Archive for longevity

Best Practices for Achieving Longer Lived More Productive Dairy Cows

We all wish our cows could meet their potential and live 20 years or longer. However, until we discover the Bovine Fountain of Youth, this remains an elusive dream. Indeed, the average on most dairy farms is only six years. With so much potential, we need to focus on how we can help our cows live long, productive lives.

What Do WE Know About Longevity? Why Aren’t we Using What we Know?

When we develop illnesses, we don’t always have enough information to know what the root cause is.  This isn’t so in dairy farming. Mountains of data have been collected, analyzed and reported but, in general, dairy farmers are not acting up the information. We know what causes involuntary culling. We know what best practices could prevent it.  Unfortunately, the knowing and the implementing are still too far apart.

How Big is the Current Problem with Involuntary Culling?

According to Government of Canada and USDA reports, 30-40% of cows are being culled from herds each year.  Some of this is accounted for because of low production or sales of breeding stock. Those are conscious decisions made for specific reasons.  However, much of the culling is involuntary and is a huge contributor to decreased longevity. The majority of cows are culled because of reproductive problems, poor udder health, lameness and problems with feet and legs. Other illness or injuries also contribute to the high statistics. A culling rate of 40% means that a herd cannot raise enough heifers to meet replacement needs.

What Does this Mean?

High rates of involuntary culling are probably directly correlated to poor levels of animal welfare.  Unfortunately, these health/welfare problems may be indicators of something much more problematic.  The underlying health and welfare problems may be much higher than the rate of culling indicates.  Ito et al reported in 2010 that the actual prevalence of lameness among dairy cows is above 20%.  That percentage is considerably higher than the 2% that are reported as being culled because of feet and leg problems (Government of Canada, 2011). In 2008, 46% of cows in free stalls had hoof lesions (Cramer et al, 2008).  The numbers are similar in the USA.  USDA (2007) reports that four percent were culled for lameness, however an average of 20% to 55% of dairy cows are lame at any one time, depending on the region (Espejo et al, 2006, von Keyserlingk et al, 2013).

Mastitis Has the Same Pattern

In 2011, the Government of Canada reported that about 4% of cows are culled because of mastitis, high SSC or poor udder health. However, Rierkerink et al estimate that mastitis incidence is around 23 cases per 100 cow years.

Who Does A Good Job Of Achieving Longevity?

Best management practices, derived from proven science, are providing some breeders with improved animal welfare and increased profits.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean we can’t help our cows live long, productive lives.  We need to put what we know, into practice to extend their longevity.

Are you meeting these herd composition benchmarks?

  • 1st lactation                  24%
  • 2nd lactation                 20%
  • 3rd lactation                  16%
  • 4th lactation                  12%
  • 5th lactation and later   28%

Best Practices that Ensure Longevity

  1. Calf Management – Protocols to raise health and reduce calf mortality.
  2. Implement Indoor Housing Factors – To reduce lameness, injury, and illness.
  3. Benchmarking of farm performance.
  4. Implement an aggressive reproduction program.
  5. Reducing lameness.
  6. Build dairy producer knowledge.

Calf Management

It might seem unusual to start with calf management when you’re talking about extending the life expectancy of cows.  Many place involuntary culling of cows in the number one slot for how to improve longevity. That seems obvious. However, less obvious, but with perhaps even more impact are the calves that never make it to the milking line. Vasseur et al reported in 2012 that pre-weaning calf mortality rates are high in North America. Mortality rate record keeping, which needs to be dramatically improved and increased, is the first step.  Setting a realistic benchmark is also important.  Unfortunately, the Vasseur study also reported “some farms with mortality rates above 19% did not consider calf mortality to be a problem.”

  • Individual housing may not affect small groups but could reduce mortality among larger groups (more than 7-10 animals).
  • The effect of a calf’s illness on her ability to milk as a cow is, in general, underestimated. Recent research (Soberon et al, 2012) shows the effect of pre-weaning growth rates on later milk yields.
  • Failure to implement well-known and documented best practices is a major reason for the continuing high levels of calf mortality on many farms.

