This month’s tri-annual genetic evaluations have been released, and they feature important updates for both the industry at large and individual breeds.

Animals of all breeds received new imputed genotypes, which refers to a full population update that occurs periodically to ensure all animals have genomic information on all of the roughly 79,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) uses to develop a genomic evaluation. For more on that process and its effects, read this article from CDCB.

Because of the imputation, a higher variability of haplotype calls is expected. Haplotype calls identify an animal’s carrier status of a genetic factor through the genomic evaluation. Read more here. This month, the cholesterol deficiency haplotype call in Holsteins is updated with data from more than 1.3 million female lab tests shared with CDCB and the Animal Genomics and Improvement Laboratory (AGIL) by Holstein Association USA.

For the first time, a haplotype call will also be available for early onset muscle weakness syndrome, a calfhood condition observed in Holsteins thus far that is still under investigation.

On the Jersey side, the American Jersey Cattle Association (AJCA) announced that the formulas for Jersey Performance Index (JPI) and Jersey Udder Index (JUI) were updated with this round of genomic evaluations.

The JPI formula now includes udder depth, fore udder, and rear udder height traits. Production trait emphasis is 6% higher to reach 55%, and survival traits gained 2% emphasis and are now at 10%. “With the new formula, emphasis has been placed on increasing production and longer herd life while maintaining strongly attached udders,” AJCA said in the announcement. Changes to JUI included updated trait weightings and making udder cleft, udder depth, teat placement, rear teat placement rear view, rear teat placement side view, and teat length two-way traits with an intermediate optimum.

Even with the updates, JX CDF JLS Pilgrim Thrasher and JX Primus Enzo Chatham-ET held the top two spots among proven bulls for JPI. JX Cal-Mart Outlier-ET is the new genomic JPI leader.

By the numbers

A.I. organizations reported 6,910 bulls active to the National Association for Animal Breeders (NAAB) for this proof round, which is 211 more than were reported in August. Of these, 4,623 were genomic bulls, giving young sires a 66.9% market share. This is on par with the 67% share they held in August but off slightly from the 68% share they made up in both the April 2023 and December 2022 evaluations.

Holstein sires reported totaled 5,682 in all, and 895 Jersey bulls were included. Those two breeds make up 95% of all bulls reported and more than 96% of all genomic bulls reported, both consistent from the August evaluations.

You can access the full sire rankings for all breeds now.

December 2023 Hoard's Dairyman Bull List

Top 50 Genomic Holstein Net Merit $, Cheese Merit $, and TPI

Top 50 Daughter Proven Holstein Net Merit $, Cheese Merit $, and TPI

Top 25 Holstein SCE and Jersey CM$ and JPI

Top Colored Breeds