By Everard Himmelreich
The Dickson’s family dairy herd at Terang has been ranked as the seventh best Holstein herd in Australia for Balanced Performance Index (BPI), a reflection of a herd’s genetic merit for profit.
The Dicksons’ top 10 national ranking for a Holstein herd was among the accolades awarded to several south-west dairy herds in this week’s release of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) by DataGene,
DataGene is an initiative of Dairy Australia and the herd improvement industry and has taken on the genetic evaluation roles previously performed by the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS).
In other ABV rankings, the Glennen’s Jersey herd at Noorat was ranked as the number two Jersey herd in the nation for BPI.
The Codling and Baker herd at Larpent near Colac was ranked as the nation’s number eight Jersey herd for BPI while the Gleeson Jersey herd at Purnim was ranked as ninth for BPI.
In the Australian Red dairy breed, the Raleigh herd at Timboon came fourth in Australia for BPI and the Taylor herd at Brucknell was sixth.
DataGene said the ABVs released this week highlighted a trend that more young Holstein bulls of high quality had come through the ranks over the past year.
DataGene genetic evaluation manager Michelle Axford said there were notable increases in the genetic merit of the top Holstein young bulls.
This time last year there were no young genomic Holstein bulls with a BPI above 300 in the Good Bulls Guide, DataGene said. This year there were more than 25, it said.
In fact, the average BPI of the top 50 young bulls was over 300, representing a more than 20 per cent increase over the past year. Also, there was a wider range of bull companies represented by the top 10 Holstein bulls, going up from two last April to five in this year’s ABVs release.
“That’s great news for Australian dairy farmers,” Ms Axford said.
“Having access to more, better, young bulls means more choice. And by always choosing bulls that carry the Good Bulls logo, dairy farmers can be confident their breeding choices will contribute to an overall improvement in their herd’s genetic merit for profit,” she said.
The past three years has also seen a steady increase in the number of Holstein bulls genomically tested.
Mrs Axford said that while DataGene had taken on the role of ADHIS, the ABVs releases were a case of ‘business as usual’. The ABVs form the basis of the Good Bulls Guide that helps dairy farmers choose bulls that suit their breeding priorities.