Almost 78% of the AI straws allocated by farmers through the ICBF Sire Advice Program have been to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls (Table 1). This analysis is based on some 2,112 dairy herds that have completed their ICBF Sire Advice allocations since 1st February 2017
In overall terms, the analysis represents over 300,000 AI straws allocated, with 77.4% of these to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls, 15.1% of these to Daughter Proven (DP) bulls and just 7.4% to foreign AI bulls.
These results confirm that despite some initial concern regarding the re-adjustment backwards of proofs for the young GS sires (by on average €39 compared to the March 2017 evaluation), farmers continue to have confidence in the young GS bulls to deliver more profitability on their farms in the future.
No Downward Trend.
Furthermore, analysis of weekly trends from the data in Table 1, indicates no downward trend in the usage of these young GS sires, with 78.7% of the straws allocated in the last 7 days being to the young GS bulls (across some 275 herds in total). This compares with 73.2% of the straws allocated to young GS sires (from 276 herds) during the month of February (i.e., for Sire Advice Runs completed more than 28 days ago). Again these results confirm that despite some initial concerns being expressed by farmers and industry about the GS proof adjustments, they continue to have confidence in using these bulls on their farms.
Daughter Proven for Female Fertility.
For the above analysis (Table 1), Daughter Proven bulls were defined as bull that had met 70% reliability for milk proofs, which is considered the minimum requirement to be considered daughter proven. If we were to only consider bulls that were truly daughter proven (i.e., greater than 90% reliability for female fertility proofs), then the number of straws allocated to Daughter Proven bulls would be just 4250 straws, or 1.4% of the total straws allocated. So it is clear that farmers are not choosing to stick with old proven bulls when making their sire choices.
Why the high usage of GS bulls?
The high usage of the GS bulls is clearly linked to the average EBI of these bulls, compared to the Daughter Proven or Foreign bull options. Indeed, recent results presented by ICBF and Teagasc have indicated that the young GS bulls are on average €43 ahead of the Daughter Proven bulls (for bulls with an EBI reliability of 70% or greater) and €88 ahead of the Daughter Proven bulls (for bulls with an EBI reliability of 90% or greater).
Similar results are apparent for the foreign bulls, confirming that dairy farmers are selecting first and foremost on EBI, when making the breeding decisions on their farms.
These young high EBI GS bulls should then be used in teams, with the strong advice being to use a minimum of 7 sires with no more than 20% of the total inseminations to any one bull.
This analysis is based on 2,112 herds that have run the ICBF Sire Advice Program for their herd. So what is ICBF Sire Advice and how can I run it for my herd? Sire advice is an application that is available to all dairy HerdPlus users. The application allows you to select the bulls you wish to use for the breeding season and then the program matches these bulls to the most suitable cows on your farm. It does this by taking account of any potential inbreeding in the resultant calves, and also by balancing up sires and cows for key traits of interest. Once saved, the suggested matings are available from various reports that can be accessed directly from your HerdPlus account. To access the Sire Advice application simply click on ‘Applications’ from the HerdPlus menu. Then select ‘Sire Advice’. If you need any help, then please contact ICBF HerdPlus on 023-8820452.
What targets should I be aiming for in light of recent updates to the proofs of genomic bulls?
The recent updates to the bull proofs has meant that on average young GS bulls reduced by some €39 in EBI value (equivalent to about 2 days in calving interval CI and 1% for survival). This was based on a weighted average reduction in EBI value for the 285 GS sires that were available in Active AI at the time (see ICBF release new Active Dairy Bull List for Spring 2017 breeding season). In line with these changes ICBF and Teagasc are recommending to consider the following targets when choosing a team of bulls for the AI season:
April Dairy Inseminations – 80% to GS bulls.
Over 80% of the dairy inseminations during the month of April were to young Genomically Selected (GS) bulls. These results confirm that despite some initial concern regarding the re-adjustment of proofs for the young GS sires (by on average €39 compared to the March 2017 evaluation), farmers continue to have confidence in the young GS bulls to deliver more profitability on their farm in the future. The results are based on analysis of insemination data from some 380 AI technicians linked to the ICBF database, through their AI handheld system. A total of 148,223 inseminations were included in the analysis (Table 2).
|SIRE DETAILS||EBI DATA||INSEMINATION DATA||AGE DATA|
|Proof category||Number AI sires||EBI||EBI Rel||Count insems||% Total||Average Age|
Close agreement with results from ICBF Sire Advice.
The results presented in Table 2 are also in very close agreement with those taken from the above ICBF Sire Advice Analysis which has indicated a figure of 78% for the expected usage of GS bulls this Spring amongst ICBF Sire Advice users. These results are based on 2,112 herds that have completed ICBF Sire Advice during the 6 week period from 1st February to 25th April. The average EBI of the bulls being used is €219. This is very positive as it surpasses the target figure of €210 outlined above.