Aug. 20 2013 07:32 AM

New faces and familiar ones mark the latest sire summary.

Hoard's Dairyman August2013 Bull ListSire summaries occur three times each year. Sometimes it seems the top bulls rarely change; yet at other times it appears like a totally new deck has been dealt.

The August 2013 sire summaries were released last week. Hoard's Dairyman prepares our "Bull List" featuring all seven breeds, ranked by Net Merit or the individual breed's primary marketing formula. We've summarized what‘s new and what's changed in the past four months, and since last year. To be listed on the individual trait lists, bulls must be in the top 40 percent of their breed for Net Merit to be considered. Semen status may impact a bull's ability to appear on these lists.

Two bulls debuting on the top Net Merit list took the top two spots, Erdman and Robust. Joining them in the top five are three returners: Freddie, Awesome and Twist who were 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively in April. Six of top 10 Holstein bulls in August 2013 were also on the top 10 list in April. The top ranking bull in April, Observer, slid to 25th after losing 160 NM$. His reliability went up a mere 2 percent.

When looking at last August's top bull lists, three bulls have reshuffled. Freddie claimed the top spot, followed by Massay and Awesome. Today, they rank 3rd, 6th and 4th, respectively. The bulls that previously ranked fourth and fifth last year no longer appear on the list.

When looking at the bulls ranked for Net Merit by genomics only, two new names have emerged, Halogen at +926 NM$ and Supersire at +915 NM$. Both bulls have reliabilities for genomics at 68 percent. Supersire was first on the list both in April and last year. He has hovered near the top despite dropping from +980NM$ (August 2012) to a current +912 NM$.

New sires rose to the top of the Productive Life list. Erdman, Danger and Dom *BY all have PL values all over 7.0, which means their daughters will last seven months longer than average. The leading August 2013 values are down from April, the top spot boasted 7.7 PL. Jeeves and Awesome both were in the top five in 2012 and in April.

For all the reports that Hoard's Dairyman summarizes for Holstein production traits, the value for the top ranked bulls declined with the exception of Cheese Merit for genomic-only bulls.

With individual traits, Gulf *BY jumped from third to first this run with a +3.42 UDC to be the breed's udder leader. Five bulls in the top 10 in August 2013, were also there in April. Dorcy *BY and Avalon, were also nestled in over a year ago. The top udder bull, Mincio, from Inseme in Italy, from April is no longer listed.

Caliber is the top feet and legs sire at +3.48. The top five bulls in this sire summary were also in the top 10 in April. Machine, April's top feet and legs bull is now ranked ninth. An interesting note is that the feet and leg values have actually increased for the leader by half a point since April.

Montney is a milk quality improver as his +2.42 SCC indicates. Numbers below +3.00 indicate a lower somatic cell score. Flax closely follows after topping the list in April. Torlan is the only bull to appear in the top five this run, April 2013 and August 2012.

Magnum is still the top Net Merit Dollars sire, a repeat of April 2013, despite a 41 point loss. Following him are Lure, Zuma, Zipper and SF. When looking at proven bull values as compared to genomic-only values for NM$, the top proven bulls dropped, while the genomic-only sires stayed constant. Pilgrim is the new top NM$ genomic-only sire at +$641. April's leader, Soprano settles at number five in August.

Magnum holds the honor of highest JPI sire as well, despite his 18 point drop since April. Plus settles in the reserve spot. Zipper, Vernon and Lure complete the top five. The top four spots in August were also in the top five in April. Vernon was the top bull in 2012. However, his JPI has changed from 260 in August 2012, to 235 in April 2013 and now at 214, ranks fourth.

Brown Swiss
Moving up from the No. 2 spot, Versace heads the PPR List as Driver drops off. All five of the top bulls in August 2013 were in the top seven in April. Etlar, Payssli and Torch were all in the top five spots a year ago. When looking back, 258 PPR would get you top billing in April, now 194 PPR is what it takes. The top bulls remain, just some slight rearrangement.

Red and White
There is a new Red and White leader, Lowlands Redman-Red at +503 NM$. He is a full 50 NM$ over April's top value. To be the top bull in April, it only took +453 NM$. The top bull in April, Apple-Red, is now ranked 4th at +416 NM$. Half of the top 10 Red and White bulls are new. Besides Redman at the top, Aaron (No. 3), Carson (No. 5), Logan (No. 6) and Spencer (No. 10) are the new faces on the list. The five that held their spots since April include Tycoon-Red, Apple-Red, Reality-Red, Arnold-Red and Fidelity-Red. Three top 10 current bulls also had that spot last year.

For Red Carrier bulls, there is also a new leader, Fasna Asterix with $474 NM$. Astrix and the next three bulls all have 97WW stud codes and are marketed by CRV. The next five bulls were all in the top six from April.

Alstar and Grumpy kept their top two spots. Alstar took a nice +37 NM$ jump to +485 NM$, as did Grumpy with his +29 point boost. Mint debuted on the list in the seventh spot.

Kansas again remains at the top. All the top bulls slid in net merit values. New sires debut at number 2 with Decaf at +602NM$ and Marlow in fifth. Kansas was second last August and Power now ranks eighth.

Milking Shorthorn
Genetics Australia Cooperative Society Limited markets the top two bulls on the Milking Shorthorn list, Bon Jovi and Bob-P, a full 200 NM$ ahead of long-time net merit leader, Treble which now holds the third spot. Cowboy and Ace follow, both repeat ranking sires.

In summary, it appears about one-half of the top bulls have remained among the ranks after one sire summary. A smaller portion has lasted a full year in the genetic hierarchy.

While genomics is a tool to assist producers in choosing sires to improve their herd, it is not a guarantee of future performance. To date, there is no perfect system to ensure that the top bulls today will be there next sire summary, next year and beyond.

I look forward to seeing how the genomically ranked bulls fare on these lists when they add their milking daughters to their genomic data. Will the new data be higher, lower or about the same as their early predictors?

In the meantime, we can use all the tools – scientific, actual daughter data and personal gut instincts to breed the cows that will support our industry into the future.

Click here to download the August 2013 Bull List.
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The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.