Inbreeding, and more importantly its consequences, has long been a concern of breeders as it reduces production, lowers fertility, results in more stillbirths and leads to fewer days in the herd. When genomics was first introduced, the theory was that it could help limit the amount of inbreeding in Holsteins. In reality it has done the exact opposite. Research indicates that relationships within respective breeds could be accelerating even faster since genomics’ introduction five years ago and there is also evidence that genetic diversity, another factor of inbreeding, is shrinking.
When you look at the sires of the top 100 genomic young sires lists, you notice a decent variety of sires with 30 bulls siring the top 100 sires. However, a pedigree analysis on only the paternal side reveals that 90 percent of the bulls either have Oman, Planet or Shottle represented as the sire or grandsire. The remaining 10 bulls represent genetic diversity. However, the list needs further refining because 3 of the 10 remaining bulls have Oman’s sire or Shottle’s sire in the pedigree. That leaves seven bulls with unique sires among the Holstein breed’s elite.
To help guide breeders in dealing with this inbreeding issue, we decided to look for outcross sires either proven or genomic tested sires that would offer breeders the near maximum genetic gain while providing needed diversity. The word outcross or what constitutes an outcross sire can be tricky depending on where you are located. For our purposes, we are calling an outcross sire to be one that does not have Oman, Goldwyn, Planet, and Shottle anywhere in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation of their pedigree.
Balanced Overall Performance Improvement
When looking for the sire that will help improve your herd across the board, we looked for sires that have a balance of production and longevity. We also wanted great health and fertility traits that will deliver a low maintenance cow (Read more – Fact vs. Fantasy: A realistic approach to sire selection). Here are our top three.
- CO-OP BOSSIDE MASSEY
MASCOL x PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET x HA-HO CUBBY MANFRED
Massey is a popular sire of sons combining elite indexes with a great outcross opportunity. Massey daughters are snug uddered with strong attachments. Though they should be protected for rump angle (high) and dairy strength, his low somatic cell score, high herd life/productive life and strong fertility make Massey a great sire for your breeding program.
- COYNE-FARMS DORCY
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON X PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET x STARTMORE RUDOLPH
Look for Dorcy to sire balanced dairy cattle that have great udders and very good feet & legs, though he will need to be protected for dairy strength, fat percent and specifically his body depth and chest width. While his productive life and low somatic cell score make Dorcy very strong longevity sire, you will want to use him wisely on virgin heifers as he is not a calving ease sire.
- CO-OP BOOKEM YUXI
DE-SU 521 BOOKEM x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x PECKENSTEIN FORM BRET
Yuxi is a great sire for feed efficiency, based on his strong milk production from smaller framed and stature cattle (Read more: 30 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows). While he needs to be protected on loin strength and body depth, his high productive life, low somatic cell score and great calving ease will have his daughters producing milk in your herd for a long time.
It might be easy to just take the top milk lists or combine the fat plus protein and say those sires are the best for overall production. We here at the Bullvine would not want to totally forgo type as well as health and fertility, so we are looking for the sires that give you the maximum production gain, without sacrificing everything to get it.
- KINGS-RANSOM B RUBLE
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x B-Y-U MANDEL BOMBAY
A proven sire that maybe has not caught the eye of many breeders, Ruble offers outstanding production improvement from solid type. While certainly not a calving ease sire, Ruble will greatly increase production from strong uddered cows that have good feet and legs.
- OCONNORS JAY
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x REGANCREST ELTON DURHAM x HENKESEEN MARCIS MARVELOUS
Coming from a strong maternal line (Read more: The Bloom is on Oconnors Goldwyn Jasmine) Jay offers great component improvement from solid production. He also has the ability to improve overall type, especially udder attachments and texture, but should be protected on pin setting.
- CO-OP MASTER GENO
BOSSIDE MASSEY MASTER x BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE x JOSE
Talk about a challenge. In order to find a genomic sire that met our requirements we had to go the 95th sire on our list of production improvement genomic sires. Much like Yuxi, Geno will also produce feed efficient daughters (Read more: 30 Sires That Will Produce Feed Efficient Cows). His strong components, especially fat, combined with great udders and strong health and fertility makes Geno a great sire to look at for a solid outcross sire.
