Young bull sires ready to be dads
Bulls ready to sire new generation of dairy cows
Arecord number of young bulls have joined LIC’S elite bull teams this spring, with 27 bulls making the cut and ready to help sire the next generation of profitable and efficient dairy cows.
The 2018-born bulls secured their spot in the team after their superior performance, which was predicted by genomics, was validated by herd testing data from their first crop of daughters, which are now being milked on farms nationwide.
LIC livestock selection manager Simon Worth says the co-op’s continued investment into genomic science is helping to drive profitability on farms by identifying elite artificial breeding sires at a young age.
“With genomics, we combine a bull’s DNA and ancestry information to get a more reliable prediction of its performance at a young age. We’ve been investing and refining the use of genomics in our breeding programme for decades, and this year’s graduation rate is a testament that this cutting-edge science is delivering results and predicting star performers with accuracy.”
Simon says this time of year is always a highlight for his team, which is responsible for LIC’S breeding scheme; from the contract matings through to selecting young bulls to join the co-op’s Sire Proving Scheme.
“It’s a phenomenal graduation rate, there’s no doubt about it. We’re really pleased that these selected graduating bulls were sired by 17 different bulls so in addition to turbocharging the genetic merit of our Premier Sires teams, they’re also ensuring genetic diversity.
Simon says being selected for a Premier Sires bull team is no easy feat.
“The bar is set extremely high, and rightly so. When we select our bulls, it’s first and foremost about how they rank on Breeding Worth (BW). If they tick that box, we then assess them for a range of other traits farmers are looking for in their cows.
“The addition of these bulls is based on extreme indexes, and a balance of production efficiency, udder conformation and management traits that help farmers breed better cows.”
Simon says using elite bulls to sire the next generation of replacements is an important tool to help farmers tackle climate challenges.
“Breeding the best cows, faster, is key to helping farmers remain profitable and sustainable. A strong focus on herd improvement and consistent use of high-bw bull teams will deliver results on farm by breeding cows that produce more and are more emissions-efficient.”
Simon says not only did this year’s Spring bull graduates break a LIC record, but they made an impact on the industry’s Ranking of Active Sires (RAS) list, which ranks bulls from all breeding companies according to their Breeding Worth.
Of the top 30 bulls across all breeds, 13 are the co-op’s new Spring bulls with two of the new graduates occupying the No. 1 and No. 2 spots — Kiwicross bulls Gordons Flash