ADC says No to global figures for bull sires
By Sue Rider
UK DAIRY farmers are being denied access to a more accurate method of evaluating a bulls genetic merit, AI companies claim.
The Animal Data Centre, responsible for producing UK bull and cow evaluations, has decided not to adopt global evaluations for black-and-white dairy sires.
The rejection of these evaluations, produced by Interbull in Sweden, comes only days after the ADC took a decision to use them.
Imported semen in the UK has up to now been marketed on the basis of conversions. But ADCs Gordon Swanson admits that while doing a good job, current conversions overrate some bulls.
He concedes the Interbull evaluations produce more accurate and reliable bull proofs than those based on conversions. "The evaluations are more accurate than a simple conversion and should be adopted," said an ADC note to the AI industry. But the ADC has since said that Interbull evaluations will be accepted for coloured breeds only and not Holstein Friesians. All other countries with large black-and-white cow populations use Interbull figures.
Mr Swanson said that before adopting Interbull he had to be happy about the larger than average change in the PIN values for US bulls – a drop of 15 points.
"The change is not understood fully, but is due in part to the general lack of information on daughters and pedigree," he says. "And because we rely on imported semen more than other countries it is vital we know whats going on."
But many UK AI companies are unhappy with the decision. "It was the ADCs recommendation that the UK would benefit from adopting the Interbull evaluations," says Sefaxs Jo Bellamy.
ADC board member and chairman of AI company Supersires, Jack Lawson, said he was disappointed with the ADCs U-turn.
"I wasnt at the latest meeting, but was shattered with the result when just 10 days before we had unanimously decided to go ahead.
"All the technical information points to Interbull results being more accurate – theyre based on 1000s rather than 10s of bulls."
Genus is in favour of Interbull in principle but says the ADC must be able to explain the anomalies in the data before using the figures.
ADC chairman Bill Madders says: "We will talk to Interbull and the US and ask them to explain what is occurring."
• Global figures more accurate.
• But ADC decides not to adopt.
• Due to anomalies in US data.