For those of you that are looking to breed cattle that stay around lactation after lactation or maybe you are having problems with your 2 year olds not coming back for a 2nd lactation, we recommend the following outcross sires, in addition to Dorcy mentioned earlier:
- SILDAHL JETT AIR
EMERALD-ACR-SA T-BAXTER x MARA-THON BW MARSHALL x HA-HO CUBBY MANFRED
This outcross sire offers great longevity improvement combined with strong health and fertility. While he does need to be protected on protein and milking speed, his great feet and legs, udders and health and fertility, make him an outcross sire you don’t want to miss.
- BERTAIOLA MINCIO
SANDY-VALLEY BOLTON x BOSS IRON x CAROL PRELUDE MTOTO
With Boss Iron daughters such as Decrausaz Iron O’Kalibra catching the eyes of the world in the show ring (Read more: The All European Champion Show: The Greatest Show On Earth), there are also Iron daughters that are getting the job done as bull mothers. A great example of this is BEL IRON IRENE, the dam of Mincio. This high fertility Bolton son combines high type with great production, which is resulting in outstanding results in his current daughter performance. Watch for MINCIO to sire great udders and feet & legs though you may want to watch him on somatic cell score.
- RONELEE DORCY DELIGENT
COYNE-FARMS DORCY x END-ROAD PVF BOLIVER x COMESTAR OUTSIDE
This outcross genomic sire just spells longevity. Deligent was bred to deliver long lasting daughters. With outstanding Herd Life/Productive Life, breed leading mammary systems scores and strong Feet and Legs scores, Deligent is a longevity specialist, though he does need to be somewhat protected for dairy strength. Look for DELIGENT to combine this longevity with strong production and type numbers.
Health and Fertility Improvement
One area that is not getting enough attention from most breeders is health and fertility. While there is no question that every breeder knows that more pregnancies equals more profits many of the top ranking sires actually have negative values for health and fertility. The following are some outcross specialist sires that should help you change that:
- PENN-ENGLAND STOCKTON
PURSUIT SEPTEMBER STORM x FUSTEAD EMORY BLITZ x PEN-COL DUSTER
While you certainly would not use Stockton as a production improvement sire. His high daughter pregnancy rate, productive life and low somatic cell make Stockton the perfect sire for that high production cow you are looking to breed some health and fertility traits into.
- CERVI PHONIC
LATUCH ROLEX x OLMO PRELUDE TUGOLO x SHEN-VAL NV LM FORMATION
While not a name that most breeders know, Phonic is certainly going to get some attention from breeders looking to breed to where the industry is headed. With extremely low SCS and high daughter fertility combined with functional type and above average production, Phonic is leaving daughters that are extremely low maintenance. Tracing back to the great Italian brood cow Cervi FIRESTONE, this family has produced such sires as BUXON, WOODSTOCK and PADERNUS. Given his high rump angle, it is interesting that he is such a good calving ease sire.
- BLUMENFELD LEWIS TRUE
LATUCH FREDDIE LEWIS x LEIF x RAMOS
Similar to finding an overall performance improver on the top genomic lists, finding a health and fertility genomic sire had us going to number 55 on our list. Look for True to sire outstanding udders with strong feet and legs. He will need to be protected on loin strength.
The Bullvine Bottom Line
Choosing the correct sire can be challenging enough. Finding a sire that also offers an outcross from the main Goldwyn, Planet, Shottle and Oman can be almost impossible. That is why we compiled these 12 sires to bring to light some outcross pedigrees that many breeders may not have heard of. It is, certainly worth taking a look at many of these sires, when looking to combat inbreeding in your herd.
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?
Bookems a planet son, Stockton wasn’t returned to service after his YS sampling period with no semen available.
Yes Bookem is. But if you look at his relationship value to the NA herd base it is very low. This is another category that had many sires ruled out by sire stack.
How about Bomaz Marion Emerald? He is one we just came across and is a complete outcross in our herd.