Genomic information added to non-Holstein breed indexes

Published 4 April 17

The British Friesian bull, Catlane Chad, sets the scene for stability amongst the breeds other than Holstein, leading the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) rankings, just as he did in the previous index run. He earns a PLI of £496, thanks to his very good transmission of low cell counts (SCC Index -16) and good daughter resistance to mastitis. His Predicted Transmitting Ability for Mastitis is -5, one of the best scores in the breed, which he combines with solid conformation at Type Merit 1.40.

His herd mate, Catlane Caleb increases his PLI to £400, transmitting lower production
(-190kg PTA milk) but extreme percentages of fat and protein (+0.31% fat and +0.14% protein).

Kirkby Jupiter (PLI £387), ranked third, is the highest type transmitter in the top five at TM 2.45 and he’s followed by another Kirkby bull, Major (PLI £326).

New into the top five is Skyhigh Patrol (Rocket 3 x Glen Albyn), transmitting the highest milk volume of the top five and offering a PLI of £290.


In the Jersey breed, VJ Hilario moves into number one position by increasing his PLI to £558, while VJ Zummit moves up significantly to take second place, thanks to an increase in his Lifespan PTA to +0.6. His PLI is £539.

Genomic information, which has been included in Holstein indexes for many years, is now included, where available, in those of other breeds, and one bull to benefit is Sunset Canyon Dazzler. This bull makes his debut in third position in the Jersey ranking with a PLI of £516.With a high Type Merit (1.9) and good all round transmitting abilities, he stands ahead of former number one sire, VJ Link who now ranks fourth (PLI £474). VJ Zlager completes the top five with a PLI of £471.


The Swedish Red, VR Gobel (PLI £578), which qualifies to rank on the Ayrshire list, continues to dominate these rankings with a good Lifespan Index (+0.6) and favourable Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) for Mastitis (-3). His combined genetic package gives him a £PLI of £578. He is followed by a new entry and high production sire, VR Hattrick (Haslev x Gunnarstorp) whose PLI is £529. Remaining in the top three is the good component sire, VR Hammer (PLI £482); Gunnarstorp (PLI £464) holds on to fourth position – now with 690 UK daughters contributing to his index – and rounding off the top five is Pell Pers (PLI £454).

Other breeds

Other dairy breed indexes are also published on line (, where the Montbeliarde, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Shorthorn and Fleckvieh are all represented.

“The introduction of genomic information for the Ayrshire, Guernsey and Jersey breeds, thanks to a new collaboration between AHDB Dairy and the North American Genomic Consortium, will help improve the accuracy of certain traits, even for some proven bulls,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy. “Whilst there may be relatively few on these lists at present, this number will grow. And for bulls included, the improvements in reliability will be seen in particular for traits which are observed later in life.

“However, it is important to note that although the same process is used for all breeds concerned, the reliability of genomic information differs between the breeds due to the different population sizes used to calibrate the genomic information.

“This means the Guernsey and Ayrshire breeds will have significantly lower genomic reliabilities than the Holstein breed, while the Jersey reliabilities will fall between the two.

“Whilst we have not published a full list of young sires with genomic indexes with this proof run, producers will find that indexes containing genomic information will start to appear in AI company bull catalogues, indicated with the letter G.”