Young sires offer high milk quality with health and fertility

Published 1 December 15

Young sire rankings based on genomic indexes go from strength to strength, with every one of this week’s new top 10 sires not only transmitting outstanding health and fertility but also offering positive milk quality.

Since the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) was reformulated over a year ago, this emphasis on fat and protein percent has reflected both domestic and international market signals, and these young sires fulfil the expectations of modern breeding for milk solids and across a broad spectrum of other traits.

The bull which does this better than any other is Sandy-Valley-I Penmanship (Enforcer x Numero Uno), who retains his number one position with a PLI of £724. With high protein production (+26.2kg) amongst his many virtues he remains the only sire to break the £700 barrier.

Also unchanged in second position is Stantons Checkers (Predestine x Freddie) whose Lifespan Index of +0.8 is the best of the breed. His moderate sized daughters are not only predicted to stay in the herd longer than others, but they are also expected to be somewhat cheaper to feed, seen in their sire’s Maintenance Index of -2.

Climbing to third position is Apina Nadal (Rocky x Goliath), who combines one of the highest Predicted Transmitting Abilities for weight of fat with solid daughter fitness.

A new entrant in fourth position is No-Fla Junket (Balisto x Levi), transmitting good SCCs (-28) with all round fitness and predicted calving ease of +1.8.

The highest British-bred sire remains the fifth-ranking Topcroft Pesky Trix (Pesky x AltaIota) with a PLI of £665.

Three sires then share sixth position, as De-Su 12365 Endeavor, Comestar Loic and Ballycairn Darius all weigh in with a PLI of £649. Darius is a brand new entry and another UK-born bull, resulting from an imported embryo by Racer from a dam sired by Russell. With a Fertility Index of +14.1, he is the best daughter fertility improver among the leading £PLI sires.

The third new entry features in ninth position in the shape of Cogent Peak Alex. With a PLI of £648 this AltaBettman son from a Numero Uno dam transmits high milk quality with solid fitness.

The top 10 is rounded off by three sires which share equal positions, with De-Su 11756 Octavian, All.Nure Uno Placebo and De-Su Firewall each having a PLI of £643. Octavian has the best SCC Index of the top 10 sires (-30); Placebo transmits the highest type of the top £PLI bulls (Type Merit +2.46); and Firewall excels for fitness, type and fertility across the board.

“As a group, the quality of these genomic bulls is exceptionally high, and breeders have much to gain from adding young sires such as these to their breeding choices,” says Marco Winters, AHDB Dairy’s head of genetics. “However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t look at the breakdown of figures with care as each individual bull may not suit a herd on every count.

“Many of the bulls in this genomic ranking transmit above average stature, and hence, lead to higher than average costs for maintenance.

“While maintenance cost is a relatively small component of the £PLI, breeders who feel their cows are already too tall should be mindful of the fact that several of these bulls may further increase the stature of their herds,” he says.