21 January 2000

More accurate type proofs by autumn 2000

TYPE proofs for international bulls are set to become more accurate in autumn 2000, when Interbull evaluations for type are introduced in the UK.

Holstein UK and Irelands chief executive, David Hewitt, told the conference that Holstein populations types and what is required by breeders differs, throughout the world. But breeders still want to use bulls from other countries.

Having 30 type measurement schemes for Holsteins has made it impossible to directly compare results between countries. But there are economic benefits from improving type, and breeders want to be able to select from genetics worldwide, he explained.

A harmonisation of type evaluation throughout the Holstein population world-wide was needed, said Mr Hewitt, who has been involved in this harmonisation process for type with the World Holstein Friesian Federation since discussions began in 1990.

About 30 different linear traits are collected around the world, but 14 have now been recognised as being economically important and useful for international comparisons.

"These traits had to be essential, heritable, measurable and have an economic value, and there must be variation in the population." Variation in the population is the most crucial data, not actual measurement of the trait, as this shows what type a bull will transmit, added Mr Hewitt.

"Many countries collect more than 14 traits, but for international exchange only 14 will be used."

Using classification was not an option. "There is no international true type cow, it is different for everyone. Classification is a composite overall subjective measurement and doesnt identify individual strengths and weaknesses."

UK bulls linear and type merit scores will be unchanged by the move to Interbull evaluations. But international bulls linear score will be converted and a UK type merit calculated from these.

Standards will be maintained through classifier training, he added.