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5 Jan 2024 - NTM Unlocked #12

Breed for stronger mastitis resistance

Udder health is a vital trait for dairy cows’ well-being and comfort and herd profitability. Mastitis is among the top culling reasons in dairy cows.

You can easily breed cows with stronger mastitis resistance using the Udder health index.

A daughter of a bull with an estimated breeding value (EBV) of 120 in Udder health will suffer fewer cases of mastitis than a daughter of a bull with 100 EBV, which is the breed average.

The difference between bulls can be very significant. For example, a VikingHolstein bull with an EBV 120 for Udder health will mean 54% fewer cases of mastitis.

Jersey cow

Achieve higher mastitis resistance

What does that 54% reduction mean in real life? Let’s take an example of two farms with Holstein cows:

  • Farm A has 500 cows, of which 10% have mastitis each year = 50 cases of mastitis.
  • Farm B has 500 cows, of which 40% have mastitis each year = 200 cases of mastitis. 

This means that breeding for udder health can reduce the mastitis frequency at farm A from 50 cases per year to 23 and at farm B from 200 cases to 92.

In the Nordic countries, the average frequency of clinical mastitis in the first three lactations is around 10% for VikingHolstein and 8% and 13% for VikingRed and VikingJersey, respectively.

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Udder health index NTM

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