Economic values for yield, survival, calving interval and beef daily gain for three breeds in Slovenia

Y. de Haas, R.F. Veerkamp, L. Shalloo, P. Dillon, A. Kuipers, M. Klopcic

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Abstract

Breeding indices need to be looked at periodically to evaluate the objective of the breeding program. In recent times the economic perspective of the breeding program has received a higher priority in deciding breeding objectives than in the past. However, prices of input and output products are becoming more difficult to predict with increased fluctuations in most prices, which adds a level of complexity to their inclusion in the selection index. With these challenges in mind, the breeding program in a new EU country (Slovenia) was evaluated. All three national Breeding Associations joined the deliberations. The aim of this study was to develop an economic selection index for three breeds (Simmental, Brown Swiss and Holstein-Friesian) in Slovenia. Because farming circumstances differ within Slovenia, differences in the production systems were also taken into account; e.g., flat land vs. hilly/mountainous areas, and for conventional vs. organic farming. Economic values (€) were calculated for milk, fat and protein yields (€/cow/year/kg), survival (€/cow/year/%survival), calving interval (€/cow/year/day), and beef daily gain (€/cow/year/kg). Economic values were calculated by changing one of these traits whilst keeping the other traits at the default level. Economic indices were calculated using a farm economic model (Moorepark Dairy Systems Model). Herd parameters (e.g., number of milking cows, replacements, young stock and calving pattern), milk production, feed requirements and ration, land use and labour requirements were re-parameterised in order to be relevant to the Slovenian circumstances. Absolute economic values were slightly negative for milk yield for all breeds (-0.02 to -0.04€ per kg milk), but positive for milk components (0.55 to 1.45€ per kg fat, and 2.89 to 3.38€ per kg protein). High absolute economic values were calculated for survival (7.37 to 9.55€ per %). Absolute economic values for calving interval were approximately -1€ per day for all breeds, while the economic value for beef daily gain was 0.14€ per kg for Brown Swiss and 0.32€ per kg for Simmental. The constructed economic indices ranked bulls in a significantly different manner than how the Slovenian Total Merit Indices ranked the bulls. The economic indices were robust towards changes in prices and farming system. Ranking was most sensitive towards variation in milk price. Assumptions concerning feed intake in relation to growth influenced the economic value for beef daily gain. Assumptions regarding the farming system (i.e., organic farming systems) only slightly affected the ranking of the bulls.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
JournalLivestock Science
Volume157
Issue number2-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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Keywords

  • production circumstances
  • output limitations
  • production traits
  • selection
  • milk
  • fertility
  • objectives
  • efficiency
  • situations
  • weights

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