Earlier this year I had the opportunity to travel the country hosting several of our 'Breeding your Future Herd' workshops, which were designed to help inform the future goals for LIC's breeding scheme and ensure these reflect the national breeding objective of New Zealand dairy farmers.
A key discussion from these sessions was the importance of maintaining a robust and adaptable national herd that is not only highly profitable, but also supremely efficient.
With our national herd now made up of nearly 60% Holstein-Friesian/Jersey crossbreed (and this figure set to continue to increase), it’s clear the historically-strong parent breeds in New Zealand’s dairy cows have laid a sound foundation for the KiwiCross sire.
These sires’ strength, together with their unparalleled attributes, contribute to unrivalled efficiency and productivity across New Zealand commercial dairy farms. It’s therefore exciting to highlight a few spring bull graduates below; all sure to fit-the-bill in terms of strength, all-round desirable traits, efficiency, and flexibility.
520037 GLENMEAD MARVELLOUS-ET
Ranking at the top with 507gBW, bred by Kevin and Felicity Clark, Marvellous is an absolute workhorse. Production is huge with 66kg fat and 38kg protein carried through 726 litres of volume. This is clearly being passed down by his sire Beckon and Perspective dam. Marvellous holds his place in the KiwiCross Sexed team.
520091 MARSHALL PAPAMOA
An outstanding bull that is dear to his breeders’ hearts, Robert and Marjorie Smith, it’s a delight to see Papamoa enter the Daughter Proven team. This A1A2 Floyd son is the epitome of what this breed offers at 470 gBW, bringing a combined fat and protein genomic breeding value (gBV) of 80kg, 53kg of which is fat.
Used as a sire-of-sons in LIC’s contract mating scheme, Papamoa has two sons in the pipeline. His daughters are real lookers, with Papamoa having the highest udder gBV of the graduating 20-code KiwiCross sires to enter teams, sitting at a phenomenal 1.10.
With a dairy conformation gBV of 0.5, Papamoa is the entire package and will offer exceptional type daughters that will efficiently convert pasture to milk and remain in your herd.
520090 CAWDOR POUNAMU
High-ranking at 486 genomic breeding worth (gBW), Pounamu is a sire that offers strength within the breed. Bred by Fraser and Christine Macbeth, Pounamu is available through Alpha (nominated) only.
A Proclaimer son and half-brother to Pinnacle, the Macbeth’s Integrity dam is in her sixth lactation producing 500kg milksolids in a OAD system. She scored a massive 9 for capacity as a two-year-old, and this has clearly been passed down to her son with his capacity gBV of 0.93.
The depth and strength Pounamu offers will no doubt be matched with milky daughters; his 63kg fat and 40kg protein gBV combined with 530 milk volume at -3 liveweight is up for grabs!
520011 AUAHI BUSTLE
Another bull entering the KiwiCross efficiency arena. Boasting a combined fat and protein gBV of 87kg and 578 milk volume, there’s unlikely to be any shortfalls.
A Beckon son from a Tuxedo dam (with the dam entering her sixth lactation after ending last season with production over 600kg milksolids), breeders Perry and Kathlen Henderson have much to be proud of. Type is an absolute, and Bustle’s dam has consistently scored well for udder overall and dairy conformation. At 0.74 gBV for capacity, Bustle will surely be delivering production and strength as part of the Forward Pack team.
520033 DOWSON HONENUI-ET
Already taking a place in the Sexed team before his proof came though, Honenui is a sire that has been well-utilised for contract mating, with 10 sons entering Sire Proving last season.
An efficient producer, this Blackhawk son offers 48kg fat at a 6.3% fat test, together with 0.68 capacity and a massive udder overall gBV of 0.91. With his Trumpet dam still scoring admirably as an 8-year-old, I’m sure Honenui will be regarded by many as an all-rounder. A true credit to his breeders Nicolas and Mary Dowson who bred this fine sire.
It’s fair to say the KiwiCross sire represents a great advancement in New Zealand’s dairy industry, harnessing the remarkable qualities of the country’s exceptional dairy cows.
As the industry continues to emphasise sustainable farming practices, the KiwiCross breed offers an unparalleled opportunity for our dairy farmers to enhance profitability, reduce environmental impact, and contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future.
LIC points to possible cause of semen quality issue and commits to improvements
21 February 2024
LIC has informed its farmer shareholders that the investigation into the semen quality issue that impacted 1,127 herds in October last year has concluded the possible cause to be a bacterial contamination.