TWO bulls share poll position in the new genomic Holstein sire rankings released by AHDB Dairy, this month, with the list also welcoming four new bulls in the top 10 and 10 in the top 20. 

Ranked on profitable lifetime index (£PLI), both Mr Rubi-Argonaut and the De-Su 13050 Spectre son, ABS Outback, share the top spot with a PLI of £814. Argonaut retains his position with an index which features high milk quality (predicted transmitting ability (PTA) +0.24% fat and +0.10% protein) and the highest type merit (+3.12) among the top £PLI bulls. 

Outback stands out for low feed costs for maintenance (-2) as well as a strong rating for the newly released lameness advantage at +2.3.

A paternal half-brother to Outback, again by De-Su 13050 Spectre and new in the top 10, is ABS Crimson with a PLI of £784. Crimson is a production specialist, transmitting 952kg milk with 49.7kg fat.

The familiar names of components transmitter, VH Balisto Brook (PLI £783), and health and fertility specialist, Peak AltaDepot (PLI £781), are in fourth and fifth place, while former the number one sire, Westcoast Perseus, ranks sixth (PLI £766). 

Claynook Casper joins the list in seventh position (PLI £764) with a strong lameness advantage of +2.3. New in eighth place is the Jedi son, Bomaz Skywalker (£760 PLI), which is a high protein transmitter (PTA 32.7kg), and scores well for for one of the new indexes, calf survival, at +2.5. 

Progenesis Doctor now ranks ninth (PLI £757), and rounding off the top 10 is another new entry, Co-op Aardema Juicy (PLI £756). Both Doctor and Juicy have favourable maintenance scores (-5) and Juicy combines this with high protein (32kg) and a good calf survival index (+2.2). 

Just missing out on the top 10 is the UK-bred Prehen Lancaster – again with low maintenance costs – while 12th ranking No-Pe Zekon is worth a mention as the highest ranking Czech bull ever seen in the UK rankings (PLI £749 and with 994kg milk).

As genetic indexes reach new highs with this latest group of young sires, Marco Winters, head of animal genetics for AHDB Dairy said: “To help improve farmers’ competitiveness, AHDB Dairy has created a set of six key performance indicators (KPIs) which farmers should benchmark their herds against to identify areas for improvement and one of these KPIs is the genetic merit of the herd.

“It is critical that farmers don’t underestimate the impact of using the right genetics and the easiest and fastest way to make improvement in this area is by choosing the next group of mating sires from among 
these top genetic merit bulls.”