Elite calf in the fast lane

Peter, Kelly, Fynn (9) and Raelene Allison are joined by Bonacord Murmur Bolt at LIC's Premier Sires Breeders' Day held in Hamilton recently. Photo by LIC
Peter, Kelly, Fynn (9) and Raelene Allison are joined by Bonacord Murmur Bolt at LIC's Premier Sires Breeders' Day held in Hamilton recently. Photo by LIC
When it came to naming a Jersey bull calf born the same year as the Olympic Games were on, there was one obvious choice for Peter Allison.

The Otago farmer chose to name it after champion sprinter Usain Bolt, which proved to be a good move.

Bonacord Murmur Bolt was among the dairy industry's top bulls whose breeders were recently recognised at a function at LIC's headquarters, at Newstead, Hamilton.

About 120 breeders from throughout the country attended LIC's Premier Sires Breeders' Day after supplying a bull calf to the co-operative which went on to form part of the 2013-14 team of elite bulls for artificial breeding.

Busy Brook Robust-ET S3F, bred by Nathan Bayne of the Henley Farming Company in Outram, was the only other Otago bull in the team.

Premier Sires bull teams, both daughter proven and genomically selected, sire three out of four dairy cows in New Zealand - contributing about $300 million each year to the economy, or more than $17 billion since LIC began artificial breeding services in the 1950s.

LIC's general manager of genetics, Peter Gatley, said the breeders' day was a very special day on LIC's calendar because it celebrated a group of farmers whose expertise as breeders deserved commendation.

Premier Sires were responsible for producing the next generation of high-genetic-merit, high-performing dairy animals, Mr Gatley said.

Some of the Holstein-Friesian, Jersey and KiwiCross bulls in the elite team were paraded at the day, including Bonacord Murmur Bolt. Mr Allison said the bull, which was sent north as a calf in January last year, came from a very good family and he was delighted with its success.

Three generations of the Allison family attended the breeders' day - Mr Allison, his wife Raelene, their son Kelly and grandson Fynn (9).

Jerseys were a very placid breed and ''very hard workers'' when it came to producing kilograms of milk solids per body weight of the cow, Mr Allison said. A 400kg Jersey could produce 500kg ms, which was very efficient.

The Allison family also has Ayrshire and crossbred cattle.