Don’t get bogged down in the “nitty gritty” of genomics and miss the opportunity to introduce top genetics into your herd, advised DairyCo breeding specialist, Marco Winters.

Speaking to Farmers Weekly at Livestock 2012, he said: “There’s been a lot of interest in genomics, but there’s still a little uncertainty about how to use on farm.”

“It’s important to be aware of the lower reliability in young genomically-tested bulls, but I think some farmers may be exercising too much caution.”

However, a number of breeding companies were reporting a marked increase in sales of genomic young sires, something they predict to increase as bulls start to prove themselves.

Aimee James, marketing manager for bullsemen.com, said 9% of their overall sales were for genomically-tested young sires.

“We’ve seen a considerable increase in sales since the UK proofs were released in April. I think we’ll continue to see a slow increase over the next few years as more daughters from young sires start to come through.”

Jörg Harms of German Genetics International said German farmers were reluctant to use genomics when proofs were released three years ago, but sales had taken off this year.

“Now, 40% of total sales across Germany are for genomically-tested bulls,” he said.

“Initially, farmers were conservative, but now we have progeny on the ground and, in general, bulls have confirmed quite well – we’ve seen an increase.”


Read our step-by-step guide to genomics

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