12 November 2019

New, young bulls set to make mark on national herd

The country’s list of top artificial breeding sires is expected to receive a shakeup in the coming months as new, young bulls take their place at the top – superseding previous generations to drive new rates of genetic gain.


Holstein Friesian sire Dicksons BG Mandate S1F, with BW173, was one of the first 2015-born bulls to debut on the industry’s Ranking of Active Sires (RAS) list last month after herd testing data from his first crop of daughters was included in the most recent DairyNZ animal evaluation (AE) update.

Simon Worth, LIC’s livestock selection manager, says Mandate was initially made available by LIC in 2016 as one of the co-op’s top ranked genomically selected bulls.


“He is well-liked by farmers for his balance of high BW and all-round confirmation traits and, given he was very popular in previous seasons, this has meant he has met the RAS list threshold earlier than his counterparts.

“There are plenty more bulls of his status in the pipeline too and that’s what I’m really excited about. We’re expecting them to hit the RAS list in the coming months as more herd testing data becomes available, and that will really shake things up.”

Bulls require 75% reliability from herd testing data before they can be eligible for the RAS list and ranked by Breeding Worth (BW).

Worth, whose team is responsible for selecting the co-op’s next generation of artificial breeding bulls which go on to sire up to 80% of the national dairy herd, says a number of these bulls have been added to the co-op’s Premier Sires Forward Pack bull team ahead of their RAS list debut to make them available for farmers this spring.

“Selecting these young bulls is a huge responsibility and one that we are honoured to hold, so to see proof their daughters are delivering on-farm is really gratifying for us and ultimately great news for New Zealand dairy farmers.

“As a team and co-op, we are very mindful of the importance of the traits that farmers desire in their herd, to breed efficient animals that will last. While the RAS list is a great measure for the national breeding objective, BW, I am also proud to say these bulls reflect the balanced approach we strive for with our breeding programme and bull selection – with a careful balance between efficiency and conformation traits.”

Given the industry demand, the A2/A2 status of these new additions is also a bonus, Worth says.

“Approximately 25% of our orders are now for A2/A2 semen, which is huge. It’s more than double on last year when we debuted the fresh A2/A2 team.

“And we believe this is only going to grow, so we are really proud to be offering farmers a range of high quality bulls that can help them meet their individual farm’s breeding objectives.”

Ones to watch - up and coming sires

LIC has added three new young bulls to its Premier Sires Forward Pack bull team ahead of their RAS list debut so farmers can access the elite genetics as part of the co-op’s fresh semen service this season:

  • 516048 Matahui Explicit, Kiwicross
  • 116126 Tronnoco GI Spike-ET S3F, Holstein Friesian
  • 116019 Werders DE Overtime S1F, Holstein Friesian