he turn platinum?)  While we are huge Man-O-Man fans, he has  yet to leave a son who has Genomic results that are  higher than his own on the CDN system (Read more – Is Man-O-Man really going to be a sire of sons?).  When it comes to your breeding goals, he certainly is a sire that should still get  consideration even for the most aggressive genomic programs.  Look for Man-O-Man to sire outstanding production from cattle who have correct  feet and legs and strong mammary systems.  One area to watch him for is his rump angle, as his daughters can be a touch high in the pins.
  • MR LOOKOUT P ENFORCER
    (Facebook x Shottle x O Man)

    One sire that is certainly going to be on the top of everyone’s list is Enforcer.  He may be hard to get your hands on as he is just one year old and Semex will probably only be releasing him for contract matings (Read more – Select Sires vs. Semex – A contrast in cooperatives). This Marbri Facebook son has the highest DGVs in the breed.  Look for him to sire extreme component yields from strong dairy cattle with great feet and legs.  One area to be cautious on using him is his body depth.  Both his sire stack and his DGVs would say this area needs protecting.  For those looking for an early release genomic sire, check out GenerVations Liquid Gold born on the same day as Enforcer but yet publically available (Read more – $750 Dollar Semen! Are you crazy?)

Production Improvement

It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production. We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility so  we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without  sacrificing everything to get it.  In addition to Enforcer and Man-O-Man, here are some top production sires you should consider.

  • ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE
    (Bolton x O Man x Adam)

    Much like the Nerello grapes that the Mascali area of Italy is famous for, Mascalese is a sire that works best when used to balance out a pedigree by offering a  strong production infusion.  Mascalese is the perfect mating for Planet’s, Man-O-Man’s and Goldwyn’s, as he will add the dairy strength and rump improvement that is needed.
  • DE-SU ALTAGOALMAN
    (Bolton x O Man x BW Marshall)

    Holding strong in the US proving system that saw many sires drop over the last proof round is AltaGoalman.  This proven Bolton son from the Genomic powerhouse De-Su, offers extreme production with acceptable percent components, He delivers significant overall production improvement. While AltaGoalman will not hurt your udders and legs, he certainly needs to be protected on body depth and rump.  AltaGoalman is most definitely best suited for commercial environments but can also be used for a shot of production, if used carefully.
  • TRIONE NIAGRA VIGOR
    (Niagra x O Man  x Throne)

    Certainly a sire to consider, for those looking to push the genomic envelope and yet still wanting to find new bloodlines, is Vigor. Vigor is a RI-VAL-RE 2338 NIAGRA son from a TRIONE MAN IDRA VG-89-ITA. She is from one of Italy’s most dominant cow families TRIONE AARON BELLUNA VG-89-ITA.  Idra is an O-Man daughter of TRIONE THRONE ELENA VG-88-ITA.  Look for Vigor to be the genomic equivalent of AltaGoalman and needs to be protected on rump and dairy strength but offers tremendous production improvement.  He is a great option for a progressive breeder looking to develop a more unique bloodline.

Longevity Improvement

Recent changes to the US system for productive life rankings may have breeders scratching their heads.  Here are some sires that bring some light to the situation. In addition to Dorcy and Enforcer, other sires to consider for longevity improvement are:

  • GOLDDAY
    (Goldwyn x O Man x Durham)

    Goldday is a Goldwyn son from A-L-H DESTINY VG-87-3YR-USA DOM GMD. Destiny is of course the popular bull mother from Markwell Durham Daisy (Read more – Markwell Durham Daisy – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist), proven in Germany. Goldday is also the full brother to former #1 German sire Danillo. Look for Goldday to sire unbelievable udders and legs as well as long herd life.  One area where you will want to protect Goldday is rump angle. Be cautious in using him on cattle that need production improvement.
  • BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE
    (O Man x Die Hard x Metro)

    Freddie’s jump back to the top of the TPI list is not surprising as his daughters continue to perform.  Much like his father O Man, Freddie  was not given much use,  as his low type numbers scared many breeders away.  But, also like his father, his daughters tend to last much longer than their type numbers would indicate.   That’s because Freddie has outstanding fitness traits that helps him leave low maintenance daughters.  They are not angular and they are not deep but they do they milk hard and last long.
  • CRACKHOLM FEVER
    (Goldwyn x Blitz x Mattie G)

    Battling with GUTHRIE and the Goldwyn sons of MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE (Read more – MD-Delight Durham Atlee – 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) Fever may be the best proven Goldwyn son in the world. Fever is just one of the sires that does a lot of things right.  He has strong fitness traits combined with great type numbers that contribute to daughters lasting a long time.  Considering that production is one of the lower reasons breeders cull cattle (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection), it’s no wonder that Fever daughters will have a long career in many herds.

Health and Fertility Improvement

As I tried to point out in our recent article, Who killed the market for good dairy cattle?, breeders need to focus more on what their actual management goals are and less on their perceptions, or misconceptions.  That means putting a greater focus on health and fertility, when choosing mating sires in your herd.  In addition to Enforcer, Fever and Freddie here are some sires to consider:

  • CERVI PHONIC
    (Rolex x Tugolo x AltaFormation)

    While not a name that most breeders know, Phonic is certainly going to get some attention from breeders looking to breed to where the industry is headed.  With extremely low SCS and high daughter fertility combined with functional type and above average production, Phonic is leaving daughters that are extremely low maintenance. Tracing back to the great Italian brood cow Cervi FIRESTONE, this family has produced such sires as BUXON, WOODSTOCK and PADERNUS. Given his high rump angle, it is interesting that he is such a good  calving ease sire.
  • ZIMMERVIEW BRITT VARS
    (Britt x Tugolo x Metro)

    In Vars you get one of the top proven sires for daughter pregnancy rate, calving ease and productive life. Surprisingly this Britt son has an outstanding fat percentage coming from his MGS Tugolo.  However, his sire stack also dictates that he very much needs to be protected on type, especially udders.  It is ironic that a sire with such high herd life also sires deep udders that need improvement in udder cleft.
  • WALHOWDON RUSSELL COBRA
    (Russell x O Man x BW Marshall)

    Cobra is an early Russell son from a deep cow family.  His genomic test results are extremely high, especially for the health and fertility traits. Breeders looking to enhance the profitability of their herd and push the genomic envelope will certainly be looking to Cobra.   Cobra should be protected on bone quality as well as body depth.

Type Improvement

Hey everyone loves a winner and extra value, so that is why we added 3 extra type improvement sires. Great show cows are as much bred as they are “made”, as is evident by some of the great show cows from Quality Holsteins (Read more – Quality Holsteins – Well-deserved congratulations)   In addition to the 7 Sires to use in order to breed the next world dairy expo champion, we offer these three sires to consider.

  • GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ
    (Stormatic x BW Marshall x Winchester)

    Breeders who were are the 2012 Royal Winter Fair (Read more – The 2012 Royal Winter Fair – One of the greatest stories every told!) will certainly find it hard to argue with this selection.  Valleyvillle Rae Lyn VG-89-2YR, sired by Sanchez certainly impressed many and will give even the best Goldwyns a run for their money in 2014 (Read more – Quality Cattle Look Good Every Day). Look for Sanchez to sire extreme frames and superb feet and legs, though he may need to be protected on rear teat position and teat length
  • TOC-FARM DUPLEX GLAUCO
    (Duplex x Allen x Progress)

    For those of you looking for something with an international flair but a solid base, there is Glauco.  Glauco is the Duplex son of the great Italian show cow TOC-FARM ALLEN AMYLY EX-96-ITA, who is from a EX-93-ITA Progress and then the great brood cow SUNNYLODGE SKYCHIEF AMY EX-95-2E-GBR 5* who of course is from an EX-2E 8* Tab then the legendary SUNNYLODGE PRELUDE SPOTTIE VG-87-3YR-CAN 18*.  Glauco daughters are extremely tall and open and have  amazing rear udders. He should be protected on the  set to his rear legs (curved ), similar to Skychief but with much better bone quality.
  • VAL-BISSON DOORMAN
    (Bookem x Shottle x Goldwyn)

    For those of you who breed for type but are willing to use genomic sires, Doorman is for you.  This Bookem from a Shottle has no great show cattle in his pedigree, but, at +22, he does  have a very high genomic test for conformation. Genomically test speaking, he is the perfect sire for the show ring. Doorman will be a great test to see if Genomics works in the show ring (Read more – Does Genomics Belong in the Show Ring?)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

We  have stated it many times. In maximizing your genetic gain,  you can’t just pick from the top of the TPI or LPI list.  You need to make sure that your  matings are the best corrective cross.  Breeding great cattle is part art  and part science. You need to have both parts.   It takes careful consideration and generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why, instead of just giving you a list of the top 12 we tried to provide you with insight into which sires will provide you with the maximum gain in each specific area.

Check out our  Genetic Evaluations Section for more information.

 

In our recent article, Fact vs. Fantasy – A realistic approach to sire selection, we highlighted the need to choose sires not just on ideal conformation goals, but to also match your sire selection to the key management challenges your herd faces. In typical Bullvine style we wanted to take this one step further and to go from fantasy to reality and identify just what sires will help address these top culling issues.

The Bullvine’s Realistic Approach:  Breed to Minimize Your Profit Thieves

In the previous article, we recommended minimum sire proof levels for total index, female fertility, somatic cell score and feet & legs in both the US and Canadian genetic evaluation systems.  Since we only have access to DGVs from CDN, all values quoted in this article will be in Canadian terms.

Some considerations set for sires to qualify for consideration are worth repeating:

  1. A minimum LPI/TPI value (+2000) was set to address the problem of cows being culled for low   production;
  2. Sires had to be on an active marketing list of a North American AI organization; and
  3. Sires with only genomic evaluations had to have been born in 2011 or, in other words, they are in the initial stages of their sampling time.

Just a reminder of the minimum values The Bullvine set for bulls to be considered.

  • Lifetime Profit Index    > +2000
  • Daughter Fertility       > 100
  • Somatic Cell Score       < 2.90
  • Feet & Legs                 > +5

INFERTILITY: You can’t make milk if you can’t make calves

Breeders know that there is a difference in bulls’ daughters’ ability to become pregnant.  It’s probably one of the most important profit metrics on most herds. This is measured as Daughter Fertility in Canada and Daughter Pregnancy Rate in the USA.  This information has been available for some time, yet it still seems to be given little heed when sires are selected for use in A.I. and herds.

The Bullvine offers the following sires for use by herds wishing to genetically address infertility.

GENOMICALLY EVALUATED SIRES: ranked by DGV Daughter Fertility Index

  • 111      Ever-Green-View FONSY (Super x Shottle)
  • 110      Brant-View ALTAOTIS (Observer x Active)
  • 110      Latuch Trigger TREK (Trigger x Ramos)
  • 109      Rosylane-LLC JOSIAH (Jives x Ramos)
  • 109      Blue-Horizon ALATASUPLEX (Super x Planet)

DAUGHTER PROVEN SIRES: ranked by Daughter Fertility Index

  • 110      Badger-Bluff Fanny FREDDIE (Oman x Die-Hard)
  • 107      Synergy ALTAJENKINS (Mac x Shottle)
  • 107      Mainstream MANIFOLD (Oman x Marshall)
  • 107      Co-op Oman CAVANA (Oman x Hunter)
  • 106      Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz)

MASTITIS – a bane to producing high quality milk

No producer wants mastitis, the cost of loosing a valuable cows, or the possibility of having a tanker load of milk lost due to antibiotics in the load. Additionally milk producers don’t want their vet visit time consumed with mastitis problems. Can mastitis be lowered by using genetic evaluations?  “Yes!” claim many producers who know from experience that the daughters of bulls with an SCS over 3.10 are problems.  Sure, they may be fine in their first lactation but in later lactations they are usually more prone to mastitis.  The Bullvine offers the following sires for use in herds that wish to avoid mastitis, as much as possible:

GENOMICALLY EVALUATED SIRES: ranked by DGV SCS Index

  • 2.22     Coyne-Farms JACY (AltaIota x Massey)
  • 2.32     Welcome ADOLF (Shameless x Ramos)
  • 2.40     Oconnors BAROMETER (Garrett x Shottle)
  • 2.47     De-Su ALTAHALEY (Alta Meteor x Goldwyn)
  • 2.48     Stantons EVEREST (Observer x Shottle)

DAUGHTER PROVEN SIRES:  ranked by SCS Index

  • 2.45     Co-op Bosside MASSEY (Mascol x Bret)
  • 2.54     Lirr Drew DEMPSEY (Goldwyn x Derry)
  • 2.62     Coyne-Farms DORCY (Bolton x Bret)
  • 2.62     Coppertop DOBERMAN (Shottle x Granger)
  • 2.63     Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz)

Feet and Legs – Vital for High Performing Cows

The heritability of feet & legs is low (.20 to .25) but there are significant differences between sires in their ability to sire animals with functional feet and legs, especially feet. The costs mount up when you consider that cows with sore feet do not come in heat. And their feet must be trimmed more often. On top of that they require medication. In the end, there is milk withdrawal and definitely there is a loss of milk production. The Bullvine offers the following sires for use in herds that care about reducing their costs and losses due to feet and leg problems.

GENOMICALLY EVALUATED SIRES: ranked by their DGV Feet & Legs Index

  • +16 Blue-Horizon ALTASUPLEX (Super x Planet) Side View +7, Rear View +10, Foot Angle +7
  • +15 Ronelee Shottbolt DENZEL (Shottbolt x Outside) Rear View +12, Foot Angle +7.
  • +14 Seagull-Bay HEADLINER (Robust x Planet) Rear View +12, Foot Angle +10.
  • +14 De-Su RANSOM (Robust x Ramos) Foot Angle +10, Heel Depth +7. Bone Quality -1.
  • +13 Farnear –TBR- BH CASHMONEY (Observer x Goldwyn) Rear View +10.

