22 May 1998

Commercial milk

ALL available UK bulls are used in the corrective mating programme Sirematch from Avoncroft, which is aimed at commercial milk producers. So says Avoncrofts Terry Whitehead, who adds that cows are scored by trained evaluators on 16 type traits using the Holstein Friesian Society scoring system of one to nine.

On the initial visit all cows are scored but on following visits only new heifers and third calvers are classified.

"Bulls are selected according to the producers requirements, such as a minimum for production, type and protein in the bulls proof."

This produces a list of bulls, and when four or five have been selected – and when necessary bulls with semen in the tank added – the programme is run to match cows to the selected bulls. But Mr Whitehead says the programme will not match a sire to a cow that is not suitable.

A list of cow matings is produced with a choice of two sires for each cow.

The programme was developed by Select Sires and is claimed to be used in 38 countries. Sirematch costs £2 a cow.

MATING SERVICE

The Holstein Friesian Society also runs Select-a-Bull and the British Holstein Association operate the aAa mating service. Both were featured in Dairy Update, Aug 8, 1997.

COMPUTER MATING

&#8226 Improves on type as well as production.

&#8226 Selects sires for each cow quickly.

&#8226 Helps semen stock control.