Choosing sires from the Good Bulls Guide is the first step towards improving herd profitability. The guide helps farmers and semen resellers confidently select sires suited to a farm’s breeding objectives, while still selecting genetic gain for profit.
Choosing good bulls
The Good Bulls Guide features bulls from around the world which have been evaluated using the latest independent genetic testing. Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) which estimate the genetic merit for the various traits of an animal are listed for each bull. The guide also showcases scores for the Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and Health Weighted Index (HWI). Remember, when selecting sires:
- Select sires that are best value for money.
- Manage risk by using a team of sires, rather than one or two.
- Choose bulls that are above average for the traits you are interested in. For example, at least 105 for Daughter Fertility Australian Breeding Value to accelerate genetic gain for fertility in Holstein breeds.
- Avoid using sires with an Australian Breeding Value for calving ease below 100 to avoid unnecessary calving difficulties.
- Choose the index that best suits your breeding goals.
Balanced Performance Index [BPI]
Fast-tracking genetic improvement for traits, such as fertility, mastitis resistance and feed saved.
Health Weighted Index [HWI]
Breeding for improved fertility
The Daughter Fertility ABV anticipates the percentage of an animal’s daughters being pregnant by six weeks after the mating start date, compared to the average. For year-round calving herds, this is equivalent to the percentage of daughters pregnant by 100 days after calving.
The Daughter Fertility ABV is expressed relative to an average of 100 with higher breeding values indicating more fertile daughters. For example, cows with a Daughter Fertility ABV of 110 have a 10 per cent higher 6-week in-calf rate compared to cows with an ABV of 100.
To breed a more fertile herd, choose Good Bulls or genomically tested heifers with a Daughter Fertility ABV of at least 100. In the Holstein breed, if you want to make faster gains, consider increasing the cut off to 105 or 110, as there is now a wide range of bulls available with high Daughter Fertility ABVs.
Genetic progress report
The Genetic Progress Report is a within-breed analysis of a herd over a ten-year period which measures and monitors genetic improvement for overall profitability (BPI), production, type, longevity, fertility and mastitis resistance. Herd information which is collected through regular recording or genomic testing is routinely used to produce the cow ABVs which feature in the report.
Farmers can request a report from their herd test centre or contact DataGene.