For the vast majority of Holstein breeders, success is not about winning first prize at a cattle show. What they do want are heifers and cows in their herd that efficiently convert high forage based diets into growth and milk products that consumers will buy. For those breeders tall animals are not the ideal. In fact many breeders are saying that they want cattle that have more heart and lung capacity (Read more: 5 Things You Must Know About Secretariat, Lung Capacity and Dairy Cattle) and less stature to go along with high production, improved reproduction and functional udders and feet and legs. (Read more: Feed Efficiency: The Money Saver)
Since size, stature and strength are some of the more heritable type traits in the North American type classification evaluations; it is possible to moderate stature and increase the capacity of chest and heart and lungs depending on the sires used. The challenge is to do that while placing major emphasis on production, health and reproduction traits. As udders and feet and legs have been improved significantly over the past twenty years in herds focused on producing milk, there is less need to place as much emphasis there. As always there are no perfect sires, so it takes careful corrective mating. Instead of generation after generation of breeding for increased stature, it may require that breeders use some sires that are negatively rated for frame traits. (Read more: Are Today’s Holstein Cows Too Tall?) Today the majority of sires have high ratings on stature than on strength (USA) or chest width (Canada). To increase strength and capacity the sires used need to have higher indexes for strength or width than for stature.
If your dairy breeding model is about production, efficiency and functionality from heifers that are 1150 pounds and 55 inches, calving at 21 months and cows that are up to 1600 pounds and 58 inches at fourth calving, then here are some sires that may suit your needs. The first requirement for making this list was that the sire have a high CM$ value. Cheese Merit was selected instead of Net Merit as the increased global demand for milk will likely come from the protein content.
Bryhill Science P
(200HO06584, Uno x Shottbolt x Goldwyn x September)
Science will be attractive to breeders wanting to introduce the polled gene into their herd. For a polled sire, he has high ratings for CM$ 756 and gTPI 2297 (71%Rel). His stature (+1.79) and strength (+1.20) ratings are moderate so, except for tall and large framed cows, he will hold but not decrease those traits. His inbreeding is slightly above average given his sire stack. His strengths are udders (+2.50), fat (89) and protein (42) yields with good Productive Life (+4.1) and PTAT (+2.75). His pins are high, but his DPR is +0.8 otherwise he has no significant limiting factors.
Bush-Bros Mog Fairfax
(14HO07349, Mogul x Freddie x Lancelot x Nitro)
Fairfax has a high rating for CM$ 974 with a moderately high rating for gTPI 2359 (71% Rel). His stature (+0.49) and strength (+0.24) ratings are breed average which leads to a lower gTPI given his fat (73) and protein (42) yields. He excels for DPR (2.4), SCS (2.66), PL (7.0) and Calving Ease (5.6). Breeders who are wishing to have average framed cattle that have good udders (+2.36) with non-traditional sires back in his sire stack and desirable management trait ratings should look up Fairfax’s proof sheet.
(224HO02881, Supersire x Robust x Shottle x Aerostar)
Supershot has been a very popular sire for IVF programmed females over recent months. At CM$ 1110 (highest on this listing) and gTPI 2625 (71% Rel), he is at the very top. Currently, his semen price is very high but breeders willing to wait can expect it to decrease. His stature (+1.07) and strength (+1.01) ratings indicate he will leave moderate framed cattle. His strengths are milk (2528), fat yield (100), protein yield (85), PL (7.4) and DPR (1.9). He has no negatively rated type traits, but neither does he excel for type (PTAT 2.2).
Co-op Bosside Massey
(1HO09527, Mascol x Bret x Manfred x Megabuck)
Massey in one of the few sires where his strength proof (1.54) exceeds hi stature proof (+0.94). These ratings along with his 96% Rel gTPI proof (2260) and CM$ 838 make him a sire that breeders wanting strength and production should definitely consider. His sire stack is quite different from other sires in North America. With over 700 daughters in his proof, breeders can expect that his proofs will hold up over time. His SCS proof is excellent (2.52) and he has good ratings for PL (3.7), DPR (0.9) and Udders (2.21). He needs to be protected for high pins and straight rear legs.
(147HO02479, Mogul x Bowser x Toystory x Outside)
Discovery fits the mould well for sires that commercial dairymen wanting less frame should consider using with stature (+0.52) and strength (+0.07). His sire stack is enough different so as to not be a concern about inbreeding. He has excellent ratings for Management Traits – CE 5.5, DCE 5.4, PL 7.4, SCS 2.63, DPR 2.9, and Rump Angle 1.94 and good indexes for milk (1512), fat (65), protein (51) and feet & legs (2.49). In total, he has a very high CM$ 950 rating and a relatively high gTPI 2415 (72% Rel). He will need protection for straight rear legs (-2.25).
De-Su LTM Rodgers 11379
(7HO12023, Lithium x Russell x Wizard x Mtoto)
Rodgers has an uncommon sire stack and excels at CM$ 1008, and his gTPI is high at 2450 (72% Rel). With stature at 0.86 and strength at 0.12 his daughters can be expected to be medium for frame. As with other sires in this listing, he has very high Management Trait indexes – PL 7.7, SCS 2.65 and DPR 2.7. His Maternal Calving Ease at 3.9 is excellent, and his Calving Ease at 5.8 is very good. His milk (1626), fat (86) and protein (57) are also very good. His overall type. PTAT 1.68, is only slightly above average yet he has no serious type weaknesses.