They also noted that in Canada there are significant differences in mortality rates between farms. The differences between the highest quartile of farms and the lowest is significant which is positive in so far as it indicates that, when good management practices are implemented, it is possible to dramatically reduce the problems.

The Role of Housing in Dairy Cattle Longevity

The characteristics of the environment that your cows are house in can have a significant impact on their longevity. Even when you have bred for the best possible feet and leg conformation, it can be compromised if the housing situation itself raises the risk of injuries. Some conclude that pasturing is the answer.  More thoughtful study and design needs to be applied to creating the ideal indoor environment for lactating cows.

One Canadian survey found that nearly 25% of Canadian dairy farms scored lameness results at less than 10%. This is lower than the results reported by some pasture-based dairies, proving that it is definitely possible to do make sustainable improvements.

Five improvements:

  1. Take responsibility: Zero grazing puts the responsibility upon the producer to create housing and provide management that does not negatively impact the dairy animals.
  2. Raise the rail height: Simply by increasing the height of the feed rail at the feed bunk to above 140cms from the floor can greatly reduce the risk of neck injuries. (Zaffino, 2012)
  3. Reduce standing time: Standing on wet, concrete floors has a direct correlation with lameness.
  4. Provide comfortable stalls: Depending on the situation, sand or mattresses have been shown to contribute to reduced instances of lameness.
  5. Sufficient Bedding: Switching to sand bedding requires significant change to buildings. Simply adding more straw or sawdust bedding results in hock lesions falling to 31% from the 80% prevalence that is seen when cows are housed on mattresses and no bedding.

Benchmarking of Farm Performance

More often than not, record keeping has a positive impact. Knowing the exact incidence of lameness, mastitis or other illness help set a target for reducing them. Well-managed dairies are reaping the financial benefits of reducing lameness and raising the welfare of their milking herd.  More training, data collection, and peer sharing is a pro-active and positive way to get the results heading in the right direction.

From Candid Camera to Can-Do Care!

Consciously and conscientiously targeting the reduction of involuntary culling is directly correlated to increased cattle longevity. Ensuring that all possible means – health, housing, and genetics – are being responsibly managed – will have a direct effect on reducing involuntary culling and mortality rates.

Reproduction Must Be Managed Better

Much is written about improving reproduction. At one time, the emphasis was solely placed on heat detection.  However, successful dairy managers are now paying particular attention to reproductive management from birth, through rearing, to transition and milking.  Definitely too many breeders are willing to accept less than the best reproductive performance. The first step is acknowledging that there are reproductive problems that aren’t being solved. This must be followed up by bringing in whatever help you can to build improvements into your repro program.

Lameness is Running Away with the Profits

We expect some degree of slowness, bent backs and hesitant steps in the aging and elderly folks we see around us.  However when our dairy herd is limping, falling down or unable to get up, we are forced, whether we like it or not to cull the animal – regardless of her age.  Lameness is a serious problem which adversely affects milk yield.  Research has shown that high yielding cows are more susceptible to lameness.  Too often, we accept this as one of the outcomes of an intensive focus over the past few decades on dairy production. Even though there are excellent best practices that can be used, too often this area is disregarded at the expense of the dairy operation and the welfare of the animal.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

It takes information to make improvements.  You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge.  Dairy farmers are recognizing that they are responsible for improving their knowledge and understanding of the factors that impact longevity.  Sharing the statistics and setting benchmarks is next.  Most important, however, is implementing an action plan.

Only when improved record keeping and best practices are acted upon, will we begin to see our dairy herds reach their full lifetime potential.


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HELLO! This Is Your Herd Calling. We’re Sick Today!

We are so used to leaving voice messages it can only be a matter of time until you hear.

 “Good morning Boss. I will be away from the milking line today.  If this is an emergency, please check with the veterinarian or better yet – find out why more than eight diseases are going through the barn? Have a great day. Cownt Me Out!

