Young Holstein sire, Genosource Captain, has reaffirmed his credentials as the leading Profitable Lifetime Index sire in the genomic £PLI ranking.

Weighing in with a PLI of £944, at the same time, he also stakes his claim as the leading sire ranked on the newly launched EnviroCow index, with a score of 5.1. Contributing to this is a remarkable Feed Advantage score of 260. This means his daughters are predicted to save 260kg of dry matter intake during each lactation, compared with daughters of a bull of comparable production whose Feed Advantage is zero.

Both EnviroCow and Feed Advantage (see panel, below) are published for the first time ever with the new AHDB rankings, and are revealing that many of the top £PLI sires have good environmental and feed efficiency credentials alongside their general outstanding performance.

“This association comes as no surprise, as in £PLI, we are already identifying the most efficient production animals with the best health,” says Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB. “However, EnviroCow and Feed Advantage help pinpoint those with the best environmental credentials including efficiency of converting feed into milk.”

No 2 in the £PLI ranking is the new entrant, Wilra Knowhow (PLI £909). This Kenobi son, transmits solid production alongside favourable health traits, and is another bull with good Feed Advantage and EnviroCow credentials.

Climbing up the rankings into third is Denovo 16219 Aladdin (PLI £906). With a massive Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) for fat of 57.1kg, Aladdin also shows highly favourable Maintenance and Feed Advantage indexes.

Peak AltaPlinko consolidates the top five ranking he achieved in April, now with a PLI of £895 and great production, including one of the highest PTAs for weight of protein in the Holstein breed, at 43.4kg.

Denovo 3303 Citizen moves up into fifth, (PLI £880) thanks to strong indexes for somatic cell count (-21), daughter fertility (12.2) and lifespan (+159 days). This performance contributes to Citizen’s excellent score of £300 for HealthyCow. This index was launched last April and rolls all of the health traits into one financial figure, which represents the saving each bull is predicted to pass to his daughters in their lifetimes through their better health.

Next up is Progenesis Mahomes (PLI £875), another strong health transmitter (HealthyCow £275), with an exceptional milk PTA, at 1023kg.

UK-bred Boghill Glamour Applaud ranks seventh, with a PLI of £871. His outstanding Lifespan (+183 days) and daughter Fertility Index (12.9) are specialist features of this Appeal son.

New in eighth is Badger SSI Big Al Newman. This udder health specialist (-28 SCC, -4 Mastitis) also ranks well for Fertility Index (12.5), contributing to a great daughter Lifespan of 244, meaning his daughters are predicted to live 244 days longer than a bull scoring zero for LS. It’s no surprise to see these scores rolled into a high index for HealthyCow, which, at £358, is one of the best in the breed. Newman also transmits the highest type in the top 10, with a Type Merit of 2.23.

Ninth ranking Siemers Brave (PLI £865) is a production specialist with 1204kg milk and 44.3kg protein, while 10th place (PLI £863) is claimed by three bulls.

First is the newcomer and all-rounder, Denovo 16441 Millennium; next is high EnviroCow ranking Denovo 16325 Sentiment, which also transmits one of the highest PTAs for fat weight at 60.2kg; and then comes Bomaz Episode, one of the best milk quality transmitters at the top of the rankings, with +0.38 fat% and +0.15 protein%.

Newcomers just outside the top 10

Also new to the top 20 since the April release are 14th-ranking Progenesis Phenomenon (ABS Crimson x Progenesis Marius) with a PLI of £856 and equal 17th, Denovo 15969 Atlantis (Denovo 7921 Atrium x De-Su 13050 Spectre), with a PLI of £854.

Not to be missed is the highest-ranking newcomer of UK breeding, Huddlestone Slindon (PLI £834), whose daughter Fertility Index of 14.7 is amongst the best of the Holstein breed. Sired by Denovo Invictus and from a Seagull-Bay-MJ Applejax dam, this bull with a thoroughly international pedigree hails from the Gue family’s Sussex herd – proof that an individual dairy producer can still compete with the might of the international breeding programmes.

New indexes: EnviroCow and Feed Advantage

EnviroCow is a new genetic index designed to help farmers breed more environmentally friendly cows, launched by AHDB Dairy with the August genetic evaluations. It incorporates cow lifespan, milk production, fertility and the brand-new index, Feed Advantage. Expressed on a scale of about -3 to +3, the highest positive figures are achieved by bulls whose daughters are predicted to create the least greenhouse gas emissions in their lifetimes for each kilogram of solids-corrected milk they produce.

Feed Advantage is a new genetic index which will help producers breed animals which use the least amount of feed for their production needs. Expressed as a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA), the index represents the kilograms of dry matter intake (DMI) saved during each lactation. The index has been developed following decades of research on the Langhill herd at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC). From DNA patterns identified in the most feed-efficient cows, genomic indexes have been developed.