Low maintenance bulls lead spring calving rankings

Published 4 April 17

For producers calving in spring, the insemination season is in full swing with genetic choices for 2018 calvings already made. So these producers will no doubt feel reassured to see continued stability in the April Spring Calving Index (£SCI) rankings published this week (4 April 2017) by AHDB Dairy. Designed specifically for producers block calving in spring, operating grazing-based systems and targeting milk production of around 4,500kg/head, the ranking sees a continued domination by the Jersey and British Friesian breeds.

The Jersey bull, VJ Tester retains his existing lead ahead of VJZummit who features low daughter maintenance costs (-69) and long lifespans (+0.8). High daughter fertility bulls, VJ Hilario and VJ Link remain in the top five and are joined by two new entrants, VJ Juris and Sunset Canyon Dazzler.

The domination by Jersey genetics is interrupted by the British Friesian, Catlane Caleb in seventh position – another outstanding daughter fertility improver. Caleb is the first of two British Friesians in the top 10, the other being Catlane Chad, ranked10th.

Noting that low maintenance costs and small body size are a feature of these rankings and a requirement for spring calving, grazing-based systems, Fern Pearston, animal genetics manager for AHDB Dairy also remarks: “It’s very important for breeders to remember that the £SCI list is an across-breed ranking, which means the figures they see are very different from the same bulls’ figures on their own breed rankings.

“This means the figures are not comparable in any way to the individual breed rankings and they should only be used in the context of the Spring Calving Index.”