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New number one bull replaces long-term Holstein leader

The latest bull proofs, published this week by AHDB Dairy, include changes in the standings and also the launch of three new genetic evaluations.


Farmers Guardian takes a closer look...

Number one proven £PLI sire, Mocon
Number one proven £PLI sire, Mocon
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New number one bull replaces long-term Holstein leader

A new number one bull in the shape of the Morgan son, Mocon, has taken his place in the proven Holstein sire rankings. Mocon is a German-bred maternal grandson of Snowman and his predicted transmitting ability (PTA) features high milk production (826kg), low somatic cell counts (-23) and a favourable maintenance index (-22). He earns a Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) of £689.


In taking the number one position, Mocon edges long-term leader, Lavaman, (PLI £684), into second position.

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Top 10 daughter-proven Holstein bulls ranked on £PLI

1 – Mocon (£689 PLI)

2 – Gen-I-Beq Lavaman (£684)

3 – S-S-I Shamrock Mystic (£654)

4 – De-Su 11236 Balisto (£652)

5 – View-Home Littlerock (£646)

6 – Teemar Shamrock Alphabet (£636)

7 – VH Cole Clark (£636)

8 – Larcrest Commend (£633)

9 – Co-op Robust Cabriolet (£628)

10 – Apina Norman (£622)

Places three to seven are taken by bulls which have all featured previously in the top 10 and whose daughter performance continues to support their impressive indexes.


In third position is S-S-I Shamrock Mystic (£654 PLI). He is followed by the high (30.6kg) protein sire, De-Su 11236 Balisto, whose progeny also display greater TB resistance than their cohorts.


View-Home Littlerock ranks fifth (PLI £646), followed in joint sixth position by Teemar Shamrock Alphabet and VH Cole Clark (PLI £636). Both Alphabet and Clark have favourable maintenance indexes (-22), long daughter lifespans (LS +0.8) and good daughter fertility (FI +18.5 and +21.2 respectively).


New in eighth place is Larcrest Commend, whose PLI is £633, ninth ranking Co-op Robust Cabriolet (£628 PLI) transmits the highest weight of fat in the top 10 £PLI sires at 38.9kg. Cabriolet also features an impressive 4.8% improvement for the newly released Calf Survival Index.


Rounding off the daughter-proven top 10 is another new entry, Apina Norman. This former number one genomic young sire also has the highest type merit of the top 10 £PLI sires at +2.15.

Dead heat at the top for genomic young sires


There is a dead-heat at the top of the new genomic sire rankings which – combined with four new bulls in the top 10, and the introduction of three newly developed genetic evaluations (see panel) – makes this month’s young sire offering of particular interest to Holstein breeders.

Mr Rubi-Agronaut 73287

Mr Rubi-Agronaut 73287

Top 10 Holstein bulls with genomic indexes ranked on £PLI

1 Mr Rubi-Agronaut 73287 (£814 £PLI)

2 ABS Outback (£814)

3 ABS Crimson (£784)

4 VH Balisto Brook (£783)

5 Peak Altadepot (£781)

6 Westcoast Perseus (£766)

7 Claynook Casper (£764)

8 Bomaz Skywalker (£760)

9 Progenesis Doctor (£757)

10 Co-op Aardema Juicy (£756)

Published by AHDB Dairy, the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) ranking sees both Mr Rubi-Agronaut and ABS Outback take the joint lead, each with a PLI of £814.


Agronaut retains the position he previously held, with an index which features high milk quality and the highest Type Merit, at +3.12, among the top £PLI bulls. Meanwhile, Outback stands out for low feed costs for maintenance as well as a strong rating for the newly released lameness advantage at +2.3.

Paternal half-brother to Outback, by De-Su 13050 Spectre, and also new in the top 10, is ABS Crimson (£784 PLI).


The familiar names of components transmitter, VH Balisto Brook (PLI £783) and health and fertility specialist, Peak AltaDepot (PLI £781) are in fourth and fifth place.

What is new in the Holstein indexes?

Three new genetic evaluations – lameness advantage, calf survival and the dairy carcase index – have been launched by AHDB Dairy this April.


