Tuesday, 13 August 2019
As autumn calving momentum builds, the new Autumn Calving Indexes (£ACI), published today by AHDB Dairy for August 2019, gain a seasonal significance.
At the top of this ranking is the Danish-bred VH Balisto Brook, the bull which also leads the way for Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) and features in the top five for Spring Calving Index (£SCI). With an ACI of £668, Brook is the first of 10 Holsteins to take the top 10 places on this across-breed ranking, designed to pinpoint the sires which transmit economic superiority in a typical autumn block-calving, winter-housed, UK situation.
Brook features excellent milk solids and outstanding udder health and has the best TB Advantage prediction in the top five ranked on £ACI.
Remaining in second position is Teemar Shamrock Alphabet, whose exceptional daughter fertility and lifespan are combined with lower maintenance costs than most of his cohorts, to earn him an ACI of £647.
Also with an ACI of £647 is the equal second-ranking, newly proven Siemers Bloomfield. This son of Mr Mogul Delta excels for both weight and percentage of fat and has good fitness across the board. He also has the highest Type Merit amongst the top 10 £ACI sires.
Former front-runner, Larcrest Commend, cuts a familiar figure in fourth place (ACI £637) while S-S-I Mogul Multiply remains unchanged in fifth position (ACI £618), thanks to good production, superb daughter fertility and good general fitness.
Producers forward-buying for the spring calving season have a slightly different mix of leading sires and a broader mix of breeds from which to select at the top of the £SCI ranking.
In number one position is the British Friesian, Catlane Caleb (£SCI 482), who moves up from third place, transmitting high quality, low volume milk production, low maintenance costs and superb daughter fertility – all considered key traits in a spring block-calving herd.
Second ranking Lakemead Jingle (£SCI 481) also features the characteristic good fertility of the British Friesian breed alongside the highest TB Advantage amongst the top 20 £SCI bulls.
In third place is the leading Jersey in this ranking, Danish VJ Tester (£SCI 471), who brings the high milk quality typical of the breed, with lower volume than his cohorts. Equally typical for the Jersey breed are the low maintenance costs of his daughters, who also feature good fertility.
The number one £PLI and £ACI sire, VH Balisto Brook does not disappoint when it comes to £SCI, taking fourth place, at £463. This reflects this Holstein bull’s excellent transmission of milk solids with good components and superb udder health.
The top five is rounded off with the higher milk volume Teemar Shamrock Alphabet, who moves up from eighth place as daughters come into production. His SCI is £458.
“Producers are reminded that both the £ACI and £SCI are calculated across all dairy breeds, giving none any favour over another,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy. “This allows each breed to be compared on a completely level playing field, and helps those cross-breeding to fairly assess the sires most suited to their system.
“As is always the case, I would urge those using any breed on their farms to use UK-equivalent indexes rather than those from any foreign country. Other countries’ indexes are calculated with different economic conditions in play; they don’t always allow across-breed comparison and they cannot be compared in a meaningful way with indexes from the UK.”