DAUGHTER PROVEN SIRES: ranked by Feet & Leg Index

  • +16 Gen-I-Beq BRAWLER (Baxter x Shottle) – Foot Angle +12, Heel Depth +13.
  • +15 Crackholm FEVER (Goldwyn x Blitz) – Bone Quality +10, Rear View +11, Rear Set +13.
  • +14 Lirr Drew DEMPSEY (Goldwyn x Derry) – Foot Angle +11, Heel Depth +8, Rear View +9.
  • +14 DANILLO (Goldwyn x Oman) – Foot Angle +12, Rear View +13.
  • +12 Va-Early-Dawn SUDAN (Jammer x Sailor) – Foot Angle +8, Rear View +13. Rear legs straight.

THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE

The sires recommended here are genetically superior for reducing the nagging problems of fertility, mastitis and feet. At the same time, they are superior for their Lifetime Profit Index.  Bulls’ daughters that do not reach their potential due to any or all of these limiting factors are not needed on your farm or in the national herd. Choose the best sires that correct the actual problems that you face and thereby give you the opportunity to increase your profit per cow per year.  This method of selecting sires is not showy like winning in the show ring is but your bottom line on your year-end financial statement will be a larger number. Taking your goal of greater profits from fact to reality.

Looking for more mating recommendations and insights…click here.

How often do you select a mating sire for the reasons you typically cull animals, as opposed to what your perceived ideal cow looks like?  Further to our discussion about what the Perfect Holstein Cow looks like we here at the Bullvine started to ask ourselves, “How often do we choose our matings based on what we think the perfect cow looks like? vs. what our true management needs are?” Far too often sire selection is based on the fantasy of breeding that next great show cow or VG-89-2YR instead of facts needed to breed that low maintenance cow that will stay in your herd for many lactations and produce high quantities of milk.  Do your sire selections overlook your management needs?

Speedy Selection. Long-Lasting Problems

Discernment is the hardest part of sire selection.  Seeing your herd for what it is and what its genetic needs are is step one.  Step two is choosing what will work for you almost three years from now when the daughters of the sires you use today will be entering the milking string.  The old adage was “breed for type and feed for production.”  But how many breeding stock animals have you sold recently based solely on conformation?  How many will you be selling in three years based on their type?  What are the revenue sources for your farm now and in the future?  If your answer is “We get our revenue from the milk cheque from as few cows as possible and with as much profit per cow as possible” then selecting for type could mean that your sire selection is out of alignment with your management needs.

How Can You Tell If You Are You Out of Sync?

One place to determine where your herd has issues is to look at the reasons for and the frequency of culling. Every cow that leaves your herd for any reason other than a profitable sale is an indicator of the issues that could be arising from sire selection that is out of alignment with what is going on in your herd.

The Bullvine found the following information on milking age females that are removed from herds:

  • Over 35% of cows in a herd are replaced annually. That is costly!
  • The top known reasons for culling or removing cows are:
    • Infertility  / reproduction                    23.1%
    • Sold for dairy purposes                       21.4%
    • Mastitis                                               13.8%
    • Feet and Legs                                        9.6%
    • Low production                                     7.6%
    • Total    75.5%
  • The other known reasons for culling or removing cows are:
    • Injury               10.0%
    • Sickness           7.0%
    • Old Age           2.4%
    • Diseases          1.8%
    • Bad Temperament      0.9%
    • Difficult Calving          0.9%
    • Conformation 0.9%
    • Slow Milker                 0.6%
    • Total    24.5%

Are You Breeding to Spend Money or Are you Breeding to Make Money?

You may be comfortable with your culling rate especially if it isn’t too far off “normal”. However when you look closely at the cows that remain in your herd how “needy” are they?  Staff time, vet calls, hoof trimming, semen, drugs, supplies, extra time in the dry cow pen and removing cows from herds before they reach maturity – these all add up to significant dollars down the drain.  Therefore, anything that can be done in sire selection to minimize these costs goes right to improving the financial bottom line.  All unbudgeted costs mean less profit. If an animal is culled early, it does not matter where she placed at the local show or that her sire was a popular bull that left fancy udders.  If he also left poor feet and low fertility, that costs you money.

A More Realistic Approach: Breed for the Bottom Line Not Just the Top Number

Often top bulls for total index are put forward to breeders for their use, without regard for the bull’s limiting factors.  The Bullvine doesn’t support that approach.  We recommendation that minimum sire selection values be set for the reasons cows are culled so that sires used in a herd don’t create new problems while the breeder tries to solve the current ones.

Here are the Bullvine we recommend the following requirements bulls should meet to be considered for use by bottom line focused breeders:

  • In Canada
    • Lifetime Profit Index   > +2000*
    • Daughter Fertility          > 100
    • Somatic Cell Score         < 2.90
    • Feet & Legs                      > +5
  • In USA
    • Total Performance Index        > 2000*
    • Daughter Pregnancy Rate          > 1.0
    • Somatic Cell Score                    < 2.90
    • Feet & Legs Composite               > 1.0

* A high minimum value has been set for both LPI and TPI to address the removal of cows for low production and so animals sold for dairy purposes can be in demand for their milk producing ability.

THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE

Every dairy breeder wants a superior herd and wants to eliminate the daily annoyances, costs and loss of valuable cows due to infertility, mastitis and feet problems and low production. Breeders should choose the best sires that correct the actual problems that they face in their herd instead of chasing a fantasy that has nothing to do with their reality.

The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

With the increased genetic similarity coming from genomic selection and the accelerated rate of genetic advancement, the need to pay attention to outcross sires is important. Never before has it been so difficult to find outcross sires, even though there is a much larger global marketplace. As the world genetics market has grown, the variance in genetic offerings has actually decreased. In most countries genetic indexes are either getting more and more similar or breeders are starting to speak a more common language such as TPI or Net Merit.

As a follow up to our The Top 12 Holstein Genomic Young Sires to Use for Maximum Genetic Gain, we decided to look for outcross sires either proven or genomic test sires that would offer breeders the maximum genetic gain while providing needed diversity. The word outcross or what constitutes an outcross sire can be tricky depending on where you are located. For our purposes, we are calling an outcross sire something that comes off the GPS map, or the Goldwyn, Planet, and Shottle map, if you will. That means that they do not have any of these three great sires anywhere in the 1st or 2nd generation of their pedigree.

