Building Young Sires
Young Sire Program:
Select Sires always has had a deep-seated commitment to your future. This philosophy has spread to and through the 4,000 PGA cooperators who have made Select’s Program for Genetic Advancement the “heart and soul” of our sire-development program and the model for young-sire sampling worldwide.
Producing Consistent Results…
Not every bull sampled through Select’s Program for Genetic Advancement™ (PGA™) graduate into our proven lineup. Only the most elite are offered as proven sires. Across all dairy breeds, producers trust that using PGA semen today will result in daughters they’ll be happy milking in the future, regardless of their lineup status. All four daughters pictured above, including the show-winning Holstein, are PGA results whose sires never made Select’s active lineup!
To continue supplying elite genetics for your herd, Select Sires wishes to grow the PGA program by progeny testing more bulls. If you’re not participating in PGA, now is an excellent time to join. If you’re already a member, consider increasing the level of young-sire usage in your herd. By participating in a program with national scope, you’ll have the opportunity to use a variety of outstanding pedigreed young sires and get paid benefits for the results.
Ensure your genetic future and see Consistent Results™ in your herd—make PGA a part of your management system.
PGA™ Accomplishments “Select Sires has operated a successful young-sire program since its inception as an organization in 1965,” says Chuck Sattler, vice president, dairy progeny testing and genetics research. “It became more formalized and efficient in 1974 when it was named the PGA. Some of the dairy industry’s most influential sires have emerged as graduates of the program. Names such as 7HO980 MARK, 7HO1897 BLACKSTAR, 7HO543 BELL*CV, 7HO191 WAYNE*MF, 7HO3948 EMORY, 7HO5157 DURHAM*CV, 7HO5375 BW MARSHALL, 7JE159 SOONER, 7JE254 BERRETTA, 7GU179 PENDER, 7BS629 KING and 7AY43 RELIABLE are household names when discussions center on impact sires in each breed. Modern-day sires of the same caliber are 7HO5708 BLITZ, 7HO6417 O MAN, 7HO6682 MARMAX*RC, 7HO6758 MR SAM, 7HO6782 ZENITH, 7HO7004 DAMION, and 7JE442 PARAMOUNT. What do these greats all have in common? They all were sampled and developed through the PGA.”
Committed To Your Future
The dynamics of the dairy industry are changing. Many herds, including PGA herds, are getting larger, causing some cooperators to reexamine their roles in young-sire sampling. Fewer herd owners are using official production testing, therefore eliminating themselves from PGA participation. Herds are going out of business daily. Some current PGA herds may no longer be around when their PGA young sire daughters freshen, thus their data will be “lost” in the sampling process. Fewer breeder groups are proving bulls so fewer outside sources of genetics are available when additional proven bulls are needed.
The strength of the PGA is the future results that Select Sires and our PGA cooperators will be able to generate to meet the proven genetic needs of this changing market. These genetics are being obtained with a renewed commitment by dairy producers to sample young sires. PGA enrollment continues to grow. This enables Select Sires to continue expanding the semen distribution on each young sire to more herds, further enhancing our capabilities to maintain and increase the reliability of the sampling.
“You have a right to expect a high degree of accuracy in the genetic material you purchase,” says Sattler. “More daughters in more herds, while not the only criteria impacting accuracy, provides even more confidence in our sire program.”
PGA™ Procedures and Benefits
It Pays Off The availability of great, accurately proven sires takes active participation and commitment at all levels—from Select Sires to you, the dairy producer. Everyone benefits from the variety of young sires selected and the controlled random sampling of each sire.
The first step in sampling is to identify the best prospective bull mothers through intensive pedigree selection and screening of the U.S. Department of Agriculture cow indexes. Using Select’s balanced genetic approach to sire development, cows selected then are mated to the best sires to achieve the highest parent averages for type and production performance. The resulting bull calves then enter the PGA system.
“The objective of any successful young-sire program is to identify the true genetic value of the bulls being sampled,” says Chuck Sattler, vice president, dairy progeny testing and genetics research. To accomplish this, Select Sires stresses random distribution and random usage of PGA semen.
“Qualified PGA herds are divided by region of the country and level of production with semen from each PGA sire being distributed nationally to all regions and all herd levels. The system also is designed so young sires are used randomly within assigned herds. This results in an unbiased early evaluation.”
PGA Herd Qualifications The PGA is designed to efficiently test and evaluate a large number of sires each year. Accurately evaluating the early daughters of a sire is critical for future satisfaction of the many dairy producers who will use semen from program graduates. Thus, herds enrolling in the PGA are expected to meet and maintain minimum guidelines to achieve program goals, as follows:
•Maintain herd size of 40 or more identified cows of the breed enrolled to assure an adequate number of herdmates.
•Have average or higher production for the breed in the area in which the herd is located.
•Use semen from PGA sires in a manner that maximizes the number of PGA-sired calves.
•Maintain a good identification program.
•Be enrolled in a milk-recording program from which records are used in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) genetic evaluations.
PGA Sampling Procedures The key to accurate, early evaluation is to randomly sample each sire throughout the population. Therefore, semen from each PGA sire is distributed to 175 herds across the nation to enable approximately equal usage in all regions and at various production levels. In addition, random usage within a herd is a key to accurate genetic evaluation. PGA herds typically adopt one of three common management approaches to ensure random usage, including using semen to breed:
•The next cows in heat after semen is received,
•All first-repeat services or
•All first-calf heifers (those that have calved once).
Milk Recording Requirements
Currently there is an endless combination of testing plans that qualify to be used in USDA genetic evaluations. The requirement for participation in PGA is for herds to maintain a Data Collection Rating (DCR) of at least 70% as calculated by USDA. Typically this means that supervised herds need to test about every other month. For herds using on-farm milk meters and uploading weekly average milk weights to DHI, then quarterly supervised testing with component sampling is acceptable. Owner-sampler herds are required to have monthly recording of milk weights and component testing. In addition, Owner-Sampler herds need:
•To maintain at least 40% of the herd with usable ID.
•Record bulk tank weights on test day.
•Use QCS approved meters.