Australian dairy values polled perfection

  • Two of the top five proven Holstein sires are ABS polled bulls
  • Australia’s highest Heterozygous polled Jersey in demand
  • Breeders embrace top Type Red Holstein
  • ABS dominates top six Holstein proven sires
  • Young Red bulls on the rise

Polled ABS Holstein sires lead the dairy industry’s latest bull rankings, as more farmers choose genetics to fast-track sustainability goals. This comes as ABS is set to release its biggest offering of polled sires to the Australian market.

Farmer favourite, proven performer, and carrier of the polled gene, ABS JERONIMO P continues his run at the top of the Australian Breeding Values (ABV) Holstein proven list. The most successful Australian sire for the past 20 years is closely followed by ABS PAULY P, another black, polled, high daughter fertility and milk solids sire. Leading the charge for the young sires is “true polled” or “double-P” homozygous bull TTM ELLIS PP.

ABS Australian Business Operations Manager Bruce Ronalds said farmers wanting to breed polled dairy cattle have a lot to be excited about. “Globally in the next six months ABS has 12 new ‘double-P’ bulls to release,” he said. “The depth of our homozygous polled line-up coming through is outstanding and it shows that our strategic focus on double-P sires and testing young double-P bulls in Australia, before they are purchased globally, is working.”

For the past decade, West Gippsland Holstein breeder Megan Coster has been on a quest to develop a polled herd. She said the prospect of 12 new polled bulls was “exciting”. Megan and husband Barry milk 700 Holsteins and have strategically used ABS polled sires JERONIMO P and ELLIS PP.

“JERONIMO P was probably the first big (polled) one we used and were really happy with,” Megan said. “We used him for three years. In the first year he was a bit more expensive, so we didn’t use a lot of doses and then a couple of years after we were so happy with him that we used him on the heifers. We were happy with his calving ease, plus they are beautiful and black heifers that are just calm, and they did really well as calves. They are easy animals to deal with.”

West Gippsland Holstein breeder Megan Coster is excited that ABS is introducing 12 new polled bulls to the Australian market. 

At the top of the ABV proven Holstein rankings with 489 BPI$ is world-renowned sire of sons and breed-leading fertility bull DG CHARLEY. “CHARLEY is the sire of Pine-Tree HOWLER and Pine-Tree DURABLE – two bulls that are real household names in the Australian dairy industry,” Bruce said. “HOWLER is leaving daughters with a bit more dairy strength, while DURABLE is a high Sustainability Index (SI) sire at 1,026 boasting Feed Saved, Calving Ease and Daughter Fertility. We are working towards getting both sires full Australian daughter proofs in April.”

CHARLEY, himself, has also made a mark across the global industry. The maternal grand-dam of leading genomic Holstein ELLIS PP is a CHARLEY daughter. ELLIS PP has a Health Weighted Index (HWI) of 554 and Sustainability Index (SI) of 924.

Popular with Holstein breeders – and not just because of his colour – Hoogerhorst DG OH RUBELS RED has shot-up the ABV genomic list, poised for a full daughter proof in April next year. Bruce said RUBELS RED is the number 1 Type sire in Australia at 115, is scored 109 for Udders and has a BPI$ of 440. “Once he’s a proven sire in April, he could be the first Red Holstein in the top 10 ABV proven Holstein sires,” Bruce said. “Red Holsteins used to be a niche market, but this bull is different, breeders using him aren’t necessarily chasing Red, they want him because of how elite he is on type. As long as you are not exporting to China, RUBELS RED fits well into any breeding program. It’s a bonus that he’s also elite with Sexcel® fertility.”

ABS is also happy to release a new Holstein genomic sire that excels for HWI and SI, Denovo 19112 DUPONT. One of ABS’ “exciting” Kings Ransom Duffy sons, DUPONT is 565 BPI$, 611 HWI and 975 SI. All this is teamed with high production, calving ease, outstanding Daughter Fertility at 118 and 110 Mastitis Resistance.

Genomic joy for ABS Jersey

One of Australia’s most popular Jersey sires Murray Brook JAMIEO (CSCJAMIEO) is now Australia’s top ABV genomic Jersey. At 402 Balanced Performance Index (BPI$), CSCJAMIEO now has 20 daughters milking in Australian herds and this additional data has lifted his genetic proof by 20 points. Scored 108 for Type, 112 for Udders, 106 for Likeability and 105 for Temperament, ABS’ Bruce Ronalds hasn’t been surprised by the interest in CSCJAMIEO. “He’s only going to become more popular,” he said. “Obviously his proof is exceptional, but farmers really like what they are milking, they like his daughters.”

CSCJAMIEO is now Australia’a top ABV genomic Jersey sire.

Australia’s highest BPI$ heterozygous polled Jersey Balnageith JANGO P (CSCJANGO) launched to huge demand this spring. CSCJANGO has a BPI$ of 359 and is ranked number 4 on the Sustainability Index (SI).

Number 3 SI and 7 BPI$ ABVg Jersey Warrain TRASK (CSCTRASK) is also attracting industry interest, according to Bruce. Known for his “outstanding udders” at 113, CSCTRASK is scored 108 for Type, 379 BPI$, 113 for Survival, 105 for Temperament and 107 for Likeability.

Winning with Reds

ABS Red sires continue to lead the market, demonstrating their value as proven sires despite changes to the bull-ranking calculations within the national database.

Popular sire OFSTAD P is still Australia’s top Balanced Performance Index (BPI$) proven Red bull at 341.

ABS’ Bruce Ronalds said DataGene recently moved the Aussie Red breed to its own base so the breed rankings “stand alone” and can’t be compared to Illawarra and Ayrshires. He said the result of this change meant the BPI$ of all bulls reduced slightly, but their order didn’t alter.

Soon to be proven, outstanding Norwegian Red sires ROEN and HUSTAD, have been nipping at OFSTAD P’s heels. “We are getting great feedback on both these sires as farmers love milking them,” Bruce said. “It will be great to get them on the Australian proven list in April.” ROEN is the number two Health Weighted Index bull and 8 on BPI$, while HUSTAD is not only a farmer favourite, but he is also one of the best for semen fertility.

Geno – the company that produces ABS’ Red sires in Norway – has been breeding for polled for more than 20 years, so it’s no wonder ABS has six of the top seven “double-P” bulls in Australia’s Good Bulls Guide. The most popular of these has been MAURSTAD PP who now sits at 231 BPI$ with 107 for Daughter Fertility and is great for farmers wanting shorter Gestation Length at -11 days.

MAURSTAD PP is the most popular of ABS’ PP bulls in the Good Bulls Guide.

ABS also dominates the daughter fertility list with 7 out of the top 8 sires. “Daughter fertility in the breed is elite and many Australian farmers are using Norwegian Red because they have no issues getting in calf year-after-year,” Bruce said. “There are also three polled sires at the top of the daughter fertility list in MAURSTAD PP, KOLBU P and OFSTAD P which means farmers can breed for polled and not compromise their daughter fertility.”