Please note that we did leave Man-O-Man and his sons in our list because we felt that in relation to the total population base he received limited use due to his limited semen supply. He was used fairly heavily for contract matings but has only 393 daughters in his production proof and 190 daughters in his type proof in the USA

Overall Performance Improvement

While there is no question Man-O-Man offers outstanding overall genetic gain in a relative outcross package, here are some other sires to consider when looking for overall performance improvement:

  • LEOTHE DEXTERMAN (Man-O-Man x AltaBaxter)
    If you cannot get Man-O-Man, why not go for what is arguably his best son, LEOTHE DEXTERMAN? DEXTERMAN offers outstanding component improvement, though he should not be expected to significantly improve overall production. Not surprising considering his dam LEOTHE BAXTER DAPHNEE VG-86-2YR-CAN just squeezed out 10,799 kgs in a 365-day record. DEXTERMAN’s maternal line shows generation after generation of solid conformation with average production. Look for DEXTERMAN to offer solid durability and health traits with balanced conformation. DEXTERMAN will fit the bill when looking for extreme component improvement. Look for him to breed much as his maternal line strong conformation, outstanding components, but needs protected on overall production.
  • MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE (Massey x Boliver)
    If you are looking for more of an outcross or have used lots of Man-O-Man try MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE. MAURICE and his Dorcy brother MOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL offer a great outcross option. MAURICE has high TPI, NM$ and Type scores making him a great option for overall performance. Though based on his genomic numbers you will need to protect him on dairy strength and a little on rumps.
  • CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY (Mascol x Bret)
    If you are looking for a proven sire option, you cannot go wrong with CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY. The current #1 daughter proven sire in the US, MASSEY breeds long-lasting cows that work well in all environments. Watch for MASSEY to sire even better production numbers than his proof would indicate, as well as being a little dairier and stronger than expected, but he will need to be protected on Rumps.
  • ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE (Bolton x O man)
    For those looking for a bloodline not as well known to North American breeders, try ZANI BOLTON MASCALESE. With a dam that has a MACE index of over +4000 MLPI, it can be new territory for many breeders to use a MACE sire that is so high. Concerns that his proof is all parent average and genomics are not unusual. However, when it comes to MASACLESE. his daughters are actually backing up what his family and genomics would indicate. His young sire proof estimates (65% Genomics and 35% Parent Average) would be +3019 MLPI and his MACE proof has him at+ 2972, telling you that, while his daughters are slightly lower, they are not far off. Look for MASCALESE to transmit outstanding balance and type though do be careful on his component percentages.

Production Improvement

For those of you that are more commercially focused or maybe those of you who have not focused enough on production and the milk check is showing it, here are our recommendations other than Man-O-Man for overall production, and genomic sires MAURICE & DEXTERMAN for components to use to gain the greatest production increase:

  • DE-SU ALTAGOALMAN (Bolton x O man)
    ALTAGOALMAN is a proven sire from the high Genomic Index De-Su herd. With a PA MLPI of +1960 and DGV MLPI of +2710, ALTAGOALMAN’s official proof MLPI is +2887, indicating that his daughters are significantly outperforming PA expectations for both type and production traits. Though ALTAGOALMAN will sire outstanding production both his genomic proof and his daughter information would indicate that he needs to be protected on dairy strength.
  • UFM-DUBS ALTAESQUIRE (O man x AltaSam)
    Another proven sires option is ALTAESQUIRE. ALTAESQUIRE’s 2nd crop daughters seem to be outperforming his first crop proof. Watch for ALTAESQUIRE to sire more production, components as well as better mammary systems than his current proof would indicate. Currently ALTAESQUIRE’s proof is held back significantly by his low parent average MLPI of +1763, that is 1171 points lower than his current official MLPI proof of +2934. With the addition of more daughters watch for his official CDN proof to have him among the top 2-3 LPI spots. While offering dairy strength and rump improvement ALTAESQUIRE needs to be used cautiously on mammary systems and feet and legs, but if you are looking to put a production punch in a good uddered and legged cow/heifer ALTAESQUIRE will do the trick.

Longevity Improvement

For those of you that are looking to breed cattle that last lactation after lactation or maybe you are having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation we recommend the following outcross sires:

  • RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT (Dorcy x Boliver)
    RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT just spells longevity (Dorcy x Boliver x Outside x Rudolph), he was bred to deliver long lasting daughters. With outstanding Herd Life/Productive Life, breed leading mammary systems scores and strong Feet and Legs scores, DELIGENT is a longevity specialist, though he does need to be somewhat protected for dairy strength. Look for DELIGENT to combine this longevity with strong production and type numbers.
  • MOUNTFIELD SSI DCY MOGUL (Dorcy x Marsh)
    From the same family as MOUNTFIELD MSY MAURICE comes the Dorcy son MOGUL. Much like MAURICE, MOGUL combines high TPI, NM$ and Type scores as well as breed leading longevity scores. With a PL +7.1, +3.29 UDC. +3.13 FLC, +1.22BD and +1.62 Dairyness, MOGUL really is the complete longevity package. Combine that with over +1,000 lbs. of milk and plus components and MOGUL daughters will be producing for many years.
  • COYNE-FARMS DORCY (Bolton x Bret)
    Well if you don’t want to use genomic young sires, you can always use the sire that is producing those sons, COYNE-FARMS DORCY. While DORCY’s actual daughter numbers are slightly below his Genomic and Parent averages (Read – The Effect Genomics has On the August 2012 New Release Daughter Proven Sires) he is proving to be an outstanding longevity improvement sire, both through his sons and daughters. Breeders interested in a Bolton son from an outcross pedigree, top-notch udders, very good feet & legs and functional traits may consider DORCY. Dairy Strength and Rump are only slightly above breed norms.
  • BERTAIOLA MINCIO (Bolton x Boss Iron)
    For breeders looking to go a little further off the GPS map, there is BERTAIOLA MINCIO. This high fertility Bolton son combines high type with great production, which is resulting in outstanding results in his current daughter performance. Watch for MINICO to sire great udders and feet & legs though you may want to watch him on somatic cell score.

Health and Fertility Improvement

One area that is not getting enough attention by most breeders is health and fertility. While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equals more profits many of the top ranking sires especially the GPS sires actually have negative values for health and fertility. The following are a couple of specialist sires that should help you change that:

  • ALL-RIEHL PAXTON (O Man x Rudolph)
    While ALL-RIEHL PAXTON has a little older sire stack, he does possess the highest combined values for Somatic Cell Score, Udder Depth, Milking Speed, Daughter Fertility and Lactation Persistency. PAXTON daughters are shallow uddered with strong rear attachments and walk on strong feet and legs. While not big, or deep bodied they do possess good width of chest and nice slopey rumps. For those looking for show type and angularity, PAXTON is not the sire for you, but for those looking for easy to manage daughters that have long term profitability PAXTON will do the trick.
  • S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM (Domain x Bolton)
    S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM has some of the highest DGV’s for health and fertility. Lithium is from one of the top genomic cows in the breed, GLEN-TOCTIN BOLT LUCILLE VG-87-DOM. Combining high herd life, low Somatic Cell counts and high daughter fertility with over 1600 lbs. of milk, 110 of fat and protein and 2.5 points on type makes Lithium a great choice when looking for improvement. It is interesting to note that his DGV’s for health and fertility are almost 8% higher than the next highest genomic young sire (BRANDT-VIEW ALTAOTIS) and 50% higher than his own official index, indicating that he really is the sire to use when wanting to address this area that has flown under the radar far too long.

