As more and more early high genomic young sires are getting their daughter proofs in next week, I am sure we are going to hear that the sky is falling. And yes, while there is much certainty that the bulls may drop, that in no way indicates that genomics does not work.
As early proofs have indicated, the large majority of genomic sires will drop. But that should not have everyone running for the hills. Instead, what you should do is look at 2 key metrics: 1) How they compare to the proven sires that where available at the same time as the breeding 2) The percentage that are returned to service.
While critics would say that any drop is not acceptable, that just shows that they do not understand how the system works. There are other reasons that bulls may drop that most breeders may not consider; here are a few reasons:
The critics will say that the AI companies could care less if the bulls drop. They have sold so much semen on these young sires at such high rates that they have already made their profit. And yes, this is partly true. There is no question that a high genomic young sire will probably become a significant profit as compared to the past when they were a $50,000 investment. And then there is still the issue of credibility. It does not take long or many sires killing pedigrees before the clients of these AI companies will start losing business. The other part of the equation is that often these same AI companies have used these sires as sires of sons in their own programs, resulting in a significant risk for their programs and future profits as well.
What breeders need to remember is, yes, genomic sires may drop. But instead of running around like Chicken Little announcing the sky is falling, what they need to do is compare those same sires to the proven sires that were at the top of list at the time when they made the breeding decision. From a systems perspective, it is better to look at what percentage of these genomic young sires are return to service. This will indicate if the system is working or not.
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