Those producers who invested in AI sires over recent years are currently benefitting from the improved milk components and other quality traits their progeny are delivering, according to Ai Services’ breeding specialist Ivan Minford.
“Payments of 2ppl above base for enhanced butterfat and protein can be the difference between making a profit or a loss, particularly when milk price is under pressure,” he said.
“And it is cows from AI sires that are making the real difference in this regard. So it is imperative that farmers remain committed to strategic breeding programmes that will allow them develop their businesses on a sustainable footing.”
Ivan pointed out that semen prices remain extremely small compared with the other inputs costs incurred on every dairy farm.
“In fact, an investment in elite genetics will deliver by far the largest return, when compared with what is achievable from very other aspect of milk production,” he said.
“Breeding programmes represent a long term strategy on the part of milk producers. Heifer calves conceived over the coming weeks will not join their own milking groups for at least three years. The fundamental prospects for dairy remain extremely positive. So it is vitally important that farmers remain committed to herd development plans that will allow them maximise the returns they can make, once markets start to improve. And, fundamentally, this means committing to breeding programmes centred on the use of AI sires.”
Minford was speaking at the launch of Ai Services’ Dairy Sires Catalogue 2016.
“As always we have selected a range of bulls that will meet the specific need of every milk producer in Northern Ireland, with production, milk quality and health traits all emphasised in equal measure.
“The 2016 catalogue features a range of both daughter proven and genomically selected sires. This reflects the growing recognition of genomics as a fundamentally important breeding tool by local dairy farmers.
“There has been a significant rise in the usage of genomic sires over the past 12 months. And we are now at a stage where dairy farmers are getting the balance right in terms of what genomics can offer, while still focussing on the real benefits which daughter proven sires can bring to the party.”
The 2016 catalogue features a range of bulls that represent the very best of what the world’s elite breeding programmes can offer.
Omen has been one of the most popular bulls with local milk producers.
“He remains the number one daughter proven sire in the UK and stands at number three in the international rankings,” said Ivan Minford.
“The fact that Omen’s PLI rating has remained so high reflects the consistency of the breeding traits that he is passing on to his daughters.”
Another bull featuring prominently in the new catalogue is Massey.
“He is one of the best daughter proven sires available,” confirmed the Ai Services’ breeding specialist.
“Massey is ideal for commercial milk producers, wanting to breed no nonsense cows.”
Aftershock is one of the new generation of genomically assessed bulls that features in the new catalogue. He combines massive production with superb type. His modern pedigree will suit pedigree and commercial milk producers alike.
Another genomic eye catcher is Gandhi. According to Ivan Minford, he is the complete package.
“He has both great type and production potential. Gandhi is from a proven cow family and will be extremely popular with milk producers here in Northern Ireland.”
G-Force is an elite sire that features in Ai Services’ dairy breeding catalogue for the first time in 2016.
“He is ranked number one in Holland’s daughter proven list,” said Ivan Minford.
“His reliability is extremely high with over 3,000 daughters now recorded. G-Force breeds daughters with excellent components, from both a weight and percentage perspective.”
Copies of the new Ai Services Dairy Sires 2016 catalogue are currently being distributed to milk producers throughout Northern Ireland. For further information, telephone Ai Services on (028) 90833123.