Type Improvement

Finding a top type sire that has no Goldwyn in it’s pedigree is next to impossible (Read – 7 Sire to Use in Order to Breed the Next World Dairy Expo Champion). Finding ones with no Planet or Shottle as well was almost ridiculous. In addition to MOGUL and MINICO, you could also consider:

  • SIEMERS TOYS HERO 9701 (Toystory x Durham)
    While HERO’s pedigree does not have some of the big time show cow’s like many of the other popular type sires in the breed today, he does have strong genomic test results for Conformation, and specifically udders. Look for HERO to sire extremely shallow udders that have strong ligaments though he could be protected a little on teat placement. While larger than average, HERO will not sire your big tall show winners with the deep ribs, instead he offers wide rumps that have slightly high pins and average chest width. He really is an udder specialist with average legs and dairy strength.
  • TOC-FARM DUPLEX GLAUCO (Duplex x Allen)
    For those looking for a more well-known pedigree there is TOC-FARM DUPLEX GLAUCO. His dam, TOC-FARM ALLEN AMYLY EX-96-ITA, was All World Cow in 2008. She herself is from the great breeding cow, SUNNYLODGE SKYCHIEF AMY EX-95-2E-GBR 5*. Look for GLAUCO to sire tall deep-bodied cows with wide chests and strong udders. His big boxcar rumps will catch many breeders’ eyes, though you may want to protect him on rump angle a little.

 The Bullvine Bottom Line

Choosing the correct sire can be challenging enough. Finding a sire that also offers an outcross from the main GPS (Goldwyn, Planet, Shottle) sires can be almost impossible. That is why we compiled these 14 sires to bring to light some outcross pedigrees that many breeders may not have heard of. Hope this helps you find your way to your best outcross bull.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

Everyone loves winning.  No one enters a competition to finish last.  Regardless of who you are every purebred dairy breeder dreams of winning supreme champion at World Dairy Expo.  Your dream of walking in the spotlight, on the colored shavings, with everyone applauding you, starts with choosing the right sires.

Logic would tell you that you take top 10 PTAT sires or Conformation sires and away you go.  However, we all know what wins in the barn does not win in the ring.  That is because the relative importance/weights are different in each area of the Dairy Cow Scorecard.  Therefore, instead of your typical classification weightings that make up the basis of PTAT and Conformation indexes (Udder 40%, Dairy Strength 25%, Feet & Legs 20% and Frame 15%) we decided to place more emphasis on traits that make a difference in the show ring to come up with our short list of sires to use (Udder 35%, Feet & Legs 13%, Stature 13, Strength 13%, Body Depth 14%, Dairy Form 13%). For those of you who think great show cows don’t produce as well we recommend you read Show Cows: All Type and No Action)

We then went to Genomics.  Yes genomics for show cattle.  Many confuse the word genomics and TPI or LPI index when actually genomics is just a more accurate and earlier-in-life method of evaluating or predicting a sire’s ability to transmit improvement for that specific trait or composite.  Therefore, it can actually be a huge tool for breeder who is looking to breed great show cattle.  In the case of young sires, we were also careful to make sure we did not use sires with type genomic traits lower than their parent averages, as our previous analysis showed us (Read – 7 Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Use Sires with DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages).

Let`s get a better understanding of  what sires will help you win that elusive prize of breeding the next great show cow.  The following are the lucky seven sires we would recommend in order to breed the next supreme champion.  Having said that, we admit that all great breeding is two parts homework, one part intuition, and three parts luck.  Let`s start with the homework.

#7 – MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD

MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* - dam of Atwood

MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2* – dam of Atwood

It’s no fluke that MAPLE-DOWNS-I G W ATWOOD EX-90-4YR-USA is probably the next generation of great show bulls available today.  Combining  Goldwyn on Durham would normally be enough but added to that his dam is the exceptional MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*.  Atlee also has extreme conformation herself, winning reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005, and going to be named unanimous ALL-AMERICAN SR.3-YR that year.  She comes by it naturally with her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94 (the full sister to the recently deceased World Champion Shoremar S Alicia EX-97).  Combine that with the greatest type sire of the past half-decade and you have yourself an unbeatable show-winning package.  Atwood offers the great mammary systems his pedigree would indicate but needs to be protected for flat loins and high pins, much like his sire.

#6 – PINE-SHELTER CLAY WOOD

PINE-SHELTER CHELSY SHO VG-86-2YR-USA DOM - dam of Wood

PINE-SHELTER CHELSY SHO VG-86-2YR-USA DOM – dam of Wood

If you don’t want to use Atwood himself, how about one of his sons?  Possessing the highest values of all the bulls on our list for stature (5.09), PINE-SHELTER CLAY WOOD will give you that punch of stature needed for show cows.  Not surprisingly since his third dam is none other than 2003 World Dairy Expo Champion, PINE-SHELTER CHEYENNE EX-95-3E-USA DOM. Expect Wood to sire a very balanced cow that needs to be used on cows that have deep ribs and deep heals.  He will give you those big wide rear udders that can do wonders when the judge is standing behind you making those critical decisions.

#5 – GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE

SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN  - dam of Dude

SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN – dam of Dude

Possessing the highest genomic values for most conformation traits is GIBBS-I CLAYNOOK DUDE VG-87-1YR-CAN.  (Not to be confused with the Facebook sensation He is One Ugly Dude)  This Atwood son from SONNEK BLT DOUBLE DIPPED VG-85-2YR-CAN has unbelievable genomic values for all major conformation traits, well above his expected parent averages.  This is opposite to the situation for most recently proven Claynook bred bulls, whose PAs exceed their genomic values and whose indexes dropped in a major way from when they were sampled to when they were proven.  (Read – The Hot House Effect On Sire Sampling).  Dude has the genomic values to back it up.  Expect Dude to sire breed leading mammary system improvement and loads of dairy strength, though he will need to be protected on high pins.

#4 – REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK

REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* - dam of Bradnick

REGANCREST BREYA VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* – dam of Bradnick

For those of you who want a sire other than Atwood and Atwood sons, I offer up the next two selections.  In REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK VG-87-2YR-USA you have no Goldwyn blood at all.  From the REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* (2012 Golden Dam Finalist) family, by way of a VG-88-3YR-USA DOM 1* Shottle daughter REGANCREST BREYA, and sired by GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ EX-94-6YR-USA ST’12.  Breya is the former #3 PTAT Cow in the breed and continues the strong legacy that Barbie started.  In Bradnick you get a sire who is over 3 points on all composites except Dairy Comp where he is at 2.92.  In every major type trait Bradnick’s DGV’s are higher than expected from his parents.

#3 – SCIENTIFIC B DEFIANT

SCIENTIFIC GOLD DIOR RAE-ET *RC EX-92-4YR-USA DOM - dam of Defiant

SCIENTIFIC GOLD DIOR RAE-ET *RC EX-92-4YR-USA DOM – dam of Defiant

As the  REGANCREST S BRAXTON EX-95-5YR-USA son of the #4 GTPI RC cow, SCIENTIFIC GOLD DIOR RAE-ET *RC EX-92-4YR-USA DOM, SCIENTIFIC B DEFIANT is doubly blessed as his is also a red carrier.  Of course Dior Rae is from none other the great show winning SCIENTIFIC DEBUTANTE RAE-ET  EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, tracing back to the Queen of the Breed herself GLENRIDGE CITATION ROXY EX-CAN EX-97-4E-USA GMD 6*.  In Defiant you get a sire stack of Braxton from a Goldwyn from Durham that just drips dairy strength.  Expect Defiant to sire extremely tall framey cows that have strong, snug, shallow udders.  However, you may want to protect him on the cleanliness of bone as well as slight curved legs.

