The first-ever index for young stock survival (YSS) featuring economically important whole lifetime traits has been introduced to the Nordic Total Merit (NTM), VikingGenetic’s breeding index which includes both production and functional traits and globally claims to be the most complete breeding index.
The independent institution, the Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) with over five years of evaluations, has developed the YSS index, which features NTM sub-traits for birth, calving, and longevity.
The results of these studies were overwhelming, with a high level of accuracy and reliability to introduce the YSS, the 13th index for inclusion in the NTM. The YSS index describes the survival of heifer calves from day one after birth up to 15 months of age and bull calves from birth to six months of age, when the bull is the sire of the calf.
YSS was initially launched towards the end of 2016, to the Nordic countries where dairymen are aware that losing young cows implies economic loss as well as extra work and potential for health problems in the herd, VikingGenetics is now introducing the new index for the market in the UK.
”The new index is a counterpart to the other health traits that make VikingGenetics’ breeding program the most efficient and profitable in the market”, says Chris Stone, sales manager for VikingGenetics UK.
For dairy producers in the United Kingdom, approximately 20% of heifers fail to reach first lactation, VikingGenetics can anticipate YSS will be a welcome tool to help dairy men mitigate these losses.
VikingGenetics’ Head of Sales, Sara Petersson commented that VikingGenetics has launched a very ambitious plan to expand its business in the UK, starting with the foundation of a VikingGenetics subsidiary as from January.
“We consider that our unique indexes including the new YSS can really make a difference among progressive minded dairymen, who are investing in efficiency, and striving for reducing the use of antibiotics,” she states.