With DataGene’s latest release of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs) out this week (13 August), dairy farmers have one more good reason – worth about $300 per cow – to focus on Balanced Performance Index (BPI) when selecting bulls.
The BPI is a blend of ABVs for the traits that influence a dairy cow’s contribution to the farm business: production, fertility, functional type, survival, cell count, workability and feed saved.
In a major study, the ImProving Herds project used actual data from commercial dairy herds to determine contribution of genetics to dairy farm businesses. The results showed that on average, the top 25% of cows in a herd (based on BPI) produce a margin over feed and herd costs of $300 per cow more than the bottom 25%.
Michelle Axford from DataGene said the findings held across different dairying regions and feeding systems.
“The message is clear: the daughters of high BPI bulls perform better under Australian conditions,” she said.
“A simple and effective way to put this into practice is to breed replacements from bulls that carry the Good Bulls icon and meet your breeding priorities.
“You can be confident that using Good Bulls will improve the Balanced Performance Index of your herd,” she said.
Bulls that carry the Good Bulls logo meet DataGene’s minimum criteria for BPI and reliability and are available for purchase.
“There is a wide range of Good Bulls, giving farmers plenty of choice for Good Bulls that meet their priorities for specific traits, budget and company preferences,” she said.
The August ABV release includes 1039 Holstein Good Bulls, 134 Jersey Good Bulls and a selection of red breed and guernsey Good Bulls.
Lists of Good Bulls are available in the Good Bulls App or the Good Bulls Guide which is available in pdf or excel format from DataGene’s website.
DataGene is an initiative of Dairy Australia and the herd improvement industry.