Two-time NMR/RABDF Gold Cup runner-up and renowned pedigree breeder James Tomlinson shares his top picks from the proven- and genomic-sire selections from April’s bull-proof run.
TEXT RACHAEL PORTER
There’s plenty for producers to be excited about following April’s bull-proof run on both the daughter-proven and genomics lists. Lancashire-based pedigree breeder James Tomlinson has certainly been making a few enquiries about semen price and availability after reviewing the lists. “More than usual,” he says. “This has been a good run, across the board, and thrown up some interesting sires.”
Looking first to the genomic list, Genosource Captain regains his leading position in the Holstein breed’s genomic rankings. Reclaiming the position he held throughout 2020 and most of 2021, he now has a Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) of £950 and outstanding environmental credentials, including the highest Feed Advantage (FAdv) of the top 20 sires. “He’s impressive, why else would he be in the top spot again, but his linear’s not for me – it’s just a little too extreme for my herd,” says James.
Second-position genomic sire Denovo 3709 Charter, with a PLI of £928, also caught his eye. An early son of Denovo 15953 Chalet, Charter transmits high fat (Predicted Transmitting Abilities of 56.7kg and 0.28%) and has a good prediction for calf survival at +2.5. “He certainly looks good on paper. But I do like my cow families so I’m doing some more digging into his dam’s pedigree. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, that’s for sure.”
New entrant Progenesis Raptors, whose PLI of £916 earns him third position in this proof run, may also have a place in many herds’ AI flasks. A son of AltaPlinko, he stands out due to a Maintenance Index of -22 that contributes to an FeedAdvantage of 222. “Again, he’s a really good bull, but I find his stature is just a little too extreme,” says James, adding that he’ll be perfect for many other herds. “I am picky, but when there are so many excellent sires to choose from then I can be.”
It’s fourth-place sire Cookiecutter Holysmokes-ET, with 940kg of milk and a good linear, that’s really got James fired up. “Everything about this sire is right for our herd and he has solid breeding behind him – he goes back to the world-famous Dellia cow family. I’m excited to see what he can do here,” he says, adding that he’s put a call in to get a price and check availability. “I think he’ll be a high demand.” James is also keen on Winstar Greycup, in fifth place, now with a PLI of £903.
“He’s also on my shopping list – along with his tenth-ranking full brother Winstar Graziano,” says James. “He’s a Zazzle off a Crimson and offers lots of milk, good type and is also backed by good breeding.”
Greycup is followed, in sixth place, by former number-one sire Peak Breaking News. This bull has the best udder health credentials in the top 20 with a genetic index for somatic cell count of -35 and Mastitis of -4. He also has a superb daughter Fertility Index of +11.9. “He’s impressive and worth a mention, but for me his linear is a little hit and miss, so he’s not one I’ll be using.”
Moving to the daughter-proven list, James is thrilled to see three sires he used as young genomic bulls in the top 10. “I’m really pleased to see Crosby, Entity and Crimson there. I have daughters on the ground by all three that are looking great.”
Denovo 14566 Crosby is, in fact, a former number-one genomic sire who has become the leading daughter-proven sire in April’s AHDB Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) rankings. With a PLI of £777, he takes pole position with an exceptional Calf Survival Index of +6%, impressive udder health indexes (-22 SCC, -2 Mastitis) and solid Predicted Transmitting Abilities (PTAs) for production. A son of DG Charley, Crosby also transmits good resistance to bovine TB, with a TB Advantage of +4.4.
“His success on this list shows just how ‘close’ the two rankings are becoming now – in speed and level of genetic progress. They are complementing each other well.”
James says he has to ‘protect’ for rump angle when using Crosby on this herd, carefully selecting which cows to use him on, but plans to use more of his semen in future. “I’ve re-ordered semen from all three sires I used as young bulls.”
In second position is a former number-one proven sire, Westcoast Yamaska, whose outstanding protein PTAs (35.1kg, +0.18%), high fat (+0.23%), and good daughter Fertility Index (+9.1) help earn him a PLI of £761. Yamaska now has 887 UK milking daughters in his proof.
A new entry in third position is Bomaz Montreal (PLI £747), the highest fat transmitter in the ranking at 54.7kg and +0.36%. He has a good Lameness Advantage (+3.0) and a strong rating for EnviroCow (+3.6).
Fifth position Pine-Tree-I Pursuit, with a high daughter lifespan (LS +162 days), a good HealthyCow Index of 247 and the highest Type Merit in the top 20 at +2.06, has also commanded James’ attention this time around. “He’s the best one on the list for me – the one I’ve been waiting for. I’ve looked at him two or three times before and I’m not sure how I ‘missed’ him. He’s certainly caught my eye this time.”
This Imax son appeals to James’ passion for pedigree breeding, going back to the Rudolph and Missy cow families. The latter is one of his favourites. “And his figures are phenomenal – I can’t fault him.”
James is also excited about UK-bred Stowey Magician who is strong for daughter fertility (FI +16.2), which contributes to his high HealthyCow of 271.
“I like his cow family, ATM Jessica, and although his figures aren’t as high as other sires on the list, he’s well balanced. It’s also great to see a UK-bred sire hold its own against others from around the world. I’ve made some enquiries. There’s space for him in our AI flask.”
Table 1: Top 10 daughter-proven and top 10 genomic Holstein sires available in the UK, ranked on PLI (source: AHDB Dairy)