Top herds in the Subtropics

(300 words, November 2018)

It’s official. The subtropics have some of the best dairy genes in the country. And they were celebrated at the Subtropical Dairy Innovation dinner last week (8 November) with DataGene’s Awards for Breeding Excellence.

The awards are given to the top herd for each dairy breed, based on Balanced Performance Index (BPI), the industry’s genetic merit index for profit traits.

The subtropics are home to Australia’s number 1 Illawara herd, Chelmonte, which is owned by the Wiek family at Bymaroo on the Darling Downs, Queensland.

The Clark family from Caniava, near Lismore, NSW have Australia’s number 4 Guernsey herd.

The Riggs family at Cooroy on the Sunshine Coast Queensland have bred the region’s top Aussie Red herd. Their herd has a BPI of 70, ranking it 10th in Australia.

The region’s top Jersey herd was bred by the Hall family at Eungella, near Mackay in Queensland. With a a BPI of 17 their herd ranked 149 in Australia.

Two Darling Downs herds shared the top spot for Holstein herds in the region: the Stewart family (Gilabis Holsteins) and the Deans family (Leader Holsteins). Both herds have a BPI of 76, placing them 117 in Australia. With Holsteins being the dominant breed in the country, it takes an outstanding achievement to rank this highly.

Michelle Axford from DataGene said that breeding a good herd did not happen by chance – it involved working with top cows and top cow families and using superior artificial insemination (AI) sires over consecutive years.

“Genetic gain is permanent and compounds year on year. Dairy cows have to be joined every year so it’s worth making every breeding decision count,” Michelle said.

“The easiest way to do this is to make sure every replacement heifer is bred from a bull that carries the Good Bulls icon.

Dairy farmers can use Good Bulls with confidence they will lift the herd’s Balanced Performance Index (BPI) which is a measure of genetic merit for profit.

“There is a wide range of Good Bulls available, giving farmers plenty of choice for Good Bulls that meet their priorities for specific traits, budget and company preferences,” Michelle said.

For more information contact: DataGene 03 9032 7191 or email or

Top dairy herds in Subtropics, based on Balanced Performance Index

DataGene is an initiative of Dairy Australia and the herd improvement industry.