Jerseys dominate £SCI ranking but other breeds enter the fray

Published 5 December 17

The Jersey breed continues to dominate the ranking for Spring Calving Index (£SCI) published today (5 December, 2017) by AHDB Dairy. Designed to identify those bulls whose daughters are suited to spring block calving systems which place a heavy reliance on summer grazing, it is the bulls which excel for milk quality, daughter fertility and have low maintenance costs which stand out from the crowd.

Expressed on an across-breed basis and therefore using a different scale from those used for each individual breed, an impressive nine of the top 10 bulls are Danish Jerseys. It is Denmark’s long-term emphasis on breeding efficient and healthy cows which is reaping rewards for UK grazing systems.

The sole outsider is the breed-leading British Friesian bull, Catlane Caleb, who weighs in with a particularly impressive daughter Fertility Index.

823099_Mocon Seitenbild _2014-07-29 Low ResOther notable features of the £SCI ranking include the appearance of the number one daughter-proven Holstein bull, Gen-I-Beq Lavaman, ranked 11th, who offers substantially higher production but also higher maintenance costs than his Jersey counterparts. And three further Holsteins in the top 15 will substantially increase milk volume, while one – the newcomer, Mocon (pictured) – is also the stand-out improver of Somatic Cell Count.  

“When comparing bulls across the breeds using £SCI, it is vitally important for the user to keep sight of his milk contract and breeding objectives,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy. “As with any across-breed listing, it offers the scope to compare the attributes of one breed against another but there is such a wide range of bull types within the listing that it is perhaps more important that in any other situation to be certain of selecting the right bull to breed cows which will suit the farming system.”

Details of £SCI and the full rankings can be found here.