Progress reflected in genetic update

Thursday, 2 April 2020

National genetic averages will be recalculated in our next bull proof run on 7 April 2020 reflecting the genetic progress made by dairy breeds over the last five years.

Breeders will see a reduction in predicted transmitting ability (PTA) values for all traits except Somatic Cell Count, however rankings will stay the same.

A new genetic index will also be introduced for Digital Dermatitis and sit alongside the existing Lameness Advantage index.

Marco Winters, AHDB head of animal genetics, said: “Farmers are seeing year upon year improvements in their herds as a result of effective breeding programmes.

“Holsteins lead the way with significant growth in milk production, weight of fat and protein, and lifespan which is now shown in days rather than lactation.”

The base change uses 2015 born females as the average population with the new figures representing the average change for the breed.

The final figures showing how each breed is affected by the base change will be published on our website following the April release.

Holstein Type Merit will be updated and the weighting on type traits (Maintenance, Body Condition Score and Udders and Feet and Legs) will change in the calculation of economic breeding indexes £PLI£SCI and £ACI.

“Now is the perfect time for farmers to review their breeding programmes to ensure their next choice of bulls continues to meet their aspirations,” continued Mr Winters.

“If they’re fully milk recording, our herd genetic report will show them the strengths and weaknesses in their herd to identify where improvements can be made.”

More about genetics, breeding indexes and herd genetic reports