Over 90% of dairy farms say they consider selecting bulls with a high Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) according to Defra's latest Farm practices survey published at the end of May, and a substantial 72% of those surveyed will now always or most of the time, only use bulls with a high £PLI.
£PLI is designed for UK market conditions and indicates the additional profit that a daughter of a high £PLI bull is expected to earn over her lifetime, compared with a daughter sired by an average bull with a £PLI of zero.
AHDB's latest research, undertaken by Promar at the end of 2021, showed that each point of £PLI was worth £1.58 in additional margin per cow at the time. This equates to an extra annual margin of £30,099 for a 150-head, top 10% UK herd (average PLI £197) compared with the same sized herd of average genetic merit (PLI £70).
Marco Winters, AHDB Head of Animal Genetics said: "The increased recognition and uptake of £PLI for breeding decisions is encouraging at a time when margins are being squeezed across dairy farms. While this will undoubtedly help lift herd performance, there's still plenty of scope for further improvement with those farmers who are making bull choices blind or using indexes not suited to the UK's market situation."
Learn more about how £PLI can help your farm: ahdb.org.uk/dairy-breeding-genetics