New weight in NTM fulfill the future needs of dairy cows

The Nordic Total Merit (NTM) index is an excellent tool to detect the most profitable bulls and cows for dairy business with respect for the balance between production, cost reducing traits and health. 

The NTM platform is very stable, and smaller updates are done on regular basis to guarantee optimal work of the index. Nowadays, more updates are taking place where all conditions including financial models are reviewed with support from scientists, genetic experts, farmers and other stakeholders to ensure the best possible index for selection of genetics to the future needs. The last two years we have been in a process to define the optimal NTM based on facts - and now we are ready to explain more about it.

What has changed?

As the NTM is very stable the changes are quite minimal even though all conditions have been re-evaluated. The main changes are:
- More focus on concentrated milk 
- More focus on health and production in later lactations
- Still very big progress in all health and reproduction traits

Concentrated milk 

The production is the main income for dairy producers and there is still a focus on increased production in the future. To ensure that growth is done as efficiently as possible we have increased the weight on content in milk for all breeds and, therefore, punish bulls with low components. As there is an expected high demand on fat in the future, we have increased the relative weight on fat more than on protein – but there will be a vast increase on both fat % and protein % and still genetic progress in kg milk. 
Table 1: Correlation between Y-index and index for % fat and % protein with old and new index.
Table 1 shows that the correlation between fat % and protein % to Y-index increase very much. So, a clear positive trend in components can be expected in the coming years. This fit into our strategy as it is easier and healthier for cows to produce less water and more solids. 

Longer lasting cows 

As a combination of better genetic longevity potential and better management, the cows are staying longer in the herds and replacement rates are in general decreasing. For that reason, we have increased the relative weight on 3rd and later lactation, so now counts for 45 % compared to 20 % in the past. 
Big response on health and fertility 
After the revision of the NTM, we know there is still huge genetic progress on all health and fertility traits ensuring an excellent balance between production and health.  Even though we go for a higher re-sponse on kg fat and protein, we are sure that we are not damaging the progress in cost reducing and animal welfare traits. 
NTM is with the updated economical weight an even stronger tool to predict the most economical bulls and cows for you. The value of NTM per unit/per year is now 8 Euro for VikingJersey, 9 Euro for Vi-kingRed and 10 Euro for VikingHolstein. 

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