Many dairy producers and industry staff woke up Dec 03 with an early agenda for their day. They had to check out the index release for latest and greatest in list toppers. Well if they were looking for a major change and many new hot sires they may have been  disappointed. To say it was a relatively quiet index run is an understatement. Nevertheless females must be bred and some flushed so here are some thoughts for Bullvine followers to consider.

Just Another Day

Normally by the end of day on December 3rd there would have been a breeding company claiming to have the #1 newly proven bull that is the must have sire for contracts, flushing and embryo sales. Off would rush the marketers to get the materials ready for both hard copy and electronic promotions. At the same time, owners of top heifers and cows would source out semen so they could quickly flush their animals to the new Mr #1.  Well it was not that kind of a day.

What Happened with Proven Sires

In the United States it was Planet day. By that we mean – the top newly proven bull is a Planet son (Shamrock #7 gTPI +2227), ten of the top thirteen newly proven bulls are Planet sons and eight of the top twenty gTPI sires are Planet sons.  That is great for Planet but not necessarily for genetic diversity. Beyond that Dorcy moved to #1 gTPI bull. Observer regained some of the ground he lost in August (Read more: Genomics at Work – August 2013). And top proven bulls like Bookem, Robust, AltaMeteor and Jett Air that were high genomic young sires held their proof levels from their first proof release in August. Reassuring for breeders that have moved to exclusive or very high use of young genomic bulls across their herds. It is worthy of note that there are only 126 points separating the top gTPI bull, Dorcy +2267 to the twentieth bull Soto +2141. And in between there is considerable variety in pedigrees and in areas of high genetic merit, so that breeders can make the choices to meet their genetic plans such as inbreeding (Read more – articles on dairy cattle inbreeding) and yet not be using a bull that is not at the top of the breed.

In Canada, Man-O-Man held on to #1 gLPI and below him bulls did some repositioning with only one bull (Medford) dropping significantly (-204 LPI). On the positive side Jett Air moved from #12 to #4 gLPI and Atwood retained his #1 CONF ranking, even gaining a point to now be +19. As well he made a significant gain from #17 to #7 gLPI sire.

In the top twenty sires on both the gTPI and gLPI lists there are bulls that stand out for traits that discerning breeders include in their breeding plan (link)

 Total Merit

  • Coyne-Farms Dorcy-ET                      gTPI +2267
  • Long-Langs Oman Oman-ET             gLPI +3247

Fat + Protein Yield    

  • Mainstream Manifold                         +150 lbs
  • UFM-Dubs AltaEsquire-ET                + 175 kgs


  • Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood           CONF +19
  • Sully AltaMeteor-ET                          PTAT +3.02


  • De-Su Gulf-ET                                   UDC +3.62
  • Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood           MS +18

Feet & Legs               

  • Coyne-Farms Dorcy-ET                      FLC +3.07
  • Maple-Downs-I G W Atwood           F&L +21


  • Kings-Ransom Erdman CRI-ET         PL +7.7
  • Sildahl Jett Air-ET                              HL 115


  • Badger-Bluff Fanny Freddie              DPR +2.5
  • End-Road O-Man Bronco-ET                        DF 108

Calving Ease              

  • Mainstream Manifold                         CE 3.7
  • End-Road O-Man Bronco-ET                        CA 111


  • Sildahl Jett Air                        AltaBaxter x B W Marshall
  • Mel-Crest AltaRazor               AltaBaxter x Goldwyn

Check out more proofs in our Dairy Cattle Genetic Evaluations section

Many Elite Bulls in the Genomic Lists

New or about to be available top genomic sires continue to get better and better with each proof run. Some people ask The Bullvine how that can happen and will it continue. The answer to those questions appears to be a very definite YES.  When you think about it it makes sense when the accuracy of prediction has been doubled for young bulls, heifers and most cows and with very extensive use being made of ET, the opportunity to find the high outliers is greatly increased.

The use of genomic sires has sorted out to about three scenarios. Breeders pick out a limited number of genomically evaluated bulls that meet their selection criteria for use as young sires to help prove the bulls as they have done for many years. An ever increasing number of breeders use genomic sires exclusively and so use many genomic sires in order to spread their risk. A small number of breeders use the very top genomic sires on their elite females in order to produce a unique product so they can have available embryos for sale or top heifers and bulls for A.I. Three very different approaches all using genomic information.

