6 September 1996

Sire proof challenge

YOUNG sire proving in Quebec Canada is restricted by the declining number of herds that use its milk recording service.

So claims Pierre Laliberte, director of genetic programmes at the provinces CIAQ, AI centre, which tests 200 bulls a year including 150 Holsteins. More and more herds want to use their own computers and not the provinces milk recording scheme to keep tabs on yields, he says. They receive no milk quality information.

The switch from authenticated recording will be the challenge for bull testing schemes. "We are trying to find a programme that can incorporate farm-provided data in the system."

Currently only 2000 of Quebecs 11,000 herds officially milk record using a supervisor. A further 2400 are eligible for genetic evaluations as owner samplers who use the provinces PATLQ milk recording service. Owner samplers are checked once a year to ensure the milking equipment is correctly calibrated, says Mr Laliberte.

Young bulls are tested in 2400 herds, despite 4400 being eligible. Incentives to use young sires are given. A typical 50-cow herd using 40% young sires receives benefits of about £500, he claims.

Use in each herd is limited by the number of doses allocated to each inseminator and DIY AI herds can only buy five doses a bull. For every bull about 700 doses, at £5 a dose, must be used.