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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


I am glad to see that generally people think that the average cow today is better than yesteryear. Cows have improved - at least in our eyes. Of course as cows increase yields other problems come to be. Udders have improved but fertility etc have not. This is not surprising - yield and fertility seem to move in opposite directions. So what do the panel think that AI companies should have produced that they have not. We always look for different bloodlines but at the end of the day, the reason certain bloodlines dominate is because they give the customer what he wants and others do not. To stay in business you have to produce what the customer wants. You can try to lead but it takes time for people to follow especially into uncharted territory. Every purchase of semen is a vote for that type of bull. Things go full circle and maybe the tide has moved away from production and more towards health and fertility.

It is scientists, the press and advisory groups who I think try to simplify things too much. They like indexes like PIN and PLI so they can produce lists to comment on. The fact remains that the market is full of individuals. Some like high production bulls, some don't. No individual index will fulfill every farmers needs. Some advisory groups even advocate £PIN minus price as the way to breed cows. I believe that breeding is a complex issue and cannot be simplified by one index. There are just so many things to consider on each mating.

Oh and by the way Will, there are some great reps out there who have seen more cows, advised more farmers and bred more herds than you will ever do on your individual farm. The good ones are always worth listening to.

Last edited by Bob (Local user), 15/9/2003, 22:51
15/9/2003, 22:15 Link to this post PM via Email
 
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


Definatly art, I fail to see Wills point on breeders, if you read any breed mags at all there are lots of artists out there. There are breeders doing lots of differant things as well, Skagvale, Quality, Burrkett Falls, 3 completely different type of herds, unfortuneatly, not enough people care that much, (no index). I have myself only purchased 5 doses of semen from Foundation sires, but these guys are trying to be artists, they could care less about #s. Not many AI companys are willing to stick there neck out, this far. Unfortuneatly again guys like Will would not be interested, too type oriented for the comercial breeder, more interested in science. Where is the art in breeding production on production on production? Nothing at all wrong with being a commercial breeder,(thats a fit for me as well) but why be so critical of a breeder who chooses to be type oriented. History tells us breeding that way was not a mistake.
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


if commercial = profitible
then there must be some semblence of type and longevity in a breeding program as noone can afford to spend a grand+ to cull the heifer who milks 5oo days and never gets in calf.
unfortunately this is happening time after time the more you stack the number one bulls on top of each other.
type and longevity have been sacrifised for high 2yo milk.
We generally look at pedigree first and [sign in to see URL] hubby wont use a bull whose dam hasnt had 3 calves in 5years regardless of her type in an effort to find more fertile cowfamilies.
When we sell a bull ,and we seem to have more and more commercial farmers wander in off the road looking for a holstein bull. , we first have detailed discussions about what his herd is like, what he wants to change , where he wants to be,what bloodlines he has used in the past, what sort of feeding regime, componants [sign in to see URL] we pick a bull for him or send him to someone who we know has bulls for to fill the [sign in to see URL] almost never chose a bull from the mob in the paddock and most of them become repeat buyers who just say want you to rear X bulls for next year and come and get them when they are [sign in to see URL] really as stud breeders we really have responsibility for not only our herd but over a number of years for many [sign in to see URL] is where breeding becomes an art not a science!
16/9/2003, 6:56 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


With no one still having voted for science, it would be interesting to hear any comments on the relative emphasis between the two, when bull studs devise their matings.

It appears to me that because of the desire to fulfil index (scientific) criteria, the art is often compromised!!
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


Might be interesting to ask which bulls were bought as live calves ( bred by the herd owners ) and which were contracted ( bred by the sire analyst ).

Some of the breeding recommendations I have heard over the years have been very much of the 'This is the new hot bull and we're not sure how to use him yet, so will just mate him to all sorts of cows and hope it works somewhere'

Mandel was a case in point.

Holstein International did a bit a few years ago were they showed that a bulls first group of sons were generally not as good as those born a year later. This was partly because the analysts had by then worked out how to use bull correctly.
29/9/2003, 8:35 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


sorry tech fault ( too stupid to use computer )

Last edited by alan a, 29/9/2003, 8:39
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


and getting worse

Last edited by alan a, 29/9/2003, 8:40
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


finally finished sending the same message

Last edited by alan a, 29/9/2003, 8:40
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


I have just got back from Ireland visiting some farms with breeders from Herefordshire. We went to four farms all different, using different bulls, different ideals - but four very switched on breeders.
They were Michael Moroney, Des OConner, Pat Frawley and John Cunnane. They had all sourced much of their herds from top cow families some years ago and were breeding on some great cows. Pat Frawleys Croagh herd was the ultimate high type herd. Every cow in his herd was either EX or waiting to go Ex. He had accessed top families from UK, USA and Canada and was using high type sires to breed stunning [sign in to see URL] bull selection was straight off the top shelf for high type - Storm, Integrity, etc. We were mightily impressed. So are his customers - he sells plenty of animals.
We next went to see John Cunnane at the Lynbrook herd. Pat Frawley was going to be hard act to follow but John also had a tremendous herd of cows - not quite as fancy but he had combined high type with high componants, index and longevity. This man had 6th calf Excellent Mountains that looked like 2nd or 3rd [sign in to see URL] who can breed the cows he has, using the bulls he has, has got to be highly commended. He was not afraid to try things and used both Art and Science in way that I don't think I have seen before. He had many Excellent cows with very high proteins that were obviously lasting. Go and see this man. A classifier may go to his farm and say it was a good herd. A breeder who appreciates what the cows were by and the overall index, the type and protein levels would be mightily impressed.

I think the key to all these breeders sucess, however, was starting from great cow families. They had imported embryos and live animals. Breeding for one single trait is relatively straight forward ie Capacity or udder cleft or butterfat or protein etc but when you try and put it all together like John has successfully done then it is a real art!

Last edited by Bob (Local user), 29/9/2003, 12:55
29/9/2003, 12:33 Link to this post PM via Email
 
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Re: CATTLE BREEDING....... ART OR SCIENCE?


What do you guys think about the triple A system used over here in the states?
The general idea of it is that a bull gets his own set of trait scores and so does the cow,you then try and fit these numbers accordingly to find the most suitable mate.
Now,is this a scientific tool,or is it classed as an art form for the guys who determine the animals aaa scores?
I have seen some suggested matings for cows using the triple a system and it has made me very sceptical about this system,however if you visit herds that have been users of this system for some time the results are surprisingly good.
30/9/2003, 0:10 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 


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