Some of the New Zealand’s top bull breeders came together in Hamilton, New Zealand last week (23 May) to celebrate their contribution to the dairy industry.
The elite group of farmers were invited to attend LIC’s prestigious Breeders’ Day event after supplying a bull calf to the farmer-owned co-operative which went on to form part of their elite teams of artificial breeding bulls last Spring, called Premier Sires.
The Premier Sires teams are responsible for up to 80 per cent of dairy cows being milked on New Zealand dairy farms.
LIC Board chair and Nelson dairy farmer, Murray King, said the breeders are an integral part of LIC and the event recognises their special partnership.
“LIC is immensely proud of our partnership with these farmers, and the value it delivers – not just this year, but for years to come, on the average Kiwi dairy farm, to the industry and the New Zealand economy.
“It’s always an honour to celebrate this elite group and acknowledge the pinnacle they have achieved in breeding a bull good enough to sire future generations of dairy cows.”
When the bull calves were purchased by LIC, they entered the co-op’s Sire Proving Scheme to see if they have what it takes to become a Premier Sire – a process which can take up to four years. Only the very best are chosen. Since its inception 57 years ago, close to 10,500 bulls have graduated from the scheme and received the Premier Sires title.
“This robust scheme gives farmers the confidence that their herd replacements will be better than their mothers – more efficient, more fertile, more productive and more profitable.
“There are many things that LIC does which embody what it means to be a co-operative – to work closely with and for our farmers – and there’s no better example than Sire Proving and the Premier Sires team of bulls. By pooling information from the national herd LIC is able to select potential sires which in turn benefit the full membership.
“We don’t prescribe what is right for individual farmers. We provide choice so they can select the breeding programme best for their herd and business. The breeders of these bulls, and the elite cow families they have bred over the years, are a crucial part of that,” said Murray King.
Two of the industry’s most exceptional bulls were also recognised at the event and inducted into LIC’s prestigious Hall of Fame - the highest acknowledgement a bull can receive, to celebrate the significant value he has delivered to the industry.
Lynbrook Terrific (Jersey bull, bred by Steve and Nina Ireland from Temuka) and Priests Solaris (KiwiCross bull, bred by Rowan Priest from Te Aroha) are the 55th and 56th animals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Terrific and Solaris have produced more than 140,000 daughters for the national dairy herd combined, as well as many sons and grandsons for the artificial breeding (AB) industry.
The Hall of Fame is exclusively reserved for animals whose achievements have had, and will continue to have, a profound influence on the profitability of New Zealand’s dairy farmers and in-turn, the economy.
A bull’s influence can be measured by number of inseminations, daughters milking in dairy herds around the country and/or sons which have also gone on to sire future generations of dairy cows.
Lynbrook Terrific ET S3J
Born in 2008, on Steve and Nina Ireland’s Temuka farm
Sired by Fernaig Admiral SJ3
Debuted on the Premier Sires team in 2010
38,000 daughters, 13,500 have been herd tested
57 sons entered sire proving, with an outstanding graduation rate
th inductee, 26 th Jersey
Born in 2007, bred by Rowan Priest
Sired by Ingrams Ramrod
Debuted on the Premier Sires team in 2009
105,000 daughters, 47,000 have been herd tested
inductee, 3 rd KiwiCross