The reliability of German genomics has been described as ‘sensational’ in an analysis of DNA bulls from around the world.
Holstein International compared the earliest DNA predictions available with the most recent ratings from December 2012 proofs for bulls in the USA, Netherlands, France, Canada and Germany. For Germany this included genomic bulls that were born in 2007 and Holstein International concluded they ‘are making a very strong impression’ because of the stability of initial genomic proof results and daughter proof results.
Initial German predictions based on DNA were made in March 2011 and these were compared with actual results achieved in December 2012. Across the seven bulls tested, the difference was less than 3%.
This compared with a difference of 14% in the US and more than 30% in Canada and the Netherlands, although in the case of the last two countries this was based on just three bulls and in all these cases comparisons were between 2009 predictions and 2012 results.
One of the most stable bulls available anywhere is German bull Guarini who actually improved his rating by 3.5%.
“Germany is gaining a great reputation for delivering top-class reliable genomic bulls that are more than fulfilling their early potential,” says Nick Kirby, managing director of Bullsemen.com, the sole supplier of GGI genetics from Germany in the UK.
“This is evident from the success of GGI bull Guarini who topped the December 2012 Dairy Co Breeding+ Proofs with a PLI of +253. This study shows that he has a great ability to reliably transmit his traits to his daughters.”
In the December proofs Guarini had a Type Merit score of +2.33 consisting of a Legs & Feet score of +1.84 and Udders at +2.18. Milk quality is also very good with an SCC score of -32 and a Protein rating of +0.08%.
Another GGI bull available from Bullsemen.com that scored well in the Holstein International analysis was Goldday. He largely maintained his rating. In the December UK proofs he had a PLI of +185. He is particularly strong when it comes to health traits with a Type Merit score of +3.23 made up of a Legs & Feet score of +3.73 and Udders of +2.36.
Mr Kirby stresses that the Holstein International figures are based on the earliest available genomic data when the technology was in its infancy and that the system is improving all the time.
“As German breeders have demonstrated, using genomics can predict bull performance very accurately and play a very important role in speeding up the breeding process allowing the delivery of a new generation of bulls as soon as possible.”
Three German genomic bulls that are coming through the ranks highlight the potential of the DNA technology.
Borussia is already showing his worth with a high PLI ranking expected when his first daughter proofs are available. In particular, he is expected to deliver good Lifespan, Daughter Fertility and SCC scores. Similarly, Big Point is expected to have one of the highest Lifespan scores available, while another bull with Daughter Fertility potential is Fanatic.
The reliability of German genomics is transforming breeding in the country. Before the introduction of genomics in 2011 just 18% of semen sales were from young bulls. That jumped to 25% when genomics were introduced. Now the average genomic usage for the country is 45%, rising to 70% in some regions.
“Genomics are playing a very important role in helping farmers across the world choose the best bulls for their herds and our relationship with German breeder GGI means that British farmers have access to top genomic bulls too.”
Source: Holstein UK