High-fertility Wilra retains top spot in bull rankings

Young Holstein sire Wilra SSI Faneca Ebersol retains his number one position in the latest genomic Holstein profitable lifetime index (PLI) ranking.

This is despite the annual base change pulling young sire figures down by £45 PLI.

See also: 4 tips to optimise dairy cow fertility

April’s genetic evaluations, published by AHDB, show this son of Badger SSI Lucia Faneca has a PLI of £945.

This has been achieved through high predicted transmitting abilities (PTAs) for fat (50.3kg, +0.26%), as well as superb udder health (-3 mastitis, -29 somatic cell count) and a high daughter fertility index (FI) of +10.6.

Moving up to second position is DG Peace (PLI £898). He is a son of Genosource Captain, who now leads the daughter-proven sire rankings.

Peace transmits exceptional protein (38.6kg) and high feed advantage (FA), which helps him achieve the Holstein breed’s highest score for the envirocow index.

Download a PDF of the full listing here.

Block calving indexes

progenesis wimbledon

Progenesis Wimbledon © Patty Jones

There is consistency at the top of the spring calving index (SCI), where Holstein bull Progenesis Wimbledon remains in number one position.

He combines shorter gestation lengths with high daughter fertility and brings high components with lower milk volume, contributing to an SCI of £588.

Second-placed sire in this across-breed ranking is Denovo Invictus (SCI £552), whose 427 UK milking daughters contribute to his high-quality milk index.

Invictus also breeds smaller-sized daughters, which will help improve maintenance feed costs.

Genosource Captain leads the autumn calving index (ACI) ranking with an ACI of £708, having graduated from the genomic list.

Progenesis Wimbledon moves up into second (ACI £677), while pushed from top spot into third is Pine-Tree CW Legacy (ACI £661).

Daughter-proven sires

genosource captain

Genosource Captain © Frank Robinson

Top of the ranking for daughter-proven Holstein sires is Genosource Captain.

He was a leading young sire in successive genetic evaluations based on his DNA, and his PLI reliability is increasing now his UK daughters are coming into milk.

His PLI is £888. His breeding pattern demonstrates strong production, good feed efficiency (FA 249) and a high envirocow index (4.5).

Climbing into second position is Denovo 14566 Crosby, whose 518 UK milking daughters contribute to his PLI of £719. Notable in his index is excellent calf survival, at +4.8.

A newcomer to the proven list, in eighth position, is Blumenfeld Renegad Ahead, who weighs in with a PLI of £699.

He also transmits longer lifespans (+153 days) and better daughter fertility (+10.5) than average for the Holstein breed.

Other breeds

There are new top sires in the Jersey, Ayrshire and British Friesian rankings.

The number one Jersey, JX River Valley Chief {6}, has edged the long-term breed leader, River Valley Cece Chrome, into second place, with a PLI of £425.

His PTA for fat is a breed record, at 36.9kg. Combined with 834kg milk and 26kg protein, Chief also achieves a favourable maintenance rating, at -14.

Among the Ayrshires, a big jump in PLI sees VR Venom head the table for the first time, with a PLI of £485. Venom transmits outstanding daughter fertility (FI +16.1), as well as solid production (304kg milk) and a good (-10) index for SCC.

Manorpark Google takes over the lead in the British Friesian rankings, with a PLI of £370. Google transmits high weights of milk solids (22.6kg fat and 19.1kg protein), and shorter gestations, at three days less than breed average.

“Choosing suitable sires is probably the most cost-effective way of improving the performance of a farming business,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics at AHDB.

“The business benefit is even more compelling as the genetics of feed efficiency come into play, as this has the scope to reduce the need for costly feed inputs, too,” he adds.