By Duane Norman (December 5, 2007)
After reviewing feedback from the industry to test files for the new service-sire fertility evaluation that is being developed at AIPL [Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory], we have decided to provide ERCR [estimated relative conception rates] for the January 2008 run using the data from the same States that have been used in recent runs. The Lab is currently addressing some questions raised by the NAAB [National Association of Animal Breeders] Fertility Committee in regard to our new evaluation. It is our intention to move ahead with the implementation of a new service-sire fertility evaluation in April 2008, as we believe the research completed has produced a fertility evaluation that is considerably more accurate than any currently available.
By Leigh Walton (November 21, 2007)
In August 2007, USDA started calculating official genetic evaluations 3 times instead of 4 times per year as had been done since May 1997. This change was made in coordination with Interbull [International Bull Evaluation Service, Uppsala, Sweden], which implemented the new schedule with input from the 26 countries that supplied their national evaluations. The National Association of Animal Breeders (NAAB) requested an interim summary (progeny-test bull summary) be compiled based on lactation data from a reduced number of herds, specifically those having daughters of progeny-test bulls calving in recent months. Members of the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) and the dairy records processing centers gave NAAB approval for a test to be completed on a trial basis (September 2007 interim summary). The results were examined to determine whether they could serve a useful purpose; i.e., improve the effectiveness of the semen collection process in order to bank an inventory that will be available after a subsequent official run. Based on this examination, the CDCB suggests the process be done 3 times a year. The interim format-38 file contains summaries for all progeny-test bulls that have higher reliability than their evaluation in the last official run. Only identification fields and yield traits are included; other trait fields are zero. A draft Journal of Dairy Science paper is available upon request.
There are 69 bulls that do not have first-lactation averages, numbers of daughters and herds, etc., reported. Because the evaluations are of most interest, we decided to release them anyway; we are investigating this matter and will repost once resolved.