“It’s a Wake-Up Call for the Dairy Industry”

Regardless of how you receive the message about dairy health issues, there is no question that we have already received the wake-up call.  Whenever CowntMEout and her peers are fighting health issues, they are still in the lineup and could be having a negative ripple effect because they are contagious, costing money for treatment and losing money because of lowered production. You may laugh off the “cow calling” app on your smart phone, but disease is no laughing matter.  The incidence of disease in dairy cattle is increasing. So far the only way to tackle it has been through management practices and veterinary inputs. At least that’s where our thinking has been.  It’s time to pick up the phone!

Disease has your barn number. It’s going to call back often!

There is no acceptable level of poor health and, like telemarketing calls, you will receive many visits, at inconvenient times and with increasing frustration.  The higher incidence of health problems has risen side by side with the increase in milk yield, which has been sought after and achieved over several decades. However, along with poor health, increased lactation progress has been accompanied by reproduction problems and declining longevity. As if that wasn’t a big enough hurdle, there is also a genetic one. There is clear evidence that negative genetic correlations exist between milk yield and fertility and between milk yield and production diseases.  In other words, if selection for production continues unchanged, fertility, health and profitability are going to be put “on hold” permanently.

The Health Games.  Sick is costly. Health isn’t free.

As long as our cows continue to function by producing milk, we may be willing to live in denial of health issues.  Unfortunately, the list is growing well beyond the number one which is mastitis and includes: displaced abomasums; ketosis; milk fever; retained placenta; metritis; cystic ovaries; and lameness.  What is the incidence of each of these in your herd?  Do you keep records on all of them? We know from our personal health that you can’t fix what you don’t admit is a problem.  Those tiny signs add up until “out of nowhere” there is a health crisis.  That doesn’t work for people and it doesn’t work for bovines either.

Bad Prescription. “Take 2 Bales of Hay and Call Me in the Morning!!”

Don’t you just hate it when your doctor takes a laid back approach to your serious medical concerns?  Or does that feel like a reprieve?  You don’t have to fix what you don’t acknowledge.  Or does it boil down to who has the best answer?  The vet. The nutritionist.  Your neighbour.  It probably takes all three but we really need to pull back and start answering the questions about improved health even before mating decisions are made. Huge strides have been made in dairy breeding with the implementation of genomics. DNA analysis has only touched the tip of the iceberg for what is possible in analyzing dairy genetics.  This brings your genetics provider (A.I.) onto the health team. All that is needed is the will to change.

What can we do about it? Monitoring. Managing. Action.

You can hire someone to take care of sick animals.  You can pay for medication and extra care. Or you can decide to start with genetics and try to raise the genetic health level of your herd. All of these approaches start with the same first step.  You must monitor your animals and have detailed data on where, what, when and how health issues are affecting your dairy operation.

The hardest concept when dealing with health is that preventive measures are far better and less costly in the long run than the prescription, medicine and professional caregiver route. There needs to be more preventive action taken at the breeding stage.  Here is the first line of defence to reduce the diseases that lurk within genetic code and impact profitability now and for future generations of your herd.

The most crucial first step is to have accurate data. Good complete data that accurately identifies what is happening in the herd.  The information needs to be recorded and accurate before the cow is culled from the herd.  Dr. Kent Weigel, Extension Genetics Specialist, University of Wisconsin notes. “Current reports often don’t provide enough details to identify exact reasons why cows are culled. Animals can be recorded as ‘died,’ ‘sold for dairy,’ or ‘sold for beef,’ because of low production, mastitis infertility and so on. From that data, you might conclude that mastitis and infertility are the most common causes of culling on dairy farms. However, reported reasons for disposal can be misleading when one attempts to compare the management level of various dairy farms or to draw conclusions about the genetic merit of certain animals or sire families. Furthermore, once culled, that animal will no longer contribute information to genetic evaluations.  In effect, by culling time the most important source of health data has been eliminated.”

An ounce of Genetics is Worth Pounds of Cure?

