2 January 1998

French worried about changes to bull merits

CHANGES to type merit conversions of foreign bulls will make the figures more meaningful for UK breeders, but France is concerned its bulls will be disadvantaged, as it does not measure one of the six traits used in the new calculation.

Holstein Friesian Societys Mike Coffey says type merit is now being calculated using the six linear type traits – stature, angularity, foot angle, fore udder attachment, udder support and rear udder height – which the UK considers to reflect good type.

Previously TM from a bulls country of origin was converted to a UK figure without accounting for the different goals in each countrys classification schemes. The trait angularity is measured in all countries, except France, and Mr Coffey accepts that will disadvantage French bulls.

These have all been given an angularity score of 0.49, which is then multiplied by 0.3 in the TM score. HFS recognises that bulls which would score higher on angularity will be penalised. "HFS is trying to find another trait to reflect angularity, but without giving French bulls an advantage. But France will have to conform to international wishes and measure angularity in the long term," says Mr Coffey.

UK agent for Sersia France Brian Bolton, GenGen, maintains that the new calculations are inaccurate for French bulls, affecting scores by as much as 0.7 TM, which will lead to misrepresentation.

"There is not a suitable trait that could be substituted for angularity, but HFS could recalculate TM assuming no angularity, giving a separate conversion for French bulls," suggests Mr Bolton.

He adds that the French do not classify any trait which is similar to angularity and believes angularity is subjective rather than a worthwhile functional trait. &#42