A new generation of modern bulls has risen to the top of AHDB Dairy’s genomic rankings this month (4 December), with health, welfare and even cost benefits.
This year, some bulls are predicted to be able to breed daughters which will be cheaper to feed through low maintenance scores.
The highest-ranking bull for maintenance and lower feed cost in the top 20 is VH Bosman Bahrain, profitable lifetime index (PLI) +817, at -13.
AHDB Dairy’s head of animal genetics Marco Winters said: “Bulls with a low, or ideally negative maintenance score, are desirable, as they produce lighter daughters which require a lower input of feed for their maintenance.
“Of course, we would always recommend ranking on £PLI for the first screening of sires, but homing in on the component traits of this economic index – including lameness advantage, maintenance index, calf survival and lifespan index – can help improve replacement rates and lower costs on the farm.”
Denovo 14400 Advance (PLI+ £819) tops the calf survival chart, while the best top-20 sire for daughter fertility is Schoene AltaRobert (PLI +813) at +14.8.
Top 10 for profitable lifetime index (PLI)
- Pine-Tree CW Legacy (PLI +£906) Frazzled son out of a Yoder daughter: Remains the leading bull among all genomic Holstein sires, transmitting improvements to daughter mastitis (-4), lifespan (+0.7) and lameness (+2.3). Calves are expected to have high survival (+2.4) and this Frazzled son is also expected to transmit 913kg of milk, +0.09% fat and 0.03% protein, while having daughters that will eat less due to a negative maintenance index score of -6.
- Denovo 7921 Atrium (PLI +£878) ABS Achiever son out of a Delta daughter: Position is also retained and is one of many leading bulls to bear the Denovo prefix denoting the new US joint venture between ABS Global and De-Su Holsteins. Daughters should be cheap to feed with a maintenance index of -12, while milk is high for fat (45.1kg and +0.19%) and strong for daughter fertility (+12.5).
- Peak Altaleap (PLI +871) Quantum son out of an Altaspring daughter: The highest-ranking new entry with impressive calf survival (+3.2) and a positive lifespan index (+0.8) giving daughters an expected 244 days longer in productive life. He is predicted to reduce mastitis and cell counts.
- ABS Crimson (PLI + 853) Spectre son out of a Rubicon daughter: Highest transmitter of fat in the top 20 at 47.9kg. He moves up one place to fourth.
- ABS Outback (PLI +£847) Spectre son out of a Troy daughter: Bring a high lameness advantage (+3) and excellent daughter fertility (12.5).
- Wilra ABS Amplify (PLI +£844) Achiever son out of a Hotshot daughter: Another new entry, predicted to transmit good milk components (+0.19% fat and +0.195 protein) as well as transmitting traits improving daughter welfare and economic performance.
- VH Balisto Brook (PLI +£842) Balisto son out of a Denim daughter: A possible udder health improver at -37 for somatic cell count and -6 for mastitis.
- Bomaz AltaCabot (PLI +£839) Altatopshot son out of a Cabriolet daughter: Noted for fat transmission (+44.2kg and +0.20%) and a good lameness advantage of +2.9.
- Mr Rubi-Agronaut (PLI +£828) Rubicon son out of a Shotglass daughter: High fat transmitter at 0.23%, also bringing daughter fertility (13.2) and a type merit of +3.15, the highest in the top 20.
- Pine-Tree Durable (PLI +827) Charley son out of a Yoder daughter: Daughters should have less lameness issues with the best lameness advantage in the top 20 at +3.9.