As a result of research he has taken part in, Weigel says producers should not just consider the pounds of milk a cow produces as they weigh their decision about genetic traits.
You want cows that produce a live calf without assistance, cycle normally, show visible heat and conceive when they’re inseminated. Many cows fail to complete these and other important tasks because they have left the herd prematurely.” Weigel went on to say that some animals are culled for “multiple offenses,” such as difficult calving followed by ketosis and a displaced abomasum.  “She may then fail to breed back in a timely manner and be culled when her daily milk production falls below a profitable level,” Weigel says. “The farmer might code here as ‘sold for low production’ or infertility or disease. The reported reason for disposal is often a vague indicator of the actual problem.”

Get the Code – Fill the Prescription

Given the unfavorable genetic relationships between milk production and welfare indicators, the most effective route to stop the decline or even improve dairy cows’ welfare is by developing and adopting a selection index in which welfare related traits are included and appropriately weighted.

At a recent CDN (Canadian Dairy Network) open industry meeting, more than one presenter spoke on the genetics of disease and health. The proposed response to this complex topic is to develop one index that incorporates targeted health indicators.  We see the logic that cattle who have less mastitis or and lower somatic cell scores represent healthier animals in the herd. Until actual DNA snips are identified for specific health issues and diseases, an index that combines  SCC (somatic cell score) with fore udder attachment, udder depth and body condition score to produce the newly developed MRI (Mastitis Resistance Index) will take selection for healthier animals to a higher level.  The quantity and quality of the data contributing to these indices is key to how effectively they will identify sires with the healthiest genetics.  Isn`t it great that breeders, researchers and genetics providers are working together to move beyond the obvious.

Predict the Disease Proof by Building on What We Know Already

DNA markers for economically important traits could quantify the differences and be used to justify selection decisions on young animals with reasonable accuracy.

Short term, breeding organizations are urged to use available records to include fertility, health and longevity in a selection index in which greater emphasis should be placed on all fitness related traits relative to production traits. Genetic evaluations for health should complement and not replace genetic evaluations for yield.

“The udder is always the place to start evaluating a cow,” Weigel says. “Poor udder traits are the biggest problem, followed by poor feet and leg traits. Naturally, cows that avoid mastitis or injury to their udder are going to be in the dairy herd longer.” The major advantages of the genetic improvement for any trait are that changes are cumulative, permanent and cost-effective.

Who Will Answer the Call First?

Ultimately, the successful dairy industry of the future will maintain the gains made in milk production and make equal strides in the identification of healthy cattle. Whether it’s by choice or necessity remains to be seen. It will take everyone contributing accurate data.  The breakthroughs in production were made possible by tremendous amount of supporting data. To make similar progress in fighting dairy diseases, the same cooperation in building a database will be needed. Currently in Canada only 4 in 10 herds are participating in the capture of data on the 8 production limiting diseases.  In some European countries there is a database of mandatory disease recording that spans more than 30 years.

The Bottom Line

Some will write off the concerns raised here as over dramatic.  After all, personifying your cows as phoning in sick is beyond belief.  We all know that 21st Century contented healthy cows won`t phone in. They’ll text: “Guess what Boss? I’m healthy and I’m pregnant!”

The ones who are prepared for that call will be laughing all the way to the bank.


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Let’s Talk Longevity

Herd profitability is front and centre in the minds of breeders as they build their genetic base for the future. Current and future profit does not come by chance. It takes both breeder instinct and skilled management. Two important factors breeders and managers must consider is how long the workers stay on the job and how productive they are. And when it comes to workers on dairy farms it starts with the cows. Longevity along with productivity go hand in hand with making a profit.

What is Longevity?

According to our current indexes longevity is productive life (PL) or herd life (HL). But what does that mean? Is it one more month in the herd for an average daughter of a bull? What makes the difference?

Let’s take a moment and think about how great it is when your workers stay with your organization for at least five years. Instead of frequently giving new staff basic training, the organization can spend more time on advanced skills training. Productivity will increase and thereby profit can be pushed to new heights.

When it takes 1.0 to 1.5 lactations before a heifer you have raised or purchased to start to show a net lifetime profit, then culling heifers before the end of two lactations means just breaking even. A couple of months longer stay before the end of the 2nd lactation is really no big thing. Especially if the cow is below average for productivity.

When considering longevity how “long” is long enough?

