NTM Unlocked
– Different weights for different breeds

We have previously explained that in the NTM we are breeding for a balanced outcome combined of Production, Health & Fertility and Conformation & Workability (Functional Conformation) to ensure the optimal economic outcome. The weights in NTM are:

Health & Fertility – 53%
Production – 30%
Conformation & Workability – 17%

The ideology behind this weight distribution is that our breeding goal is to improve the health and fertility of cattle in each generation while increasing production as well. The higher weight on health and fertility traits is due to its increasing importance for dairy farm’s profitability. Keeping the cost down per produced milk kg, ensured by good health and fertility, is just as important for profitability as focusing on improving the production capacity.

Why do we have different weights for different breeds? Bovine breeds are different from each other and therefore the weight distribution in the breeding goals for VikingHolstein, VikingRed and VikingJersey are a bit different. We want all the breeds to develop towards the optimal balanced breeding outcome while taking into consideration the genetic differences and the natural breed specific tendencies for certain traits. The weights for the different breeds are shown in the image.

VikingHolsteins are very high in production by their breed type and abilities, therefore, the weight for improving their Production (30%) capability is lower than for VikingRed (36%) and VikingJersey (37%). As our breeding programs aim for a balanced breeding outcome, it is more important to focus on developing the health traits for VikingHolstein than production capacity that is developing well already for the breed.

Red breeds are naturally healthier breeds than Holstein so therefore the weight put for improving Health & Fertility is lower for VikingRed (44%) than for VikingHolstein (53%). VikingJersey has a bit lower weight (45%) on the health traits in NTM than VikingHolstein, as Jerseys are better in reproduction traits, like daughter fertility and calving. Therefore, the focus can be moved to improving production instead. When looking at the NTM main traits - let’s take Hoof Health as an example - VikingHolstein has the highest weight of all breeds in improving that. The reason for this is that Holstein as a breed is more prone to hoof diseases than Reds and Jerseys.

The weight put on Conformation & Workability is lower compared to Health and Production, and is similar for all the breeds (VH 17%, VR 20%, VJ 18%) as all the breeds’ physical traits support efficient milk production equally.

The distribution of weights between the three groups – Production, Health & Fertility and Conformation & Workability is the result of thorough economic calculations. The goal is to ensure maximum profitability for dairy farms.

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