JT Thwaites Sire of the Season 2024

Northland bull wins prestigious national award

A Northland-bred Jersey bull that has won a prestigious national award for siring top producing daughters in the New Zealand milking herd, is also an example of how genomics can super charge breeding in our dairy industry.

Glen Kaycee Sherlock JG, a CRV Jersey bull bred by the Tucker family from Northland, has won the JT Thwaites Sire of the Season. He was also New Zealand’s top bull across all breeds in the April 2024 Ranking of Active Sires (RAS).

Sherlock and his sire, Pukeroa Gun Walker JG, were both bred through the JerseyGenome™ programme, which is designed to identify elite yearling heifers using genomic selection and customised matings.

The Tucker family are long-standing participants in the JerseyGenome™ programme, and every season make all replacement heifers available for genomic testing. Christine Tucker says their goal was always to produce a bull that would be marketed by a national breeding company, but Sherlock surpassed all their expectations.

“To us having a bull marketed was the ultimate achievement, but it’s a complete surprise to see Sherlock come through like he has,” says Christine.

The JT Thwaites Sire of the Season award recognises sires who have the potential to significantly influence the quality of cows within dairy herds across New Zealand, says Steve Ireland, JerseyNZ’s convenor for Jersey NZ’s Genetics Committee.

“I would like to congratulate the Tucker family and CRV for breeding Sherlock. Sherlock is a very worthy recipient of this award. His 622 BW backed by outstanding production BVs and very positive fertility is an achievement in itself, when you couple this with a degree of genetic diversity, Sherlock’s value to the Jersey population will be significant,” says Steve.

CRV Regional Breeding Manager Jenna O’Sullivan.says Sherlock’s success demonstrates the value of genomics to the dairy industry. 

“Sherlock offers excellent CRV Health and Efficiency scores. He also offers breeders production with both protein and fat and great conformation,” says Jenna.

Sherlock’s dam Skallywag, was bred through several generations from a cow purchased by the Tuckers in 1989 as they were growing their herd. She was identified for breeding as part of the JerseyGenome™ programme.

“Sherlock’s dam is a big-framed Jersey with better than average production, and CRV selected Pukeroa Gun Walker JG as a complementary mating sire.. Sherlock was the resulting bull, born in 2019,” says Christine.

“It was that sire selection, with Walker also being a genomic sire, that has seen the genetic gain come through on Sherlock’s sire’s side.

Jenna says, “Using genomics, we can strategically combine desirable traits and minimise the transmission of undesirable genetic factors. That means we can improve the overall quality of the bull’s progeny.”

CRV is a leader in helping farmers breed healthy and efficient animals. Jenna says Sherlock is an excellent example of the standard the company is setting, particularly with its genomic sires.

“Genomics gives us more accurate insights into a bull’s potential at a much younger age. It super charges our breeding programme by allowing us to make more informed decisions by selecting bulls with complementary genetic profiles to breed with.”

Christine explains that they have always focused on breeding a well put together Jersey cow that is slightly larger with good udders.

“Sherlock is a good example of a sire that will deliver all of that for New Zealand dairy farmers whether they are Jersey breeders or not,” she says.