Spring Calving Index sees little change at the top

Published 1 December 15

Farmers breeding for a predominantly grass-based spring calving system and using the Spring Calving Index (£SCI) will see little change in the ranking, published this week by AHDB Dairy. This list continues to be dominated by the Jersey sire, VJ Tester whotransmits just a moderate volume of milk, but offers extreme milk quality. He combines this with a high Lifespan Index and a good (low) Maintenance Index. His SCI is £442.

Tester is followed by VJ Link in second position (SCI £408) and British Friesian sire, Catlane Caleb, in third (SCI £402). Caleb is the highest fertility transmitter in the top 10, followed closely by VJ Link.

In fourth is another Jersey sire, VJ Lure (SCI £395) and completing the top five is the Holstein sire, Kings-Ransom Erdman (SCI £379). This vastly higher production bull also offers long daughter lifespans and low somatic cell counts.

“Farmers are accustomed to seeing these bulls on their own breed rankings so it’s worth a reminder that this SCI list is an across-breed ranking based on a very different overall population from the individual breeds,” says Marco Winters, head of genetics for AHDB Dairy.

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

“This explains why one bull will have two sets of figures for use in different circumstances,” he says.

“Anyone who wishes you compare bulls of only one breed is advised to look at their own breed ranking, and only refer to the £SCI list if they are a grazing-based, spring-calving herd.”