Breeding tools help producers make better decisions

11 Nov 2019

Two online tools that will help producers to select sires that better match their herd’s requirements and improve the accuracy of semen order volumes have been launched by AHDB Dairy.

The ‘breeding trait selector’ allows producers to identify and prioritise the best genetic traits for their herd and the ‘breeding season semen calculator’ works out a herd’s straw requirements for conventional, sexed and beef semen.

Breeding goals

Producers can learn more about the tools at a series of AHDB Breeding Blocks workshops, which are also designed to help producers to select the right sires to meet their breeding goals.

“Genetics can have a significant positive impact on farm performance and profitability,” says AHDB’s head of animal genetics Marco Winters. “These tools speed up and simplify the process of shortlisting the best bulls for your herd.”

Simple questions

The breeding trait selector recommends the best traits for producers to focus on, based upon their answers to a few simple questions including: calving pattern, milk contract and breeding strategy; as well as areas that require improvement such as yield, health and fertility.

The semen calculator uses details about the number of breeding females, conception rates, and the split between conventional, sexed or beef semen, to work out the number of straws needed to meet a herd’s requirements.

Genetic report

“The tools should be used alongside our existing herd genetic report and bull selector, so producers ensure that they breed the traits into their herds that best suit their own set up and long-term goals,” adds Mr Winters.

Producers can access the tools and workshop details by visiting: www.ahdb.org.uk/breedingblocks