2015-05-29   facebook twitter rss

Norway’s New Breeding Goals Focus on Fertility and Health

Geno UK will be highlighting an even greater emphasis on health traits in the updated Total Merit Index (TMI) for the Norwegian Red breed at the Livestock Event, NEC, Birmingham on July 8/9.

“Our revised TMI, that takes effect in June 2015, maintains its emphasis on health and fertility - a trend that has been established in the Norwegian Red breed for the past 30 years,” says Trygve Solberg, head geneticist at Geno.

Norwegian Red sire Retain

Norwegian Red sire Retain - a fine example of top health traits. He is in the top 10 of the breed for health, fertility and calving ease

While the weighting on production in the breeding programme remains unchanged at 28%, that for diseases other than mastitis increases from 2% to 4%. Now, in addition to ketosis, milk fever and retained placenta, the revised index for the Norwegian Red will also include traits reflecting fertility-related disorders such as the health of the cow at calving and heifer health.

“We expect to see production continue to increase but, with the new weightings, an even greater improvement in the breed’s health traits,” adds Trygve Solberg.

“The emphasis on udder conformation has also increased from 15% to 18% to encourage suitable udder conformation for automated milking systems.”

With 40% of cows milked through a robot, Norway leads the world in the proportion of cows milked through automatic systems. Most of the weighting within the udder index is now directed towards keeping the udder at the appropriate height and keeping the teats placed correctly for robotic systems.

The emphasis on beef performance remains unchanged at 6% and is targeted at producing fast carcass growth, good muscling and acceptable fat for slaughter in males at 15 to 18 months of age. The beef-related traits are positively correlated with health and fertility.

“The revised weightings for the Norwegian Red certainly meet the demands of the UK dairy industry – the breed’s health and fertility traits are already the envy of the global dairy industry,” adds Wes Bluhm, managing director of Geno UK. “UK producers are typically looking for improved health and fertility without compromising production.

Table 1. Weights for traits in the most recent and newly updated Norwegian Red Total Merit Index

Table 1. Weights for traits in the most recent and newly updated Norwegian Red Total Merit Index

“And many are appreciating the financial advantages of a herd of healthy, trouble-free cows that can produce high milk yields in a range of systems and that can also produce a valuable beef calf.”

Geno UK is on stand GE50 at the Livestock Event, NEC, Birmingham on July 8/9.

Geno UK

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