Daughter data validates genomic sire expectations

Genomic sires are living up to initial predications, new information on daughter proofs has revealed.

DairyCo compared more than 3,000 genomic sires’ figures from April 2012 to their current daughter proof information in December 2013.

The average £PLI for genomic sires when they were first released in April 2012 was £100.

But since daughter information has been added to this, £PLI has stayed relatively static at £101.

Dairy Co’s Marco Winters said the latest proofs show initial estimations gave a “true reflection” of sire capabilities.

Also see: How to use genomics indices

“There was a fear that we were buying a dream and it was never going to live up to reality.

“But what we have now shown is that our predictions have come true and these bulls appear to be living up to expectation.”

In the UK the number of dairy farmers using genomics has risen to 25% since 2012, although in the USA it is much higher at about 50%.

It is hoped the news will give UK dairy farmers more confidence to use genomic bulls in the future, particularly because added information from daughter traits has increased reliability of these sires by 12% on average.

“For the majority of farmers there’s a risk that’s worth taking to reap the benefits,” added Mr Winters, who said the genetic merit of young bulls could speed up genetic progress rapidly.

However, he warned using genomic sires was a careful balance between “risk and reward” and said reliability should be used as a guide for the percentage of semen used per bull.

He advised dairy farmers not to use one genomically tested young bull on more than 13% of their herd and not to gamble on one hotshot bull.

“Use four or five as a team. That way you minimise your risk and maximise gains,” he added.


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