20 Apr 2012

Most eligible bull the star of breeders' day

7:00 am on 20 April 2012

New Zealand's most eligible bull from the point of view of genetics was the star of a recent breeders' day in Hamilton.

The livestock improvement company LIC - which provides semen for the artificial insemination of about threequarters of the national dairy herd - holds the event annually to congratulate breeders whose bulls make it into its premier sire category.

Premier sires product manager Mike Wilson says only about 100 bulls will pass on traits such as high fertility, good temperament and high milk production to their offspring, and a bull named Howies Checkpoint is the current "super sire".

Mr Wilson says Howies Checkpoint's 319 breeding-worth points puts him 60 ahead of the next best bull.

He says the bull has received the very best genes from his parents and is "very, very good" at passing those genes on to his progeny.

Mr Wilson says an outstanding bull comes along only every 50 to 60 years and scientists are studying Howies Checkpoint's genome to see if there is anything particularly interesting about it.

The results of their research, he says, should be known over the next two to three years.

Howies Checkpoint is expected to produce about 250,000 progeny in his breeding life.