Genomic sires dominate the updated Norwegian Red genetic evaluations
Official Norwegian Red (NR) genetic evaluations for April 2017 are now available from Geno. Genomic sires (GS) now dominate the top of the list of sires ranked on Total Merit Index (TMI) and they dominate the Norwegian market (approximately 90% of the recent matings in Norway were to GS sires).
However, both progeny tested and GS sires are available to interested global markets. Breeders can make fair comparisons across all bulls (from GS sires to daughter proven sires) and for all traits using Geno breeding values.
Top genomic sires
Several notable genomic tested sires top the Norwegian Red TMI list. Eighty NR sires have a TMI of 30 or higher and 8 of these top 80 are daughter proven. The top 31 sires have a TMI of 40 or higher and all are GS sires. Many of these top GS sires are ready for use or have already been used in Norway but a few will start their use in Norway this summer. Likewise, some of the top GS sires will be available internationally very soon but a few are already available for distribution internationally to interested markets. Many others will be available later in 2017.
Top sires that will contribute to the Norwegian market this summer but that will not likely be available internationally until late in 2017 include Kvernmo (11837) who is a polled Reitan 2 (11033) son from a daughter of Sormarka (10462). Kvernmo has a TMI of 52, is a great production sire and has no major weaknesses in key traits. Two additional sires that will be used in Norway starting this summer are Horneman (11845) and Melby (11862) with TMIs of 50 and 49, respectively.
Top sires currently in use in Norway include Onstad (11819) and Maele (11789) both with a TMI of 44. Onstad is a polled Reitan 2 son from a Velsvik dam and Braut (10177) grand dam and he should be available internationally later in 2017. Maele is a Prestangen (10923) son that is currently available for European countries if they wish to import. Maele also has sexed semen available for European markets.
Three other top GS sires should be available internationally now or very soon if the demand is present include Fyksen (11824), Hatle (11818) and Skau (11812). These three sires all have a TMI of 42 and all are outstanding for production traits (production indexes range from 138 to 148). Fyksen is a Skjelvan (11039) son from an Eggtroen (10579) daughter while Hatle is a Reitan 2 son from an Eggtroen daughter. Skau is a Val (10918) son from a Velsvik daughter. Skau is excellent for calving ease so he could be a great sire for mating to heifers.
An additional 34 GS sires with TMI of 30 or greater either are available internationally now or will be available soon for markets who choose to use them. If you desire to use GS sires in your breeding program please let your local NR distributor know. This will help us to better gauge the interest in making more GS sires available in your market.
Top progeny tested sires
The top progeny tested sires include Gopollen (11078) with a TMI of 34 and Reitan 2 (11033) with a TMI of 33. Both sires have been at or near the top of daughter proven sire on the TMI list for several genetic evaluation cycles, and are both extremely popular in international markets.
If you have more interest, you can find a more complete list of sires on the Geno "Available Norwegian Red sires" listing on the Norwegian Red sire catalogue.
Updates on the Norwegian Red breeding program
In the future, official NR genetic evaluations will be updated three times per year and the dates will be synchronized with the routine Interbull schedule. However, updates to genetic evaluations for routine usage and selection within Norway will be at much more frequent intervals.
Full implementation of genomic selection within the NR breeding program continues to bring excitement. Beginning in late 2015, Geno adopted the single step genetic evaluation procedure (which simultaneously includes all performance information, all genomic information and pedigree information on all animals). This single step approach has facilitated the full implementation of genomic selection in Norway and has significantly increased the rate of genetic improvement in the NR breed.
The single step methodology for calculating genetic evaluations also makes interpretation of genetic evaluations very easy as all animals have genetic evaluations on the same base (and with the maximum reliability possible). We no longer have bulls that fit neatly into categories like genomic sires and daughter proven sires. Many sires fall on a continuum from having only pedigree and genomic information (GS sires) to having pedigree, genomic information as well as daughter performance information. From a practical perspective, bulls of all ages can be compared fairly and objectively when using NR breeding values. Of course reliabilities will increase as a bull adds calves and daughter information but the breeding values should be comparable across all bulls no matter their age or stage of development.
The next official genetic evaluations will be available August 8, 2017.