December 2019 proofs on Norwegian Red sires
Official Norwegian Red (NR) genetic evaluations for December 2019 are now available from Geno.
In general, genomic selected (GS) sires continue to top the list of sires available to international markets sorted by the NR Total Merit Index (TMI). Many GS sires are now available in conventional and REDX semen so customers can fine tune their breeding programs.
Overall top GS sires based on TMI that are available now
Geno now has 21 genomic selected (GS) sires available to international markets with Total Merit Index (TMI) of 30 or higher. Many more GS sires are available with TMI of 20 or greater and many of these additional sires should be considered depending on the individual herd or market needs.
The top 3 GS sires based on Geno TMI that are alive and available include Vestbygda (12015) with a TMI of 37 along with Midtskog-P (11994) and Reinaamo-P (11975) both with TMIs of 34. Midtskog-P and Reinaamo-P are A2A2 for beta casein and both are polled which may especially appeal to markets looking to enhance animal welfare. Reinaamo-P is AB for kappa casein which might appeal to herds marketing milk strictly for cheese making.
Many herds should select NR sires using criteria that are different from the NR TMI. Grazing and organic herds tend to have different needs compared to high production herds that are housed in confinement facilities. Fortunately some NR sires are readily available that fit each of these herd circumstances and some NR sires work well in most if not all herd circumstances and management schemes.
Top NR sires for high production, confined herds that are available now
Here are some top NR sires that should be considered for high production herds that use intensive management strategies. Crossbred daughters of these bulls from Holstein mothers will have fat and protein yields that are similar to pure Holsteins but daughter fertility and health that excels over pure Holsteins. In addition, their crossbred daughters will be smaller than pure Holsteins and have lower feed consumption.
(partially daughter proven with early daughters)
Top NR sires for grazing and organic herds that are available now
Here are some top NR sires that should be considered for grazing or organic herds. Daughters of these sires will excel at fat and protein (excellent yields and component percentages), daughter fertility and health in grazing and organic herds.
It is important for each customer and especially each market to look carefully at the available sire list and to choose those that best meet the needs of the local circumstances. Some other sires may be just as valuable as the ones listed here but these lists are likely a good place to start when considering bulls that will work well in the broad categories of herd types listed above. Most markets now have several options for REDX from top NR sires and several sires from each list above are available in REDX.
Changes to the base definition and TMI
Geno continues to publish BV with a mean = 100 and standard deviation = 12 points (TMI is exception with mean=0). The group of cows used to define the base population (cows with BV set to 100) have recently changed (expanded to more years and more cows) to include cows born in a 5-year period starting 8 years before the proof run and ending 3 years before the proof run. The standard deviations also changed slightly for some traits.
The updates to the base definition did not impact the ranking of sires for individual traits. However, NR BV for milk yield, protein yield and fat yield dropped on average 3 to 4 points depending on the trait. These drops in BV reflect the base population definition change to a younger group of cows with higher BV for production traits. Changes in BV for traits other than production due to the base definition change were small because genetic trend is smaller in these traits compared to production traits.
Several minor changes were made to the NR TMI as well. The most important changes were a slight increase in the weight on fat production compared to other traits and a slight increase in the emphasis on polled in the TMI. Polled now has 5% of the weight in the TMI which should increase the frequency of the polled gene in the NR population at a faster rate than in the past. The beef index weights were also slightly changed but this has very little impact on sire rankings.
The next official genetic evaluations will be available April 7, 2020.