The top bull in the 2022 list of active bulls in Ireland is Tisaxon Trooper, with an EBI of €368 comprising a milk sub-index of €89 and a fertility sub-index of a staggering €201.
He is followed in second place by Stamullen Lunasa, with an EBI of €366.
Last year’s top bull Moneen Rio has fallen to fourteenth place on this year’s list with a current EBI of €333, down €13 on his proof at this time last year.
Of course, focusing on the top bull is no longer the right thing to do.
The Irish breeding programme is very much focused now on teams of bulls and on spreading risk by using a large number of bulls with different sires.
The reason for this is to spread your risk in the case of a bull’s proof dropping when information on how his daughters perform becomes available.
This is important because the majority of the bulls on the list are genomically selected and have zero daughters milking. Most of the bulls on this list were born in 2020, so won’t have daughters milking until 2024, two years from now.
Of the 75 bulls on the active bull list, there are just three bulls with daughters milking and of these three bulls, there is a total of 105 cows feeding information back into the database.
So, like with other years, there is a strong reliance on genomics and as we have previously written some of this information is unreliable, such is the nature of the technology.
Another thing to watch for when looking at the list is the sire information. Kilfeacle Pivotal and Ballygown Albert are the sires of 40 bulls on the list, with 22 and 18 bulls, respectively.
Pivotal’s EBI is good and steady at €299 but he only has five daughters milking yet. Ballygown Albert has 563 daughters milking and his EBI has dropped to €233 and could fall further depending on fertility performance.
The point here is that the team of bulls being picked has to be diverse. Picking 10 or 15 bulls from just one or two sire lines, when those sires aren’t yet proven themselves is risky.
Farmers will notice that some high-EBI bulls appear in the AI catalogues that are not on this list. These are primarily young bulls, born last year and have no calving proof yet so don’t make the list.
These bulls need to be treated with absolute caution.