The genetic fingerprint of feed conversion and global sustainability
Livestock genetics leader and innovator STgenetics® has launched a new index that will ultimately predict a cow’s productive life and profitability from the time she is born until she leaves a herd.
EcoFeed™ is built around feed efficiency, which is a moderately inheritable trait. Feed costs can represent up to 60 percent of a dairy farm’s operational costs. Breeding for animals that produce the same amount or more milk than their peers on less feed can lower feed costs by an average 24 cents per day per animal, which translates to saving about $87,600 per year for a 1,000 head herd.
The EcoFeed™ index is an integrated approach to genetic selection developed by STgenetics® to help producers create their next generation breeding females. The program encompasses environmental, metabolic and genomic factors affecting dairy cattle profitability from birth until the cow leaves the farm.
EcoFeed™ comprises more than simple feed efficiency. It is a continuously growing database that monitors the animal’s growth, milk production, fertility and it’s impact on the environment through the amounts of manure, methane and carbon dioxide it produces. Feed efficient animals use fewer feed resources and convert feed more efficiently, creating less waste, manure, methane and CO2 per unit of production, which in turn helps make dairying a sustainable and environmentally friendly industry.
To qualify as an EcoFeed™ sire, a bull’s progeny must be genetically tested and complete feed efficiency testing. EcoFeed™ rankings are based on a 100 base system where every five points equals one pound less feed the bull’s progeny can be expected to consume each day while producing as much or more milk than its peers. For example, the progeny of a bull with a 110 EcoFeed™ score can be expected to eat two pounds less feed per day than the progeny of a bull with a 100 EcoFeed™ score.
For more information about EcoFeed™ and qualifying bulls, talk with your local STgenetics® representative or contact the company’s Dairy Call Center at (844) 828-7849 or Dairy@STgen.com. International customers can call (920) 921-5850 or email CS@STgen.com.