How much do you use PLI in bull choice

westwards

Member
Do you heavily use PLI in your bull selection ? If not what do you look for and what would you use if the vote on AHBD's levy next spring is not to continue paying the levy ?
 

Jdunn55

Member
I select for fat and protein first, followed by milk.
Any bull that isn't positive for chest and rump width gets discarded, then fertility and longevity. Then if being used on heifers I check calving ease and make sure hes not wildly difficult
I only use sexed semen which also helps narrow bull choice down
Then I check for all the other health traits and conformation traits and make sure theres nothing wildly awful (eg teats aren't likely to be at right angles to each other)
Then I start matching the bulls that are left to each of my cows and making sure what I'm left with matches up well (I also check for inbreeding at this stage), when I do this I try and use the higher pli bulls that remain if I can but if one of my cows needs something improving that a lower pli bull might improve better I'll use him without a second thought, that's as far as I use pli
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
I think you’d only be able to compare bulls within the same company if AHDB didn’t do evaluations. So you wouldn’t be able to compare cell count between Genus and Cogent bulls for example. So it isn’t just indexes like PLI you’d lose

As for indexes - it would be Irish, American and New Zealand indexes fed by data from cows in those respective countries (unless they somehow got hold of data from the UK and maybe they would).

EBI has already been mentioned. It is an index associated with the Irish requirements. The industry is very different. Has anyone got frustrated trying to compare a new LIC bull with a new CRV?
 
Location
East Mids
First criteria sexed semen, then positive for fat and protein % , fertility traits & small stature. We use a breeding adviser to help keep us on the right track for type. Anything that is not easy calving or would result in too much inbreeding is thrown out of the mix. We then look at PLI and although we do not go for the highest PLI, if we had a bull that seemed to fit the bill and had a relatively low PLI then we take a very close look at it to see what is causing the issue.
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
I assume this is really a post about funding

I guess so. Somebody would need to fund a company who could independently evaluate genetic data from daughters of different bulls. Not sure who would do that. If you were Cogent, would you give your data to Genus and vice versa? If the money isn't there to do this - we become tied to the genetics company we choose to use (a bit like the pig industry). So basically Cogent sired animals only get compared with Cogent sired animals and Genus only with Genus etc. It would limit the speed of genetic gain due to smaller genetic pools being analysed. For daughter production traits, heritability will be reduced. That is the way I see it.

We must be careful what we wish for.
 

In the pit

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Pembrokeshire
Isn’t picking bulls by this that and the other criteria just a big load of rubbish.
Half the progeny comes from the dam anyway
Then it’s a matter of running your herd the best you can to maximise there potential whether it’s grazing well or full ration in the shed
 
Location
East Mids
Isn’t picking bulls by this that and the other criteria just a big load of rubbish.
Half the progeny comes from the dam anyway
Then it’s a matter of running your herd the best you can to maximise there potential whether it’s grazing well or full ration in the shed
Of course management is to help them realise their potential, within a given system. But how do you know their potential if you pay no attention to genetics? There have been a few comments recently about milk recording and what it has told us about beef breed performance - they tend to produce not a lot of a pretty crap milk, so there must be something in genetic merit!

Yes, half the potential comes from the dam, but half her potential came from her sire, good, bad or indifferent (and if you want to, you can use genomic screening on the dam now as well).
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
Isn’t picking bulls by this that and the other criteria just a big load of rubbish.
Half the progeny comes from the dam anyway
Then it’s a matter of running your herd the best you can to maximise there potential whether it’s grazing well or full ration in the shed

It is not a load of rubbish but you'd be right that many farmers aren't maximising the genetic potential they already have. The difficulty is that many people make their breeding decisions based on the performance they experience on farm. So for example, breeding for lower cell counts because you are in the midst of a cell count issue is pointless as it is likely to be an environmental problem rather than a genetic one. That is why it is important to know the genetic weaknesses in your herd so you can use semen from a bull that compliments it.

Also, it is important to know the herd you are aiming for and breed for those traits. Production is just one tiny piece of the puzzle.

If you think of the genetic potential of a cow as a glass and her performance as the proportion of water in that glass.... if you breed a bigger glass that is a quarter full, the performance is better than a smaller glass that is a quarter full if you see what I mean.
 

In the pit

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Pembrokeshire
Worked for one farmer who picked his bulls based on which had the most black on them and his herd was far more superior to his brother-in-law pedigree herd and he was matching certain bulls to certain cows
Last herd I ran was 500 cow and we just picked three bulls recommended to us by the rep and used one bull one day ,one the next and the last one on the third day and then started again til it was all gone
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
Isn't this where genomics are coming inti it. Bulls aren't really around long enough to get any meaningful management traits off them. I'm more worried about the inbreeding element which personally i think getting worse.

Not really... well kind of. Genomics mean nothing without data validation. If you don’t keep measuring traits using data like we currently do, genomics mean nothing. Basically we know that cows that have better udder conformation tend to have a particular set of genes associated with them - without knowing which cows have better udder conformation, there’s no data to base the genomics on.
 

dairyrow

Member
There's a problem with that. How many semen companies are breeding by numbers? Would a high SCI bull have the same pulling power as a NZ with lower figures on a spring calving herd? If HUKI actually put figures of their genomic against the actual in the end. Think it would make quite interesting reading for people. Think some fall off a cliff figures wise
 

Sandpit Farm

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Derbyshire
There's a problem with that. How many semen companies are breeding by numbers? Would a high SCI bull have the same pulling power as a NZ with lower figures on a spring calving herd? If HUKI actually put figures of their genomic against the actual in the end. Think it would make quite interesting reading for people. Think some fall off a cliff figures wise

I know what you mean. The challenge is that 50% of the genetic material ON AVERAGE comes from the sire and 50% from the dam. Where the wrong gene combinations have been inherited so it is different from what is predicted, those are the animals that could drop off a cliff. Most behave how they are predicted to behave and the genomics simply add accuracy levels to this. One of the challenges with genomics with crossbreds is the result is less predictable - especially as you have hybrid vigour involved as well. That is why it isn't used.

I would be surprised if SCI, and its basis in fertility, wouldn't mirror what would be expected in NZ. The irony is that if you look at cows that cycle early in the block, they are usually high on SCI so you can make your breeding plan long before the service window.
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



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