#2 – CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT

CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 - dam of Airlift

CANYON-BREEZE S AUBURN EX-90 – dam of Airlift

Coming in at #2 is another Atwood son CANYON-BREEZE AT AIRLIFT.  While the female side of this cow family may not have won any major shows, they do have generation after generation of outstanding strength, frames and feet and legs, tracing back to the same bloodlines as the great CANYON-BREEZE ALLEN.  Combine that with Atwood’s udders and you have the potential for greatness.  Expect Airlift to sire extreme feet and leg improvement as well as rumps.  For the line breeding fans out there, Airlift would make a great cross with your Goldwyn’s.  Bringing the needed rump and dairy strength improvement many Goldwyn’s need.  However, much like Allen, you may not want to use him on cattle that are extremely straight legged.  Airlift also makes a great option for those looking to sire show-winning calves as Airlift is almost over 4 points on all major type traits outside of mammary system.

#1 – MR ATWOOD BROKAW

REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA  - dam of Brokaw

REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA – dam of Brokaw

Leading the way, but surely not a surprise, is MR ATWOOD BROKAW.  In Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and Reserve Intermediate Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to be extremely tall (4.85 Stature) and have the necessary frame (3.89 Body Comp), dairyness (3.06 Dairy Comp) and bolted on udders (3.77 Udder Comp) to get the job done.  While his rumps may not be ideal for classification, expect them to be bang on when it comes to the show ring, demonstrating the necessary width and boxcar rumps that judges love so much.

Side Note on Goldwyn

For those of you wondering how we could leave probably the most dominant show sire of the past decade BRAEDALE GOLDWYN GP-84-8YR-CAN EXTRA’05 GM’12 off of the list.  Here is our explanation.  While there is no question that Goldwyn is a great sire, and a fantastic type improvement sire, we argue that part of his success came through opportunity as much as through genetic ability.  Since Goldwyn was used on so many cattle including the top type cattle in the breed, because of his outstanding proof, he had far more opportunity than most other sires to leave his mark.  While he has not disappointed, his sons, such as Atwood and his grandsons as in Defiant, have now surpassed him.

The Bottom Line

The truth is everyone loves a winner.  That`s the simple truth.  Ask yourself, “How many times have you seen a packed house to hear the naming of the top new TPI or LPI sire?”  This is not to say that you can’t strive for both.  (Read – Show Cows: All Type and No Action?)  Nevertheless, everyone would love to breed the next great show cow.  That starts with using the correct sires.  In then means using the bloodlines that have proven they have done it before.  We have chosen Brokaw as the greatest sire for show type improvement.  Of course, as is the case with all mating decisions, you need to make sure the sire you choose crosses well and is a corrective mating with the cow you are breeding.

For those of you looking for a more balanced breeding approach, check out The Top 12 Holstein Young Sires to Use for Maximum Genetic Gain.

 

Confused on what group of genomic young sires to use for your breeding program?  Not sure which sires are the real deals and which ones are just smoke and mirrors (read The Hot House Effect on Sire Sampling)?  We decided to take a closer look at the top 100 genomic young sires from around the world to determine just which ones are worth using and which ones you are better forgetting.

Based on our analysis of the early genomic sires that  received indexes, we first removed all sires from our list that didn’t have DGV’s available or higher than their parent average for the traits we judge as important (read 7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Genomic Sires With DGV’s Lower Than Their Parent Averages).  Then instead of just giving you the highest list based on their GPA TPI or GPA LPI we decided to look for sires that fit certain needs.  They are overall performers, production, durability, health and fertility and conformation.  The following are the results.

Overall Performance Improvement

AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA dam of SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE

AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA dam of SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE

While bulls like Amighetti Numero Uno may top the GPA TPI list, we are looking for a more needs approach.  The following are the sires we would recommend when looking for a genomic young sire to provide overall performance improvement.

  • SEAGULL-BAY SUPERSIRE
    This Robust son from 2012 Golden Dam Finalist AMMON-PEACHEY SHAUNA VG-87-2YR-USA, really is a genomic wonder.  Not only does he have the highest genomic values in the breed for production but he also has great functional type and health traits to go with it.  Here you have a sire that is over 2500 lbs. for milk, with positive component deviations, 2.50 for type, and over 7 for productive life.  He really is the complete package.
  • VELTHUIS LET IT SNOW
    From the LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94-CAN 14* (also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist) family comes, the CDN GPA LPI topper VELTHUIS LET IT SNOW.  While possessing 500 lbs. less production and half the productive life of that of Supersire, this Snowman son has outstanding type composites and the genomic test to make up the difference for those of you that do not want to sacrifice overall type.  I would protect Let It Snow on the health and fertility side a little.
  • ROSYLANE-LLC ALTALEO
    I am always looking for sires whose genomic tests blow out their expected values, and ROSYLANE-LLC ALTALEO does that by almost 19%.  AltaLeo does not top any  GPA TPI or GPA LPI lists, but he does seem to far exceed the values you would expect from an AltaMeteor from a not very well known Nifty (Bombay x Zebo) daughter.  For those of you who like to take flyers on bulls who just seem to be extreme, AltaLeo is the sire for you.  While he does need to be protected on rump and dairy strength, for those that are willing to take the risk, they may find the reward is well worth it.

Production Improvement

MS CHARTROISE LORELEI VG-87-2YR-CAN dam of BOLDI V LIGHTSNOW

MS CHARTROISE LORELEI VG-87-2YR-CAN dam of BOLDI V LIGHTSNOW

For those of you that are more commercially focused or maybe those of you who have not focused enough on production and the milk check is showing it, here are our recommendations other than Supersire for genomic young sires to use to gain the greatest production increase:

  • DE-SU PHOENIX 588
    PHOENIX is a Planet from DE-SU 7902 GP-81-2YR-USA DOM, whose dam De-Su Oman 6121 VG-86-2YR-USA DOM GMD has over 20 daughters on the locator list and is the dam of De-Su Observer, one of the early top genomic sires.  Phoenix combines outstanding production and components with strong conformation.  Though a Planet x Bolton cross may raise some concerns about rumps, Phoenix should inherit his maternal line’s rumps and be okay.  The area of strong concern that he does need protected on is his health and fertility traits, specifically his daughter fertility and milking speed.
  • BOLDI V LIGHTSNOW
    Lightsnow also from the LYLEHAVEN LILA Z EX-94-CAN 14* family is a Snowman from the well-known Planet daughter MS CHARTROISE LORELEI VG-87-2YR-CAN.  Lightsnow offers 160 lbs. of combined fat and protein, offering breeders a quick punch of components while not having to sacrifice production.  While needing to be protected a little on some of the health and fertility traits, Lightsnow offers outstanding production improvement with a very balanced type offering.

