When it comes to finding good bulls to use over Australian dairy herds, they keep getting better and better, as demonstrated by the April release of Australian Breeding Values.
The Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme’s Daniel Abernethy said this release had improvements in reliabilities across all traits, giving dairy farmers even more confidence in their bull choices.
For example, the reliability of the Balanced Performance Index has increased by 5.8 per cent in Holsteins and 2.5 per cent for Jerseys.
“In the world of genetics these numbers represent significant improvements,” Mr Abernethy said.
The increases in reliability came from the addition of genotypes for 30000 females in 100 herds into the reference population through the Ginfo project, a large-scale genotyping project to increase the reference population of Australian dairy cattle to achieve more reliable genomic-based ABVs.
The Ginfo project is a collaboration between the DairyFutures CRC, ADHIS, Holstein Australia, Jersey Australia and DEDJTR.
Bulls are also getting better with a new app which has been welcomed by dairy farmers around Australia.
The Good Bulls App offers a fast and fun way to identify bulls to meet a herd’s breeding priorities.
ADHIS extension and education manager Michelle Axford said the feedback since the app was launched in January had been overwhelmingly positive.
“The app has already proven popular but it will be used more intensively in the coming months as farmers start selecting sires for the coming joining season,” Mrs Axford said.
The Good Bulls App allows farmers to create a short list of bulls potentially suitable for their herd. While it is based on the three breeding indices – BPI (profit), HWI (health) and TWI (type) – a variety of filters can be used to customise the search to individual priorities.
Wagga Wagga dairy farmer Neil Jolliffe milks about 225 cows and said the app was easy and convenient.
“I can do different bull searches while I’m mixing grain,” Mr Jolliffe said.
He said the app has opened his mind to considering bulls he would have previously overlooked.
“I played with searching bulls based on different traits such as survival and mastitis. Doing this brings up bulls that I hadn’t considered but they tick a lot of boxes.”
The app is updated three times a year with the April, August and December ABV releases.
It can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store.
For more information contact Michelle Axford by phoning 8621 4240 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org