Our recent article on the relative merit of polled (Holstein) dairy cattle may not have garnered the attention of many breeders. (Read more: Polled Dairy Genetics: The Cold Hard Facts) But for those that are seeing the consumer writing on the wall and foresee the need to genetically take the horns off cattle, we wish to document what’s hot in polled. Before considering the lists, we strongly suggest that you reflect on two things: 1) how you plan to generate revenue from the genetics in your herd; and 2) how you plan to decrease costs from using sires. (Read more: What’s The Plan?) The breeding business has changed (Read more: Where did the money go?) As you confirm adding polled to your sire selection criteria it is an excellent time to decide which index will be your primary one.
Decide. Don’t Ride the Fence.
Nothing’s perfect. That applies to which total merit index to use just as it does to the fact that there are no perfect bulls. However defaulting to using the bull your neighbour uses or the one that the semen salesman is promoting (Read more: Rumors, Lies, and other stuff Salesmen will tell you) is avoiding some very important planning for your herd. The financial future of your farm depends on using the index that will meet your needs five to ten years in the future. It is never too soon to plan for YOUR future.
Select an Index and Stick to It
Every major dairy cattle breeding country publishes a total merit index (Read more: Total Merit Indexes: Are they helping or hurting?). The bull listings below are broken out by various indexes and bull groupings. This is a two stage process. Pick your index then pick your bull(s). I remind you that the Bullvine strongly recommends that, when using genomic bulls that you do use more than one or two bulls in order to spread risk. If you are looking to win in the show ring, we leave the formula you use up to you. Likely you will use PTAT or CONF as your primary selection criteria.
If You`re Undecided
If you are not certain on which index to use, The Bullvine recommends that for breeders who’s primary income is the milk check, you use NM$ or BEI.
Polled Bulls Ranked by gTPI
Table 1 Polled Bulls Ranked by gTPI™
Bull NAAB Sire Stack gTPI Milk Fat Protein PTAT UDC FLC
All-Riehl Ladds Champ P 138HO05314 Genomic Ladd P x Superstition 2363 693 35 40 3.39 2.5 1.76
Palmyra Lass Man P 7HO12161 Genomic Ladd P x MOM 2249 615 34 41 2.79 2.73 1.99
Lirr Outline P 138HO5400 Genomic Mogul x MOM 2199 961 66 35 3.02 3.11 2.79
Pine-Tree Overtime P 200HO3936 Genomic Uno x Significant P 2193 912 87 45 2.72 2.78 1.64
OCD Ladd Dogma P 138HO5298 Genomic Ladd P x Elegant 2182 847 39 33 3.2 3.18 2.13
Da-So-Burn MOM Earnhardt P 7HO11464 Genomic MOM x Lawn Boy P 2174 1396 67 68 1.94 1.12 1.72
S-S-I Ladd Harper P 7HO11947 Genomic Ladd P x MOM 2166 514 51 44 2.16 2.15 2.19
Pine-Tree Ohio Style 138HO5199 Genomic Style x Significant P 2160 2022 60 55 1.06 1.2 1.25
Hahncrest Appl Jax P 138HO5331 Genomic Colt P x Shottle 2158 389 19 25 3.18 3.15 2.86
Pine-Tree Ohare P 29HO16733 Genomic Style x Significant P 2151 2019 54 52 1.6 1.38 1.96
Sandy-Valley Colt P Red 7HO10904 Proven Lawn Boy P x Bolton 1919 824 3 27 1.9 2.09 1.48
Wind-D-Acres Snowball P 76HO587 Proven Shottle x BW Marshall 1852 376 40 13 1.73 0.9 2.01
From Table 1 it can be seen that genomic polled bulls far surpass the proven ones when it comes to gTPI™. All bulls in Table 1 are heterozygous for the polled gene and will leave 50% of their progeny polled.
Polled Bulls Ranked by gLPI
Table 2 Polled Bulls Ranked by gLPI
Bull NAAB Sire Stack gLPI Milk Fat Protein CONF Mammary F/L
S-S-I Earnhardt Modern P 7HO13030 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 3216 1566 88 69 12 10 8
Pine-Tree-GF Remark P 29HO16999 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 3199 2123 101 76 10 9 6
Stantons Equator P 200HO6640 Genomic Earnhardt P xObserver 3193 1970 85 83 13 11 6
Kerndtway Major P 7HO12230 Genomic Earnhardt p x Observer 3135 1731 73 70 13 11 7
Triplecrown AltaSunset P 11HO11453 Genomic Earnhardt P x Gerard 3126 1798 77 81 10 11 4
Hermanvll Harpoon P 29HO17559 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 3124 1385 99 61 8 9 7
Pine-Tree Homerun P 29HO16996 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 3119 2293 84 75 10 8 8
Bryhill Science P 200HO6584 Genomic Uno x Shottbolt 3096 1267 87 49 14 12 13
S-S-I Earnhardt Mastiff P 7HO13028 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 3081 1244 74 66 11 8 8
S-S-I Earnhardt Morton P 7HO13026 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 3043 1306 71 61 9 9 7
Arron Doon WP Magna P RC 151HO562 Proven Bolton x Sept Storm 2648 1606 62 48 9 9 8
Deslac Illegal P Red 200HO6080 Proven Lawn Boy P x Toystory 2299 855 23 31 6 9 3
Again note that genomic polled bulls far exceed their proven counterparts as in Table 1. All bulls in Table 2 are heterozygous for the polled gene.
