“Prior to genomics becoming available, we would have been 90 percent proven sires,” shared Welcome Stock Farm’s Bill Peck. “With the onset of genomics, we used about 40 percent genomic sires in the first year. For the past three years, we have been 100 percent genomic young sires.”
There is an exception to that rule for the New York dairyman, however. He continued, “Except for the exceptional proven sire that may have been missed, we may use proven sires just a little if the bull has a particularly extreme trait that we would like to capture.”
Three additional operations shared insight into their farms in this Hoard’s Dairyman Intel as well as the Round Table, “They make the most of genomic testing,” found on pages 118 to 120 of the February 25 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman.
Here are their responses to the question, “What is the distribution of service sires in your breeding program?”
Ahlem Farms Partnership, Hilmar, Calif.: We use probably about 40 percent daughter-proven bulls and 60 percent genomic bulls. The majority of daughter-proven bulls used we are milking daughters out of already because they were previously used as genomic bulls. That helps us use them with more confidence.
We spread out the use of our genomic bulls. We don’t necessarily use any one bull too heavily because as daughters are added some changes and adjustments occur. We don’t want to be too heavy into one bull in case it’s not quite as good as expected.
George DeRuyter and Sons Dairy, Outlook, Wash.: We use mostly young genomic sires but still do use some proven bulls. We use a wide range of bulls and try to keep inbreeding to a minimum.
Sand Creek Dairy, Hastings, Mich.: We started out heavily emphasizing the use of proven sires and worked extensively with NorthStar Select Sires. Then we got into more and more PTA (Predicted Transmitting Abilities) sires or young sires. Now we are leaning heavier and heavier toward genomic young sires.With that in mind, we use a very diverse portfolio of sires to try to avoid any misses greatly affecting our herd’s advancement. We believe these young sires are the way we will make the quickest advancement genetically, and we are willing to take a little risk there. We continue to find that some genomic animals don’t milk that well. To that end, we can’t rely 100 percent on genomics.
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