With a new crop of 80 Holstein Friesian sires that have been through LIC’s intensive progeny test process, we can pick the cream of the crop using actual data from their miking daughters.
The latest graduates do not disappoint and, while Breeding Worth (BW) continues to shift, the dominance of LIC bulls on the Ranking of Active Sires (RAS) list suggests we are making the right breeding decisions.
However, LIC does not make decisions based solely on BW. Conformation and udder traits are also thoroughly inspected to help ensure farmers get the right genetics to improve their herds.
Some of the real standouts in the current LIC Australia Holstein Friesian team are:
Due to climate change, the release of GHG from cow burps and body waste, have garnered increasing amounts of global attention. As a result, there a societal expectation for farmers to be more environmentally friendly, while maintaining affordable food production.
But one of the biggest challenges farmers face is it to be environmentally friendly while remaining profitable. As Tony explains: “To be able to boost the efficiency of a farm and reduce its impact on the environment, you need to invest. But if you’re not making a profit, you can’t invest in being sustainable. So it can be a vicious cycle.”
While there are steps farmers can take like planting more trees or using slow release nitrogen fertilisers, a good place to start is with the animals themselves. According to Tony, now is the time to be looking at making what you have, run as efficiently as possible: “We know the regulatory targets will tighten. It’s not a matter of if, but when. So farmers need to focus on getting the most efficient production out of the cows they run, and in turn, making sure they’re running the most efficient cows available.”
Gordons AM Lancelot
While not technically a new graduate, Lancelot was a must-have for this year’s team as the top equal Holstein Friesian sire for BW at 274 with a reliability of 91. With a balance of high production, positive fertility and traits other than production (TOP) hitting all in the right places, Lancelot will be a no-brainer for many farmers. He has no Minted in his pedigree and his sire, Maelstrom, was not widely used in Australia so can be safely exploited on farms that have used LIC genetics for some time. If his total longevity of 500 days longer than the base plus his dam still milking as an 11-year-old is anything to go by, Lancelot’s daughters will deliver in the herd for many lactations.
Dicksons BG Mandate
Mandate was one of LIC’s most used genomic sires in the breeding scheme, so it is awesome to see him graduate with such excellent traits. His udder overall is currently sitting at 0.70, dairy conformation at 0.58, somatic cell count at -0.36 and he has the bonus of being A2A2. As moderate liveweight sire, Mandate daughters are approximately 510kg.
Mandate is another Grandeur son that is easy calving and so he is a desirable choice for yearling matings. His dam is a Pulse daughter and his grand dam is from Minted. Breeders Julie and Murray Dickson think very highly of the dam. She is a top performer in their lower input herd – a no-fuss, low somatic cell count cow that never causes any issues. Last season she produced 755kg/MS in 305 days.
Given Mandate’s widespread use as a genomic sire, there are more than 250 herd tested daughters contributing to his proof, and more than 7000 Mandate-sired calves have hit the ground so far.
He’s available in both conventional and sexed semen.
Arkan MGH Backdrop
Backdrop is one of many Hothouse sons in the newly graduated crop. Hothouse was a popular bull in Australia that farmers keep coming back for and Backdrop could be heading that way too. Coming from the Arkan stud, which needs no introduction, and same cow family as the likes of Buster and Beamer, Backdrop was always destined for success. He’s one of the highest BW Holstein Friesians at BW 255/82, with combined fat and protein percentages of 9.1%, overall opinion of 0.56 and fertility of 4.4%. His total longevity score of 818 days is one of the highest ever seen so farmers can expect his daughters to last more than a lactation longer than average.
Busy Brook WTP Vector
Vector deserves a special mention as he continues to win the affections of farmers throughout the world. With a BPI well over 300 and as a top sire for both fertility and chest width, Vector ticks a lot of the boxes Holstein farmers desire. Reports on the ground say the Vector young stock stand out in the herd and are likely to make great milking cows. Vector’s dam, Busy Brook GB Vivien, shows the same strength as Vector. She is a big strong cow with the production to match – her top lactation clocks 874kg/MS in 296 days. Vector has been in hot demand around the world and taken out numerous awards including the coveted Holstein Friesian New Zealand Society Mahoe Trophy for best sire. Vector is sure to be a top seller again in 2020 and is available in both conventional and sexed semen.