Polled Bulls Ranked by NM$
Table 3 Polled Bulls Ranked by Net Merit (NM$)
Bull (NAAB Code) Sire Stack NM$ SCS DPR MCE PL
All-Riehl Ladds Champ P 138HO5314 Genomic Ladd P x Superstition 708 2.55 1.6 5.6 6.7
Pine-Tree Ohio Style P 138HO5199 Genomic Style x Significant P 689 2.82 0.8 4.7 4.4
Pine-Tree Ohare P 20HO16733 Genomic Style x Significant P 655 2.83 0.9 5.8 5
Lirr Outline P 138HO5400 Genomic Mogul x MOM 645 2.64 -1 5.6 4.3
Palmyra Ladds Man P 7HO12161 Genomic Ladd P x MOM 642 2.82 2.5 7.1 5.7
Rocher Arnitage Dozer P 14HO7215 Genomic Armitage x Lawn Boy P 615 2.78 0.6 6.6 3.7
Lirr Outcome P 138HO 5323 Genomic Mogul x MOM 612 2.81 1.3 5.6 5.2
Lirr Special Effect P 106HO2864 Genomic Magna P x Lawn Boy P 609 2.54 1.2 na 6.3
Da-So-Burn MOM Earnhardt P 7HO11262 Genomic MOM x Lawn Boy P 589 3.04 0.9 4.8 2.3
Pine-Tree Overtime P 200HO3926 Genomic Uno x Significant P 583 2.77 -0.2 7.2 2.2
Wind-D-Acres Snowball P 76HO587 Proven Shottle x BW Marshall 414 2.64 0.4 5.4 3.4
Sandy-Valley Colt P Red 7HO10904 Proven Lawn Boy P x Bolton 402 2.8 1.2 6.9 4.2
For Net Merit ($) polled bulls are still far behind the 900+ values being seen today by horned bulls. That will change 3-4 years after breeders and breeding companies that use NMS as their primary index begin to place emphasis on having polled cattle. Compared to the gTPI™ list there is some re-ranking of the bulls at the top for Net Merit. In other words, there is not perfect bull.
Polled Bulls Ranked by BEI
Table 4 Polled Bulls Ranked by BEI (Bullvine Efficiency Index)
Bull (NAAB Code) Sire Stack BEI* F + P SCS DF DCA HL
Pine-Tree-GF Remark P 29HO16999 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 2000 177 2.66 107 105 112
Hermanvll Harpoon P 29HO17559 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 1991 160 2.68 105 106 115
S-S-I Earnhardt Modern 7HO13030 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 1978 157 2.66 107 110 112
Stantons Equator P 200HO6640 Genomic Earnhardt P x Observer 1925 168 2.8 103 105 106
Triplecrown AltaSunset P 11HO11453 Genomic Earnhardt P x Gerard 1885 158 2.89 103 107 108
Kerndtway Major P 7HO12230 Genomic Earnhardt P x Observer 1877 143 2.7 105 109 113
Pine-Tree Homerun P 29HO16996 Genomic Supersire x Toubib P 1835 159 2.73 103 105 112
Bryhill Science P 200HO6584 Genomic Uno x Shottbolt 1823 136 2.72 103 104 112
S-S-I Earnhardt Morton P 7HO13026 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 1809 132 2.68 107 112 115
S-S-I Earnhardt Mastiff P 7HO13028 Genomic Earnhardt P x Shamrock 1772 140 2.84 109 112 110
For information on BEI follow this link (Read more: 30 Sires that will produce Feed Efficient Cows). Between the top three bulls in Table 4 there is little difference when it comes to siring feed efficient cows. A s with Net merit (Table 3) bulls come to the top for BEI when they are rated for their daughters being moderate in stature and body depth, fertile, have moderate depth of udder, are able to resist mastitis, are able to calve in without difficulty (DCE or DCA) and have a long herd life.
PP Polled Bulls
Table 5 PP Bulls Ranked by BEI
Bull (NAAB Code) Sire Stack BEI* F + P U Depth F & L HL DF DCA Scs
Blondin Crasdale City PP 200HO6625 Genomic Earnhardt p x Colt P 2000 112 2 Shallow 8 111 101 105 3.07
Hickorymea Terrel PP 7HO12277 Genomic Ladd P x Mr Burns 1696 83 3 Shallow 6 108 104 102 2.89
Kulp-Dale Golden PP Red 106HO3109 Genomic Colt P x Goldwyn 1298 52 5 Shallow 2 110 101 104 2.78
Wind-D-Acres Ivan PP 76HO676 Genomic Colt P x Planet 1171 71 2 Shallow 2 109 101 102 2.84
Ostretin Magua PP 506HO252 Proven Lawn Boy P x Ottawa P 958 105 0 1 105 98 99 2.87
The information in table 5 came from the CDN files (Most listings do not separate out PP bulls.) The only sure way to have all progeny born polled is to use PP bulls. That will limited the total genetic merit of your herd but it will get you to a polled herd more quickly.
For breeders using polled sires and interested in lowering the inbreeding level in their herd, we provide a list of bulls that are below average for their inbreeding level (the number in the brackets is their Inbreeding %): Man P (2.73%); Magna P (3.88%); Illegal P (4.46%); Trey PP (4.58%); Snowball P (4.67%); Colt P (5.20%); Earnhardt P (5.78%); and Terrel PP (6.01%).
The Bullvine Bottom Line
The great news is – there is more choice and increased genetic merit than ever before in polled Holstein sires. As we reported previously, polled animals have made significant gains in the last five years when it comes to their total merit indexes relative to horned animals. The Bullvine recommends that breeders include at least three polled sire in the group of sires that they are currently using. In five years you will pat yourself on the back and say ‘Good Decision’. Discerning consumers of milk products want to know that the milk products that they buy come from animals that are humanely cared for.
Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?
Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?