Good bulls on a budget

By Dairy News

WITH SEASONAL conditions and higher feed costs hitting hard in many areas, dairy farmers will be looking for value for money in bulls listed in DataGene’s August release of Australian Breeding Values (ABVs).

The good news is it’s possible to buy semen on a budget without compromising genetic gain.

Michelle Axford from DataGene recently reviewed the relationship between genetic merit, based on Balanced Performance Index (BPI) and the recommended retail price of straws. It included more than 500 Holstein bulls with easily accessible recommended prices in April 2018*.

While the elite BPI bulls (BPI >300) were more expensive on average ($31/straw), the average price of the remaining bulls is $27/straw, regardless of BPI (see table).

“Higher BPI bulls don’t always cost more. Even among the top 100 BPI bulls, the price ranged from $14 to $150 a straw,” she said.

Michelle said a simple and effective approach was to look for bulls in your price range that carry the Good Bulls logo and meet your breeding priorities.

“Talk to your service provider about packages that include Good Bulls. By using Good Bulls to breed replacements, you can be confident they will improve the Balanced Performance Index of your herd,” she said.

Bulls that carry the Good Bulls logo meet DataGene’s minimum criteria for BPI and reliability and are available for purchase.

“There is a wide range of Good Bulls, giving farmers plenty of choice for Good Bulls that meet their priorities for specific traits, budget and company preferences,” she said.