Genomic sires continue to spur improvement
Genomic sires continue to spur improvement in the Norwegian Red population and both genomic sires and daughter proven sires impress export markets. Official Norwegian Red (NR) genetic evaluations for August 2017 are now available from Geno.
These official NR evaluations are now synchronized with Interbull, US Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding and most local (within country) genetic evaluations.
Genomic sires (GS) dominate the top of the list of NR sires ranked on the Geno Total Merit Index (TMI) and account for over 95% of the recent matings in the NR population. However, many top progeny-tested sires along with the top GS sires are available to interested global markets.
Top Norwegian Red GS sires will not have Interbull or local genetic evaluations outside of Norway but breeders can make fair comparisons across all NR GS and daughter proven sires and for all traits using Geno breeding values. The single step methodology used for calculating genetic evaluations in Norway makes interpretation of genetic evaluations very easy. Under this system all animals have genetic evaluations on the same base and all evaluations are calculated simultaneously creating the maximum possible reliability. Bottom line is that NR bulls of all ages can be compared fairly and objectively when using NR breeding values.
GS sires drive progress in Norway and provide a taste of things to come for international markets
Currently 26 GS sires have a TMI of 40 or higher and 5 are above 50 for TMI. Many of these top GS sires are ready for use or have already been used in Norway. Most of the top GS sires will be available internationally within the next year but a few are already available for distribution internationally to interested markets now (see below). Most of the top current GS sires are sons of Skjelvan (11039), Reitan 2 (11033), Gopollen (11078), Saur (11572), Prestangen (10923) and Skei (10617). Many of these will be available internationally in early 2018.
The top current NR sire is Alm (11876) who has a TMI of 55 and is sired by Skjelvan. Breeding values for Alm indicate that we expect his daughters to have extremely high production with outstanding udders. The next three top bulls are Kolbu (11872), Melby (11862), Skogseth (11853) and are all sired by Saur. All three are polled of course and will sire small to moderate sized cows with tremendous health and fertility along with very good udders and excellent milk solids production.
Several top GS sires are available for immediate export
Ten top GS sires have semen available for immediate export. These 10 sires have TMI ranging from 33 to 46. Some of these sires are already available in some markets. The top bull for TMI that is immediately available (TMI = 46) is Maele (11789). Maele is sired by Prestangen (10923) with a great trait profile and he has especially high merit for udder conformation and udder health. Following very closely is Kvernmo (11837) (TMI = 45) who is a polled son of Reitan 2. Kvernmo has tremendous production breeding values (Geno milk index = 143) and a very high udder index of 122. Kvernmo daughters will be taller than NR average. Both Maele and Kvernmo are from Sormarka (10462)daughters.
Two other Prestangen sons, Viastua (11798) with a TMI = 41 and Siqveland (11801) with a TMI of 40, have great trait profiles and are extremely strong for health and fertility traits even for NR standards. Maele, Viastua and Siqveland will produce trouble-free daughters with tremendous fertility, outstanding health, excellent udders and very good solids production. Six additional sires with TMI from 33 to 39 are readily available and this includes some very notable bulls. Of special note is Fyksen (11824).
Fyksen is a Skjelvan son from an Eggtroen daughter. We expect Fyksen daughters to be tremendous for production (he has production trait breeding values in the 130s), excellent for udders (udder index = 117) and fertility (fertility index = 108). Fyksen has been exported already and is a great candidate for many international markets.
Another special sire from this top group of GS sires is the homozygous polled bull Saur (TMI = 38). Saur is mentioned above as he is the sire of several top recent GS sires. Saur has been exported to several countries and continues to be used outside of Norway. Saur is just beginning to get daughters in production and we expect much more interest in him in the future. Saur is unmatched for fertility (fertility index = 145) and is outstanding for health traits and many other key traits. Saur daughters are of moderate size and their solids production is expected to be good as well. Saur is especially attractive in markets where grazing is heavily utilized.
Notable Daughter Proven sires
Several top daughter proven NR sires continue to perform at a very high level. Some notable daughter proven sires have started to add second crop daughters. Reitan 2 has started to add second crop daughters and he continues to lead all daughter proven sires with a TMI of 33. Skjelvan has now added almost 1000 second crop daughters (TMI = 26) and his daughter based breeding values look very close to his initial daughter based breeding values – more proof of the stable breeding program for NR.
Hofstad (11308) with a TMI = 31 and Vik (11471) with a TMI = 30 are recently daughter proven and follow closely behind Reitan 2 for TMI. Gopollen also has a TMI of 30 and he continues to be extremely popular in almost all international markets. Gopollen will start to add second crop daughters later this year.
The next official genetic evaluations will be available December 5, 2017.