DAIRY breeds other than Holstein, which had their new genetic indexes published by AHDB Dairy last week, see no complete newcomers and only a little reshuffling amongst the top five ranking on Proftable Lifetime Index (£PLI).
As has become customary, the Jersey ranking is dominated by the Nordic countries, with a lead taken by Danish VJ Link, with a PLI of £551. Particularly excelling for udder health (-23 SCC and -3 Mastitis Index), this bull also transmits solid Predicted Transmitting Abilities (PTAs) for production, with 178kg milk, 18.4kg (+0.16%) fat and 9.8kg (+0.06%) protein. A great all-rounder, he includes daughter fertility (Fertility Index +8.7), lifespan (LS +0.5) and good legs and feet (+1.9) on his list of attributes.
However, it is the number two Jersey and the only bull in the top five of North American origin which is the stand-out bull for production. CDF Viceroy transmits an impressive 679kg milk, 33.9kg fat, 26.6kg protein, also offering daughter fertility (+6.2) and lifespan (+0.4). His PLI is £524.
The third-ranking Jersey is the greatest improver of both udder health (SCC -28 and Mastitis Index -4) and daughter fertility (+9.5) and comes in the shape of Danish VJ Tudvad (PLI £503).
The British Friesian ranking sees even more stability with no move in the first and second positions. Taken by the high solids and high fertility Catlane Caleb (PLI £471) and the top five’s leading fertility and lifespan improver, Catlane Cromwell (PLI £458), the first upward move we see is for Morcourt Regan, now in third position. By far the highest transmitter of weight of milk, fat and protein in the top five (506kg milk, 22.3kg fat and 16.7kg protein), this bull rises from sixth position in the previous Friesian ranking. He now weighs in with a PLI of £329.
Viking Reds dominate the Ayrshire ranking, seen in the VR prefix of the top three bulls, which – like all red and whites on this listing – qualify for the Ayrshire herdbook.
The number one bull, VR Nivalan Fimbe Faabel, is an all-rounder, transmitting solid production (PTA milk 456kg, fat 17.3kg and protein 23.8kg), very good fitness (+10.2 FI, -14 SCC, 0.1 LS, -2 Mast) and functional type (0.6 legs and feet, 0.4 udders). His PLI is £563.
Moving from third to second and first to third respectively are VR Gunnarstorp Backen Gobel (PLI £518) and VR Kuusian Valpas Vimpula (PLI £512).
Fern Pearston, genetics manager for AHDB Dairy, says: “It’s very important to use the UK equivalent indexes when choosing a bull, regardless of breed, as only then can UK breeders obtain a genuine comparison of their transmitting ability against all other bulls of that breed.
“Without this comparison, it’s impossible to compare a bull from one country against another, and impossible to know which bulls would most suit any herd,” she says.
Other dairy breed indexes are also published on line (www.ahdb.org.uk), where the Montbeliarde, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Shorthorn and Fleckvieh are all represented.