The KiwiCross team is going from strength to strength, with an all-round team that shows few, if any, weaknesses, and is not dominated by one or two key players. While it’s always a pleasure to have superstars like Sierra and Solaris, what really matters is depth across the paddock.

And when it comes to balance, it doesn’t get better than the production of Friesians, paired with the efficiency of Jerseys.

The livestock selection team have just finished dam inspections for the coming year’s contract matings. We saw plenty of amazing cows, and they’ll be valuable contributors to LIC’s breeding programmes in the years ahead.

Feedback and discussions between farmers and LIC’s livestock sire selection team suggests a common desire among farmers for more progress in fertility and udder overall breeding values.

Currently the average BVs in the Premier Sires Kiwicross teams sit at 2.9 fertility gBV and 0.54 udder overall gBV, figures that represent the strongest values across all breeds in these traits, and well above national averages in KiwiCross herds (0.7% fertility gBV and 0.16 udder overall gBV).

Dam of 520057 Bells Pierce

Dam of 520057 Bells Pierce pictured above

Using KiwiCross Premier Sires across your herd provides the best opportunity to lift particular traits, specifically those which were most desired in the initial feedback from the National Breeding Objective review. The continued strength of KiwiCross is recognised in its increased usage across the national herd, with more than 1.3 million straws of Kiwicross semen used in the past year.

When it comes to size and liveweight, farmers have asked for more consistency among Kiwicross progeny, and LIC’s sire selection team has been fast to act on this.

Liveweight gBV table KiwiCross

The average liveweight gBV among the Premier Sires bull teams is -1kg (see table). The base cow in animal evaluation with a 0 liveweight gBV has a mature liveweight of 467kg: Mated to the Premier Sires bull teams, we will expect to create a mature cow liveweight between 450 and 500 kgs.

Depending on the size of cows, if the Premier Sires bull teams are used across an average liveweight gBV herd of -1kg, it will maintain a mature cow liveweight between 450kg and 500 kgs.

In both the LIC Genetics Catalogue and in LIC’s Premier Sires teams, some genomic bulls to keep an eye out for are:

520057 Bells Pierce. He sits at 316 gBW and is a really well balanced bull from Graham and Glenys Bell’s stable in Te Aroha. Pierce has an udder overall gBV of 0.91, and boasts some great production with 63 kgs combined fat and protein BV and a very respectable fertility gBV of 2.4%. Pierce was used as a sire of sons last year, and we have big belief in this Sheperds Egmont son whose dam is sired by Castlegrace Mako.

Dam of 518038  Werders Premonition

Dam of 518038 Werders Premonition pictured above

Another exciting sire is 518038 Werders Premonition. A Sierra son bred in Patea by Thomas and Courtney Werder, he’s F8J8 with excellent TOP BVs. His somatic cell count gBV is a massive advantage, sitting at -0.29; with targeted use of antibiotics at dry off now emerging as a non-negotiable, Premonition should be a great solution in this space.

Dam of 520033 Dowson Honenui -ET

Dam of 520033 Dawson Honenui-ET pictured above

A third genomically selected sire is an F7J9 bull bred by Nick and Mary Dowson in Tauranga, 520033 Dowson Honenui-ET. He’s outstanding at 1.05 on udder overall gBV, with capacity gBV sitting at 0.58. A Greenwell Blackhawk son with 64 kgs of milksolids gBV, and a fertility gBV of 6.3%. He’s also an A2A2 bull who has been used as a sire of sons and LIC’s livestock selection team is very excited to see how his sons will genomically test next spring.

515025 Speakes Slipstream

A proven option who is still doing the business is 515025 Speakes Slipstream (pictured above), bred in Cambridge by Mark and Fiona Speake. A Manzello son from a Mint-Edition cow, he has rock solid pedigree, and Slipstream simply continues that tradition. An F6J10 bull with a proven 1.1 udder overall gBV, he’s also easy calving and would be an ideal bull for crossing on Friesian heifers; crossed with an F16 (Full Friesian) animal, he would create F11J5 offspring with great udders and also massive fertility, with Slipstream boasting a 6.6% fertility gBV.

Daughter of 515025 Speakes Slipstream

Daughter of 515025 Speakes Slipstream

All bulls mentioned are A2A2, and feature in LIC’s 2021 Genetics Catalogue and Premier Sires teams: These bulls would not be out of place in AB banks on any farm around the country!

By Adrian Young, LIC senior sire analyst