Some bulls from the top twenty of both the December 2013 CDN and Holstein USA Genomic Young Bull lists, born in 2012, that are available and that may interest breeders who selectively use genomic sires, are as follows:

Total Merit

  • Morningview McC Kingboy-ET         GPA TPI +2598
  • Zabulls Alta1stClass-ET                     GPA TPI +2598
  • De-Su MG Davinci 11288-ET            GPA LPI +3513


  • Welcome SS PeterPan-ET                  2201*
  • De-Su 11236 Balisto-ET                     2067*


  • MR Lookout Pesce Alta5G-ET          1397*
  • Silverridge Ascend                             1277*

Health & Fertility*     

  • Butz-Hill Megasire-ET                        430*
  • EDG Rubicon-ET                               427*

* Components of the Canadian LPI Formula (Read more: Everything You Need To Know About TPI and LPI)

Check out more proofs in our Dairy Cattle Genetic Evaluations section

Polled Coming on Fast

Very rapid increases have been seen in the merit of polled genomic bulls over the past year. From a search of the files on polled bulls that will come available in the next 6+ months, it appears that it will not be long before polled bulls will be almost equal to horned bulls. The Bullvine’s advice to breeders using polled sires is not to buy a great amount of semen from any one bull as new higher ones will be coming out on a continual basis. Current top ranking polled bulls, born in 2012, available or about to be available follow:

Total Merit

  • S-S-I Earnhart Modern-P-ET              +3216 GPA LPI
  • Bryhill Science P                                 +3096 GPA LPI

 Bulls to Halt Inbreeding

More and more breeders are mentioning that they wish to use sires that do not increase the level of inbreeding in their herd. There are two factors to consider about a bull when considering inbreeding. One is the amount the bull himself is inbred and the other is the degree of relationship that he has to the female population, and more specifically your herd and animal you are mating. A bull can be inbred (> 9-10%) but be lowly related (<12-13%) to the female population. Some bulls on the December 2013 CDN and Holstein USA Young Genomic Sires lists that are not inbred and have a below average relationship to the female population follow:

Total Merit Index   % Inbred    Relationship %

Double-Eagle Ransm Kobra-ET         +3457 GPA LPI        4.58               10

Bacon-Hill Maguire-ET                      +3347 GPA LPI        3.07               10

Zahbulls Alta1stClass-ET                   +3341 GPA LPI        3.39               10

Looking to the Future

The pace of genetic advancement in the Holstein breed now exceeds anything either breeders or scientists thought possible even decade ago. The Bullvine offers the following ideas for our readers’ consideration:

  •  Have we now advanced to the stage with genomics and genetic evaluations to the stage where we can expect ‘non-eventful’ index release days in the future? That would be when 95% of the time a bull’s daughter proof will be very similar to his genomic index.
  • Is there merit to considering both the degree to which an animal is inbred and the degree to which it is related to the female population in order to take positive steps to halt the ever increasing rate of inbreeding?
  • Marketers like to say that their animal is #1. Yet the difference between the top 100 animals is small for gTPI. In fact it now appears that the difference between #1 and #100 is about like the difference there was a decade ago between #1 and #10. In order to advance the breed do we need to designate sires as #1 for traits like fertility and herd life instead of limiting the #1 designation to the traditional major traits?
  • Many breeders comment that it seems like there is a new top 10 gTPI or gLPI sire every three months and that by the time you can use this top sire, there are newer ones even higher on the list. This happens due to the rapid rate of genetic progress that is being made, That is in part due to top females only being mated to reliable high genomic sires and being on extensive IVF programs. The chances of having list toppers are just that much greater than they were in the past.

 The Bullvine Bottom Line

On the surface it appears that few new elite bulls were identified by the December 2013 index release. However, more likely, the truth is that breeders, through the use of genomic information, were already aware of the top sires. This is not to say that there will not be index release days in the future where there are unexpected results.  Choose your bulls wisely.

Check out more proofs in our Dairy Cattle Genetic Evaluations section


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