AUSTRALIA - Genetic selection has played an important role in halting the downward trend in Australian dairy herd reproductive performance.
A recent analysis by Dr John Morton confirmed that the Daughter Fertility Australian Breeding Value (ABV) has given dairy farmers an effective tool to breed for improved herd reproductive performance.
His analysis, found that the daughters of sires with higher ABVs for daughter fertility have markedly better reproductive performance than daughters of sires with lower Daughter Fertility ABVs.
He concluded that continual selection of sires with a high Balanced Performance Index (BPI) would result in small but ongoing improvements in herd reproductive performance. “This is significant because genetic improvement is both permanent and cumulative. Some farmers may choose to use the Health Weighted Index (HWI) which puts more emphasis on daughter fertility than the BPI,” Dr Morton said.
“However, to maximise genetic gain for herd fertility, select high BPI/HWI sires from the Good Bulls Guide that have high ABVs for daughter fertility.”
Michelle Axford from the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS) said farmers could expect continued improvements in herd fertility, as more cows with better genes for fertility enter the milking herd.
“Of course, genetics complements other management strategies used by dairy farmers to improve herd fertility, including nutrition, heat detection, AI practices and bull management,” she said.
TheCattleSite News Desk