Marlborough Sounds dairy farmer Gareth Parkes is a busy man. Not only is he the owner of Parlan Holstein Friesian Stud with wife Diane, but the owner of a contracting business that has played a key part in keeping agriculture afloat in the area since major flooding closed main roads in 2021.
Sharemilker Gordon Fullerton, Full-On Holstein Friesians, has sold a heifer calf descended from the ‘Doc’ cow family – of $2 million cow S-S-I Doc Have Not 8784-ET fame – for $44,000 to CRV’s US Holstein bull breeding programme.
Gordon said Full- On Hole-In-One ET’s extremely high gTPI (genomic total performance index) of 3121 and PTAT 3.23 was a surprise, but not completely out of left field.
“Her dam was already the highest gTPI Peak Tropic daughter in the world, also over 3.2 PTAT, so anything over parent average was going to be exciting,” he said.
Hole-In-One’s dam, Full-On T Have A Look- IMP-ET, was born from one of six S S I Doc Have Not 8783-ET embryos purchased by Gordon and good friends Nathan Bayne (Busybrook Holsteins) and Pete Smit (Tuhinga) while Gordon was living in the US.
“When I was living in Washington DC, Pete and I were talking and as usual, cows were the topic,” Gordon said. “We got talking about this cow, S-S-I Doc Have Not 8783-ET (sister of S S I Doc Have Not 8784-ET), and we really liked the look of her.
“It turned out turned out she was only an hour’s drive from DC, so I convinced an American I was living with to take me for a drive to see some cows - far more exciting than the Super Bowl that was on that day.”
Gordon says the neat thing is that he went and saw the cow before her family was a household name.
“When we got the contract to flush S-S-I Doc Have-Not 8783-ET, her sire, Woodcrest King Doc, was just getting his proof,” he said. “And her full sister, S-S-I Doc Have Not 8784-ET, had just calved and would go onto sell for US$1.925 million.”
Have A Look performed highly in Gordon’s herd, both in production and type, but unfortunately passed away recently.
“Have A Look was my favourite heifer by a country mile,” Gordon said.
CRV Manager product development genetics Jaap Veldhuisen said Hole-In-One attracted CRV’s attention primarily based on her high gTPI level. gTPI is a US bull ranking index, described as the ‘the gold standard in ranking worldwide Holstein genetics’ by Holstein USA. It is not necessarily aimed at breeding individual cows, but rather to advance the entire genetic pool.
“In addition, Hole-In- One has an outstanding type profile of +3.23 on the US base,” Jaap said. “With her pedigree this high, type is no surprise.
“Hole-In-One’s sire, Siemers Rengd Parfect- ET, is a good type bull, and the Doc cow family has very good type as well. S-S-I Doc Have Not 8783-ET scored EX92 in the US.”
Jaap said CRV will be using Hole-in-One as a donor for its US Holstein breeding programme, with the intention of breeding appealing bulls that rank highly on US indexes like TPI and NM.
“For this breeding programme, most of our animals are in the US,” Jaap said. “It is very special that there is now a donor from New Zealand for this programme.
“It’s likely she will be in our embryo program for quite some time, looking at her genetic profile.
“So, a lot of credit to Gordon for importing embryos and then flushing the resulting heifers with this incredible result.
“There are not many animals outside of the US and Canada that rank this high on TPI and type (PTAT).”
Gordon said when it came to imported embryos leaving a big impression on the Holstein Friesian industry in New Zealand, he believed the six embryos he and his friends managed to import will be talked about for a while yet – and Hole-In-One was just getting started.
“This is a great example of how genomics at an industry good level, with good reliability, can have a positive influence for your average farmer - and actually reward breeders for the investment, passion and risk that we all take when spending money on genetics,” he said.
“Here in New Zealand, we do not get rewarded with the current system; bearing in mind that Hole-In-One was bought for her US numbers, not New Zealand numbers – although, they weren’t too bad either.”