meta Is the Genomic System Really Working? :: The Bullvine - The World's Leading Dairy Magazine

Is the Genomic System Really Working?


With Genomic sampled sires starting to get proofs, many breeders are finding themselves asking, “Is genomics really working?” Since it takes about 36 months for a sire to be sampled this is the first round we can start to evaluate the genomic system since its release in August 2009. To answer that question we decided to take a close look at how the system is working and if there are any early trends indicating if it is or not.

New Release Sire Performance over the past 2 Years

Probably this first place to look is how the young sire sampling programs are working proof round over proof round. (Due to the access of information, we are using the CDN system for this analysis).

Round

# of New Release

Average LPI*

# >2000 LPI

10-Aug

129

981

6

10-Dec

138

1013

7

11-Apr

133

996

6

11-Aug

127

1007

5

11-Nov

115

1041

7

12-Apr

111

957

2

12-Aug

119

981

3

*not base adjusted

Let`s start with the good news. The breed has been advancing when factoring in the base change. Now the not so good news, when compared to previous rounds at delivering top sires the numbers are not so pretty. As you can see by the table above, the last two proof rounds have not been so favorable for genetic advancement). We see the lowest average LPI from the sire sampling programs, with also the lowest number of elite sires being proven. This caused us great concern about the merits of the genomic system at delivering top sires and so we decided to look even deeper.

What’s going wrong? Or Right?

To get a better understanding of just why this last round was the 2nd lowest performing round in the past years (only behind Apr 2012) we decided to look at the group of young sires receiving proofs this round and discover whether it`s the system or how we`re using it.

In order to determine this we figured it would be best to compare the old system, top 10 parent average LPI (PA LPI) sires to the Top 10 Genomic sires (GPA LPI) and see how they stacked up. For the record her are the two groups.

TOP 10 PA LPI TOP 10 GPA LPI
ARDROSS STERLING GEN-I-BEQ BRAWLER
STANTONS BRAKE OCONNORS JAY
MORSAN BORIS MORSAN BORIS
STANTONS UNLIMITED EXPRESS BOLLY
GEN-I-BEQ BRAWLER COMESTAR LAUTREC
VELTHUIS S V B SAMPSON ARDROSS STERLING
VELTHUIS SONAR WALLACEVIEW PATTON
COMESTAR LAUTHIERY DE-SU BURNISH-ET
GEN-I-BEQ LAVAL BRYHILL LOYAL
STANTONS VISION HARTLINE FOWLER-ET

The results are as follows:

PA LPI GPA LPI Official LPI
TOP 10 PA LPI

1995

1720

606

Top 10 GPA LPI

1806

1968

2033

As you can see from the table above the GPA LPI sires outperformed the PA LPI sires by 27.1% indicating that the GPA system is a better indicator of estimated performance than the old PA system. In actuality, the top 10 GPA LPI sires actually increased their numbers by 3%, contrary to the expected drop. Even all 119 sires only averaged a drop of 89 points (9%) contrary to some other stats showing sires drop upwards of 20% from GPA LPI to the official LPI proof.

It’s also important to note that with an average official LPI proof of 2033 (445 points for base change) would have this group rank #5 behind the August 2009 proof round behind (Shottle, Justice, Goldwyn and Ashlar) with BRAWLER’s base adjusted proof (3083=2638+445) falling behind Shottle’s August 2009 proof of 3873.

So if it’s Not the System, What Is the Problem?

As the analysis of the PA LPI system vs. the GPA LPI system above indicates the issue is not the system. So then the question becomes, is it how we are using the system? Or are we just going through a lull? That question is tricky to answer. If we look at a longer period trend using currently available data from CDN we see that the two proof rounds before this period where even lower performing than the last two proof rounds.

Round # of New Release Average LPI # >2000 LPI

10-Jan

135

738

1

10-Mar

130

686

1

It may also be that as an industry we are still very much learning how to use the Genomics system and sire selection practices have to adjust for these changes. When we look at the PA LPI list vs. the GPA LPI list we see two herds whose sires on average drop between 400 and 600 LPI points. Can we say hot house effect? (to read more Has Genomics Knocked Out Hot House Herds?)

The Bullvine Bottom Line

It is still early to weigh the success or failure of Genomics. The early indicators show that it is a 27.1% improvement over the old PA system. There is still much room for refinement and education on both the breeder side and the sire sampling side!


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Comments

  1. I think that there something to say…
    “Extreme”genomics bulls are used like very good bulls in the “good way” that mean with right crosses, generally this thìng can make a little bit of “index Bonus”… about Canadian Index we have also to say that in Canadian System foreign bulls have often great index…probably they got some troubles in preferential mating…in the past we saw this thing only on 2nd crop today also on 1st crop

    • Great points Marco,
      I would tend to agree, while the system is designed to account for this, your example of some foreign bulls getting really high proofs in Canada (Shottle) is a great example.

      Andrew

  2. Here is a fact: High genomic bulls are more expensive. More expensive bulls are used on better cows. There is no such thing as random Genomic Sampling which curves the daughter proofs – BIG time! Keep up the great work here. I enjoy reading it a lot!!!

    • Thanks for your comments Eric.
      The thing you need to remember is that the evaluation system takes into account the dam’s score and classification, so that would make it even harder for these sires to get a decent proof as opposed to easier. Take a look at Foundation sires and how hard they are finding it to get breed leading type proofs from some great bulls. It’s much harder. Glad you enjoy the read, big fan of the work you do as well.

      Andrew

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