Holstein Friesian New Zealand (HFNZ) and CRV Ambreed’s joint sire proving programme, Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders, has reached an unprecedented strike rate of bulls graduating to market with the latest addition to the CRV catalogue, Rivendell GForce Axel.
With six bulls in the team annually, and at least one bull on average per team graduating to be marketed by CRV, Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders is the most successful sire proving programme in the bull industry to date.
The Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders programme has been running for 22 years, with the aim of ensuring the best genetics within New Zealand’s own pedigree Holstein Friesian population are sourced and made available to the dairy industry.
Over 18 HFNZ-member-owned pedigree bulls have reached market via CRV since 1995 (with at least one per year for the last 11 years), realising many and varying benefits to HFNZ, its members and the wider dairy industry.
“We’ve been enjoying success with the Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders programme for 22 years now, and the ongoing, long-term nature of it has seen excellent genetics from HFNZ members’ pedigree herds enter the market,” says Doug Courtman, HFNZ Sire Proving Committee Chairperson.
Danie Swart, CRV Sire Analyst, says that since the massive influence of Top Deck KO Pierre more than a decade ago, the strike rate has been consistently good with bulls like Lornlace VHA Dumpling S3F, Maire Oman Franklin, Middlevale Mint Brave, Maire Mint Richie, and Rivendell Gforce Axel more recently.
“Over the last year we’ve received very positive feedback (type and production) from farmers milking Richie, Brave, and Franklin daughters.”
Another benefit of the Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders programme is breeder members’ pedigrees holding pedigree status in the commercial world, increasing their relevance dramatically.
“Whereas commercial bulls that have been supplementary registered have heavily dominated the market, pedigree bulls are becoming more common, which is great for a pedigree association and its members,” says Courtman.
Full pedigree status very important in marketplace
“Full pedigree cows are becoming harder and harder to find and the Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders programme can be very valuable to breed top sires out of full pedigree cows,” says Swart.
“Internationally, the opportunities are growing as the benefits of using Holstein Friesians in developing pastoral dairy markets are becoming more widely recognised.
“The partnership with HFNZ has proved valuable in helping to open markets such as Ireland and South Africa to the New Zealand Holstein Friesian product, and continuing the expansion of our international markets is a key priority for CRV.”
A key factor setting the Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders programme apart from other sire proving programmes is that it selects bulls on an individual genomic basis as opposed to having to market as a team. As well, breeders receive the results from genetic tests even if their bull is ultimately rejected.
The 2018 Holstein Friesian Genetic Leaders team will be announced early December 2017.