Ben and Yvonne Lee weren’t born into farming but have taken it up with vigour.
The company reports the recent births of three homozygous polled bulls as part of its genetic development programme – the culmination of several years of controlled breeding.
R&D manager Phil Beatson says the goal was to “breed bulls that had two copies of the polled gene”.
“When the bull has two copies of the polled gene, you are guaranteed the bull’s progeny will all be polled, as all get one copy of the poll gene. Conversely, bulls with only one copy of the polled gene are referred to as heterozygous and their progeny has only a 50% chance of being polled.”
The progeny of the polled bulls will not need disbudding – a costly and time-consuming intervention increasingly under scrutiny. For instance, 200 replacements in a herd may cost as much as $1400 to disbud.
“Farmers also require their dairy cattle to have reasonably high indexes. Our three polled bulls, just born, are high indexing. Breeding polled cattle while at the same time having acceptable index is the trick,” Beatson says.
Tokoroa organic dairy farmer Ged Goode started using semen from polled bulls on his 750 Kiwi-cross herd this dairy season. He is looking forward to CRV Ambreed’s offering next season.
“The aim is to have the whole herd polled and producing A2 milk,” Goode says.
“Horns are a health and safety issue as far as the staff and animals are concerned.”
Two of CRV Ambreed’s polled bulls are Holstein-Friesian/Jersey crossbreds and one is a Holstein-Friesian bull.