Dairy farmers and industry people are being encouraged to have their say about the industry’s National Breeding Objective (NBO), by filling in a survey before the end of January 2020.
Michelle Axford from DataGene said the National Breeding Objective described the agreed collective breeding priorities for the Australian dairy industry. It is currently expressed as the Balanced Performance Index (BPI), Health Weighted Index (HWI) and Type Weighted Index (TWI).
“The NBO is formally reviewed once every five years so now is the opportunity for people to tell us about the kind of cow they want to breed,” Mrs Axford said.
“Since their introduction in 2015, there has been a positive and sustained use of the BPI, HWI and TWI by farmers and bull companies. This has contributed to a doubling of the rate of genetic gain in the sires used to produce Australian cows.”
Mrs Axford said the review was important to ensure the national breeding objective remained relevant to farmer preferences and based on robust science.
Some of the themes being explored in this review include: Fat to Protein ratio, longevity, fertility, feed efficiency, new traits, multiple indices and updating the base*.
* Indices and ABVs are relative measures, meaning they make sense when compared to each other or to an average. The average, also known as the base, is a clearly defined group of animals, to which all others are compared. In Australia, the average is defined as the cows of the same breed that are 6 years +/- 2 years of age when it was last updated in 2014. It is updated periodically so it reflects the cows that are milking in today’s herds. Production traits, feed saved and indices are set at a base of 0. Type, health and management traits are set at a base of 100.