(151HO00681, Mogul x Robust x Planet x Bolton)
Although Rubicon’s sire stack contains many heavily used sires, his CM$ 1004 and gTPI 2531 (72% Rel) standout with moderate ratings for stature (1.50) and strength (1.15), and it warrants his inclusion in this listing. PTAT 2.68, UC 2.41, FLC 2.54 and PL 6.3 say that his daughters should be trouble free cattle. Breeders desiring medium framed cattle with all other traits well above average should look up Rubicon.
(29HO17516, Supersire x Freddie x Shottle x Buckeye)
Alfalfa’s indexes for stature (-0.26), strength (-0.07) and body depth (-0.72) make him the kind of bull breeders wanting to genetically decrease the frame of their cattle should consider using. He has high indexes for CM$ 935, gTPI 2354 (73% Rel), Milk 1622, Fat 71, Protein 49, PL 8.9, DPR 1.3 and MCE 4.6. His full brother Farnear Admiral (7HO12233) has very similar ratings and could also be considered.
Gillette SGO Myspace
(200HO10003, Mogul x Planet x Bolton x Shottle)
Breeders wishing to breed medium framed cows, but not wanting to move away from the breed’s popular sires might consider Myspace. With stature at 0.69 and strength at 0.22, he fits this listing. He has high indexes for CM$ 913, gTPI 2402 (73%), Milk 1805, Fat 82, Protein 58, PL 6.9, MCE 5.5 and SCS 2.68. He has good ratings for PTAT 2.46 and DPR 1.0, and he indexes are all positive except for very slight negatives for teat length and set of rear legs, side view.
(200HO00042, Oman x BW Marshall x Emory x Adan)
Manifold is a 97% Reliability sire with a unique breeding pattern. Strength at 1.53 and stature at 0.59 says that his daughters are stronger than they are tall. He is just the type of sire that breeders who are wanting to breed for strength, but not for stature should be considering. He is a calving ease specialist (3.7) with good ratings for CM$ (761), gTPI (2188 (97% Rel), PL (4.3) and DPF (1.2). Breeders should expect to get daughters that are average for type (PTAT +1.18).
MR Mogul Delta 1427
(203HO01468, Mogul x Robust x Planet x Elegant)
Although Delta is rated slightly higher for stature (+0.81) than strength (+0.04), he is just breed average for both of them. He makes this listing because of his extremely high ratings for CM$1076 (second on this listing) and gTPI 2567 (73% Rel) even though he is only average for frame traits. His strengths that get him highly rated for total merit include milk (1643), fat (93), protein (60), PL (7.8) and SCS (2.60) His DPR is 1.2 and, beyond the frame traits, he is positively rated for all type traits (PTAT 2.75).
MR Moviestar Mardi Gras
(534HO00025, Mogul x Planet x Shottle x Oman)
Mardi Gras is slightly higher for stature (+1.31) and strength (+0.78) than most sires in this listing, these traits are rated much lower for his other type ratings. His specialties are CM$ 926, gTPI 2467 (72% Rel), udders +2.96, PL 6.9 and DPR 2.3 with good rating for all other evaluations. His sire stack contains extensively used sires, but his EFI is not high.
(200HO07846, Supersire x Man-O-Man x Baxter x Durham)
Superman is not yet a year old and semen is not yet available but he is a bull to watch for in the future. His Canadian indexes include Stature +2 and Chest Width +8 which would indicate that he would be the type of sire that needs to be included on this listing. He is rated at 3525 for gLPI (65% Rel) which puts him at the very top. Other traits with 99%RK ratings include Milk 2564 kg, Fat 126 kg, and Protein 96 kg. Traits with 98%RK ratings are CONF 11, Herd Life 113 and DCA 110.
River-Bridge Co-op Troy
(1HO11056, Mogul x Freddie x Mascol x Trent)
Troy is another top sire with CM$ 1057 (third highest on this listing) and gTPI 2508 (72% Rel) that is only average for strength (0.34) and stature (1.06). His strengths include PL 8.6, SCS 2.50, DPR 2.7, UC 2.37 and FLC 2.50. His only limiting factor is straight rear legs -2.07.
(11HO11437, Mogul x Gerard x Mascol x Laudan)
Altaspring is the highest rated type sire (+2.82) on this listing yet he is only above average for strength (1.10) and stature (1.62). He is high for CM$ 967 and very high for gTPI 2546 (71% Rel). He is an all-round bull with no significant weaknesses in all his indexes.
There’s a Pattern
Eleven of the fifteen sires on this listing are sired by Mogul (8) and Supersire (3). That should not be a surprise given that for frame traits these two sires are not highly rated. Mogul is rated (USA) Stature 1.59 and Strength 0.79 and (Canada) Stature 1, Chest Width 1 and Height at Front End -6. Supersire is rated (USA) Stature 1.25 and Strength 0.91 and (Canada) Stature 0, Chest Width 5 and Height at Front End -4.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
As Mogul and Supersire have been used extensively as the sires of A.I. bulls in the past few years, breeders can expect to have more strength bulls available in the future than there have been in the past ten years. Breeding for width and strength are likely to be topics that discerning breeders will be breeding for in the years ahead.