Step Aside Oman: And Long Live His Sons

UK - This week, the UK has a new number one Holstein bull, as DairyCo Breeding+ publishes the December Profitable Lifetime Index (PLI) ranking.
calendar icon 10 December 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

But far from representing big movement at the top, the absence of the legendary Oman from the number one position reflects nothing more than the removal of this bull from the list as his semen is no longer available for sale.

With the last few straws auctioned off for charity at September's Dairy Event, the way has been opened for his sons and successors to rise to the challenge he has set.

And his sons have come forward with a vengeance, completely monopolising the PLI ranking and now holding an unprecedented 10 of the top 10 positions.

As yet, none has quite reached the heights Oman achieved on PLI, but level-pegging in the vacated number one position are Man-O-Man (full name, Long-Langs Oman Oman) and Co-op Oman Logan, who each weigh in with a PLI of £225.

These two US-bred bulls were previously ranked second and third respectively, with the former specialising in protein transmission with solid fitness and type traits, while the latter transmits a higher volume of milk.

The 848kg milk in Logan's Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) is not only one of the highest available in the breed, but is combined with remarkably good cell count figures at -21 as well as an impressive +0.4 for Lifespan.

A completely different breeding pattern for the third-ranked Timmer Tyson shows just how a genetic index for selection such as PLI can recognise a range of breeding types. This Dutch-bred bull transmits only 155kg milk, but extreme constituents and good fitness traits see him promoted by his company as a bull for grazing systems.

Co-op Oman Loydie is a full brother to number one bull Logan, and edges up to fourth position with a PLI of £218, while the outstanding somatic cell count index of -24 for fifth ranking Crockett-Acres Eight, makes him the SCC leader among the top 10 bulls.

However, best for fitness overall from amongst the top 10 is Gran-J Oman McCormick, who has an impressive -20 SCC, +0.4 Lifespan and +4.8 for Fertility Index. With improvements in each of these indexes, he moves into sixth position and into the top 10 for the first time. UFM-Dubs AltaEsquire ranks seventh and is followed by another new entrant in Mainstream Manifold.

Both bulls transmit high weights of fat, and Manifold - as one of only 10 bulls with over three points for direct calving ease - is one of the easiest calving sires on the market today. Morningview Legend remains in ninth position, and rounding off the top 10 - just as last time - is Coldsprings Garner CRI, the best fertility improver in the top 10 with +5.8 FI.

Highest new entrant Highest new entrant to the December proofs is the UK proven Relough Reformer, who makes a strong debut at number 25 despite limited daughter information. With an impressive 34.8kg fat, he becomes the highest weight of fat transmitter, earns a PLI of £173, and becomes the highest ranking Shottle son. Reformer descends from an EX91 Wade dam from the famous Roxy family.

The second highest Shottle son and also UK-bred is Cogent Twist, who made his debut at the last proof run and improves his PLI to £166 with new daughter information.

Goldwyn bloodlines

Like Oman, Braedale Goldwyn - another long-timer in the top 10 - is also no longer active and has been removed from the ranking, but nine of his sons make it into the top 100 PLI.

The highest ranking of these are Ladys-Manor Dodge (a newcomer at number 29 with a PLI of £169 and +0.3 for Lifespan); Gillette Jordan (PLI £167 and +3 Type Merit) and newly proven Gillette Watch Out, with a PLI of £161 and outstanding daughter fertility at +5.3 FI.

Biggest improver

The biggest improver in the top 50 PLI is outcross sire, Far-O-La Bolvr Sambo CRI, up to a PLI of £173. With a sire stack of Boliver x Tugolo x Goldfinger, he'll make a welcome change for those in search of some variety in their herd's bloodlines.

"PLI has been designed on the back of extensive research into on-farm performance, to recognise bulls which breed the most profitable daughters," says geneticist, Marco Winters, from DairyCo Breeding+. "This means that any UK herd stands to significantly improve its profitability by using high PLI sires.

"However, those with specific problems to address - such as poor fertility or high cell counts - may want to drill down through the figures to identify the bulls that specifically improve these areas.

"And there's no need for breeders to restrict themselves to only the expensive headline names," he adds. "There's a wide range of high quality bulls addressing a variety of breeding needs within the top 100 bulls, and these open the way to new and varied bloodlines for the herds which may have already invested heavily in Oman sons. With over 225 bulls with PLIs of more than £100 to choose from, there's no need to sacrifice too much on PLI.

"Inbreeding with Oman bloodlines is still unlikely to be a problem for most herds in the UK," continues Mr Winters. "But breeders who were early to latch on to his sons - which became available in the UK in early 2009 - will already be looking for unrelated bloodlines to breed on these daughters as we move into 2011."

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