NEW ZEALAND – A benchmarking system ranking New Zealand dairy cows on the economics of their genetic merit will include body condition score (BCS) from February 2016.
A national breeding review in 2012 identified BCS, particularly in late lactation, as an economically important trait with value for farmers, estimated at NZ$106 per BCS score.
This is according to NZ Animal Evaluation Ltd, a subsidiary of DairyNZ, which concluded genetic gain would be enhanced by the inclusion of the BCS breeding trait.
There are two components – increased value of cow in good condition and reduced cost of maintaining cow condition.
Dr Jeremy Bryant, NZAEL manager, said both components are based on increasing BCS in late lactation.
“With this in mind, it important that the breeding value for this trait represents genetic differences between animals in late lactation,” said Dr Bryant.
“Our studies showed there were minimal differences between breeds in late lactation BCS, especially between Friesians and Jerseys, and farmers often make decisions to dry off cows based on both BCS and breed. Because of this, the BCS breeding value will be breed neutral, so it is more aligned to a late lactation equivalent.”
TheCattleSite News Desk