First proof dairy bulls

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regolith

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Would you use them?

Peter Gatley, LIC's general manager genetics, said their first proof was carried out on 80 daughters, just enough to give an acceptable degree of reliability.
"They then go out and create literally thousands of daughters and when they come into milk three years later they are tested and give a far more accurate picture. That's what we call the re-proof."

I'm pretty new to this, and I've been using LIC bulls selected on their breeding values, all of which would have been 'first proof' - 60 - 80 daughters. Even in only three years I've seen bulls turn up with a re-proof completely different from the initial one, and most of them seem to be 'flash-in-the-pan' that disappear after a year or two and are never heard of again.

I've been thinking for a while I ought to be looking more at older bulls, but haven't been too enthused by any currently being offered by the two major NZ breeding companies. So I think it'll take time and learn from experience and then follow up on bulls that work - I've found you can ask LIC for bulls that aren't catalogued even if they've been culled.

The heifers from bulls I picked three years ago are mostly calved now. Noontime http://www.lic.co.nz/lic_TOP_Informatio ... info_id=13 has been a stayer, now with a 99% reliability on his proof and I used him two years running. Based on his proof today I wouldn't pick him. His daughters are uniformly small with tiny neat udders - not very milky.
Red Ribbon http://www.lic.co.nz/print_bull.cfm?bull_id=301031 started with a breeding worth equivalent to the heifers I was using him on, and improved by a few points, though still well behind most of the other bulls marketed. He's vanished from the catalogues now. I used him as an udder improver and while his daughters don't have the perfect udders that were his main strength, I like every one of the girls. I only need to look at who their mothers are to see how good he is - there isn't a bad udder among them. Most of the dams had such poor udders I shouldn't have been breeding from them at all.
I used some of the last straws available from Lynbrook Pan Taylor, and his proof crashed dramatically shortly after. I have six of his daughters, all nice heifers but two of them have udder issues - one blind quarter, the other poorly shaped.
Both Meridian and Nighthawk achieved a quiet decline over the last couple of years - Meridian http://www.lic.co.nz/lic_Sire_Lineup.cf ... info_id=12 is still at the back of the catalogue. Nighthawk had an exceptional calving ease BV and I got annoyed at LIC because he was anything but when used over my Jerseys, but the calving difficulty only shifted a fraction upwards on re-proof. I like all of his daughters - even 191 who is out of a cow I culled for a myriad of issues. Meridian gave me two daughters and about twelve bull calves. Still waiting for one to calve, the other is strong and milky.
As for the few heifers resulting from a 'bull of the day' mating when my Angus bull went lame - better not to mention them. Both sires have been stayers, still at the top of the lists. 196 (Nevvy daughter) calved at the beginning of the week and we're still leg-roping her every milking.
 

novaman

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I don't see anything fantastic about the bulls you linked to. I wouldn't use any of them. The udder traits look awfully low to me and the milk is terrible. Your proofs are a bit different from the ones I use so maybe I'm missing something.
 
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regolith

regolith

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novaman - the only one of these bulls I'd use again is Red Ribbon, and his production figures have always been abysmal.

There are very few bulls in New Zealand with an udder score you'd consider 'acceptable'. I try to select bulls at a minimum of .4 and prefer them above .7, cow average (Jersey) is .06 and many of the bulls marketed have minus udder scores. With the lower production under a grass fed system you can get way with the poor udders - but I've had enough of squeaking milking clusters or standing with heifers holding the cluster on.
Setting a minimum of .4 leaves very few bulls to choose from, and even fewer high reliability proven bulls.
The obvious answer is to look further - but there are other issues with overseas genetics coming into a seasonal calving, wholly grazing system.

This year I've ordered Mint Edition, Frostman, Deeno, and Zeus. All but Mint Edition I used last year - there just wasn't anything new that I thought worth using. I liked the Charisma calves born last year, but he's narrow-rumped and angled up, and below average stature - so I figured wait for them to mature and see if he's worth using again.
 
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regolith

regolith

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hillsdown

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Regolith we always were in a young sire program. Which means that they have limited daughters milking yet. The key is to use them only on some of your older, more exceptional cows, that way if they are duds your cows can usually correct the little flaws. It is hit and miss, the one hit, huge hit, was that we were one of the first to proof Starmore Rudolf, now one of the most famous/successful Holstein bulls in recent history.

However we used Ice who was out of Rudolf and Acme Lily (top holstein in the world for 3 years) and he was a dud, didn't make it out of the first proof.

Can you get semen from Semex ?
 
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regolith

regolith

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Can you get semen from Semex ?

Yes. I'm sure I have their catalogue round here somewhere, but was pulling out what I could find last night and didn't see it.
I've got WWS, Samen, Ambreed (2008) and LIC catalogues to pore over. I'm ordering some brown swiss through Samen this year, thinking of Valerian and Grieves through World Wide Sires next year but they're getting up in price there.

One thing that's come out of that forum I linked, for me, is the interest in cow families. It seems people will give a bull a try if the genetics surrounding him - dam, sisters &c, are strong. That's not information that it's easy for a common or garden farmer to obtain especially with such little knowledge of past bulls. I'm realising how the practise of using 'bull of the day' can really obscure how any individual bull is performing - most farmers here don't know who sired their cows.

re semex - their rep gave me a call a while back and I have his number, so can easily get another catalogue/discussion if need be. He promised to come discuss bulls before mating starts but I doubt that'll happen now - it's only another week till I tail paint the cows for pre-mating heat checks, and I see the neighbour's already done his.
 

hillsdown

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We have been using westgen (who is a subsidiary of semex) for 14 yrs now and have always had really great reps. They come out, go through your herd with you and go through what bulls will work best for what you are trying to improve. I have found them great when it comes to dairy and all breeds, not just Holstein. I would call your rep again, as soon as you show interest they usually are keen to get involved.

Good luck with breeding and may all take with the first straw.. :wave:
 
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