5 September 1997

Young sires speed progress

PEDIGREE indexes of young sires can be used with confidence to speed genetic progress in UK dairy herds.

So concludes an ADAS study for Cogent reported at its members open day this week at Grosvenor Estate, Aldford, Cheshire. The study proved a strong relationship between the pedigree index of young sires and the predicted transmitting ability of their UK proof.

Of the 560 young sires registered in 1991 that were now proven, two-thirds had an average ITEM of £5 below their pedigree index, with a range between -£17 and +£7 ITEM of their parent average. The remaining third were outside this range, with half better than +£7, and half poorer than -£17.

At higher indexes the variation of bulls proofs was slightly greater, said ADASs Helen Woolley. But this does not distract from pedigree index as a good selection tool for progeny testing schemes.

But Mrs Woolley strongly advised using a group of young bulls. "Use in excess of five test bulls, and preferably 10, so that ideally you only have one heifer from each sire in a herd." &#42

ADAS dairy specialist Helen Woolley… Use a group of young bulls.