Progeny Testing

Progeny Testing refers to evaluation of bulls on the basis of their daughter’s performance. This long term and complex programme is considered to be scientifically best approach in achieving genetic improvement in a particular breed.

Progeny testing is a practical and the best option for achieving genetic improvement in the breed spread over many villages in its breeding tract and these villages have facilities for AI services.

A typical breeding design for a PT Programme that can be implemented in smallholder production situations are as under:

  • A set of young bulls produced using the elite dams and sires are put under test.
  • Adequate number of semen doses per test bull are distributed in selected herds/villages to get 80 to 100 complete first lactation records of daughters per bull. Availability of the daughters with complete lactation records in as many herds/villages as possible helps in estimating breeding values of bulls with a very high reliability.
  • The top 1-10 per cent of progeny tested bulls and the very best 1 to 10 per cent of recorded cows are used for producing the next generation of young bulls. The young bulls are again put to test and the cycle is repeated. The top 10 to 15 per cent of the progeny tested bulls are used for producing replacement heifers.

One variant of the PT programme, known as young Sire Programme, is where young bulls are produced using top progeny tested sires and top recorded dams. Here, unlike the progeny testing programme, replacement heifers are produced using bulls selected based on pedigree information. It should be noted here that although the young sires used on the sire-to-dam path i.e. bulls used to produce heifers at the farmers herds are not progeny tested, young bulls are on an average better than the generation from which the proven bulls are selected, as the young sires are produced using the top progeny tested semen and the top recorded dams. Young bulls therefore could be as good as progeny tested bulls of previous generations. When one uses young bulls on sire-to-dam path, the generation interval becomes less than one third of that when only progeny tested bulls are used. This often outweighs the loss in accuracy. The genetic gain thus achieved in many practical schemes of young sire programme is as good as if not better than what is achieved under the classical progeny testing programme. 

Progeny Testing through Young Sire Programme

Progeny testing