Talking bulls with Nick and Rod Brasher

WA breeding advisors, Nick and Rod Brasher love talking about dairy bulls and this year they are looking forward to having more lively discussions with their FarmWest clients, with the release of the Good Bulls App.
The Brashers expect the app to be a big hit with dairy farmers because it’s easy to use and accessible anywhere, even if there’s no mobile or internet reception.
“Once you’ve download the latest ABV release, the App will work anywhere. Dairyfarmers hate wasting time and now they can research bulls whenever they have a few spare moments,” Nick said.
“Of course dairy farmers want to breed for profitability, but beyond that, there’s a big range in traits that they may want to improve in their herd. The app has 50 filters to allow you to narrow down the options to bulls most suited to your individual breeding priorities,” he said.
“For example, if the A2 gene is important to you, just set the A2 filter to display only A2 bulls. Then you can narrow the list down further by adding filters for other traits that you want to improve in the herd. You end up with a short list of bulls suitable for the herd.”
Bulls of interest can be saved to a customised short list which can be exported to other users such as a client or breeding advisor.
The app is also handy when the discussion turns to individual bulls. Containing breeding values and pedigree information on 20,000 dairy bulls around the world, the app can be used to view an individual bull in detail or compare bulls. It’s a feature that Rod has found handy when visiting clients, such as Steven Noakes from Margaret River.
With a 3-way cross breeding program Mr Noakes needs to select bulls from multiple breeds -– for his 600 cow herd.
“When Rod visited recently we used the app to look up the details of specific bulls that came up in the conversation. It was a much better discussion because the information was so readily accessible,” Mr Noakes said.
Following up from Rod’s visit, Mr Noakes used the app to create a short list for each breed of potentially suitable bulls.
In the past he used the Good Bulls Guide, working from the lists for Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and paying particular attention to health traits.
“The Good Bulls Guide is useful, but you still have a list of about 100 bulls to work through. There’s so many young genomic bulls available now that I am not familiar with them all. I can use the app to filter out the ones that won’t be suitable and highlight some that might be suitable that I’m not even aware of.”
Mr Noakes set his app to limit health traits such as daughter fertility (to above 100), calving ease, fat % and protein %.
“This helped me zero in on bulls that are strong for the traits that are important to me. Not only is the app convenient, it also makes the process much quicker,” he said.
For more information contact  Peter Williams at DataGene ph (03) 9032 7171 email

March 2016