The latest August bull proofs sees much stability in the genomic, proven and spring-calving rankings, with a front runner returning to take the number-one position in the proven bull league table.
Meanwhile, breeders who have now finished serving their spring-calving herds should feel reassured by the stability in the spring calving index (SCI) ranking.
The top 10 genomic sires
Genetic improvement continues at a pace amongst the young genomic Holstein sires and the front-runner – retaining his number-one position – Mr Rubi-Agronaut – has broken the £800 profitable lifetime Index (PLI) barrier in the new rankings published today (8 August) by AHDB Dairy.
1. With a PLI of £819, Mr Rubi-Agronaut transmits solid production, marked by a predicted transmitting ability (PTA) for fat of +0.21%.
This Rubicon son out of a Shotglass dam also ranks as the best feet and legs improver among the young genomic bulls at +2.51.
2. New in second place since the April indexes were published is Peak AltaDepot (Hotshot cross Montross) with a similarly impressive PLI of £818.
This bull is an exceptional fitness transmitter – he’s one of the very best for somatic cell count at -36, lifespan index is +0.9 and daughter fertility index is a massive +17.5. At -6, AltaDepot is also a top bull for the new mastitis index (launched by AHDB in April 2017), indicating fewer daughter mastitis cases.
3. Climbing to third spot is VH Balisto Brook (PLI £791), another remarkable bull for udder health.
With the top ratings for SCC and mastitis (-36 and -6, respectively), Brook also demonstrates high fat transmission for both weight and percentages (40.4kg, +0.24%).
4/5. A former number-one sire, Westcoast Perseus (Penmanship cross Doorman) now ranks in equal fourth place with a PLI of £779.
He shares this position with non-mover Progenesis Padawan (Jedi cross Enforcer), a transmitter of solid protein, high lifespan, fertility and high type (+2.43 type merit).
6. One of the best milk-production transmitters of the breed features in sixth position in the shape of Westcoast Guarantee.
This Boastful cross Tango shows genomic figures of 1,045kg milk, 38.9kg fat and 35.5kg protein and combines these with outstanding SCC and mastitis index scores, giving him a PLI of £774.
7. In seventh place with a PLI of £756 is VH Balisto Brixton. Brixton will appeal to those seeking improvements in fat and protein percentages, with +0.33% and +0.21%, respectively.
He is also predicted to lower feed costs for maintenance, as indicated by his maintenance index of -15.
8. Prehen Lancaster is the highest UK-bred bull, weighing in with a PLI of £751 and ranking in eighth position.
The PLI of this Penmanship cross Shamrock is underpinned by a tremendous daughter fertility index of +17.1 alongside a high lifespan index (+0.7).
9. A notable breed outlier when it comes to fat transmission, the ninth-ranking ABS Achiever is attracting interest and excitement in the breeding fraternity.
With a PTA fat of +48.7kg (+0.30% fat), he rates as one of the breed’s best and has a PLI of £743.
10. Rounding off the top 10 is Bomaz AltaTopshot, another production specialist that transmits more than 76kg fat and protein combined.
This son of Cogent Supershot, which is also now gaining worldwide recognition as a high daughter-proven production sire, has a PLI of £740.
Top 10 proven Holstein sires
In the proven Holstein rankings, Gen-I-Beq Lavaman returns to his position as the number-one sire ranked on PLI for the seventh time.
1. With a PLI of £668, this Man-O-Man son now has 942 UK daughters contributing to his index. He continues to excel in predicted transmitting ability (PTA) for protein at +0.17% and has a high daughter fertility index at +14.3.
2. De-Su Rookie, which led the field in the April proof run, has been edged into second place with a PLI of £647.
This high fat transmitter (35.2kg) also passes low cell counts (-25), good mastitis resistance (-4) and longevity (+0.6) on to his daughters.
3. Moving up to third place is the exceptional daughter fertility improver (fertility index +21.2) VH Cole Clark with a PLI of £641.