What is Ideal Longevity?

Let’s start with what it is not. On a highly bred, fed and managed farm, averaging 25,000 lbs and 13.0 month calving interval, longevity is not a cow that stays around for five lactation yielding 20,000 lbs and calving every 14 months. She has two problems – her volume of output is below average and she takes a month longer off work than her contemporaries. In short she is a free-loader.

Each of us will have our own definition of longevity. Years back for many breeders longevity was the cow that won the county show, produced okay and from which daughters could be sold. For other breeders it is the cow that causes no problem, conceives on 1st or 2nd service and produces at least 10% above her contemporaries.  For today’s profit oriented breeders it is the cow that produces 200,000 lbs (90,909 kgs) in 8-9 lactations, that calves back within 13 months. It is the cow that, after calving quickly and smoothly, moves into lactation, does not require vet visits, maintains a low SCS as she ages and operates without problems within the herd’s housing and milk systems. Now that is longevity that is measurable and profitable!

Breeding for the Ideal

We can all see what we like when we look at the twelve year old cow but breeding is not a retrospective matter. Breeding is about creating the future. Idealizing the past is not breeding. Breeding is creating that heifer calf that arrives healthy without causing momma any problems, is able to resist illness and then calves before 24 months of age, is functionally correct and can cost effectively produce above her contemporaries and stays for many lactations.

Achieving ideal longevity takes more than genetics. Management plays a major role. When breeders get both genetics and management on longevity right they are able to have low herd turn-over (25%), save considerable dollars by raising fewer heifers (every heifer not raised saves $2200), and less expense for drugs, insemination, labor, feed, ..etc.

Current Tools Available

Two overall indexes currently published are PL (USA) and HL (Canada). Many other supporting indexes assist in interpreting PL and HL. Those include: SCS, DPR/DF, Udder Depth, Feet, Rear Legs Rear View and Maternal Calving Ease.  Of course yields of fat and protein (Link – Is Too Much Water Milking Your Profits) are important however a few more pounds of fat and protein in a lactation can in no way compare to getting that fifth, sixth and seventh lactation from a cow. Lactations where yield and profit are at their peak. Total merit indexes, like NM$, TPI™ and LPI, do factor in longevity but if breeders have genetically overlooked length of herd life, by placing their focus on show type or production, then these indexes will under estimate the emphasis that should be placed on longevity.

Future Tools Needed

What our current PL and HL indexes fail to do is to place emphasis of getting cows that make it to those fifth, sixth and seventh lactations. Adding a couple more months to cows that stay for 2 to 3 lactations is not what breeders need. They need some way of knowing which bulls leave daughters that profitably make it to those later lactations. Hopefully our genetic evaluation researchers will study some accurate way to identify bulls that produce long lived productive cows.

Let’s Talk Bulls

In breeding it always comes down to which bulls to use. Should I use Atwood or Bookem or should I use Windbrook or Fever?

Atwood, a current popular bull of show type, has  PL of –0.5 while Bookem, a newly daughter proven bull, has a PL of 5.7. Bookem’s stay in the herd over six months longer. How does Bookem do that? Well it is by having higher DPR, superior calving ease and maternal calving ease, lower stillbirths and higher production.  If show winnings are not important to you then Bookem should be your choice.

Both Windbrook (+15) and Fever (+16) sire superior conformation, yet Fever has a HL of 116 compared to Windbrook’s HL of 103.  Fever’s significant superiority in SCS, DF, milking speed and daughter calving ability give him the distinct advantage. DCA is often not used by breeders but Fever at 111 is in the top 2% of the breed for his daughters to calve without difficulty.

So in breeding for longevity breeders must dig deeper and find out all the facts. Bulls that have a PL over 5.5 or a HL over 110 are unlikely to produce daughters that have problems for somatic cell count, daughter fertility, milking speed, maternal calving ease, depth of udder or mobility.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Longevity is a lot easier to describe than it is to achieve. What are our choices? We could sit and anticipate a ‘genomic-like’ breakthrough in this area of dairy breeding and management. That would be easy. But that way we are losing dollars and productive animals every day. Or we can act to immediately incorporate strategies that keep our animals, trouble free, healthy and producing longer. When it comes to longevity proactive means profitable.

