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5 Jan 2024 - NTM Unlocked #6

What drives longevity?

Correlations are used as trait progress indicators in breeding programs throughout the world. This makes it very important to understand their meaning.

A dairy cow’s health and well-being is a sophisticated system where everything is co-related. For example, hoof health influences the longevity of the animal.

Our goal is to breed long-lasting and efficient cows that are healthy, trouble-free, with high lifetime production. This means lower costs, less work, higher profits, and a better life for you and your cows. 

Breed a high-producing and efficient cow

Using NTM as a breeding tool guarantees a good balance between the different included important traits. The massive database behind NTM breeding is a solid basis for building the optimal breeding program. We aim to breed a high-producing and efficient cow that does not require too much attention – the invisible cow.

A correlation of 0.5 between NTM and a single trait indicates that you can expect progress of 50% for that trait if you use NTM instead of selecting only a specific trait.

Longevity has a strong positive correlation with NTM, equal to 0.37. By relying on NTM, you can breed cows with 37% better longevity out of the maximum progress you would achieve by breeding only for Longevity.

Holstein cows

What drives longevity?

Here are the five traits that have the strongest correlation with Longevity for VikingHolstein cows:

  • Daughter Fertility – 45%
  • Udder Health – 44%
  • General Health – 35%
  • Feet & Legs conformation – 24%
  • Hoof Health – 22%

If we look closely, issues with these traits are among the most common culling reasons for dairy cows. Longevity also has a strong negative correlation to Frame (-0.27), meaning that larger cows tend to have more health problems and do not stay long in the herd.

By improving these traits using NTM, your cows will have a longer and more profitable lifetime in your herd.

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longevity correlations

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