Rankings hold steady at top of Spring Calving Index

Published 9 August 16

Spring block calving herd managers looking to start ordering semen in the next few months will find the new Spring Calving index (£SCI) rankings released 9 August have little change on the April rankings, with the top three bulls retaining their positions.

£SCI is an across-breed genetic ranking index developed specifically for UK spring block-calving herds and representing the additional profit a bull is expected to return from each of its milking daughters over her lifetime, compared with an average bull of £0 SCI.

Holding on to first place with £SCI of £452 is VJ Tester, a Jersey excelling in transmitting high Fat% and Protein% to his daughters while combining very good fitness traits with low maintenance. Remaining in second is another Jersey sire VJ Link (£446 £SCI), who transmits a high Lifespan score of +0.7.

Link is followed by British Friesian sire Catlane Caleb (£414 £SCI) who has the best daughter Fertility Index in the top 20 (+15.1).

Moving up to fourth is the number one Holstein sire in the August 2016 £PLI rankings, Kings-Ransom Erdman. Producing daughters which are much smaller than the average Holstein, he combines high production potential with the best daughter Lifespan score in the £SCI top 20 at +0.8.

Completing the top five is Jersey sire VJ Hilario who has moved up from 7th with an £SCI of £395. He transmits good Protein and excellent fitness traits (-47 Maintenance, 0.6 Lifespan, -11 SCC, 13.7 Fertility Index).

Notable is the first Ayrshire bull to appear in the £SCI since April 2016, VR Gunnarstorp Backen Gobel at number 19. Gobel shows good all-round qualities but has one of the highest Fertility Index scores in the rankings at +15.

Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy, says: “With a top 20 comprising seven Jerseys, two British Friesians, 10 Holsteins and now an Ayrshire, there’s plenty of variety across breeds from which grazing-based farmers calving in the spring can make their breeding choices.

“However, with more robust Holsteins starting to join the rankings, it’s important to note that the figures for the individual traits listed under the £SCI will be different to the figures for those same traits under the £PLI calculation.  This means the £SCI figures are not interchangeable in any way to the individual breed rankings.”

Full details of £SCI can be found here.