Press Release – ICBF brings forward its Dairy AI Bull Evaluation

Wednesday, 15th March 2017

The ICBF confirms that it is bringing forward the publication of its quarterly evaluation for Dairy AI bulls which was not due to be published until May 2017. The decision was made at a Board meeting yesterday where the latest calving data coming through from Spring 2017 was reviewed.

The recent investment in data processing capability at ICBF has enabled the organisation to more quickly interpret performance data. The data coming through from the spring calving season confirms an earlier expectation that a recalibration of some performance indicators would be necessary, especially in relation to fertility.

The new AI bull evaluation which will be published next week will reflect the actual performance data from the Spring 2017 calving season and will strengthen the genomics indicators around fertility performance, mainly in relation to calving interval and survival.

ICBF confirms that the data coming through from the Spring 2017 calving season points to the need to re-adjust the fertility predictions (circa 2 days calving interval, 1% decrease in survival) along with minor adjustments to milk production.  Those adjustments will be included in the new AI bull evaluation so that farmers can take advantage of this information when selecting their bull panels for 2017.

Speaking about the decision ICBF Board Chairman Michael Doran said;

“The Board felt that it was in the farmers’ best interests to move forward the publication of the next AI bull evaluation ahead of the upcoming breeding season. As in every quarterly run, there will be some changes to rankings.  However, as always, ICBF recommends that farmers use a team of bulls (minimum 5) from the Active Bull List, and should contact their AI company to look at what is the best panel for their own herd.”

When our genomic-testing was first developed, its performance indicators were based on a training population of just more than 2,000 animals. As we add more animals to the training population, we get better predictions, and the process will require on-going re-calibrations. This represents a fine-tuning of a very effective system and results in further accuracy on more animals in the ICBF’s growing database. In all cases, EBI’s will be more accurate than the values they replace thanks to the re-calibration.” He added.

“It is worth noting that the Next Generation Herd (selected based on Genomic EBI’s as heifers) in Moorepark continues to make significant progress since the introduction of genomics, this herd continues to deliver 491kg milk solids sold, with 98% of cows pregnant within 12 weeks in a low cost, grass-based system.” He added.

 “We’re continuously looking for ways to streamline the processes involved in providing the industry’s most advanced genomic-enhanced selection tools. The ICBF is committed to keeping dairy farmers at the forefront of this technology and ultimately reducing the risks inherent in managing their individual cow herds while also driving efficiency.” He concluded.

Ends.