Genetic improvement continues at a pace amongst the young genomic Holstein sires and the front-runner – retaining the position he held in the April ranking – breaks the £800 Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) barrier in the new rankings published today (8 August, 2017) by AHDB Dairy. 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 amongst the young genomic bulls at +2.51.
New in second place since the April indexes were published is Peak AltaDepot (Hotshot x 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 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.
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%).
A former number one sire, Westcoast Perseus (Penmanship x Doorman) now ranks in equal fourth place with a PLI of £779. He shares this position with non-mover, Progenesis Padawan (Jedi x Enforcer), a transmitter of solid protein, high lifespan, fertility and high type (+2.43 Type Merit).
One of the best milk production transmitters of the breed features in sixth position in the shape of Westcoast Guarantee. This Boastful x Tango shows genomic figures of 1,045kg milk, 38.9kg fat and 35.5kg protein and combines these with outstanding SCC and Mastitis Indexes, giving him a PLI of £774.
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.
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 x Shamrock is underpinned by tremendous daughter Fertility Index of +17.1 alongside a high Lifespan Index (+0.7). Hailing from Stuart Smith’s herd in County Londonderry, Lancaster is bred from the renowned Laurie Sheik family. His dam, Prehen Shamrock Lady VG85, tested high on genomics herself as a calf, before calving and giving 9,755kg in 305 days at 4.1% fat and 3.13% protein in her first lactation.
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.
Rounding off the top 10 is Bomaz AltaTopshot, another production specialist which transmits over 76kg fat and protein combined. This son of Cogent Supershot, who himself is now gaining worldwide recognition as a high daughter-proven production sire, has a PLI of £740.
Other UK interest in this index run includes the 11 sons of the UK-owned Cogent Supershot now in the top 100 and a new UK-bred sire in the top 25 in the shape of ABS Exodus (Battlecry x Robust), with a PLI of £706.
“With over two-thirds of all Holstein inseminations in the UK now attributable to genomic young sires, the industry’s confidence in their genomic predictions is clearly evident,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy. “This is a remarkable rate of adoption of a relatively new technology, which AHDB introduced as part of its genetic evaluation service only five years ago.
“We estimate that the additional genetic gain achieved on UK farms as a result of farmers choosing to use these superior genomic young sires, is approaching nearly double the annual gain we were achieving prior to the availability of genomic indexes in 2011.”