Number one genomic sire, Sandy Valley Penmanship

Number one genomic sire, Sandy Valley Penmanship. © Penny Jones

A Holstein bull with long lifespan traits and excellent daughter fertility has topped the December bull proofs.

Kings-Ransom Erdman is one of the best daughter-proven Holstein bulls for transmitting longer lifespans (lifespan index +0.7) and also excels for daughter fertility (fertility index +12.4) and reduces cell counts (SCC index -18).

Transmitting smaller-than-average stature to his daughters, this Planet son out of a Ramos dam also scores well for reducing the costs of maintenance (maintenance index -19), earning him a profitable lifetime index of £603.

See also: August bull proofs

Erdman edges ahead of the former number one daughter-proven sire on the AHDB proofs, Gen-I-Beq Lavaman, whose index continues to feature an impressive predicted transmitting ability (PTA) for protein at 23.1kg based on 163 UK daughters milking. His PLI remains high at £599.

De-Su Ransom retains third position with a PLI of £591. He is the highest of many Roylane Socra Robust sons to feature near the top of the rankings.

Co-Op Robust Cabriolet is another son of Robust and as a new entrant in fourth position he is the highest ranking of five sires which were offered at the previous proof run with genomic indexes and are making their debut in the top 10. Features of Cabriolet’s December index include outstanding milk solids, with a PTA for fat of +29.8kg. With a PLI of £573, he exactly confirms the genomic index he earned as a young sire.

Rounding off the top five and climbing from 10th position is the Massey son No-Fla AltaEverglade, which is the highest top-10 daughter fertility improver with a FI of +14.0. His PLI is £570.

Genomic index

In the genomic index, all sires within the top 10 transmit outstanding health and fertility as well as positive milk quality.

Marco Winters, head of genetics for AHDB Dairy, says farmers should have confidence in genomic bulls. He adds: “Bulls within the PLI run are producing first daughter-proven indexes, which are comfortingly close to their earlier genomic predictions.

“I hope this gives every dairy farmer confidence that when they choose their daughter-proven bulls they have a reliable prediction of the transmitting potential these bulls can be expected to deliver on their own farms.”

Leading the genomic bull proofs is Sandy-Valley-I Penmanship (Enforcer cross Numero Uno), who retains his number-one position with a PLI of £724. With high protein production (+26.2kg) he remains the only sire to break the £700 barrier.

Also unchanged in second position is Stantons Checkers (Predestine cross Freddie). His 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 cross Goliath), which combines one of the highest predicted transmitting ability for weight of fat with solid daughter fitness.

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

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

Other breeds

One of the two British Friesian bulls that previously shared first place in the breed PLI ranking has edged ahead, thanks to slight gains in daughter fertility. The higher-production bull Catlane Chad (by Centurion) sees a rise in PLI to £389, while his stablemate, the higher milk quality Catlane Caleb (by Corsair) moves into second position. Caleb’s PLI is £383.

Retaining third place is Deangate Quaich (PLI £334), while the high-reliability sire Lakemead Randolf makes a reappearance in the top five. Now with more than 400 daughters in his production proof, this Rocket son transmits a balanced index, offering both production and fitness, and earns a PLI of £317.

The fifth-ranking Skyhigh Patrol (PLI £301) is the highest type transmitter of the leading PLI sires, with a type merit of +1.24.

Jerseys

The top of the Jersey ranking remains unchanged, with VJ Link continuing to lead with a PLI of £472. This Legacy son transmits high daughter fertility (+11.7) and a positive feet and legs composite (+1.3). He is followed by VJ Hilario (PLI £443) which transmits a high weight of protein (PTA +15.5kg) combined with good fitness. Components specialist VJ Lure ranks third (PLI £391) with a high fat PTA (+24.2kg), while health specialist DJ Holmer is fourth, adding UK daughters and earning a PLI of £381. DJ Lix rounds off the top five, offering a high fat percentage, lower volume of milk and a PLI of £376.

Ayrshires

The Ayrshire ranking shows little change since August, with Swedish-born Gunnarstorp leading the way. Now with 42 UK daughters contributing to his production figures, he continues to impress with high fertility (FI +10.5), strong longevity (LS +0.5) and high type (TM +2.1). His PLI is £516.

In second and third place are the familiar VR Gobel (by Gunnarstorp) and Pell Pers. New to the top five is VR Tuomi, which displays a balanced transmitting pattern across production, fitness and type. The high-reliability sire Jelyca Oblique enters the top five for the first time, with more than 400 UK daughters already contributing to his index (PLI £346).

Other breeds

New PLIs for several other breeds, including Shorthorns, Brown Swiss, Monbeliarde, Fleckvieh and Guernsey, can be found on the genetics pages of the AHDB Dairy website.

Spring-calving index

Farmers breeding for a predominantly grass-based spring-calving system and using the spring-calving index (SCI) will see little change in the ranking. It continues to be dominated by the Jersey sire VJ Tester, which transmits just a moderate volume of milk, but offers extreme milk quality. He combines this with a high lifespan index and a 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 place 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 is worth a reminder that this SCI list is an across-breed ranking based on a very different overall population from the individual breeds,” says Mr Winters.

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

Click on the image below to download a PDF of the top 20 daughter-proven Holstein bulls ranled on profitable lifetime index.

Bull proof table