The Dairy Breeders No BS Guide to Genomics


Not sure what all this hype about genomics is all about?

Want to learn what it is and what it means to your breeding program?

Download this free guide.




The Truth About Type and Longevity

For years there has been  debate about whether show type is relevant to the commercial producer.  But more recently the deeper question is coming up that asks  if type itself in any form matters anymore.

This issue was further highlighted by our extremely popular interview with Don Bennink (Read more: North Florida Holsteins: Aggressive, Progressive and Profitable!!) where he made the following comments:

“Don feels that the current philosophy of the Holstein Association is very contrary to (profitability).”  He gives three main targets that he seeks out as profitable.  “High production with health traits and feed efficiency are our bywords.  The present classification and type evaluation system are 180 degrees away from cattle that pay the bills.  Bigger, taller, sharper doesn’t cut it.  The latest correlation of final type score with stature is .77.  Worse yet, the correlation of udder composite with stature is .59.  That means if you breed 100% for udder composite, you will increase stature at more than half the rate that you would if you bred for stature alone.”  There is only one conclusion for this dairy farmer.  “The current 88 and 89 point 2 year olds are dysfunctional for the guy making milk for a living.”

Don also highlights:

“With the current correlation of .59 between udder composite and stature, it is not unusual to see the same udder scored good on a short or medium sized heifer that is very good on a tall heifer.  No study including the ones done by Holstein show any real correlation of foot and leg composite with foot health or herd life.  Bulls with +3.00 and +4.00 type proofs have daughters that are too big and too sharp for commercial dairymen.  For this reason gTPI or TPI are essentially ignored in bull or female selection.  Net Merit $ has some value.”

The question really becomes why do we evaluate type?

The ultimate reason for evaluating type is to predict longevity.  In the Canadian LPI formula type is actually called durability.  In the US TPITM formula type elements are used to calculate longevity.  But then I ask why are we creating a composite index of other elements to help predict longevity when we actually have the data in Herd Life (CDN) and Productive Life (US)?  This makes me ask  what is the more accurate  index? An index we have created based on evaluation of many subjective parts? Or is it more accurate when derived from the actual herd data on  longevity? That data would  show exactly how long a bull’s daughters last in a herd.

When you look at the current top twenty Productive Life sires over 95% reliability in the US, you notice that only 2 sires have a PTAT over 2 points (DE-SU OBSERVER and SILDAHL JETT AIR) and as a group they average 0.65 for PTAT.  Even more alarming is that as a group they average 0.86 for UDC and 1.02 for F&L composite, two traits that are typically key in predicting longevity.   On the other hand, relating directly to longevity they all have relatively high net merit scores,  low somatic cell scores and, for the most part, are calving ease sires.   Why the disconnect?

DE-SU OBSERVER-ET16027.22.7667922.73.020.892332
HONEYCREST BOMBAY NIFTY-ET2367.22.627553-0.46-0.130.971810
POTTERS-FIELD KP LOOT-ET10047.22.6876500.081.71-0.241954
KELLERCREST BRET LANDSCAPE817.12.3685060.651.271.161838
WHITMAN O MAN AWESOME ANDY2026.92.5557540.32-0.171.212063
ZIMMERVIEW BRITT VARSITY-ET4106.82.6266680.71-0.471.552013
CLEAR-ECHO NIFTY TWIST-ET9426.82.628748-0.32-0.421.172039
KED OUTSIDE JEEVES-ET3556.82.83105151.370.971.741913
ENSENADA TABOO PLANET-ET22166.72.9867211.931.44-0.472176
GOLDEN-OAKS GUTHRIE-ET10786.72.786535-1.15-1.240.361728
DALE-PRIDE MANFRED ALFIE5196.62.966461-0.63-0.36-0.011702
LAESCHWAY JET BOWSER 2-ETN2006.52.8474551.622.031.831940
ELKENDALE DIE-CAST-ET-8726.52.7263700.681.851.991718
LAESCHWAY JET BOWSER-ET2006.52.8474551.622.031.831940
BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE12366.42.757791.571.62.872292
CABHI AUSTIN POTTER-ET1516.42.8165200.050.410.021766
CABHI MOOSE-ET456.42.6463730.180.31.111625
SILDAHL JETT AIR-ET11186.32.6466442.882.262.912168
SPRING-RUN CAMDEN-676.22.9174330.571.790.61762
KERNDT MAXIE GOLDSTAR-ET1996.22.576449-1.28-0.61-0.961631

