A father and son are the top two Holstein bulls in the proven sire rankings for the first time in recent memory, according to new genetic index figures published today (6 December) by AHDB Dairy.
Ranked on Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI), the bulls are the long-standing leader, Kings-Ransom Erdman (PLI £659), and his son, United-Pride Erdman Evan (PLI £647).
Erdman himself is noted for transmitting outstanding fitness, while his breed-leading Lifespan Index of +0.9, indicates his daughters produce milk for almost a full lactation longer than those of an average sire. He combines this with good daughter fertility (Fertility Index +12.5) and a superb Maintenance Index of -23, indicating his daughters will cost less to feed for maintenance than those by other Holstein bulls.
Second-ranking Evan moves up from sixth position in the previous index run, thanks to improvements in his Lifespan Index (now +0.8). He displays all the hallmarks of his sire, transmitting equally good daughter fertility and low costs of maintenance. At present, this bull is not available in mainland GB, only being marketed in Northern Ireland.
Moving into third position is Co-op Robust Cabriolet with a PLI of £638. This calving ease specialist (+1.7 direct CE%) also transmits high percentages of fat and protein (+0.19 and +0.05 respectively) and low maintenance costs (-17).
The Bookem son, De-Su Rookie 11057 maintains his fourth position with a PLI of £625, good transmission of low cell counts and one of the higher Type Merits in the top 10 at +1.74.
Fifth ranking Tollenaars AltaMicro is the biggest improver of daughter fertility (FI +17.8) and has a PLI of £623, just ahead of calving ease specialist, Teemar Shamrock Alphabet (PLI £621).
The high reliability sire Gen-I-Beq Lavaman ranks sixth, now with 647 UK daughters contributing to his figures and raising his PLI to £618. Lavaman’s index is particularly noted for its high TB Advantage (+3.4), indicating his daughters have a higher resistance to bovine TB than other cows of the breed.
Moving into the top 10 is the well know production superstar, Seagull-Bay Supersire, transmitting a phenomenal 1,049kg milk and 74kg fat plus protein – by far the highest in the top 100 and earning him a PLI of £615.
Also moving up to the top 10 are the highest type transmitter, S-S-I Bookem Morgan (TM +1.89) and the third Robust son, Co-op Robust Jitterbug. They have PLIs of £598 and £589 respectively.
Commenting on the figures, Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy says: “It is very positive to see so many sires which transmit such high daughter fertility and extreme longevity. The Holstein breed has suffered in the past when it was more difficult to idenitify these traits in bulls, but it’s very encouraging today to see there has been a rapid turnaround in the type of available sires.
“I would urge Holstein breeders to seek out these great fertility and lifespan transmitters, and to look for bulls with a minus maintenance cost. This way they will breed the most efficient cows which are easy to manage, fertile and fit.”