Prehen Omen moves up rankings

Ai Services' Nigel Spence (left) and David Irwin of Redhouse Holsteins with a number of Prehen Omen daughters
Ai Services' Nigel Spence (left) and David Irwin of Redhouse Holsteins with a number of Prehen Omen daughters

This week’s new listing of daughter-proven bulls on the Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) ranking system adds yet further significance to the growing recognition of Prehen Omen as a sire with a lot to offer local milk producers. His PLI as now increased to £607.

And while this is obviously positive in its own right, Ai Services’ breeding manager Ivan Minford is quick to point out that this is only half the story.

“Omen now has 90 recorded daughters in the UK,” he said.

“This is double the number that was available for the last bull run. And the fact that his PLI rating has remained so high reflects the consistency of the breeding traits that he is passing on to his daughters.”

Meanwhile, a growing number of dairy farmers in Northern Ireland are endorsing the virtues of Omen. David Irwin, who manages Redhouse Holsteins near Benburb in Co Armagh with his father Alan, is a case in point.

“We started using Omen as a test bull and we now have 10 second calvers and eight first calvers in the milking group,” David explained.

“And we are very happy with them. They have excellent udders, great fertility and are helping to improve our overall level of milk solids. The cows are not overly big but have tremendous dairy character.”

David went on to confirm that, as first calvers, Omen daughters were giving up to 35 litres of milk per day.

“The first calver, Redhouse 1226 Omen VG 85, has really caught the eye,” he added.

“She peaked at 50 litres per day in January of this year. She is out of a Toystory cow. Our aim is to use Omen straws on older cows with no Oman pedigree in their bloodlines.”

Ivan Minford also points out that the latest sire rankings confirm the growing accuracy of the genomic test results that are helping to identify the sires of tomorrow at a much earlier age.

“A high proportion of the bulls now with excellent daughter proofs were initially identified courtesy of an initial genomic test. A good example of this is the young bull Galaxy. His initial genomic proof has subsequently been endorsed by the results of daughters now milking in the United States,” he commented. “Galaxy is, undoubtedly a bull to watch for the future.”

Despite the challenging milk price environment, Ivan confirms that semen sales for the top PLI dairy sires remain buoyant. He said milk producers know they must continue to invest in the best bloodlines.