18 September 1998

BRITISH BREEDINGSCHEMES ARE

COMING GOOD

British dairy breeding is

progressing fast. We look

at whats happening at

MOET and Cogent to see

what the future holds.

Jeremy Hunt reports

AVERAGE PIN index of the top 10% of donor cows from the MOET nucleus herd has increased from £99 to £127 during the last four years.

Every £1 increase in PIN index represents a £7 increase in margin, says MOET operations manager Mark Smith.

This profit-linked performance has been the driving force behind the MOET scheme since it was launched in 1990. Mr Smith says it has never been more timely to exploit the best of British-bred genetics.

"Now is time for milk producers to invest in cost effective genetics which have the proven ability to increase profitability," he says.

Semen from Franchise, MOETs highest ranking bull, is now on the market at £22 a straw (£17 to Genus Sire Improvement Programme members). Its a price that Mr Smith says compares with £30-£35 a straw for bulls of comparable proof from the USA or Holland.

MOET Martha Franchise, the Nordkap son out of MOET Winken Martha, has a PIN95 of £116, ITEM £118, PTA 95 August 1998: Milk +1033kg, fat +27.6kg (-0.23%), protein +32.3kg (-0.02%). Based on 40 daughters in 28 herds – reliability 75%.

"The MOET scheme was never going to be a quick fix but with the outstanding proof of Franchise and with so many other good bulls in the pipeline, as well as four brothers to Franchise, the long term aims of our sire evaluation programme have been vindicated," says Mr Smith.

Franchises dam was born in 1990 and evaluated in 1993. "That gives some idea of the length of time involved in this type of breeding project. But the next few years should see many new high ranking MOET sires compete with the best bulls from around the world.

"The strike-rate for bulls from nucleus evaluated dams bred in the MOET scheme is three or four times greater. In other words if we were to go out and buy 100 bulls from the international cow population we might get four with proofs good enough to market. Its greater reliability of proof evaluation would give us up to eight bulls with marketable proofs for every 100 evaluated."

The MOET scheme currently evaluates around 200 heifers a year from its herd base at Bays Leap Farm in Northumberland and that includes 50 high ranking heifers from UK breeders which are selected by MOET and invited to join the evaluation scheme.

MOET currently spends around £2.5m a year on its breeding programmes.

Average production figures of the top 10% of MOET donor cows in 1993 were: 10,400kg milk, 3.73% fat and 3.31% protein and with an average type merit score of 0.67. (733.6kg fat and protein). Franchises dam was within this group.

Figures for the 10% of donor cows in 1997 are: 12,874kg of milk at 3.52% fat and 3.31% protein and an average type merit score of 1.6.(879kg fat and protein). This groups sons will receive their proofs in 2002.

"Thats a lift of 2500kg of milk, 145kg of fat and protein and nearly 0.9 of a type merit score, which some people may claim is achieving the unachievable by improving both production and desirable type at the same time. But the figures speak for themselves.

"I admit that its not all because of genetics. Our management has improved over the years but I am convinced that 75% can be attributed to breeding."

MOET

&#8226 Average donor PIN £127

&#8226 Spends £2.5m a year on breeding

&#8226 MOET Martha Franchise on market