20th JUNE 2019 - Page 23



FARM WEEK
PEDIGREENEWS
S
EMEN sales within Northern Ireland’s dairy sector
have increased 12 per cent
year-on-year, according to
Ai Services (Northern Ireland) Ltd’s Ivan Minford.
But this overarching figure, which
is extremely positive in its own right,
does not convey the real impact that
new breeding-related technologies
are having within the dairy industry.
“Genomics is now accepted as a
proven method of identifying sires
with genuine breeding potential,” he
said.
“In our current dairy sire
catalogue, approximately 60 per
cent of the bulls featured have
genomic proofs only.
“Yes, daughter proofs for these
sires will be generated. But this takes
time. However, all of the research
undertaken over recent years
confirms a very high correlation
between genomic and daughterproof indices.
“As a result, genomics is helping to
drive forward a faster rate of genetic
improvement within the dairy sector
than would have been the case up to
this point.
Ivan also confirmed the growth in
demand for sexed semen. “Again,
farmers regard this as proven
technology,” he said.
“The use of sexed semen allows
milk producers to secure the
replacement heifers they need from
a smaller number of cows.
“In turn, this allows them to
produce
greater
numbers
of
dairy heifers for future sale or,
alternatively, they can use more
beef semen within their herds.”
Ivan explained that sexed semen
can deliver conception rates that
NOVEMBER 09 2017
23
New breeding technologies are
driving the dairy sector forward
Alta
Topshot.
are at least 90 per cent of those
that can be regularly achieved from
standard straws.
“As a company, we are committed
to providing this growing range of
technologies and services to dairy
farmers.”
The Ai Services’ representative
said that the development of new
technologies, where genomics and
the sexing of semen are concerned,
is being complimented by the
development of new, on-farm
management tools.
“IT-driven heat detection is a
case in point. Increasingly, milk
producers are recognising the
value of this technology, given that
they don’t have the time to regularly
inspect cows. What’s more, they
fully trust the systems they are
buying into as being both accurate
and dependable.
He added: “Heat detection can also
be combined with the automatic
shedding of cows identified as being
in heat.
“This facilitates the insemination
of the cows and gets away from the
older technology of continuously
inspecting cows and physically tail
painting those animals identified in
season.”
The main section of the recently
ON OFFER:
The dam
of the new
bull Hotline,
available
from Ai
Services this
season.
launched Ai Services’ Dairy Sire
Catalogue for 2018 features 25
Holstein bulls. The average PLI
across the group is £616. Of these,
five have a PLI of £700; five will
increase total fat and protein by
60kg with 15 increasing total fat and
protein by 50kg.
Significantly, 22 of the sires
are positive for fat and protein
percentage while 11 of the bulls are
available sexed.
Of the sires listed in the main
section of the catalogue, six are
specifically suitable for robotic
milking operations.
“This is by far the best offering
of dairy sires that we have made
available up to this point,” said Ivan.
“The range of bulls on-offer meets
the needs of every dairy farming
business in Northern Ireland. Our
2018 catalogue features seven new
sires. They should all prove popular
with local milk producers.”
Two sires worthy of mention are
Topshot and Hotline.
Topshot is the only bull in the top
15 available PLI list that has close on
1,000kg of milk, 76kg of combined
fat and protein with positive
percentages. “These outstanding
production figures are backed-up
with excellent management traits,”
said Ivan.
“Daughter fertility is at 7.3 and
Lifespan is at 0.6. Topshot is a
top genomic sire with a modern
pedigree that includes Supershot,
Embassy and Robust. Conventional
and sexed semen are available.”
Hotline is one of the top type sires
available from the recent UK listing.
“Boasting a Type Score of 3.09 with
2.88 Mammary and 2.15 Legs &
Feet, Hotline is not only a popular
type improver but is a fantastic
production sire,” said Ivan.
“He increases production by 792kg
of milk with 66kg combined fat and
protein. This Hotrod son from a
Mogul dam is not to be missed.”

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