Longevity Improvement

MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN dam of FARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHMONEY

MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN dam of FARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHMONEY

For those of you that are looking to breed cattle that last lactation after lactation or maybe you have having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation we recommend the genomic young sires:

  • BLUE-HORIZON ALTASUPLEX
    As the #2 sire for productive life (NO-FLA AltaSecure is #1) BLUE-HORIZON ALTASUPLEX offers significant longevity improvement.  Unlike AltaSecure this Super son combines that high productive life with over 1400lbs of milk, and 3.00 points on type.  While he does need to be protected %F, dairy strength and rumps, AltaSuplex offers extreme functional conformation improvement that you would expect from a great grandson of BUDJON-JK ENCORE ELECTRA EX-95-2E-USA DOM GMD 3*.
  • VAL-BISSON DOORMAN
    Following closely behind AltaSuplex for #2 on the top genomic longevity list is Doorman, a Bookem from a Shottle that completes 8 generations of VG+ with 31*.  Doorman offers a more complete package with not needing protected on much as he is over 1300 kgs of Milk, plus on both his component deviations, and double digits for all major type traits.  In fact his DGV for conformation and mammary system are among the very best in the breed at +22.  While the family may not be a household name yet,  Doorman could be the sire that changes that as he even converts well onto the US system with a GTPI of +2465, PTAT +4.72 and almost a 1000 lbs of Milk and over 100 lbs of combined fat and protein.
  • FARNEAR-TBR-BH CASHMONEY
    There hasn’t been a  better  brood cow for type and longevity recently  than 2012 Golden Dam Finalist REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*.  Now this trend continues with her grand daughter, and fellow 2012 Golden Dam Finalist REGANCREST S CHASSITY EX-92-4YR-USA DOM, and also Chassity’s Goldwyn daughter, and Cashmoney’s dam MS CHASSITY GOLDWYN CASH VG-87-2YR-CAN.  Not only does Cashmoney have an extremely well known female side to his pedigree, his sire stack is nothing to laugh at either.  He combines OBSERVER x GOLDWYN x SHOTTLE x CHAMPION x DURHAM, and from a longevity standpoint he’s the best there is on the list.  Cashmoney really is the real deal though I would protect him on strength and rumps.

Health and Fertility Improvement

One area that is not getting enough attention by most breeders is health and fertility. While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equals more profits many of the top ranking sires actually have negative values for health and fertility.  The following are a couple of specialist sires that should help you change that:

  • S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM
    Possessing no Planet, Shottle or Goldwyn in his pedigree S-S-I DOMAIN LITHIUM has some of the highest DGV’s for health and fertility.  Lithium is from one of the top genomic cows in the breed, GLEN-TOCTIN BOLT LUCILLE VG-87-DOM.  Combining high herd life, low Somatic Cell counts and high daughter fertility with over 1600 lbs of milk, 110 of fat and protein and 2.5 points on type makes Lithium a great choice when looking for improvement.  It is interesting to note that his DGV’s for health and fertility are almost 8% higher than the next highest sire (BRANDT-VIEW ALTAOTIS) and 50% higher than his own official index, indicating that he really is the sire to use when wanting to address this area that has flown under the radar far too long.
  • HAMMER-CREEK FRED KRUNCH
    With his low Somatic Cell Score (2.72), strong udders (2.54 Udder comp.), quick milking speed (106), and high daughter fertility (110 CDN 2 US) Krunch is a breed leader when it comes to health and fertility. Tracing back to WA-DEL RC BLCKSTR MARTHA EX-93-2E-USA GMD DOM 2* combines his strong female lineage with outstanding health and fertility sire stack Freddie x Goldwyn x Zade x Mtoto x Formation x Blackstar.  Though he very much needs to be protected for strength and rumps.

Type Improvement

REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA  dam of  MR ATWOOD BROKAW

REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA dam of MR ATWOOD BROKAW

There is no question that some of us put too much emphasis on type improvement when it comes to selecting bulls, especially when many type traits have such low heritability (read Is Your Breeding Strategy A “Field of Dreams”?).  The following sires in addition to Let It Snow and Doorman, will offer you the potential to breed a great show animal.

  • MR ATWOOD BROKAW
    Tied with Doorman for some of the highest type genomics in the breed is MR ATWOOD BROKAW.  Which should come as no surprise as in Brokaw you combine the two greatest type families in the breed today.  On the paternal  side you have Atwood and his dam MD-DELIGHT DURHAM ATLEE EX-92-4YR-USA DOM GMD 2*, 2012 Golden Dam finalist and reserve Int. Champion at Madison in 2005 followed by her grand dam being MS Kingstead Chief Adeen EX-94.  On the maternal side you have REGANCREST MAC BIKASA VG-87-2YR-USA who is the daughter of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3*, also a 2012 Golden Dam Finalist.  Watch for Brokaw to sire extreme udders and dairy strength, but will need to be protected on rumps from time to time.
  • REGANCREST-GV S BRADNICK
    Also from the of REGANCREST-PR BARBIE EX-92-7YR-USA DOM GMD 3* family, but this time from a VG-88-3YR-USA DOM   1* Shottle daughter REGANCREST BREYA, and sired by GEN-MARK STMATIC SANCHEZ EX-94-6YR-USA ST’12 comes Bradnick.  Breya is the former #3 PTAT Cow in the breed and continues the strong legacy that Barbie started.  In Bradnick you get a sire who is over 3 points on all composites except dairy comp. where he is at 2.92.  In every major type trait Bradnick’s DGV’s are higher than expected and offers more balance than Brokaw who does need to be protected on Rumps.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Anyone can just pick a sire from a top of the GPA TPI or GPA LPI list and call themselves breeders.  But there is more to it than that. Breeding great cattle is part art form part science and you need to have both parts in balance.  It takes careful consideration generation after generation of corrective mating to breed great cow families.  That is why instead of just giving you a list of the top 10 we tried to provide you the insight into which sires will provide you the maximum gain in each specific area.


The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics

 

Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.

 

 

 

When it works it’s called line breeding, when it doesn’t it could be a disaster. Here are 20 things every dairy breeder should know about inbreeding.

How does it happen?

1. Inbreeding results from the mating of related individuals.

2. Relationships between dairy animals are increasing over time because of selection toward similar breeding objectives.

Five possible reasons you can tell yourself not to be concerned about inbreeding

3. Outstanding bulls should be used if the benefits of genetic improvement exceed losses from any possible inbreeding depression

4. Inbreeding has played a role in development and improvement of specialized strains of livestock.

5. The positive aspect of inbreeding is that the genotypes of sperm or egg cells from inbred individuals are more predictable than for outbreds.

6. If the inbred animal were superior and transmitted its superiority with regularity, the advantages would be obvious.

7. Inbreeding can also be used to “purge” a line of cattle of undesirable recessive genes.

Ten realistic reasons to be concerned about inbreeding

8. Inbreeding is expensive. For cows that survive to freshen the first time, each 1% increase in inbreeding reduces lifetime net income by $22 to $24.

9. There is no magic level of inbreeding that is acceptable. Effects of inbreeding on performance of commercial dairy cattle are almost entirely negative.

10. Inbreeding decreases performance. Inbreeding decreases cow survival, single lactation production and reproductive performance.

