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INTERBULL Helps U.S. Cows Meet World's Best Bulls / February 25, 1998 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Holstein dairy cows

INTERBULL Helps U.S. Cows Meet World's Best Bulls

By Hank Becker
February 25, 1998

America's most productive dairy cows can be bred to the world's best bulls, thanks to information that U.S. scientists supply to an international bull-rating service.

INTERBULL, the International Bull Evaluation Service headquartered in Uppsala, Sweden, is like a consumer report that objectively rates bulls worldwide, based on an extensive list of important quality standards.

American bull semen continually ranks high on INTERBULL evaluations, and the United States is the world's leading exporter of dairy bull semen, with sales exceeding $60 million a year.

To help the U.S. stay competitive, Agricultural Research Service scientists evaluate about 128,000 U.S. bulls from data collected from more than 20 million of the animals' daughters by the National Dairy Herd Improvement Association. Each year, the scientists process and evaluate millions of new records from these female offspring that indicate important traits such as milk production and composition.

The researchers forward their results to INTERBULL. Twice each year, INTERBULL evaluates bulls that have been properly tested in different countries--currently 22 and growing.

Among INTERBULL's long-term aims are improving milk yield and quality and increasing resistance to diseases like mastitis, while protecting genetic diversity. But its short-term goal is to rank the bulls, enabling dairy farmers and breeders to select the world's best bulls to sire daughters based on objective criteria

A story about INTERBULL appears in the February 1998 issue of ARS' Agricultural Research magazine. The story is also on the World Wide Web at:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb98/bull0298.htm

Scientific contact: Rex L. Powell, ARS Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-8334, fax (301) 504-8092, rexpowel@ggpl.arsusda.gov .

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