STUDY UP: Analysis in all feeding systems has shown daughters of high index sires produce more milk solids and last as long as daughters of low index sires.

The daughters of high index dairy bulls produce more milk solids and last as long in the herd, if not longer, regardless of a herd’s feeding system, according tothe 2016 Feeding the Genes study conducted by John Morton for the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme.

Dr Morton found that the trend was similar across all three Australian breeding indices: Balanced Performance Index, Health Weighted Indexand Type Weighted Index.

In addition to producing more solids, the results showed the daughters of high index sires were more likely than other cows to last in the herd, in all pasture-based feeding systems.

“Regardless of their feeding system, herd managers should select high index sires with Australian Breeding Values that are aligned to the breeding objectives for the herd,” he said.

He concluded continual selection of sires with a high BPI would result in small but ongoing improvements in herd reproductive performance.

“This is significant because genetic improvement is both permanent and cumulative,” he said.

“Some farmers may choose to use the HWI which puts more emphasis on daughter fertility than the BPI.”

ADHIS’sMichelle Axfordsaidhigh genetic merit bulls did not necessarily cost more but their daughters generated more profit.

An ADHIS analysis showed the difference in genetic merit between the best bull (BPI 315) and the worst (BPI -72) bull was $387 profit a cow eachyear.

“Farm budgets are stretched this season but breeding profitable replacements is still important,” she said.

The Good Bulls App is available to create a shortlist of high index sires, complete with this week’srelease of ABVs.

ADHIS is an initiative of Australian Dairy Farmers, funded through Dairy Australia and the Dairy Services Levy.

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