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6 Feb 2024

Slash feed costs with genetics

As a dairy farmer, you are always looking for ways to navigate regulations on your emissions and carbon footprint. You have to juggle this with precise cow management, optimising your feed and energy usage, and improving crop performance.

A great way of combining these to reduce your herd’s carbon footprint is the targeted use of feed-efficient genetics.

The Saved Feed Index in the Nordic Total Merit index (NTM) shows how efficiently a cow turns feed into milk. With it, you can identify the most promising bulls to breed high-performing, feed-efficient, more sustainable dairy cows.

Genetics breed feed costs dairy cows

Real-time data collection

The Saved Feed Index is based on data collected by the Cattle Feed Intake System (CFIT). This advanced AI-based, deep-learning system uses 3D cameras to monitor and measure feed intake in a cow’s natural environment across the full lactation.

The objective is to gather feed intake data throughout a cow’s lifespan comparable across different breeds and herds. This can potentially transform herd management, as you can make better-informed decisions.

The CFIT system is currently installed at 25 commercial herds and collects data from over 14,000 cows, including VikingHolstein, VikingJersey, and VikingRed.

Every day, CFIT collects vast amounts of data and figures about:

  • 1,300,000+ daily intake records on lactating cows​
  • 1,000,000+ feed visits
  • 200,000+ meals 
Genetics breed feed costs dairy cows

Data from 30,000 cows

The amount of feed intake data is continuously growing. The goal is to have feed intake data for 30,000 cows by 2025 for our three major dairy breeds – Holstein, Jersey, and Red Dairy Cattle.

VikingGenetics leads the way in feed efficiency indexes, being the only company in the world to offer a feed efficiency index for Jersey and Red Dairy cattle.

Dairy farmers across the Nordic countries and VikingGenetics’ 50+ export markets already reap the benefits of breeding for improved feed efficiency.

The Saved Feed Index and the data collected by the CFIT system are widely used in dairy genetic selection to breed more feed-efficient and climate-friendly cows without compromising on production, health, and reproduction.

This way, you can identify their best feed-converting cows and maximise farm returns by breeding cows that combine all profit-driving traits in one package.

You can easily find out what cows are eating away at your profits and which ones are the top contributors by genomic testing them on the Nordic Total Merit (NTM) scale. With these valuable insights in hand, it will be easier to make more profitable choices. 

Learn more about genomic testing
Genetics breed feed costs dairy cows

Transforming dairy cow management

CFIT technology not only serves as an effective tool to enhance feed efficiency through breeding. It also holds immense potential as a valuable management tool for optimising overall herd management and feeding practices.

With this technology, farmers, breeders, and researchers will be able to record new data on cow behaviour, feeding patterns, and health status. With this, you can monitor your cows' well-being and performance even when you are away.

By leveraging CFIT technology, you can address critical questions like:

  • How much feed is there on the table?
  • What is the cows' production performance?
  • Which cows underperform and should leave the herd?

With this data, you can empower your business and compare your herd's performance with others utilising the system, leading to new valuable benchmarking opportunities.

Discover the Saved Feed Index
Genetics breed feed costs dairy cows

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