Securing the top position in the Holstein breed’s genomic rankings, was the young sire, Genosource Captain, published by AHDB Dairy.
Having held the position throughout 2020 and most of 2021, he now has a Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) of £950 and environmental credentials including the highest Feed Advantage (FAdv) of the top 20 sires.
His FAdv of 264 means his daughters are predicted to consume 264kg less dry matter in each lactation than those giving comparable production but sired by an average FAdv bull. As the dairy industry steps up its drive for feed efficiency, this score takes on an added importance and is now, for the first time, included in the calculation of £PLI.
Other attributes Captain passes to his daughters include high milk production, good fertility and a degree of resistance to digital dermatitis (DD). A score of 0.7% for this trait means they will, on average, have a 0.7% lower incidence of DD than those by an average (0%) DD Index sire.
This health trait has also been added to £PLI for the first time this month, as understanding of its inheritance improves and the drive for better animal health and welfare also steps up a gear. It is no surprise to see Captain also scores highly for EnviroCow, a relatively new genetic index which wraps up several efficiency traits into one figure.
Climbing into second position is Denovo 3709 Charter, with a PLI of £928. An early son of Denovo 15953 Chalet, Charter transmits high fat (Predicted Transmitting Abilities 56.7kg and 0.28%) and has a good prediction for calf survival at +2.5.
A new entrant since the December genetic evaluations is Progenesis Raptors, whose PLI of £916 earns him third position this month. A son of AltaPlinko, he stands out for a very favourable Maintenance Index of -22 which contributes to a highly desirable Feed Advantage of 222.
Winstar Greycup retains his place in the top five, now with a PLI of £903, and is closely followed by the former number one sire, Peak Breaking News. This bull has the best udder health credentials in the top 20 with a genetic index for Somatic Cell Count of -35 and Mastitis of -4. He also has a daughter Fertility Index of +11.9.
A newcomer in sixth position is Denovo 17626 Benefit, whose PLI of £901 reflects his good all-round genetic credentials, notably a high PTA for fat, at 55.9kg.
Peak AltaAlanzo now ranks seventh (£PLI 899), with a protein PTA of 38.2kg, indicating his daughters are expected to produce high weights of milk protein.
In eighth place is UK-bred newcomer, Cogent Koepon Rocky (PLI £894), a son of Genosource Captain himself. Rocky’s good all-round figures feature a high PTA for milk protein percent (+0.11%).
Good milk quality – in particular fat, at +0.34% – is also on offer from ninth ranking Winstar Graziano (PLI £888), while there’s a tie in 10th position between former number 20 sire, Siemers Brave and newcomer, Genosource Capn McGuire, both with a PLI of £886. McGuire boasts the highest daughter Fertility Index amongst the top 20 (FI +12.8) and is one of three sons of Captain in the top 100 genomic young sires.
Commenting on this young sire ranking, Marco Winters, AHDB head of animal genetics explains: “Genomic indexes have been calculated in the UK by AHDB for 10 years this month, so the methodology is truly tried and tested. The fact that these young bulls go on to do consistently well once they have daughters milking is testament to the genomic technology in which farmers have put their faith.
“Today, some 70% of dairy semen sold in the UK is from young genomic sires. These are sires which, as a group, offer the highest genetic potential and have the scope to generate significant genetic improvement within any herd.
“However, young sires should always be used with an understanding of their risk and reward,” he continues.