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More top genomic Holsteins gain daughter-proven indexes

Published 7 April 15

The new number one daughter-proven bull on the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) ranking published today (7 April) by DairyCo provides a ringing endorsement of the genomic indexing system as a method of evaluating young sires.

The bull is the Canadian, Gen-I-Beq Lavaman, who made his name as the number one young sire on the UK’s first ever genomic ranking published exactly three years ago. Today, Lavaman has many daughters milking throughout the world, including 54 in the UK. On the strength of their performance, he earns a massive PLI of £640, thanks to the transmission of plenty of high-quality milk and outstanding daughter fertility in an all-round solid index. Lavaman is a son of Man-O-Man, a former number one £PLI sire himself. He is joined in the top 20 by numerous former top genomic sires which are now daughter-proven leaders.

The number two bull is the former front-runner, Prehen Omen, the first of two bulls bred in the UK to feature in the top 10. Now with 90 UK milking daughters and featuring high-quality milk, his PLIis £607.

The third ranking Kings-Ransom Erdman earns his PLI of £544 partly on the strength of his low daughter maintenance costs and their long lifespans while fourth placed Grafit maintains his high position (£PLI 531) with an exceptional Somatic Cell Count Index (SCC -18).

Mainstream Manifold is a big mover in the rankings, having jumped into fifth position from just outside the top 20 as his second crop daughters really make an impression. Now with 1,584 daughters milking in the UK, but thousands more around the world (he has produced over one million doses of semen), Manifold has been popular for his ease of calving, outstanding daughter fertility and exceptional fat production. His PLI is £519.

McCormick (PLI £508) adds even more daughters to his index and now has 7,549 milking in the UK, and, at +18.2, boasts the highest daughter Fertility Index of any available Holstein sire.

Laurelhill Classic is another success story for UK breeding, also with exceptional daughter fertility (FI +15.2), long daughter lifespans and an equal sixth ranking with McCormick with a PLI of £508.

Although bred in the Netherlands, ABS Simon is the third UK-tested bull in the top 20 and offers low daughter maintenance costs. His PLI is £504.

Equal eighth ranking with Simon but with the highest type transmission in the top 20 is Ladys-Manor Grafeeti, also with a PLI of £504. With a Type Merit of 2.72, Grafeeti serves as a reminder that all type indexes have moved downwards this month as the genetic base has been changed to reflect the improvements in type seen in the Holstein breed over the past five years. As a result, Type Merits will, on average, be roughly 0.7 points lower than in previous index runs.

The appearance of AltaEverglade (Massey x Oman x Duster) in equal eighth position provides the only new blood in the top 10, and his PLI of £504 is just a whisker from his earlier genomic figure at £501.

Although one place beneath the top 10 in 11th position, Seagull-Bay Supersire is not a bull to be overlooked, having already made a name for himself as one of the USA’s highest ranking and most highly demanded genomic young sires. Now with international daughters contributing to his index, his Predicted Transmitting Ability of 968kg milk, 35.4kg fat and 28.8kg protein make him the highest production bull in the top 100 £PLI list.    

“The new £PLI list provides a huge cross-section of sires - both within and beyond the top 20 - which can be used with confidence by UK dairy farmers,” says Marco Winters, head of genetics for DairyCo. “However, it is particularly gratifying that the list also provides such a resounding endorsement of the genomic testing system, which has been in place in the UK since April 2012.

“With no less than 14 bulls in the top 20 which started their careers with high genomic indexes, we can gain more and more confidence is selecting young sires using indexes calculated from their own DNA.”

Full details of the new £PLI are on the DairyCo Breeding+ website at www.dairycobreeding.org.uk