Archive Article: 1997/03/21

21 March 1997

Thinking of filling semen flasks ready for the next breeding season? Then plan ahead.

At a glance it would appear that bull selection should be a lot easier this year. After all, it is the first time so many Holstein breeding countries have released their bull proofs at the same time. And the new system of international sire evaluations produced by Interbull has combined all indexes. Each country is given one list ranking bulls from different countries on the breeding value normally published in that country.

Sounds simple and its meant to be. It should enable breeders to select the best bulls from around the world on an objective basis.

But the UK has not adopted Interbull figures for black-and-white cattle. This is due to too many anomalies in the data, says the Animal Data Centre. Lets hope it is right in its decision and can work with Interbull to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, for keen followers of index it will be well worth a look at the unofficial UK Interbull rankings to aid bull selection. This list will be available on request from the ADC for comparative purposes. And when studying Interbull lists from other countries remember there is no single top 10 or top 100. Bulls perform differently in each country, as our report in the Breeding News section of this Dairy Update shows.

In general, though, UK producers are best advised to use the official direct conversions. But those seeking a list of the top Holstein bulls currently available in the UK ranked on ITEM index will be disappointed. There is no such list readily available other than the one in this Update compiled by FW. This unsatisfactory situation must be addressed.

Perhaps the MDC can act on its pledge to improve technology transfer and fund the resource, if this is what is needed, to ensure such a list is made available to dairy producers and kept up-to-date.

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