A unique feature of the Nordic Beef on Dairy Index (NBDI) is the amount of data that is collected, to establish a reliable index for the farmers.
To obtain the gestation length of beef on dairy crossbred calf, the farmer first registers the insemination date of the cow and later registers the calving date.
The farmer is obliged to register several aspects around the calving of any cow, including:
- herd ID where the calf is born
- birth date
- calf condition (dead or alive)
The farmer also provides the calf with its own unique ID within seven days.
Besides mandatory registrations, the farmer can also register the course of the birth, which ensures a large volume of reliable data into the Calving ease index that describes the genetic potential of sire’s offspring to be born easily and alive.
Further, any treatment of the calves is also registered and will in the future give a health index that will be added to the NBDI. The registrations related to health include:
- start- and end date for the treatment
- registration of the unique animal ID that is treated
- reason for treatment
- medicine and dosage used
When the calf is slaughtered, the abattoir sends information on the carcass into the database, giving valuable information on growth, carcass conformation and fat score.
Overall, the Nordic countries have a tradition of collecting very large amounts of data on their cattle population. The farmers, the veterinarians, the hoof trimmers and slaughterhouses can see the benefit of supplying reliable and consistent data into the system, which makes the NBDI a very powerful tool for dairy farmers.