Small Farms

More, better bulls for dairy farmers

The release of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) by DataGene has highlighted a trend that has seen more, young Holstein bulls of high quality coming through the ranks.

The 2017 April ABV release will be the first published by DataGene, having taken on the genetic evaluation roles performed by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) over the past 30 years.

DataGene Genetic Evaluation manager, Michelle Axford, said there were notable increases in the genetic merit of the top Holstein young bulls.

In April 2016 there were no young, genomic Holstein bulls with a Balanced Performance Index – BPI – above 300 in the Good Bulls Guide. Now there are more than 25. In fact, the average BPI of the top 50 young bulls is now over 300, representing a more than 20% increase since April 2016. Also, there is a wider range of bull companies represented by the top 10 Holstein bulls, going up from 2 in April 2016 to 5 in April 2017.

“That’s great news for Australian dairy farmers. Having access to more, better, young bulls means more choice. And by always choosing bulls that carry the Good Bulls logo, dairy farmers can be confident their breeding choices will contribute to an overall improvement in their herd’s genetic merit for profit,” she said.

Since 2014 there has also been a steady increase in the number of Holstein bulls genomically tested.

Mrs Axford said that while DataGene had taken on the role of genetic evaluation and broader herd improvement roles, ABV releases were very much a case of ‘business as usual’.

“DataGene has some major projects on the go, including the development of the much-awaited centralised data repository, but the industry can be assured that the routine ABV releases continue as normal,” she said.

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