Reliable data

Key advantage for the Nordic countries when selecting directly for health traits

Breeding directly for health traits is possible. With a large amount of high quality and reliable data for the actual disease cases, you can measure and keep track of the health traits. Some people claim that it is difficult to make reliable proofs for individual disease traits, because you can't measure health traits as you measure milk yield. At VikingGenetics, we are confident to say that this is not the case, because we have an extensive and reliable data recording system, and therefore the Nordic countries manage to breed for heath traits with the highest possible reliability. 

We have put a lot of effort in creating and improving the data collection system. This would only be possible with standardisation of disease recording, and educating farmers, veterinarians and hoof trimmers, and bringing all the information into the same database.
General Health and Udder Health are based on records made by veterinarians in the first three lactations. A high proportion of cows contributing with data results in a high reliability of breeding values. 

For the registrations made by veterinarians, more than 80 different disease codes are used to describe the diagnoses that are categorized as the following:

Udder diseases

Reproductive diseases

Metabolic diseases 

Feet and leg diseases

For Hoof Health, data is mainly collected electronically by hoof trimmers but also by veterinarians and herd managers. The Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) is always working to ensure high reliability and quality of data. Only records from herds complying with strict rules are used in genetic evaluations. 

Systematic data collection for health traits started before 1985 in Sweden and Finland and since 1990 in Denmark, being the first ones in the world doing this. After 2006, registration was initiated on a smaller scale by other countries in e.g. Austria, Canada, France, United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).

Data registrations for VikingDefenceTM

The strength of the registration system in the Nordic countries is that there is a very high proportion of cows contributing with data and not only some selected herds. 90% of cows provide data for General Health and Udder Health, while 40% of cows provide electronic data from hoof trimmers.