  • Calf survival (CS) - has been developed using close to three million animal records from the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), which show that calves of some sires are more likely to survive their first 300 days of life than those sired by other bulls. CS is published on a scale of about -5 to +5. It represents survival between tagging and 300 days. Each percentage point represents a 1 per cent improvement in survival of a bull’s progeny.
  • Lameness advantage (LA) is calculated directly from on-farm lameness incidents recorded by NMR and CIS. This information is combined with existing data for locomotion and feet and legs, together with bone quality scores and digital dermatitis records from the National Bovine Data Centre (NBDC) type classification system. LA is published on a scale of about -5 to +5. For each percentage point, 1 per cent fewer daughters go lame.
  • Dairy carcase index (DCI) - primarily based on average daily carcase gain and carcase conformation calculated from weight and age data from most major abattoirs in the UK. DCI is published on a scale of about -5 to +5. For each percentage point, an improvement is predicted in both carcase conformation and average daily carcase gain in a bull’s progeny.


CS, LA and DCI are not yet included in £PLI, but a stand-alone list for for all three is published on the AHDB Dairy website.

New top Jersey offers production, fitness and type


There’s a new leader in the top five Jersey bulls ranked on PLI. This number one bull is Danish VJ Blanke Jason Janko, whose PLI of £572 reflects good fitness traits and excellent production. Janko also has a high type merit score at +1.6.


Second to fifth ranked Jerseys are all bulls which have previously featured in the top five, including the production improver, Danish VJ Tudvad.


Dropping to third is Golden GDK Vivaldi (PLI £541) while fourth place stays with Sunset Canyon Dazzler (PLI £538). Dazzler is also the top udder improver and jointly top for Type Merit in the top five (TM 1.6). In fifth place is VJ Link (PLI £508).


The Ayrshire breed is dominated by red and white bulls from Sweden and sees VR Gunnarstorp Back Gobel (£527) unchanged in the number one position.


Moving from fourth to second position is VR Oýòja Storegaýôrd Hasl Hat, with a PLI of £450.


Down one place to third is Pell Pers (PLI £443) while Gunnarstorp also drops a place to rank fourth (PLI £442). Remaining at number five is VR Dansjo Haslev Hammer with a PLI of £438.


Within the British Friesian breed, Catlane Caleb retains his hold on the lead, with a PLI of £457, ahead of Catlane Cromwell (PLI £374) who moves up from fourth position.


Third position goes to Raheenarran BCG Sochar, the milk quality improver with low milk volume (PLI £349), while moving up to fourth is Skyhigh Patrol (PLI £339).


New into the top five at number five is Inch Number One, with a PLI of £319.

  • Other dairy breed indexes are published on line (, where the Montbeliarde, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Shorthorn and Fleckvieh are all represented.

Grazing-based spring calvers advised to select on £SCI


New to the top position in the spring calving indexes (£SCI) is the Jersey sire, Danish VJ Tester (SCI £510). With exceptional transmitting abilities for fat and protein percent (+0.67 per cent and +0.24 per cent), high daughter fertility (fertility index +12.4) and favourable somatic cell counts (SCC -11) he breeds daughters which are set up to be profitable in a spring calving system. This is enhanced by their requirement for significantly less maintenance feeding than most bulls’ daughters (maintenance index -62).


Also new in second position is the Jersey sire, Danish VJ Blanke Jason Janko (SCI £492). Regular top £SCI appearances come from Danish VJ Link (SCI £490), now with 105 UK daughters included in his production index; Danish VJ Summit (SCI £476) and Danish VJ Tudvad (SCI £470) who has the best mastitis index of the top £SCI bulls at -4.


Also in the top 10 is British Friesian, Catlane Caleb (SCI £459) who stands out for his high daughter Fertility Index (+16.5)


Fern Pearston, animal genetics manager for AHDB Dairy, says: “It’s very important for producers to remember that the £SCI is an across-breed ranking, which is designed, in particular, to help those breeders considering or using more than one breed, to make across-breed comparisons.


“However, it means the figures they see are very different from the same bulls’ figures on each individual breed ranking, and these should never be used to make comparisons across the breeds.”

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