ADHIS Update: 2016 Feeding the Genes results

Jun 13, 2016




The 2016 Feeding the Genes study, conducted by Dr John Morton, for ADHIS, investigated interactions between sire genetics and feeding systems on: 

  • milk solids production;
  • and the cow’s chance of lasting in the herd.

The milk production results were clear. The study found that in all feeding systems, the daughters of high index (BPI, HWI or TWI) sires produce more milk solids than daughters of low index sires. 

In terms of survival, the daughters of high index (BPI, HWI and TWI) sires last longer than daughters of low index sires in all pasture-based feeding systems. The scale of effects of sire index vary by index and feeding system:

The HWI has larger effects on longevity than BPI or TWI.

In low bail feeding systems the daughters of high BPI and HWI sires last longer than daughters of low index sires.

In moderate to high bail feeding, partial mixed ration (PMR) and hybrid feeding systems, the daughters of high index (BPI, HWI and TWI) sires last longer.

In total mixed ration (TMR) systems the daughters of high HWI sires last longer.

The findings support the take-home message that herd managers should select high index sires whose ABVs are aligned with the breeding objectives for their herd, regardless of their feeding system.

Read more about the results of this exciting research in this factsheet or contact Michelle Axford on 0427 573 330 or for more information.

ADHIS Update: The power of herd improvement in the palm of your hand

Jan 20, 2016

A world-leading smart phone app developed by the ADHIS and Dairy Australia to help farmers choose bulls to meet their breeding objectives is now available to download, free for dairy farmers and advisors.

The Good Bulls app has been designed in close consultation with dairy farmers and advisors and builds on the popular Good Bulls Guide. The app, which can search from over 20,000 bulls, allows farmers and advisors to search, filter, short list and export bulls based on Australian Breeding Values and Australia’s three indices.

ADHIS Extension Officer Sarah Saxton has led the team that helped create the Good Bulls app. She said the app will be an invaluable tool to access bull information anywhere at any time, so farmers can take charge of their herd.

“The Good Bulls app really puts the power of herd improvement in the palm of your hand by giving users on-the-go access to over 20,000 bulls and the ability to enquire about prices with their supplier at the click of a button” Ms Saxton said.

“It’s quick and easy. Select your index and shortlist bulls based on the traits you want to improve in your herd using the Good Bulls app”

The Good Bulls app answers a strong desire by farmers and advisors to be able to filter and sort bulls based on their preferences and to improve profit in a fun and easy way.

Sarah says “We conducted over 20 hours of one on one interviews with a range of farmers and advisors in the design of the app so we are confident this is going to be an essential tool for the industry”.

The Good Bulls app is available for both iPhone and Android phones.

For details on how to download the app visit

An extra week of Artificial Insemination can be worth thousands $$$

Oct 29, 2015

For dairy farmers who plan on spring calving, the next few weeks are a crucial time not only for their herds, but also for their business and profit plans, especially if they are using Artificial Insemination (AI) techniques on-farm.

Dairy Australia program manager for Genetics and Data Management Matthew Shaffer, and Michelle Axford of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) recommend farmers ensure they have enough replacements sired by AI bulls from the Good Bulls Guide. This may mean extending their AI program by a few days before allowing bulls into the paddock to naturally join with their cows.

“Don’t fall short with your AI program and give it that extra bit of time as the upfront costs will pay dividends for over the lifetime of the cow.
”Improving the genetics of your herd will benefit your business bottom line and ultimately your profits even when times are tight,” said Mr Shaffer.
“In 2014, for example, AI bred Australian Holsteins produced 22kg of more fat and 23kg more protein than those naturally bred creating an additional annual production value of about $271.80 per cow.

“And that means if you have 100 more AI bred Holstein cows in your herd you can expect an extra $27,000 of production value every year,” he added.
Ms Axford said that ADHIS and NHIA research for 2014 showed the total number of herd-recorded Holstein cows in Australia was 317,290, of which about 70% are AI bred. The extra value of annual production (based on $6.04/kg MS, source Dairy Farm Monitor Project 14/15) if the other 30% of cows were bred by AI rather than by the herd bull was approximately $25 million.

“The reason we do research on better genetics for our cows is that it produces healthier cows who produce better quality milk and make better profits for our dairy farms,” said Ms Axford.

For more information contact Michelle Axford, ADHIS Extension and Education Manager, ph 0427 573 330 email or

Expression of Interest for Genetics Focus Farms

Sep 17, 2015

A new project, ImProving Herds aims to demonstrate how innovative science, on farm testing and data driven decision-making deliver increased profits. To achieve this a collaborative team of Australian and international dairy industry organisations and experts has united to explain existing value and explore future services.

ImProving Herds is now recruiting 25 genetics focus farms to demonstrate the value of genetic improvement. Find out more about how you can be part of this exciting and dynamic project here

ImProving Herds is an innovative herd improvement RDE&E project funded by the Gardiner Foundation and supported by a range of industry organisations. Express your interest before 30 September 2015.


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