Comparison for PLI between Cows of the Main Breeds

Dairy Co produce tables for Genetic Trends for all of the Dairy Breeds in the UK, and I have been looking at the differences between the Five main Breeds, Ayrshire, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Holstein and Jersey.

The Holstein and Jersey Breed Societies despite having the resources do not have breed improvement programmes preferring to let “commercial” interests provide semen to their members and whilst Cogent and Genus do have a young bull proving programme, these are largely based on imported genetics, meanwhile the Jersey Society have just announced record semen sales (10,000 straws in 2008) but this is all from Imported Proven semen.

The Dairy Shorthorn Society through “Red Cow” Genetics have a mix and match system  of young UK bulls and imported semen including other “red breed semen” but have never managed to get agreement from their breeders as to the desired breeding goals, but they are in my view the most “improved” of the dairy breeds if you take a fifteen year perspective. The Ayrshire Breed Society have had a Breed Improvement Policy initially under the management of probably the most successful UK breeder in Jack Rennie and this has involved a structured scheme where the ”users” of the young bull semen are involved in selection in so much as they are asked to commit to semen purchase before any bull is committed to the AI station, but are also expected to take semen from a fixed number of  bulls depending on their herd size. Each of the young bulls that go on Centre then have semen banked and are available as Proven Sires, this has led as the table shows to consistent gains in average PLI of females year by year. The Guernsey Scheme driven by lack of resources has involved reliance on young bulls with limited second use of the best proven bulls and has delivered reasonable gains on par with the Holstein and ahead of the Jersey and Shorthorn. I am concerned that GGBP seems to be losing ground, if you judge the success of the scheme by the numbers of daughters registered and hence semen sold per bull, but what do those of you who are actively involved with breeding Guernseys think?


Holstein Ayrshire Jersey Shorthorn Guernsey

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