By Gary W. Rogers
The April 2023 genetic evaluations for Norwegian Red (NR) are now available and they reflect recent improvements in genetic evaluation models for calving ease and stillbirths and adjustments to the Total Merit index (TMI) for NR.
New Norwegian Red sires available to global markets, and five notable top bulls deserving attention
Many outstanding NR sires are currently available to the global markets. Distributors, breeding advisors, and dairy farmers should attentively review the latest available lists to find the complete and best products and solutions. With the April proof, five very recent Genomic Selected (GS) sires have therefore been selected for their appealing profiles to many global markets.
NR Fjorden (252NR12237)
Fjorden is an excellent all-around sire, and his breeding values indicate that his daughters will have very high milk solids production, great udder conformation, and good fertility. Fjorden is also suitable for heifer matings and is A2A2.
NR Furnes (252NR12247)
Furnes is an excellent all-around sire that will produce daughters with outstanding udder conformation, high milk solids production, great udder health, and very good hoof/claw health. Furnes is A2A2 and should be used cautiously for heifer matings.
NR Hultgren-PP (252NR12254)
Hultgren-PP is a homozygous polled sire that is A2A2 and with a superb all-around trait profile. Hultgren-PP daughters will have very good solids production (also great on fat and protein percentages) and udder conformation. His daughters will also have excellent health and fertility provided by typical Norwegian Red sires. Conventional Hultgren-PP semen is not advisable for heifer matings, REDX can be a viable solution for herds that want to use him for heifer matings.
NR Lyndi-P (252NR12248)
Lyndi-P is a polled A2A2 sire that will be popular in many markets. He is an outstanding all-around sire with outstanding BVs for both fat and protein yields. He will transmit great udder conformation and very good udder health. In addition, he is also great for heifer matings.
NR Smenes-P (252NR12265)
Smenes-P is another polled A2A2 sire with outstanding breeding values, especially for fat and protein yields and conformation. Smenes-P is also very good for udder health and will be popular, especially in herds that manage and breed for very high production levels. Conventional semen from Smenes-P is not advisable for heifer matings, however, REDX can be a viable solution for herds that want to use him for heifer matings.
Improved calving ease and stillbirth genetic evaluation models
Previously, the breeding values (BV) for calving ease and stillbirths in Norwegian Red were calculated separately in what geneticists call single-trait models.
Starting with the April 2023 genetic evaluations, we have implemented a new approach that utilizes all calving-related traits in a multi-trait model so that data/information from one trait can influence the other trait BV. This new approach also includes data on calf size and gestation length in the same genetic evaluation model. The benefits of the new model are increased accuracy for the BV for both calving ease and stillbirths, allowing for more accurate sire selection, and improved genetic progress in customer herds.
Read more here
Changes to the Norwegian Red Total Merit Index (TMI)
Starting with the April 2023 genetic evaluations, we have also implemented several changes to the Norwegian Red Total Merit Index (TMI). The changes in TMI will result in more rapid progress in milk solids content without compromising total milk production. The changes will also provide more rapid progress in udder conformation, faster progress in polled gene frequency, and halt the slight increase in live weight that Norwegian Red has experienced in recent years.
Read more about the recent changes here
The next official genetic evaluations will be available on August 8, 2023.