This calving ease sire (+2.5 dCE%) also has a breed-leading PTA for lifespan (LS +0.8), indicating his daughters last an average eight months longer than the breed average. His daughters’ fertility and low maintenance feed costs are likely contributors to their strong survival.
4/5. S-S-I Shamrock Mystic ranks fourth (PLI £621) with a daughter fertility of +17.6 and longevity of +0.5.
His paternal half-brother, Teemar Shamrock Alphabet (both by Shamrock) shares these characteristics with +17.5 FI and +0.7 LS and has a PLI of £612.
Alphabet is also a calving ease specialist with +2.4 direct and +2.8 maternal calving ease figures.
These indicate that his progeny will arrive easily (direct calving ease) and his daughters will also give birth more easily later in life (maternal calving ease).
6. New in the top 10 and moving up from 26th position into sixth is De-Su 11236 Balisto.
A heavily used sire of sons, his 109 UK milking daughters confirm his genomic expectations and rank him high for protein (28.8kg and +0.17%) and maternal calving ease (+2.1). His PLI is £606.
7. Also making gains and climbing into the top 10 is Har-Dale-Acres-JP AltaCR with a PLI of £601. This Mogul son transmits high type (+2.44 type merit) and has daughters that are capable of producing large quantities of fat (+32.1kg).
8. Co-op Robust Cabriolet moves up two places to eighth overall with a PLI of £596. Another strong maternal (+2.9) as well as direct (+1.4) calving ease sire with strong fat yield credentials (+33.8kg), his daughters are also predicted to lower maintenance costs (-17) and are long-living (LS +0.5).
9. In ninth position with a PLI of £595 is EDG Rubicon, which is one of the breed’s best fat yield bulls at +39.2kg. He also breeds daughters with good feet and legs (+2.30) and long lifespans (+0.5).
10. The highest-ranking UK-bred sire, and reappearing in the top 10, is Prehen Omen with a PLI of £588.
Strengthening his position as daughters are added (he now has 268 UK daughters contributing to his index), this component specialist has +0.17% fat and +0.19% protein, and displays good daughter longevity (LS +0.5).
Bred by Stuart Smith in the same County Londonderry herd as the leading UK genomic sire (Prehen Lancaster), Omen hails from the acclaimed Froukje family.
Also with a PLI of £588 and sharing 10th position with Omen is Synergy Prime. Another high fat transmitter (+32.6kg), he also has strong credentials for udder health (SCC -27, Mast -5).
Jersey dominate on SCI, but all breeds represented
Jerseys continue to dominate, as they have done in previous months, reflecting the high milk quality and feed conversion efficiency for which the breed is renowned.
With only two new additions to the otherwise largely unchanged top 10, the bull in number-one position, the Danish Jersey VJ Tester, holds his lead with a SCI of £502.
New entries to SCI
First of the two new entries is the eighth-ranking DJ Zuma son, VJ Zlager. A strong milk component sire, he has equally impressive figures for lifespan and fertility.
Also entering the top 10 is the number one PLI Holstein sire Gen-I-Beq Lavaman.
British Friesians see no change at the top, with Catlane Chad, Catlane Caleb and Kirkby Jupiter each retaining their previous first to third positions.
Their PLIs are £496, £395 and £358, respectively. Chad continues to excel as a mastitis and cell count improver, while Caleb transmits low volume, but high quality milk. Jupiter’s type merit edges upwards to an impressive +2.52.
The Ayrshire number one, VR Gunnarstorp Backen Gobel, continues to excel as the breed-leading fertility and lifespan specialist and weighs in with a PLI of £626.
Pell Pers moves up from fifth to second position, now with more than 200 UK milking daughters. Gains in production and lifespan scores helped raise his PLI to £604.
Now with more than 800 milking daughters contributing to his index, Gunnerstorp cements his position firmly within the Ayrshire breed and earns a PLI of £500.