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5 Jan 2024 - NTM Unlocked #10

Lactation persistency for more efficient dairy herd

Would you like cows with more stable milk production throughout the year that make you a reliable supplier for dairies?

Using bulls with a higher persistency index is an excellent way to achieve this, as you get cows with later peak yields and a flatter lactation curve.

Flatter lactation curves are also associated with fewer health and reproduction issues in dairy cows, as they are under less stress. This helps use resources as efficiently as possible.

What is the Persistency index?

The Persistency index in NTM describes a bull’s daughter's genetic potential for a persistent lactation curve from 100 to 300 days after calving. A higher breeding value indicates a flatter lactation curve.

Breeding values for persistency are calculated based on data in the milk recording - kilograms of milk for the first three lactations.

Knowing your cows’ lactation curve is essential to steer your business in the right direction. By including the Persistency index into your breeding strategy, you can feed your cows more accurately according to their genetic potential.

VikingHolstein cow

Higher persistency = less stress on cows

A flat lactation curve puts less stress on the cow, reducing the risk of problems caused by a negative energy balance.

By improving persistency, you benefit from a herd that is easier to manage and has fewer health and fertility issues. Some of the traits that have a positive correlation with persistency are:

  • Yield
  • Longevity
  • Udder health
  • Fertility

High persistency bulls (EBV >100) will produce daughters with a flatter lactation curve, resulting in a lower yield in the first half of the lactation and a higher yield in the latter half.

When looking for bulls to improve persistency, choose those with a breeding value (EBV) for Persistency above 100. The higher the value, the better the cows’ persistency.

The Persistency index is available for all VikingGenetics bulls.

Persistency index NTM

Optimal choice for pasture-based production

If you adopt pasture-based production in your dairy herd, your choice of sires depends on the calving pattern.

Spring calving

If you have a spring-calving dairy herd, you will benefit from using the bulls that breed daughters with lower persistency.

That way, you utilise pastures at the correct production stage and can feed the cows as cheaply as possible, replacing concentrates with roughage around peak yield.

The bulls with a breeding value for Persistency below 100 producing daughters with earlier peak yield are the suitable choice for your spring-calving herd.

Autumn calving

If your cows calve in autumn, select the bulls with higher persistency, those with a breeding value (EBV) for Persistency above 100.

That way, you can feed cows more accurately according to their genetic potential and achieve higher efficiency in your dairy herd.

Find the best bulls for your herd
Jersey cows

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