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Is Good Plus Good Enough?

For years GP-84-2YR was the kiss of death when it came to marketing and selling genetics.  However, along comes genomics and it seems that GP is good enough.  Nevertheless, the question it has me asking is “Is Good Plus Good Enough?”

I can still remember when Summershade Icebreak Luke, was the #1 LPI cow in Canada.  The problem was she was scored GP-83-2YR.  The A.I. companies where not sure if they should even sample bulls from her and how would they convince their members to use them in their young sire programs.  Then came along Summershade Igniter and Summershade Inquirer and A.I. companies took the chance.  While hindsight is 20/20, maybe they should have passed.  On the female side, Icebreak had 34 daughters classified and only 7 of them going VG.  We ourselves had one of those daughters Summershade Icemarti.  While she did score VG, it was not until her 2nd lactation, long past her peak marketing time.  In the past, we have purchased many daughters out of GP 83 and 84 two year olds, expecting them to go VG before our purchase calved in.  It has proven to be a risky move, but one that could have paid off big time.  On the male side Icebreak had six sons enter A.I. service but none where ever returned to service.

On the flip side, I can also remember when we first purchased into the Braedale Gypsy Grand family and many people around us had concerns about her GP-83-2YR dam.  While there was a very good reason why Moonriver never went VG, we still found ourselves having to explain things many times.  Then along came Second Cut, Baler Twine, Freelance and Goodluck and we found that changed everything.

As we all know genomics has changed the name of the game, and we now see A.I. companies sampling high genomic sires irrelevant of their score or the score of their dam.  With that in mind, I decided to take a look at the current high index dams that are NOT scored VG.  The following is what I found.

The Story in the US

In the US, there are three GP cows on the Top 25 GTPI Cows List (GP-83-or Higher).  Leading the way is BEN-AKERS PLANET LUISE26-ET, she the #3 GTPI cow and the #1 NM cow scored over 83 points.  While Luise is from the Ricecrest Luke Lisa family and has solid type numbers, her genomic values for type are actually lower than her parent average and yet she still has a son at Alta Genetics, Ben-Akers AltaRazzle.  Joining Luise on the top GTPI list at #18 is SURE-VIEW MP PLANET LEXI.  Lexi is from the M&M-Pond-Hill Leadman Luba family and is scored GP-83-2YR.  Similar to Luise, Lexi has high genomic values compared to her parent average but yet again has conformation scores that just meet expectations.  Unlike Luise, it appears to this point that Lexi does not have any sons currently in A.I..  The third member of the list is SULLY PLANET MANITOBA , this GP-83-2YR is out of the great brood cow, Sully Shottle May the former #1 GTPI and GLPI cow of the breed.  Of course May is believed to have more offspring genomic tested over 2200 & 2300 GPTI than any other cow in the breed.  Unlike the other two GP 2yr olds on the top list, Manitoba has outstanding type numbers and her genomic values are actually higher than her parent average.  It’s these outstanding values that have her with at least three sons currently in A.I., SULLY HART MERIDIAN-ET and SULLY HART MUNICH-ET at Semex, and SULLY ALTABRANDON-ET at Alta Genetics.

The Canadian Story

Much like the US list the #3 spot on the Canadian List is held by a GP-83-2YR, Benner Planet Jakova-ET.  Being a Planet from a Goldwyn, Jakova has strong parent average for type and has strong genomic values as well.  Coming from the Benner Luke Jean family, Jokava has yet to put a son into A.I.. Joining Jokova on the list is Delaberge Planet Lulu.  However, on April 25th Lulu was raised to VG-85-2YR, 244 days fresh.  Lulu comes from the Bryhill Lindy Lilly family and already has a son at Semex, DONNANDALE LUMI.  The third member on the list is Alexerin Oman 993. Of interesting note about 993 is that there are no VG dams anywhere in her pedigree, she has mostly production sires and yet her parent average for conformation is five and her genomic value is a six.  Not surprisingly, 993 does not have any sons currently in A.I.  The last member on the list is Calbrett Planet Empress.  Much like Lulu, Empress has since been moved to VG-86-2YR later in lactation.  Empress is from the WABASH-WAY EVETT dam of the popular genomic sire Genervations Eclipse and the same family as Epic and Highway.  Given the strong maternal pedigree, Empress has PA of +10 for conformation and actually exceeds that with a +12 for her direct genomic value.  Given her increase in score and strong maternal pedigree it is just a matter of time before she has sons in A.I..

The Bullvine Bottom Line

While GP-84-2YR use to be the kiss of death for many marketing and genetic programs, genomics has changed the game.  With genomics, we are seeing many GP 83 or 84 cattle used as dams that would have never been touched before.  While many will increase in score later in life, many do not, and yet that does not seem to be as big a factor.  Many A.I. companies and breeders are more concerned about their genomic values than that of their actual classification score.


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  1. If 84 is not high enough how about 80 pts with a 79 pt udder? Could you sell a jumper bull from such a cow?

    Yet when Marbri Facebook (his dam above) was the secret.. No.1 GTPI bull a year ago or so.,,.he was contract flushed to the top cows for AI sons. Now he is not even on the Top 100 GTPI list and many sons are being sold as jumper buls.,Then there are the females left as well.

    • Facebook was a early man-o-man son so of course he was gonna be one of the higher ranking young sires when he came out . His proof being passed by other bulls has nothing to do with his dam being 80pts and just newer bulls from sire stacks with higher numbers. 

      People who now have animals who are not as valuable as they hoped has no one to blame but themselves no one makes you flush a cow to a certain bull.

      • If you want the contract…. many want that bull used. It happened to me in the past. Then when that sire changes or they change their mind on that sire… they don’t want the resulting bull calf..

        Re. the 80 pt dam I know that,,but without high numbers that 80 pt cow could not interest your neighbor as a dam of a jumper bull.

  2. In the US young sire directories I have seen GP80 – GP82 dams of high genomic young sires. For decades 85pt dams and granddams have been the status quo for all young sires. Think about it for moment. If we have been using bulls from these type of dams then why don’t we have more VG and EX daughters after decades of this system? It doesn’t work. Genomics changed that thankfully. Now there are more …genetic options than the narrow minded system of the past that was getting too restrictive. We have used clean up bulls in the past from dams that wouldn’t have even made 80 pts. Those daughters are just as good as anything else. Several classifiers have agreed with me on that one. Final score is too objective and not neccessary.

  3. Whenever index is involved you can throw common sense out of the window.  Our industry buys into these fads every 10-15 years or so and they eventually run out of favor and get back to quality cattle.  Each time the industry goes down this path they make sacrifices on type.  There are always some quality animals that fit into these fads to safeguard the industry but so often their are real quality cow families that get lost in the schuffle.  As you pointed out how many of these marginal type pedigrees make a lasting impact on the breed?  How many breeders can say their highest genomic animals are the ” best” in their herds for actual production and classification? Where is todays Hanoverhill?

  4. Well, seeing as the how the classification system overscores everything nowadays in Canada, I would say no, Good Plus is not good enough.

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