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6 Jan 2021

Polled bulls are on the rise for VikingHolstein

VikingHolstein is moving towards more polled cows, and we believe we should speed this process up. Reality has shown the benefits farmers can get out of polled genetics. Those advantages can be seen in the bottom line when dairy farmers avoid investing in dehorning.

On the other hand, using genetics from polled bulls also counts as a good animal welfare practice.

We believe that at least 25% of all purchased bulls by the end of 2020 will be heterozygotic polled, and 20% of those bulls should be homozygotic. Our aim is that by 2021, this percentage will be higher.


All under control

The VikingHolstein programme has the polled gene distributed in the population to maintain good variation. We can see there are more top bulls being polled. We trust in keeping diversity and genetic progress in balance.

To sharpen our process of female selection, our VikingEmbryo program is important in order to know which bloodline should contribute to the next generation of cows.

More Red Holstein bulls

Another decision we have made is to include more Red Holstein bulls. So far, this has been a small part of the VikingHolstein selection programme, where today we purchase 3-4 bulls per year. The aim is to duplicate the selection due to an increased demand for X-Vik sexed semen.


Focus on teat size

 “We need to be careful not to make the teats smaller.” This is a quote that we sometimes hear from dairy farmers. It is a very relevant comment that we take seriously. Teat size is in our focus.

A quick look at the global sales list of VikingHolstein bulls shows that both teat thickness and length are slightly above average, but with a huge variation.

It is worth highlighting some of the good daughter proven bulls (VH Cosmo, VH Manfolk, VH Sparky) as bulls that make bigger teats, but also genomic bulls such as VH Mario P, VH Mester and VH Crown.


What does the index mean in reality?

Both thickness and length measurements are in average 5.3 on the scale from one to nine, for all classified cows in one to three lactation.

These numbers can be giving us information in centimetres, meaning teats are on average 5.3 cm long. A bull with index 90 in teat length will contribute with 3.4 mm shorter teats and on the other hand, a bull with index 110 in teat length will contribute with 3.4 mm longer teats.


Text by Claus Langdahl
Senior Holstein Breeding Manager.