HOLSTEIN BREEDERS who believe the top bulls for their herds differ to the top ones ranked on PLI can select according to their individual needs using a free, web-based Bull Selector tool.

A high PLI can easily mask undesirable weaknesses in specific traits, says Holstein UK’s Chris Shepherd. “We can overcome this by screening bulls available for a minimum specification to produce a shortlist from which herds can select sires meeting their own particular needs.

“Breeders can then be safe in the knowledge that any sire selected is unlikely to have a major deficiency in some other aspect of his breeding.”

Using its Bull Selector program, HUK has highlighted 25 valuable all-round improvement bulls from the 600-plus available sires in this week’s MDC Evaluations quarterly ranking of proven sires. Mr Shepherd says 95 sires from the new proof list exceed a reasonable improvement base of 50 PLI, 400kg milk and -0.15% fat. When those positive for the genetic defect CVM are taken out there are 82 sires left.

“And even when minimum criteria of +1 are set for mammary and legs and feet type traits, the shortlist of all-round improvers still extends to 25 sires,” he says. Bull Selector can be found at www.holstein-uk.org