The Canadian story is not that much different.  When you look at the top 35 sires with CDN proofs, only 3 sires (CRACKHOLM FEVER, TRAMILDA-N ESCALADE and SILDAHL JETT AIR-ET) are over 10 for Conformation and all have relatively low SCS. In fact NORZ-HILL FORM WIZARD who is tied for the top proven Herd Life sire in Canada is -3 for conformation, -4 for feet and legs and -10 for dairy strength.  And as a group the sires average only +3 for conformation, +4 for Mammary System, +3 for Feet and Legs and -2 for dairy strength.

CRACKHOLM FEVER279762015131371172.63
NORZ-HILL FORM WIZARD-ET1914521-30-4-101172.57
TRAMILDA-N ESCALADE-ET25956931371261152.69
DUDOC BACCULUM1630-52709-1-101152.95
SILDAHL JETT AIR-ET2824129212101171142.64
BADGER-BLUFF FANNY FREDDIE29851717585-51132.74
KEYSTONE POTTER1933110014-1-41132.91
BOSS IRON ET1925-72066141132.74
RUBIS LOTUS1908-51499141132.79
JOHNIE FRANCIS1754-561-2-1-3-41132.59
BARKA FETICHE1009-1793-14-11-14-131132.47
GEN-I-BEQ ALTABUZZER2748141764801122.82
HEATHERSTONE-V MCGUIRE-ET25701417911851122.67
MICHERET INFRAROUGE25217107811-11122.66
DUDOC RADIUS2518134442601122.67
RALMA CARRIBEAN-ET250175663731122.74
SANDY-VALLEY DEPUTY-ET2424801565-31122.37
HASS-ACRES BRAVEHEART222563957411122.68
KED OUTSIDE JEEVES-ET2216580443-21122.99
SHAWNEE ALTASTRATOS-ET22091867105-41122.51
DESLACS DUSTER21341598811-21122.83
MARKWELL DUCKETT-ET2094117378-91122.71
KLASSIC BILLBOARD20336181-10-21122.68
WHITTAIL-VALLEY COOPER-ET2015461234-71122.61
BONACCUEIL LORD195469603-2-41122.64
FLEURY LOTION18839630-13-61123.11
GRASSHILL CAREW1824-12-4-1-3-41122.68
CEDARWAL TAIT1816-985040-61122.55
CANCO ARMAGEDDON1664254-8-10-7-31122.73
JACOBS EMAIL1642-1179-6-2-4-121122.65
HILLCROFT MAJESTIC1396-95242221122.61
CLAYNOOK GARNET1319-431-5-5-4-31122.89
HENKESEEN NIGHTSTORM1238-1215-2-13-41122.78

I have always been a big proponent for type classification (Read more: Is Type Classification Still Important? and Tom Byers: “That’s Classified!”).  My father ran the Canadian system for many years.  But I now find myself asking “Are we missing the mark?”

The Bullvine Bottom Line

For years I have heard commercial producers tell me that they don’t care as much about type and that it’s the seed stock breeders that are putting all the emphasis on type.  The thing is, as Don points out, “the function of a seed stock producer is to produce the animal that is the most profitable for the commercial dairyman.”   If that is the  case are we as seed stock producers missing the mark by emphasizing type sires?  In today’s free agent bull market, it is more profitable to have a sire that sells well in the commercial market than just in the pedigree market.   Should we work to have the correlation between PTAT /Conformation with Herd Life/Productive Life as high as possible, as that is the whole point in evaluating type traits?


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