11. Inbreeding increases negative factors. Inbreeding increases calf mortality, increases age at puberty through retarded growth, and increases rate of disposal or loss of replacement heifers prior to first calving.

12. Inbreeding should be managed in herd breeding programs rather than avoided.

13. Inbreeding in offspring differs for each sire-dam combination, making mate assignments important if inbreeding is to be managed properly.

14. Blanket recommendations of a bull as an “outcross” to groups of cows may not be effective in reducing the impact of inbreeding.

15. The development of large, specialized dairies in North America in recent years has been accompanied by decreased emphasis on individual animal identification.

16. Many large herd managers have questioned the benefits of individual cow ID to their operation. Avoidance of inbreeding losses is one such benefit.

17. When undesirable recessive genes appear in the homozygous state (bb), the condition is often fatal.

Two Thoughts to Take Away

18. Optimum methods to control inbreeding will choose the sire with highest genetic merit adjusted for inbreeding in a specific mating rather than avoiding some maximum level in inbreeding.

19. Complete, accurate pedigree data for cows to be mated and sires used as mates will be a necessary part of such mating decisions.

 THE BULLVINE BOTTOM LINE

20. Losses due to inbreeding can be minimized through careful attention to accurate records. If we can’t estimate inbreeding in a mating because of limited pedigree data, we cannot avoid inbreeding or estimate its costs.

For more information check out The Bullvine Bull Book or our Genetic Evaluation Resource Center.

 

Comments (1)

I can tell you the number of times I have seen top breeders spend hours upon hours deciding who to mate their top cattle.  While I understand the importance of this decision, often times I find that the final decision is based on traits that are so low in heritability the chance of actually improving the cow for that trait is extremely low.  As a result, the mating they were hoping to give them that next great one, turns out to be a field of dreams.

What is Heritability?

Heritability is a measure of the degree (0 to 100%) to which offspring resemble their parents for a specific trait. This definition can be extended to all genetic relationships such as half sisters sired by the same bull. Heritability measures the strength of the relationship between performance (phenotype) and breeding value (genotype) of an individual animal. Recall that “heritability” applies to a specific trait measured in a specific population of animals at a specific point in time. If the same trait is measured in a slightly different way in some other group of animals, the estimate of heritability can be expected to be different.

Why Should You Care About Heritability?

Heritability tells you the breeder how much confidence to place in the phenotypic performance of an animal when choosing parents of the next generation. For highly heritable traits where heritability exceeds 0.35, the animal’s phenotype is a good indicator of genetic merit or breeding value. For lowly heritable traits, where heritability is below 0.15, an animal’s performance is much less useful in identifying the individuals with the best genes for the trait.

This is where the problem lies.  The following is a breakdown of High vs Low heritability traits.

High Medium Low
Milk Yield (0.43) Fat Yield (0.34) Herd Life (0.10)
Protein Yield (40) Somatic Cell Score (0.27) Calving Ability (0.6)
Fat Percentage (est. 0.50) Milking Speed (0.21) Daughter Calving Ability (0.6)
Protein Percentage (est. 0.50) Conformation (0.26) Milking Temperament (0.13)
Lactation Persistency (0.40) Rump (0.23) Daughter Fertility (0.7)
Dairy Strength (0.36) Mammary System (0.25) Feet & Legs (0.15)

What Should You Do About Traits With Low Heritabilities?

Heritability can tell us how closely genetic merit follows phenotypic performance, but it tells us nothing about the economic value of better performance. Some traits with low heritabilities, such as the survival and fitness have low heritabilities but high economic value. Other traits, like stature, are moderately to highly heritable, but have insufficient economic value to be given much emphasis in selection programs. Low heritable traits of substantial economic value should always be targeted for improvement through better environmental conditions. This often has the most direct impact and often can be done much quicker than through breeding programs.

The dairy industry is increasingly interested in genetic improvement of health, fitness, survival, and reproductive traits. Milk production is more heritable than these traits, and genetic gains in milk production for the last 30 years have been substantial. Perhaps part of the reason for increased emphasis on equally valuable traits of lower heritability has been the genetic progress made in milk production. Many farmers feel that their cows have more genetic ability to produce than can be utilized efficiently on many dairy farms. The relative economic value of the fitness traits and milk production appears to have changed and selection objectives will change as well.

What is the Heritability of Type Traits?

As the follow table shows.  Trying to improve feet and legs is often better served through management than breeding, while stature and body depth would show a more rapid genetic gain.

Stature 0.42
Strength 0.31
Body Depth 0.37
Dairy Form 0.29
Rump Angle 0.33
Thurl Width 0.26
Rear Legs Side View 0.11
Foot Angle 0.15
Feet and Leg Score 0.17
Fore Udder Attachment 0.29
Rear Udder Height 0.28
Udder Cleft 0.24
Udder Depth 0.28
Front Teat Placement 0.26
Teat Length 0.26
Final Score 0.29

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Heritability is one of the most important concepts when it comes to your breeding program.  There are several working definitions, as heritability is used to help plan breeding programs, determine management strategies, estimate breeding values of individual animals, and predict response to selection. In general, traits related to fertility, fitness, health and survival have low heritabilities of less than 0.15. Production traits like milk or protein yield are moderately heritable, with values from 0.15 to about 0.40. So if you are looking to see significant gains from your breeding programs it’s best to focus on highly heritable traits, otherwise your breeding program is more of a field of dreams.

 

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It’s all depends on the genes.  Still determining what sire to mate your cattle to can be very challenging.  Your local A.I. representative will probably tell you to mate the cow to their highest ranked sire or whatever bull seems to be the flavor of the month.  Your neighbor will tell you to mate your cow to whatever sire worked well in their herd. In addition, the local feed salesmen or cattle dealer are no different they all have an opinion.  So what is a breeder supposed to do?

Do you mate for production, do you mate for index or maybe it’s the next great show calf?  No matter what your goals are, you need to have  clear ones.   Due to heritability of traits, t can take many generations to improve certain traits significantly.    That’s why you can often infuse production into a pedigree in 1 or 2 generations, but it can take 3-6 generations to have a significant effect on calving ease, feet and legs and other less heritable traits.

You will often find that the A.I. studs will contract top cattle to the extreme sires, leaving the breeders with the risk of getting the duds.  That’s not because they want to screw up your breeding programs.  It’s because they are looking for the extremes.  They are typically working with the donor population that has proven to excel in both type and production, and are looking to produce that extreme sire.  They are willing to sample 2-3 sons out of cow to get that one that hits the mark.  For their profitability and breeding program that is a measured risk that they are willing to accept.

On  the other hand, as the cattle breeder who wants to gain maximum genetic gain as well as marketability can you afford to use these extreme cases?  The answer is most likely,  “No!” From a genetic standpoint by having, “dud” females hit your donor’s proof you end up hurting her index.   From a marketing standpoint having “less than attractive” daughters of your top cattle can be a sales killer.

This  is why you always need to protect the matings on your top donors.  While it would be worthwhile to do one or two matings for the extremes to produce the next generation of bull dams or donor cattle you really need to mate to the balanced approach as well.

With that in mind, we have prepared balanced mating recommendations for 50 of the top in demand sires in the world.