Thursday, 01 June 2017 12:55

Surprise award for bull testers

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From left: Ann Scott (LIC), Bryan and Suzanne Jackson and Murray King (LIC chairman). From left: Ann Scott (LIC), Bryan and Suzanne Jackson and Murray King (LIC chairman).

LIC Sire Proving Scheme (SPS) Farmers of the Year Bryan and Suzanne Jackson have been in the programme for 18 years.

Bryan told Dairy News he is proud to be among farmers helping shape the dairy industry of the future.

The Jacksons use unproven bulls in the herd on their farm at Kereone, Morrinsville.

“We don’t have a choice of bulls; we use different bulls every day for a five week AB programme.

“We score the daughters on various traits like temperament and adaptability to milking when they enter the herd two years later.”

SPS farmer feedback helps LIC assess the bull daughters for various production, health and fitness traits.

Bryan says one advantage of joining the SPS is having access to genetics well before other farmers. He has seen productivity rise in his 450-cow herd – from 300kgMS/cow 20 years ago to about 500kgMS/cow now.

He says he is “really stoked’ to have won the SPS farmer of the year award.

Suits a stable hand

According to LIC, the SPS suits farmers with stable herds who can commit for a minimum of four years.

An interest in breeding is essential, as are good organisation and record keeping skills. 

The data they collect gives each bull a ‘daughter proof’. Bulls with the best proofs are then marketed to the wider dairy industry. 

The ‘daughter proof’ also helps to validate and refine the accuracy of LIC’s genomic data used to breed and select bull calves coming into the scheme year on year. 

Information collected as part of the Sire Proving Scheme includes:

Insemination - non return rates

Calving - calf defects, calving assistance

Rearing - health issues, traits, general performance

Milking - herd test information, live weight data, traits other than production.

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