ARDB PROGENY TEST POLICY
During recent years the ARDB Progeny Test Committee has endeavoured to concentrate on selecting young bulls with the least possible amount of Holstein bloodlines. The reason for this is the rapidly increasing demand for Red Genetics in cross breeding programs, with the requirement that these genetics should be as diverse from the other breeds, such as Holstein, Jersey and more recently Montbeliarde as possible. This trend to maximise hybrid vigour in many large dairy herds, is driving the popularity of genuinely genetically diverse Red Dairy Cattle.
Many of us involved in Aussie Red cattle have, for many years, understood that the future would lie in being able to successfully develop a completely genetically diverse breed, rather than breed Red Holsteins under a different name. It is this strategy which is delivering the results now reflected in semen sales and the strong demand for genetics under the Aussie Red banner.
There is now a consensus from 20 different countries, that this should be the goal of the Red Breeds worldwide. Countries such as Denmark and Germany are actively pursuing the development of genetically diverse Red Breeds, after utilising Holstein generics during the past two decades. Sweden and Norway have been employing this policy for many years more.
During his presentation at the 2007 Red Cow Conference in Sweden, Professor Les Hansen coined the phrase, "rinsing Holstein genetics out of the Red populations", in order for them to contribute to their maximum potential in cross breeding programs. Given the success of the Swedish Red and Montbeliards breeds in the Californian cross breeding trials and the strong demand for these genetics around the world, we would be well advised to heed his message.
Significant gains in health traits, survival and milk quality are bing demonstrated in the Californian herds involved in the cross breeding trials. This is also being quickly recognised by many commercially oriented dairy businesses in countries around the world. Business prospects are very positive for dairy operators, who are prepared to develop high quality genetically diverse Red Genetics as part of their business enterprise.
New trials are being established by Professor Les Hansen's team in Minnesota and they are attracting Holstein herds of the highest quality. In a recent message Professor Hansen reported their herds had the following production averages:
12,000 litres 453 Kg Fat 377 Protein 273,000 SCC 137 Days Open
These dairy businesses cite stillbirths, cow death rates, calving difficulty and the extreme labour costs required to maintain their cow's health, as reasons to involve their herds in the new series of cross breeding trials in Minnesota. These herds range in size from 250 cows up to 1600 cows.
I would therefore appeal to all Aussie Red seed stock producers, to breed their high genetic merit cows to Red bulls with minimal, or nil content Holstein genetics. The Australian Red Dairy Breed and the Australian Dairy Industry, urgently require these genetics to benefit from the economic advantages that hybrid vigour can deliver.
James Hill Executive Officer
Australian Red Dairy Breed 2008